You've put in the brutal, twice-a-day workout sessions, eaten enough chicken breast and steak to support a small farm, and lined up the correct supplements like a chemical engineer. Now you're left with mounds of protein-infused muscle covering your body, a true physical fitness achievement. Yet like a supermodel draped in a heavy trench coat, the goods are hidden from sight by a layer of fat. How do you shed the blanket and allow onlookers to gaze in awe at your accomplishments? Here are six steps to take for your big reveal.
1. Start Your Engine
The best way to win a race is to start you motor early. People have told you since you were a kid that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What they probably didn't tell you was that people eat about the same amount of food each day. By starting that process earlier, you'll find that you're not playing catch up later in the day or eating unhealthy foods in emergency hunger mode. Having breakfast will jump start your metabolism, allowing the muscles you've built to be nourished while initiating the fat burning process. Remember: the early bird gets the fat-busting worm.
2. Graze Phase
Besides enjoying an early, substantial breakfast, the best way to burn fat is to set up an eating schedule of 5-8 small meals spread out a few hours apart throughout the day. This style of consumption, also referred to as "grazing," provides a constant flow of nourishment to the muscles, keeping your metabolism surging throughout the day. Having "three squares a day," such is the custom in most places, means more total calories at each sitting, making it tougher for your body to digest food for fuel and harder for your metabolism to catch up. Smaller meals, more often is definitely the way to go. Eating this way also decreases the risk of overeating.
3. Mix it Up
To bridge the fat burning process from the kitchen to the gym, structure a workout that keeps the fire stoked. The best way to transform a normal, muscle-building routine into a super charged fat-burning workout is to mix typical resistance exercises with bodyweight movements. This added challenge brings out an increased cardiovascular experience, leading directly to fat loss and heightened endurance. After massive bench press reps throw in a set of push ups. Following a set of cable rows, add some pull-ups. Dips will follow triceps extensions, and walking lunges will insure the leg press did its duty.
4. Go Herbal
In addition to following your usual lower-carb, high-protein diet, it helps to add in green tea to push your fat-burning to a new level. Green tea, taken in capsule form or as a drink, continues to yield new and exciting benefits for physique-minded individuals and is one of the most research-affirmed supps you can have.
5. Zero in on Target Areas
Spot reduction, which until recently was considered a myth, can prove to be an effective aid for fat loss. By targeting your stubborn areas with some continuous, high-rep training and following that immediately with 30 minutes of cardio, you can mobilize more fat from the trained area. Not a believer? A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) had male subjects perform single-leg extensions for 30 minutes straight with light weight. They found that subcutaneous fat cells (those just under the skin) in both the exercising and resting thighs. The working leg had a significant increase in blood flow to and lipolysis from the subcutaneous fat cells. In other words, the fat cells surrounding the working muscle released more fat into the blood stream, meaning more fat is being used as fuel. The cardio that follows is to keep that fat from re-depositing itself on the premises!
6. Cardio Bursts
One great way to get the fat burning benefits of running while performing a standard weight training routine is to insert short, intense bouts of cardio throughout your workout. These "bursts," placed every 15 minutes during an hour long routine, help rev your metabolism both during and after your workout. Think of it as extended-rest interval training. One way to do this would be to complete a 90-second sprint on a treadmill after every exercise in your normal 8-10 exercise routine. This is also one way to get your cardio in without spending an additional 20-30 minutes in the gym after your last rep.
For more tips from Eric Fleishman, visit his website: www.ericthetrainer.com