Ok, it may be a little quantum physics but it is not rocket science. If you aren’t scientifically inclined there is no need to worry, I will break it down easily for you. In physics many people are familiar with the Law of Thermodynamics. There are four laws in the Law of Thermodynamics; however we can sum it up in a very brief sentence as it applies to weight loss. Simply stated, the reduction of body fat will take place when there is more energy being burned than consumed. It is really that simple. The only way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. This is very important for people out there who are exercising but aren’t seeing results. Somehow you are consuming more calories than you are expending. The next question is how can you burn more calories than you take in? Let me share with you a couple of successful ways:
Eat Less and Exercise More - This is by far the best strategy you can implement to lose weight. You do not have to go on a very restrictive diet and you will not have to live in the gym. Studies prove that people who make small changes in their exercise routines and nutrition get better results than people who just do one or the other to the extreme. Translation- it is better to workout an hour a day four times per week and eat 4-6 nutrient dense meals daily than to stay in the gym three hours a day with horrible eating habits. It is also better than having extremely restrictive eating habits and not exercising. You will stay with the program longer and have a better quality of life.
When you hear an expert say eat less and another expert say it more, who is right? Generally speaking, both are right if we are using the assumption that one is in the normal population and focused on losing weight. I know it sounds confusing but it is really simple. Eat less calorie-dense and low nutritional value foods and eat more nutrient-dense lower calorie foods. So cut back on the Big Mac’s that are loaded with calories and very little nutritious value and eat more fresh produce with lean meats (chicken, turkey, and fish). Notice that I said cut back not eliminate completely. It’s what you do most of the time that makes the biggest difference not what you do all the time. If you are disciplined enough to never cheat and eat healthy ALL the time, good for you. But there are so many delicious treats that we can indulge in sporadically, maybe once per week, and not have it affect our goals. Try to eat clean 5-6 days out of the week and have a cheat meal at your favorite restaurant one day as a reward for your discipline.
Eating more also refers to eating more frequently (4-6 small meals daily at regular intervals 2-3 hours). There is a trend that I have noticed over the last ten years and I’m confident you have noticed it to. The trend is that the people who are overweight tend to skip breakfast and only eat once or twice per day. Those meals tend to be larger than the normal portion size due to hunger and what I call “perceived hunger”. Perceived hunger is when someone goes a very long time without eating and overloads their plate at the next meal to make up for it. The other part of the trend is that some of the thinnest people I know eat the most. They eat 5-8 meals per day and I’m not talking “rabbit food” (salad). Is it coincidence? Is it genetics? I am certain from experience and scientific evidence that it is not coincidence. There may be some slight genetic factors to consider in some cases but not the majority. It has to do with metabolism which we will discuss more in our next article - http://alchemyfit.com/blog.html/2009/12/raising-your-metabolism/
If you are eating right, exercising, and not losing weight, I have three words- UP THE INTENSITY. Doing the same 30-45 minutes of cardio at only 50-60% of your maximum heart rate will keep you relatively healthy internally but it will not do much for your external appearance. If I told you there was a way to spend less time in the gym and get better results would you be interested? Of course you would!! Try doing H.I.I.T which stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It is the best of both worlds. Your workout won’t take as long and your results will be better. Interval training is when you constantly change intensity during your workout. For example, if you are using a treadmill you would jog lightly for 2 minutes then the next 1-2 minutes do an all out sprint. After you are done sprinting, go back to jogging and keep repeating that cycle for 20 minutes. Check back in later for a more detailed article on interval training.
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