Question #1. Best workout to decrease body fat?
Answer #1 ... When I was getting prepared for a competition I would start my diet and workout plan at 8 weeks out. This purpose is to decrease your body fat with not only your training, but your diet too. They come hand in hand when you're lowering your body fat % to show definition of your hard earned muscles.
#1 I would continue to train with heavy weights at 10-12 reps and short rest periods at 60 seconds between sets. When I get closer to the competition day I still keep it heavy, but do higher reps at 12-15 reps with short rest periods. I will also add more of the finishing, shaping exercises in my training. Doing this will bring out my cuts as my body fat is being lowered. The final two weeks I will then lift lighter weight, higher reps and short rest periods. It's a slow gradual process. Just don't be afraid to lift heavy, even when your decreasing your body fat.
#1 For someone who is not competing and just wants to decrease body fat I would suggest to keep your lifting heavy and do higher reps 12-15 with the heaviest weight you can complete 12-15 reps. Keep your rest periods short as possible. Add shaping exercises along with the mass building exercises to your workouts. Push yourself to exhaustion when you train. Make sure you get your rest between workouts so you don't over train. Over training will just defeat your purpose make your muscles "smooth out" and you will not get the over look you are going for. Too look like a strong, lean fighting machine.
Question #2. Best nutrition for fat loss?
Answer #2 ... I am sorry Tami but I am not into measuring my food as you explained.. I know a lot of body builders do and it might work for them. I just have never done it that way. As you said my food in take is less, and yest it is. I do suggest you stick to the 5-6 meals during the day. I did it that way when I was preparing for competition and I should be eating more often now too. I just have a hard time with eating more.. I found keeping my body fed more often, never letting it go more than 3-4 hours before my next meal or snack was the best way to keep my body burning and lowering my body fat. Make sure you are eating clean and healthy in your 5-6 meals. That is just as important as eating your 5-6 meals to keep your body fueled and burning all day.
#2 Wrestlers that have to make weight and cut there weight down fast will still always keep their bodies fed and eat small amounts of food every 3 hours. Even if it's just half a protein bar or a piece of fruit. If their bodies go in to starvation mode they will hold fat, and water weight and their bodies will stop burning fat. Eating more often helps keep your body burning so I suggest keeping your meals to 5-6 a day. Eat smaller meals, eat protein in those meals and eat your carbs earlier in the day in the first 1-3 meals of your day. This way you will burn up those consumed carbs during the course of your day. Keep carbs 0 - minimum low amount for the last 4-6 meals of the day. Lots of water all day and with your meals.
#2 My brother put me on anabolic diet for my last few shows. That diet process is switching your body to burn fat for fuel. It takes three weeks to switch your body over and when you keep your daily carb intake under 30 grams per day. You are able carb load for 48 hours every week after you have switched your body over. I would eat protein and fat all week and keep carbs under 30 grams. Then on Saturday and half of Sunday I would just go for it and eat carbs and anything I wanted. Most important is not to go more than the 48 hours allowed so your body doesn't switch back to burning carbs for fuel. This diet uses your fat for fuel and it basically tricks your body to do that. Tricking, converting your body takes extremely strict three weeks for this process to work correctly.
#2 I did 3 competitions on this diet and I was the most ripped I had ever been. In fact the very first try at the diet was the year I won my first overall title and I was also pregnant for one show and super ripped. I also did a fitness competition on this diet and my body fat was the lowest it's ever been. It's a hard diet and one you cannot do for long term, but for my body it really excelled on the anabolic diet. The hardest part of the diet is the first 3 weeks that it takes to switch your body over to burn fat for fuel.. I loved the diet so much I stayed on it off season and I would only take the one day to eat my carbs and then go right back.
#2 I even put a professional wrestler the late Brian Adams "Crush" on this very same anabolic diet to cut down his body fat and been leaner for a wrestling match. He was shocked how fast it worked on his body, and within the strict three weeks his body changed drastically. He was ecstatic over the change in his body fat and how trim down just as he had wanted to be. After he completed his strict 3 weeks of under 50 grams of carbs (A man's is set at 50 grams to a women at 30 grams for this diet) he was able to have his 48 hour carb load every week, and then continue on the diet for his wrestling match at a much leaner, and still huge at a 6'8" 300+ pound "crushing" machine.
Question #3. Trouble zones ~ What are the best exercises for my two trouble zones? My lower abs and upper thigh area.
Answer #3... Well Tami, you are correct in you cannot spot reduce your trouble zones. The really stubborn ones will stay until the bitter end. Most women have the same areas that we want to go away first, but it's doesn't work that way. You must decrease your body fat over all to see these area firm up and for the fat to melt away.
#3 The best thing to do is to hit those areas hard and make them firm so when you do decrease your body fat over all you will see those specific areas much tighter as the fat burn away and uncovers your muscles. As for your lower abs you are able to work your abs daily as it's doesn't need the rest between workouts like your other muscle groups do. The upper thighs you will need to rest between training workouts. You can do several great exercises for your thighs that get the entire upper and lower part of your thigh muscle.
#3 Along with these exercises I can suggest for these trouble zones you can do your cardo training. I know you're not a fan of running, but maybe some hill running can hit two birds with one stone. Great for working that trouble zone of upper thighs. If you run steady for at least 20-30 minuets as a cardo workout, you will also burn fat off your legs as well as your entire body. If you truly hate running then this might not be for you. Just make sure you get your cardo workouts in weekly and be consistent and you will see a huge difference in your trouble zones as well as your entire body. I will give you some specific exercise that are best for working your specific trouble zones.
Tami, I will give you some great exercises to do for those two specific areas you call your "Trouble Zones" I think these are pretty much every women's trouble zone over the age 20 ..lol =( I will put them in a separate post following later today! I hope all this information helped answer your questions and didn't confuse you more? I think your on the right track, but you might just need to shock your body in to some drastic changes. The way you explained not seeing much progress to your body after a year? I think you need to change things up in your workouts and cardo routine and "Shock" those muscles. Your body may be adapting to your workouts and feeling and looking a little flat? Lets shock it with some hard training girl =)