“What’s the best diet for weight loss?”
“How do I lose fat, not muscle?”
With more than two in three adults in the U.S. overweight or obese — and about 50 percent of those folks actively trying to lose weight — it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting the most accurate information about weight loss.
The foundation, of course, is a healthy, balanced diet with consistent, challenging workouts.
But have you ever wondered where all that fat that you’re working so hard to lose actually goes?
Where Does Fat Go When You Lose Weight?
While burning more energy than you take in is the root of weight loss, when fat is burned, the vast majority of it is exhaled as carbon dioxide into thin air. (mind=blown).
According to Australian researcher and physicist Ruben Meerman, Ph.D. and colleagues, 84 percent, or 8.4 of every 10 pounds of fat burned, is exhaled as carbon dioxide.
The remaining 16 percent leaves the body as water through urine, sweat, tears, breath, and other bodily fluids. And no, before you ask, you can’t lose weight simply by breathing more.
(Pro tip: Need some ideas on how to lose that fat? Here are 100 Ways to Lose Weight.)
Where Does Fat Go When You Gain Weight?
Ever wonder where fat goes when you gain weight? If so, consider yourself lucky because most of us know exactly where it goes. (Hello, face and hips!)
In younger women, excess fat tends to accumulate in adipose tissue located around the hips, thighs, and buttocks (think: “pear-shaped”), as well as the breasts. Females store fat all over, but tend to carry it predominantly in the hips, thighs, and buttocks when they’re younger (i.e., pre-menopause). During and after menopause, excess fat increasingly begins to accumulate around the abdomen.
Men tend to take on more of an “apple” shape, storing excess fat predominantly around their belly region. Unlike women, this typically doesn’t change during their lifetime — bad news for those growing beer bellies.
Of course, if you’re doing strength-training workouts like those in Body Beast and eating well, you’re probably gaining weight that isn’t fat: It’s muscle.
Contrary to popular belief, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat — a pound is a pound regardless of its composition. The confusion stems from the fact that muscle is more dense than fat, so it appears to weigh more by volume. In other words, a pound of muscle takes up less space than a pound of fat.
So, if you’re getting stronger in body and smaller in size, but seeing the number on the scale go up a bit, it’s likely due to the “lean mass” (AKA muscle) you’re building.
The Two Types of Body Fat
Just as all bodies are not created equal, not all body fats are equal, either. Pears, apples, and other shapes aside, the color and location of your body fat is probably just as important as the amount you’re packing when it comes to your health.
You’ll be pleased to know not all body fat is bad. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of body fat:
White fat makes up the majority of fat in your body. Its primary purpose is energy storage, but white fat also pads and insulates the body, helping to protect vital organs and maintain body temperature. It also produces a form of estrogen and several appetite-regulating hormones.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy body-fat percentages range from 20 to 32 percent for women and 10 to 22 percent for men.
While body-fat percentage can provide information regarding overall health and disease risk, getting an accurate reading typically requires expensive, hard-to-find equipment.
The good news is that body-mass index (BMI) and waist circumference correlate wellwith fat mass percentage in large populations.
Waist circumference, which is an indicator of belly fat, should be less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within normal range, while those above are classified as overweight or obese.
Keep in mind BMI alone can be misleading for some individuals. If you’re muscular, BMI is a useless measurement, as it doesn’t distinguish between lean mass and fat mass, for example.
As such, it’s a good idea to consider additional factors like body composition, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as insulin levels, when discussing your health with your doctor.
The two types of white fat:
1. Visceral fat
Visceral fat is found deep within the abdominal cavity, close to and surrounding vital organs like the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. When such organs are surrounded by fat, they have a hard time doing their jobs effectively.
But perhaps the most insidious quality about visceral fat is that it’s metabolically active, releasing hormones that can lead to inflammation and promote insulin resistance, which can increase your risk of diabetes. This kind of fat is also associated with a higher risk for heart disease.
Men are at greater risk for packing on visceral fat since they tend to store fat predominantly in their abdomens.
2. Subcutaneous fat
Subcutaneous fat lies just beneath the skin. When you “pinch an inch,” it’s subcutaneous fat you’re grabbing.
