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Key Components to Fat Loss

Posted on 26 September, 2016 at 13:20

The single most common goal amongst people who are interested in exercising is to lose weight and to "tone up." When I hear someone mention these goals, it tells me that they want two things. First: they want to decrease the amount of body fat that they currently have. Second: they want to increase the amount of lean muscle tissue on their body. Today, I aim to discuss what I concider to be some of the most crucial aspects of training and nutrition to accomplish these goals. 

Calorie Defecit

Calories are the energy that our bodies need to survive. We burn calories to keep our bodies functioning and to help us exert effort. Simply put: to lose weight, one must burn more calores than they consume. For example, if I can burn 2000 calories by doing nothing except my day to day activites, and I consume 1500 calories per day, then I am 500 calories short of the amount required for my body to sustain its energy output. Where do I get these extra 500 calories? You guessed it. My body utilizes my fat stores and I burn off 500 calories worth of fat. 1 pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So in my example, I would burn 3500 calories in 7 days which is equivalent to 1 lb of body fat (500 per day X 7 days = 3500 = 1 lb fat). Now lets say I decided to exercise on 5 of those 7 days. Each workout burned an additional  350 calories on average. This means that I burned an additonal 1750 calories, which is equivalent to another 0.5 lb of fat burned (5 days X 350 cal = 1750 cal = 0.5 lb of fat). So altogether, I burned off 1.5 pounds of fat that week through combined efforts of diet and exercise. Maybe I even gained a bit of muscle on top of that!

Metabolic cost

Lets look a bit further into the idea of exercising to increase the caloric defecit that we desire. Exercise choice can be a large impactor of how much time you need to spend to burn any given number of calories. In order to be efficient, it is crucial to comine aerobic exercise with resistance training to maximize the benefits of exercise. The idea is that, generally, aerobic based exercises will burn the highest number of immediate calories, while resistance training will increase your metabolism for the rest of the day! This means, that if you do some aerobic exercise, you may burn, say 200 calories now. If you add some resistance training, you may only burn an additional 100 calories now, but your body will also spend an extra 200 calories over the rest of the day in effort to repair the muscle tissue that has been broken down. Ultimately, it is important to utilize compound exercises (often in circuit training form as discussed in previous post) to maximize this post-workout metabolic increase.


The last component that I will discuss dives further into the aerobic portion of exercise choice. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be one of the most efficient exercise methods to increase immediate caloric consumption. The idea behind HIIT is to create intervals of high intensity, followed by intervals of lower intensity exercise in order to fluctuate the heart rate from high to moderate in order to effectively burn more calories in less time. An example workout would be switching between a fast run and a slow jog on the treadmill (or outside) in a tempo of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off. In other words, 30 seconds of vigorous intensity, followed by 30 seconds of moderate effort (think: recovery, catch your breath). Give 20 min of 30 sec on, 30 sec off a try. You will feel the effects.

With these ideas in mind, and proper motivation and social support, anybody can achieve fat loss and muscle gain. 

Hope this helps!



Categories: Motivation

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