Most of you have been working hard and eating lots all winter to get the gains. With the sun coming out more and the weather starting to get better it’s now time to get shredded ready for the beach! If you've been at the gym for a few seasons now and didn't see as good results as you were hoping last shredding season, it can be discouraging and leaving you feel pretty disappointed. Losing more fat without having to change too much about our current lifestyle or gym routine is something everyone would love to do. Getting rid of those unwanted love handles with only minimal changes can happen if you do the right things.
Here are 5 ways you can burn more fat at the gym and achieve a ripped body ready for summer!
1. Change your Weights Routine
Now you don’t need to do anything silly like stop lifting and just hitting the cardio area so relax. Lifting free weights burns more calories than doing just cardio anyway. Free weights will also burn more calories than machine weights because you have to stabilize the weight unlike machine weights which you just push or pull, so if that’s you, get off the machines! If you've never touched free weights before, to help you get use to doing those movements you'll want to start with machines weights for 4-6 weeks, this will help set up the pathways in your nervous system so when you progress to free weights your body is more accustom to the movements and your technique will be better for it. Lifting light weight and not really struggling at all to get through your sets and reps won't help get you toned. During winter you’ve probably been lifting heavy and doing less reps and more sets. Change that to a higher number of reps and less sets. If your program says to lift 10-12 reps then you need to get to 10 but struggle to get to 12 and should never get to 13. If you get to 13 then you need to lift a heavier weight. The harder you work during your workout the more calories you'll burn after you finish. That's right, you will still be burning calories once you stop working out if your work really hard during your workout. You’ll want to cut your rest times as well compared to your bulking program. Rest period should be 30 seconds max or you can do what I do and do active rest. Active rest is where I’ll do some ab work or skip during my rest. Now when it comes to your program, if you haven't touched weights before then getting a program to start on machine weights is the way to go and then I'd recommend at least 1 or 2 sessions with a personal trainer so they can make sure your technique is spot on with your free weights so you can avoid any injuries.
2. Interval Training
There are several types of interval training you can do to up the number of calories you burn. The main 2 types are HIIT and Tabata. Tabata training is a type of HIIT training so I'll explain Tabata first. Put together by Japanese Dr Izumi Tabata and his team of researchers and it's 4mins of high intensity exercise. To begin with it was just one exercise, generally cardio, they do 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds and continue until the 4mins was up. There are lots of variations of this workout now but in my experience these days most people will pick 4 exercises, these can be body weight, cardio or weighted exercises and do each of them twice during the 4mins and then they'll rest for 2mins and do it another 3 times. Other benefits of Tabata training besides the fat loss is an increased V02 max, along with an increased anaerobic and aerobic capacity.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT training is where you alternate between low-medium intensity level of exercise and high intensity level exercise. This is generally done with cardio but can be applied to body weight exercises as well as weights. Researchers at Colorado State University found that you can burn an extra 200 calories from 25mins of HIIT training. Another recent study compared those who did slow steady cardio for 30mins, 3 times a week vs those who did 20mins of HIIT cardio 3 times a week. Those who did HIIT cardio lost 2% body fat compared to 0.3% by the other group. HIIT training can also help you gain lean muscle. I usually get my clients to do 15-20mins of intervals, 3 times a week which are either 20 seconds going all out with 10 seconds going medium-slow or 45 seconds going hard with 30 second of medium to low intensity.
3. Adding a Fat Burner
Fat burners have exploded in the last 3-5 years in the supplement and health industries as we all strive to be more ripped. A lot of people have a bad stigma around some supplements like fat burners, having worked for a supplement company and having sold supplements in gyms, let me give you the breakdown of what fat burners are. There are essentially 2 kinds of fat burners on the market these days. One type is full of ingredients that are only going to help you burn fat. The other kind are half fat burner and half pre-workout.
Fat burners that are also a pre-workouts essentially have the fat burning ingredients in them but also have a huge amount of caffeine and other energy related ingredients in them. You generally take them 20mins before you workout and your energy levels spike up for your workout and the decrease afterwards (sometimes crashing back down so beware) and the fat burning ingredients do their job of helping you burn more fat.
Straight fat burners are full of the good ingredients that help you burn more fat without the great energy level spike and crash. It is normal to get a slightly elevated heart rate and a boost in energy when taking a fat burner as that comes from one of the main ingredients in them, green tea extract and green coffee bean extract.
One ingredient that you will find in pretty much every fat burner on the market is L-Carnatine. This is also a product you can buy on it's own which you can use as your fat burner. L-Carnatine is a natural ingredient found in red meats and avocado's and basically tells your brain to use your fat stores as energy first. There is no energy up and down and is a great product to start with. I myself and lots of my clients have had great results using L-Carnatine.
4. Stress Less
Stress can be 1 reason you're not losing the unwanted fat you have. Stress eating is one major factor with a lot of people. Majority of people don't stress eat veggie sticks or high protein snacks, they're smashing back junk food which is nothing but unwanted calories, fats and sugars. When you are highly stressed you have higher levels of cortisol. High levels of cortisol lead to more cravings for sugary foods and another side effect from high levels of cortisol is sugar and fat getting released into the blood stream which is then converted to fat. Meditation is one great way to reduce your stress levels. Pilates and Yoga are other options that will also reduce your stress levels and lead you to be happier and which can help you lose that unwanted fat.
I have had many clients who tell me they're eating the right things and a lot of the time they are, but they're eating too much of it. Portion sizes are a major health goal killer today with most of society having no idea what a good portion size is and they serve up what their eyes want and not what their body needs. Meal prepping is one way to over come this issue. Doing a big cook on a Sunday and making all your measured lunches for the week and some snacks and a few dinners can not only save you time, but also money and help you lose fat because you are eating what your body needs, not what your eyes want at the time. Simply adding some cayenne pepper into your diet can also help you lose some extra fat. Making sure you eat something every 2-3 hours keeps your energy levels regular over the course of the day.
Now by introducing these 5 things into your weekly routine you'll be able to lose that extra bit of unwanted fat that has been hanging on for far too long. You don't always need to change your whole lifestyle to get results, it's often small changes that can help make big differences to your results and your body. Get to Shred City!