You might hate the appearance it sometimes takes — such as muffin tops and dimpled thighs (aka, cellulite) — but subcutaneous fat is less dangerous than visceral fat. It’s also beneficial in moderate amounts, as it both protects and insulates the body.
Of course, too much subcutaneous fat can be problematic, too, since carrying excess weight puts stress on the body, including the joints, heart, and circulatory system.
Brown fat is more abundant in newborns and young children, and significantly decreases with age. Adults who manage to hang on to more of this beneficial fat tend to be leaner and have greater insulin sensitivity.
Research suggests there may be ways to boost your brown fat stores in adulthood. A study on mice showed that exercise can convert white fat to “brown-like” or beige fat.
Beige fat is another type of fat — distinct from white and brown fat — that also burns calories, like brown fat.
Another study on humans showed that regular exposure to colder temperatures may activate brown fat to burn more calories.
Short of moving to colder climes, this may not have practical application in your daily life, but understanding the process of how white fat turns into calorie-burning brown (and beige) fat may help scientists find new ways to fight obesity.
3 Tips to Lose Body Fat 1. Cut back on added sugar and sweetened beverages
Instead, quench your thirst with plenty of water; not only is it better than any kind of beverage with tons of sugar and additives, but your body also needs it to stay strong and healthy.
Not a fan of plain water? Dress up your water by adding your favorite fruits or herbs like mint and basil.
2. Pay attention to portion sizes
It sounds simple, but we all know looks can be deceiving, particularly when high-calorie foods come into play. If you’re not sure what a healthy portion looks like, try using Portion Fix containers to take the guesswork out of meal time.
3. Exercise regularly
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training top the list of the most effective forms of exercise for fat loss, but just about any exercise can make a difference.
The key is to do it regularly, and to combine it with a balanced, healthy diet. Together, diet an exercise can not only help you lose weight, but also prevent weight regain once you hit your goal.
Where Does Fat Go When You Lose Weight? was originally posted at <a href="https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/where-does-fat-go-when-you-lose-weight" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/where-does-fat-go-when-you-lose-weight</a> by Lili Ladaga
13 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Weightlifting Program
Weightlifting is straightforward in theory (you just, erm…lift weights, right?). But it’s a bit more complicated in practice. As a beginner to weightlifting, it’s confusing (not to mention intimidating) to figure out which muscles to target, how much to lift, and how often to work out. How are you supposed to know where to even begin with finding a good weightlifting program?
Although it might seem daunting at first, the benefits of lifting weights far outweigh any hurdles you might have to getting started. William P. Kelley, C.S.C.S, ATC, says some major benefits of weightlifting include improved strength, bone density, and heart health. Studies even suggest that it can help keep your brain sharp, as well as increase energy levels and decrease stress.
Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Beachbody’s senior manager of fitness and nutrition content, notes that lifting weights is also an effective way to lose weight: “Weightlifting can help you lose fat faster than steady state cardio because it keeps your metabolism elevated for longer post workout,” he explains. “The result is that it helps you burn more total calories.”
But before you get to enjoy all the benefits of lifting weights, you first have to get started. The first step? Creating smart goals.
What Are Your Weightlifting Goals?
“Goal-setting is critical to guiding your weightlifting path,” Kelley says. Before you even choose a weightlifting program, consider what you want to get out of it. Are you training for a specific event, for general health, or with aesthetics in mind? Do you want to lose weight, build strength, pack on muscle, or achieve a combination of any or all three of those goals?
“Each objective requires a different strategy, and by identifying your goal or goals, you can identify the most effective training program to achieve it,” Thieme says. The tips below will help you do that.
If you need some extra guidance to help you get started, check out Beachbody On Demand’s weightlifting programs, like Body Beast (which focuses on muscle building) and A Week of Hard Labor (an intense, five-day weightlifting routine). Both programs can help you achieve the lean, muscular physique you’ve always dreamed of building. (See the results for yourself!)
13 Common Questions About Starting a Weightlifting Program
These 13 questions and answers will give you the information you need to start lifting weights, including basic training tips and mistakes to avoid.
1. What equipment do I need for a weightlifting program?
If you’re starting an at-home weightlifting program, dumbbells are a necessity — but having just a single pair may not cut it.
