Training for Fat Loss

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'I can't believe how high my heart-rate got when I increased my weights. This is just as hard if not harder than any traditional "cardio" workout.' -FH Member

I can't tell you how many times I hear this once a client realizes that they've been sandbagging their main strength workouts, afraid that their going to get too bulky.

This is once of the biggest misconceptions that I have seen over and over in relation to training for fat loss. We hear it all the time, mostly women, and some men, believing that they should avoid heavy or all weight training and only perform “cardio” and abdominal exercises to get their ideal physique. 

The worst is witnessing this in group classes.  As a coach you encourage people to challenge themselves, to push to a new level because you know that the end result is what their ideally looking for.  Who wants to keep doing the same thing or lifting the same weight?  Well, I guess not everyone cares about tracking progress, but you hope, as a coach, that your people will care.  So many of our humans "get it" but so many still go through the motions during the strength portion of one of our general fitness classes and then only focus on the conditioning portion of the workout – and often followed up by a few sets of sit-ups or something similar. My guess is that if you are guilty of this approach, you probably haven’t seen very good results with it. Maybe you lost a few pounds initially, but now you have plateaued and you may have even gained a pound or two.

This faulty approach is perpetuated by the insta-google "you tube" trainer who's more interested in selfies than actually showcasing their own clients, workout routines published in “fitness” magazines, and a few common exercise myths.

LIFT HEAVY THINGS. EAT HEALTHY. GET RESULTS.

The hour or so you spend in the gym accounts for a very small portion of your daily caloric expenditure. Unless you are a professional athlete that trains and practices for several hours each day (did you hear that? I'll repeat....trains several hours a day), the large majority of your daily caloric expenditure comes from your Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR), the calories burned to sustain your bodily functions on a daily basis.  One of the most effective ways of increasing your BMR is through increasing the amount of lean muscle mass on your body. This is, of course, only achievable through weight training aka LIFTING AND PUTTING DOWN HEAVY SHIT, preferably in the form of deadlifts, squats, presses, and other multi-joint, compound movements. OMG no way?  Yes, yes we actually know what we're doing.  You see, for every pound of lean muscle that you add, you will burn approximately 50 calories more per day. That might not sound like much but keep in mind if you swap out 5 pounds of fat for 5 pounds of muscle, you will burn close to 300 extra calories a day before you even hit the gym. Furthermore, intense weight training results in an afterburn effect where your metabolism is elevated for up to 38 hours after your training session. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.  

Doing cardio alone will only decrease your BMR as time goes on. This turns into an uphill battle as your BMR keeps dropping, you’ll need to increase the amount of cardio you do to create the same deficit. Without weight training, you’ll lose muscle which will actually account for some weight loss, and you might even lose a few pounds of fat if your diet is decent, but it’s unlikely you will achieve (or maintain) the level of fat loss you desire.

“Won’t weights make me bulky?”
Weight training will add a few pounds of needed lean body mass which will in turn make you leaner and give you a better looking physique. If you are worried about getting bulky...then we should seriously take a look at your nutrition. Most people who are afraid weights will make them bulky are the same people known to complain about being unable to lose the last the few pounds of fat around their midsection while pouring their third glass of red wine, "brunching" every weekend or think gluten free pasta will solve all their problems.  These same people are the ones to point the finger at their current fitness program being the culprit of their plateau or weight gain, not the other 10-12 hours outside the gym. Yes. It must be our fault. Not theirs. 

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. OWN YOUR SHIT.

BE ACCOUNTABLE.

“So how do I go about increasing my lean body mass and improving my body composition?”
Definitely focus on the strength component in our group workouts and push yourself during the finishers. Find an accountability buddy through the Tribe to do this with you!  If you want to get more experienced with lifting, consider signing up for the Tactical Strength Challenge on Oct 28th or any of our Barbell STRONG classes. You’ll focus on the core lifts, increasing strength, lean body mass, and overall performance. Many of our members signed up for the TSC or who have established a Performance/Strength goal with one of our coaches, have leaned out while getting stronger at the same time. Also, look into signing up for a nutritional consult with Coach Meg, or even the upcoming nutrition challenge that kicks off Sept 11th or our 6-Week Get FUELed specialty group for non-members and FH members!  You’ll get some useful instruction on how to dial in your nutrition so that you can improve your body composition and performance with a sustainable approach.  Need some dedicated 1:1 time to get dialed in and serious?  Then consider 1:1 training with any of our FH Coaches!

Take a look at your current approach to training and be honest about how well it has worked for you. Ask yourself: "How do I want to feel in 6-Weeks?".  If you are less than 100% satisfied with your current results, we hope you’ll consider our recommendations. And as always, feel free to consult any of your FUELHOUSE coaches if you need further guidance.