Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fat Loss Time Management Hierarchy

If losing fat is important to you, obviously you need to take some action. But, most people will point to some barriers to losing fat: time, convenience, cost, etc. In reality, there are only two barriers: knowledge and motivation. Time is merely a matter of proper management. When I work with a client, we review the fat-loss time-management hierarchy. That is to say, you want to lose fat, but have a busy life, how do you get the most out of your available time. So, here are the steps, in order from most important to lesser important (but helpful).

1. Adequate Sleep- Sleep is so often overlooked, but it is vital to your health and fat loss. If you don't get 7-9 hours (I prefer 10) every night, you will most likely eat more and feel less energetic the next day due to hormone disturbances. Consider leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite, becomes resistant (doesn't suppress your appetite like it should) in people who are sleep deprived.

2. Proper Nutrition: Proper nutrition and consistent training go hand in hand for fat loss. However, it is not about dieting. It is about eating whole foods, while cutting out all of the processed carbohydrates, sugars, and processed oils. Manage your insulin levels and you will not only take in less Calories, but your body will appropriately partition those Calories when you eat properly.

3. Strength Training: If you still think that strength training is for 'bulking up' you sadly have been given just plain, ignorant advice. Strength training has a potent effect on fat burning during, and especially up to 36 hours after a session. It also stimulates hormones to maintain (or possibly build) muscle mass. Regular, progressive, full-body strength training performed 30-90 minutes (range is depend on individual differences) per week is the foundation of exercise training for fat loss.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training: This is exercise that is performed in short, but high-intensity bouts (0:10-0:60) with intermittent rests, using a large percent of your muscle mass (i.e. legs, or even better legs and arms). HIIT, as sometimes this training is abreviated, is hard but highly effective and efficient. Consider, one workout may take 10 or 15 minutes. So, if you have time to get adequate strength training in, then you can add some HIIT, one to three times per week (15-45 minutes).

5. Low-Intensity Endurance Exercise: While this type of exercise is frequently performed by people wanting to lose fat, it is not very efficient. It has no affect on maintaining muscle mass or raising your metabolism. It will burn some extra Calories, so it is helpful, but not a higher priority. After, getting adequate sleep, eating properly, strength training, and High-Intensity Interval Training, you can use whatever time you have left on low-intensity interval training. Keep in mind, if you don't have the time, you don't have to do this low-intensity, endurance exercise- as long as you are doing all the other steps.

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