SHAPING UP: Four ways to burn off more fat
There is nothing quite as frustrating as seeing your fat loss results fizzle out.
This is a common place to end up, usually after a few months on the same exercise routine. In the beginning your body responds to your routine with lost pounds and gained muscle tone, then one day all results screech to a stop.
Why does this happen? And, more importantly, how can you prevent it?
Your muscles adapt quickly to any repetitive routine. Remember that the definition of ‘insanity’ is to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. This holds true for your workouts.
When your results stop, it’s time to do something new.
The problem: Your muscles have adapted to your routine.
The Solution: It’s time to apply the concept of muscle confusion.
Muscle confusion is a way to keep your body guessing by changing your routine.
I have good news – the following four strategies are guaranteed to crank your workouts up to the next level and to deliver better results.
Strategy #1: Use a Drop Set
Drop sets are often used to fight off exercise plateaus. This technique is great for increasing muscle strength, endurance and for adding to the cardiovascular benefit of your workout - which results in more fat burn.
This is how to do a drop set: When you perform an exercise to exhaustion, don’t stop there. Drop the weight by 80% and do another set.
You could take it a step further by dropping the weight twice, making it a double drop. Or drop the weight three times for a descending drop set. Use this technique only once or twice per workout, on the final set of the exercise.
Strategy #2: Focus on Negatives
Each time that you do a weight lifting repetition you are using three types of strength.
Positive strength: lifting the weight.
Static strength: holding weight in a contracted position.
Negative strength: lowering the weight.
Most people completely miss the benefit of the negative in each repetition by allowing the weight to drop quickly with little control. It is understood that the negative portion of each repetition is just as important as the positive portion, possibly more important.
Focus on the negative portion of each repetition by lowering the weight very slowly. Concentrate on the negative contraction, and make each repetition count.
If you are advanced, then use a training partner to assist you in moving heavier-than-normal weight into a contracted position, then lower it very slowly.
Another way to utilize negative repetitions on a machine is to lift the weight using two limbs but then lower it with just one. For example, use both legs to lift the weight on a leg extension machine, but then lower it back down slowly using only one leg.
Strategy #3: Use Active Rest
Every minute of your workout is an opportunity to increase intensity and to burn more fat. Don’t waste precious minutes with long rest periods.
While it is important to catch your breath if you feel winded, most of the time you would benefit more from an active rest. Do one of the following activities for 30 seconds between exercises and turn your regular workout into High Intensity Interval Training.
High Knees with Alternating Punches: Alternately bring each knee high to your chest in a quick jumping movement while alternating forward punches at shoulder level.
Burpees: Start in a sanding position and bend at the waist. Once your hands hit the floor, push your entire body back, extending your legs until they’re straight and you’re in the push-up position. Go down for a push-up, and when you push yourself up, jump slightly to bring your feet back near your hands. Finally, jump in the air with your arms fully extended over your head.
Side-to-Side Jumps on Bench: Stand on one side of an exercise bench. Place the foot closest up onto the bench, jump up and switch feet, then land on the opposite side of the bench.
Mountain Climbers: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart on the ground in a push-up position. Bring one knee to your chest and then back to the starting position, alternate each leg quickly.
Side-to-Side Ab Twists: With feet close together, jump and twist your legs left to right - holding your abs tight. Keep a bend in your knees and swing your upper arms with each twist.
Jump Lunges with Pop Squat: Start in a lunge position, lunge down then quickly jump up, switching your leg position in mid air, land in an opposite leg lunge. Once you’ve done both legs, jump straight into a squat.
Medicine Ball Squat Jumps: With feet wider than shoulder-width apart hold a medicine ball at chest level. Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. Explosively jump up, raising the medicine ball straight over your head.
Strategy #4: Modify the Exercise
There are certain exercises that are considered ‘staples’ in the gym.
The squat. The lunge. The chest press. The shoulder press. The bicep curl. You get the idea ...
While you shouldn’t throw these exercises out the window, find creative ways to modify the familiar motion in order to challenge your muscles. Try these modifications:
Squat on a Bosu ball or balance board; place a weighted bar across your shoulders and do walking lunges; use an exercise ball for chest presses instead of the bench; do a full squat between each repetition of shoulder press; do a shoulder press between each repetition of bicep curls.
If you’d like a sure-fire way to break through your fitness plateau and to melt away unwanted fat, then contact me, speed up your weight loss, make it permanent, and shape your body at the same time? I’ve got what it takes to get you there! No guess work, no fad diets, and no super long workouts – I’ve seen hundreds of my clients before you do it, and I’ll see hundreds after you do it.
Chicken and Quinoa
Here is a simple, wholesome meal that is ready in 30 minutes – perfect for busy weekday dinners.
There’s no reason to hit the take-out line when you have this delicious recipe on hand. Eating simple, wholesome meals like this and exercising regularly will get you to your goal weight.
Here’s what you need…
1 cups cooked quinoa
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 corn, kernels cut from cob
Handful of asparagus stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups baked chicken breast, cut into small cubes
1 can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed
splash of lemon juice
splash of lime juice
dash of salt and pepper
splash of soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley.
Cook the quinoa and set aside. Place a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add the bell peppers, corn and asparagus, cook until the vegetables are tender.
Add the chicken and beans, cook for another 10 minutes, adding the rest of the ingredients.
Place a serving of quinoa on each plate and top it with the vegetable mix.
Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 293 calories, 5g fat, 32g carbohydrate, 4.6g fibre, and 29.4g protein.
The squat challenge
So last time we did the lunge challenge – this time it is squats.
This again will burn fat by working the large leg muscles together with toning and strengthening the legs and butt.
Complete four rounds of the following:
l X20 alternate side squats ( right and left);
l 20-second squat holds – feet hip distance and stay as low as possible
l 20-second – as above but slowly bounce your butt
l X10 jump squats
l One minute rest max.
Tip: Always push through your heels, never let them lift, and always maintain a straight back.
Never let the front knee travel past the front toes – aim to do the workout every other day .
Always warm up before and stretch after any workout, all exercises are easily found online.
When you find yourself reaching for a snack—WAIT! Are you really even hungry? Or are you simply eating out of habit? Next time you find yourself gravitating toward a junk food fix do a short burst of physical activity instead. A dozen jumping jacks, 15 crunches, a walk around the block … you get the idea! By the time your heart rate returns to normal you will find that your craving has passed—and not only did you save yourself from empty calories, you burned extra calories as well!
GET IN TOUCH
David Souter is an award-winning fitness trainer based in the North East and creator of IN10SITY. David is one of the co-stars of Charlotte’s 3 Min Belly Blitz – the platinum-selling No.1 DVD of 2015 and record-breaking fastest-selling fitness DVD ever. David was also the exercise choreographer behind the No.1 selling fitness DVD of 2014 – Vicky’s 7 Day Slim and has appeared on BBC1 warming up 45,000 Great North Runners. For personal training, online workouts and nutrition plans email [email protected] or visit www.My-IN10SITY.com