At our personal training gym in Lakeville, we always say nutrition is 70-80% of your results. But exercise is also important. Exercise develops those muscles you want to see as well as helps to create a calorie deficit needed for fat loss. Exercise also stimulates hormones in your body that help you lose fat.
The problem many people face when they join a gym or buy a bunch of exercise equipment is “okay, now what?” There is no structure to their exercise plan and they basically work on the fly. You can’t get specific results with unspecific workouts
The other issue is time.
I hear the excuse that people don’t have enough time to get to the gym. Really, I feel that is because people somehow think they have to spend a lot of time at the gym to get good results. When it comes to time, more is not better. Many people who claim they do 2 hours or more at the gym are really not being honest about how hard they are working. I suspect a good portion of that time is spent exercising the jaw muscles and vocal chords.
Just getting to the gym three times per week for 30-45 minutes can yield great results.
Combine this with consistently good nutrition and you will see your body transform.
So to dispel myths and provide clarity, here are my top 3 exercises tips for fat loss.
Top 3 Tips on Exercise for Fat Loss & Toning
1. Prioritize strength training – Too often I see people default to cardio to lose weight. Yes, you can lose weight with cardio but the truth is cardio will not reshape and re-contour your body. If you are pear shaped and do cardio only in conjunction with a diet plan, you will just become a smaller pear shape from this approach.
However, with strength training, you can broaden your shoulders, make your waist look smaller, define your arms, and shape your legs.
Also doing strength training tells your body to keep muscle because you need it for something. So if you keep muscle and lose fat you get more definition (i.e. more tone).
Finally doing big movements with little or no rest is effective at elevating key fat burning hormones in your body, burning lots of calories and cranking up your metabolism.
The majority of routines we build for busy women are circuits with big weight training moves combined with high-intensity cardio. We feel this gives our personal training clients the most bang for their buck in the short time we are working with them. Especially since most of them have a weight loss goal.
2. When comes to cardio, HIIT first – Cardio can be done on separate days or at the end of the workout for those who can’t get to the gym as often. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Basically, you are working harder than you would be walking on a treadmill or jogging. You should just be huffing and puffing and feel the burn.
There are several advantages to this. Working at a high intensity stimulates the release of Human Growth Hormone and Catecholamines. These are hormones that tell your body to burn fat for energy. Secondly, your metabolism stays elevated in “afterburn” mode 24-48 hours after you are done. So when you are sitting at your desk or tucking in your kids hours later, you are still revved up. Finally, the trade-off is it takes less time than traditional cardio.
Some examples of HIIT cardio are:
- Intervals – Run hard for one minute then moderate jog for one minute. Repeat this 20 minutes.
- Tabata – Jump rope, run in place, or burpees. Do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds of rest. Go for 8-16 rounds at the end of a workout.
- Complexes – This means doing several exercises that flow into each other using the same modality like kettlebells, body weight, or dumbbells. An example for bodyweight would be 20 mountain climbers, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees, and 20 jumping jacks.
These are just a few examples of HIIT protocols you can use. For time-strapped women, I throw them on the last 5-15 minutes of their strength workouts to leave the metabolism cranked to the max.
But what about traditional cardio?
It has its place. Ideally, if you only have time to do cardio a few times a week, then do your HIIT protocol first followed by 20-30 minutes of steady state cardio. The traditional cardio will help flush out fatty acids hanging out in the bloodstream left over from HIIT training. So 10-20 minutes of HIIT combined with 20-30 minutes of traditional (steady state) cardio is ideal.
If you have the availability, you can also throw in a steady state only session or two on your non-HIIT days.
3. Don’t forget NEAT– If you exercise one hour per day and sit on your butt the other 23 hours, then what do you think your body will reflect? The 1 hour of exercise or the 23 hours of doing nothing?
I think the answer is obvious.
NEAT stand for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
Thermogenesis means heat and that is what calories are a measure of.
So in English, this means moving around during the day can contribute to the calories deficit needed to force your body to go into the reserves (fat stores) for energy.
I personally like Fit Bits and Apple Watches because they help monitor NEAT in terms of steps.
You should shoot for 10,000 steps minimum per day.
Doing things like parking farther away from store entrances, taking the stairs, walking the dog, and housework can really help you hit this daily. Our bodies were made to move not to sit.
Our wellness partners, Life Wellness Center, are located upstairs from our personal training gym in Lakeville. Their slogan is “Movement Is Life.” I tend to agree. But it is not only life. Movement helps contribute to your fat burning goals too.
Looking for More? Our Lakeville Gym and Online Personal Training Can Help!
As always, if you want more help, reach out to me via email at [email protected] or by calling me direct at 952-220-2448. Our personal training fitness center services Lakeville, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Prior Lake, and Farmington. We also have a great online personal training program if you don’t live close by or would prefer to work with us virtually. In fact, for a limited time, we’re offering a FREE 7-day trial on our online training program called the 7-Day Kickstart. Click the button below to learn more and download our FREE 7-DAY ONLINE KICKSTART program!
Your coach and friend,