TIPS FOR SHEDDING FAT WHILE RETAINING LEAN MUSCLE:
1. Eat at least 6 small meals daily, two to three hours apart. Eat protein and carbs at each meal. In my opinion, this is the best way to maintain more stable blood sugar and energy levels while providing your body with the nutrients needed to recover from exercise.
2. Drink lots of water. Start the day with huge glass. It kick starts your metabolism. Keep drinking throughout the day.
3. To lose fat, you must expend more calories than you take in. Without a calorie deficit, you simply cannot burn fat.
4. MAKE SURE THAT WHEN DOING CARDIO, your heart rate is in your target fat burning range, which is between 65% and 75% of your max heart rate. Keep your heart rate between these two numbers and you will burn fat not muscle.
5. Lift weights. More muscle means a faster metabolism, which in turn means more calories burned throughout the day. Lifting weights is key to fat loss and lean muscle retention.
6. if you do cardio and weights on the same days, do weights first, followed by cardio. If you are reasonably cardiovascularly fit, I would recommend 20 - 30 minutes of interval training for cardio. THis is done on the following pattern: 2 minutes with your heart rate within the target numbers, and then one minute when you jack your heart rate to about 80% of your max range (so you would sprint for a minute to get your heart rate really up there). But only for one minute. After this one minute of sprinting, be sure to take two minutes to bring your heart rate back down again before you jack it back up again. Doing cardio at above your target range for longer than 90 seconds has shown to burn muscle and not fat! This would be counterproductive. To monitor my heart rate, I use a heart rate monitor. if you are not sure how to calculate your range, it is 220 minus your age, multiplied by 65 %. This is your lower target. Then 220 minus your age multiplied by 75% gives you your upper target. So if you are 29 years old, that would be:
(220 - 29) * 65% = 124
(220 - 29) * 75% = 143.
So you would keep you heart rate between 124 and 143 when doing cardio to ensure you are burning fat and not lean muscle. You would be surprised at how many people do not have a cardio clue!
7. Try, if you can, to exercise first thing in the a.m. ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. Since your glycogen stores are depleted in the a.m., your body dips into your fat stores sooner.
8. While some people may disagree with this one, NEVER go to bed hungry. I am not saying to eat a full course meal 10 seconds before bedtime. But do not go to bed hungry either. The night time is when your body repairs the damage you have done in the gym. It needs fuel to do so. Eat a light snack, healthy snack if you find that it is bed time and you are out of fuel and starving. You should never be starving anyway. You should be eating small meals frequently throughout the day so you never find yourself starving. Starving yourself slows down your metabolism, reduces lean muscle tissue and leaves you feeling grumpy, tired and lousy to be around (oops- I am speaking from personal experience ).
9. When lifting, technique, form and tempo are critical to seeing the fastest possible results. make sure that your muscles are doing the lifting, not momentum, for example. Complete reps in a slow, controlled and focused manner. Slow it down and feel the burn. Post muscle workout soreness for a few days is a good thing. It is the result of inflamed muscle tissue, which in turn is part of the repair process making that muscle stronger and leaner. If you do not get sore, improve your technique, slow down your reps to really feel the burn, or increase your intensity.
10. if you plateau, let us know so we can provide you with tips on how to zap your body out of it.
11. Do not do the same exercises for a body part longer than three consecutive weeks. Change it up to keep your muscles guessing. if you body gets used to what you are doing, your lifting will not be as effective or efficient anymore.
12. 80 % of your results are from nutrition. Nutrition is key to losing body fat. Reduce fats and simple carbs. Breads are a definite no no if you are trying to shed body fat. Take a look at what everybody eats under "What are the staples of your diet" string of messages. Complex fibrous veggies, with high protein beans like lentils and Red kidney beans and low fat unsweetened soy milk mixed with some soy proetin powder seem to work well for losing body fat. So are the Yves faux meat products that are high in protein and low in carbs. What works for me is to consume a macronutrient combonation of about 40: 40: 20. 40 % of calories from protein, 40 % from carbs, and 20 % from fat. This sounds complex but it really is not. No need to do calculations with everything you eat. Just remember to try and consume roughly equal amounts of protein and carbs at each meal, with little fat, and you will be on your way to a leaner you!!!
Those are things that I have learned over the years and have worked for me. I am sure they work for others too if their goal too is to decease body fat.