Thieme says you need different weights to effectively challenge different muscle groups. Your legs should be able to handle heavier weights than your triceps, for example. That’s why he recommends investing in a pair of selectorized (AKA adjustable) dumbbells (like this set of Bowflex dumbbells). “A single pair of dumbbells can replace an entire dumbbell rack, saving you hundreds of dollars—not to mention lots of floor space,” he says.
A bench is another useful piece of equipment for developing overall strength and power, Kelly says, although you could get by without one if you’re short on space.
2. How much weight should I lift?
“You should always lift the heaviest amount of weight that allows you to complete all of your reps and sets for all of the exercises in your workout,” Thieme says.
If you can’t maintain proper form for the last several reps of an exercise, go lighter. If you can breeze through your reps with the last few feeling as comfortable as the first few, go heavier. The key to achieving muscle growth is to find your sweet spot, which in this case means a weight that challenges you without forcing you to sacrifice good form.
3. How many reps and sets should I do for each weightlifting exercise?
First, consider your weightlifting goals. “If you want increased strength, you should do from two to six reps per set. For hypertrophy [muscle growth] do eight to 12 reps. And for endurance, do 15 to 20 reps,” Kelley says.
As for sets, Thieme says it’s important to do multiple sets of each exercise, no matter your goal. Three sets per exercise is generally a good number, but don’t lock yourself into that. As long as you’re doing at least two and not more than five or six, you’re good. And if you want to increase your strength, build bigger muscles, and improve your muscular endurance, regularly vary the number of reps and sets you do.
“Optimal muscle growth occurs when you target both of the major muscle fiber types—I and II—and the best way achieve that is by lifting across the entire rep spectrum,” says Thieme. “Incorporate both heavy weight/low rep sets and light weight/high rep sets in your training program.”
4. Should I focus on one or two body parts a day, or do full-body workouts every time?
Both are effective strategies for packing on muscle. “The key is to work each body part or muscle group at least twice a week,” says Thieme, who suggests alternating between the two training strategies. “Do split training for two or three months, and then do total body training for two or three months.”
Your schedule is also a determining factor, Kelley notes. “If you can only work out two to three times per week, then a total body lifting program may be more efficient,” he says.
5. How many days per week should I lift weights?
How often you lift weights comes down to your goals and schedule as well, Kelley says. (Doe we sound like a broken record yet?)
“The ratio of exercise to recovery days that maximizes results and minimizes injury and overtraining risks depends largely on your current fitness level and the type, intensity, and duration of your workouts,” Thieme says. He recommends lifting a minimum of two days a week a maximum of six days.
6. Do I need to take rest days during a weightlifting program?
Yes! Giving yourself a day off from training is crucial to your weightlifting success. “Lifting days are where you [purposefully] damage muscle tissue,” Kelley says, while “rest/recovery days are when muscles repair and rebuild.” Both days are needed to become stronger.
If you don’t give yourself sufficient recovery time, you’ll sabotage your workout performance and hinder your results. “Training adaptations don’t happen during workouts, they happen between them, making recovery days just as important as training days,” says Thieme. “What people often forget is that, when it comes to exercise, more isn’t always better. You have to give your body the time it needs to respond to the training stimulus that each workout provides.”
How often you should take a recovery day depends on your fitness level, primary exercise type and intensity, age, and sleep habits, but a good rule of thumb is to take one or two rest/recovery days a week.
If you feel energized on your designated rest days, Kelley recommends active recovery activities, which facilitate blood flow to your muscles without overloading them. Yoga and light cardio (e.g., an easy jog, leisurely bike ride, or short hike) are good options. Also, don’t limit warm-up and cool-down activities to warm-ups and cool-downs. Perform dynamic stretching and foam rolling every day, regardless of whether or not you’re working out.
7. How do I avoid a muscle-building plateau?
There are numerous factors that contribute to muscle growth, but the key to achieving consistent gains is to regularly increase the challenge to your muscles, Kelley says. “By increasing the stress on a muscle through a principle called ‘progressive overload,’ you illicit changes in that muscle, including greater size, greater contraction force, and improved motor recruitment,” he explains.
Lifting progressively heavier weights isn’t the only way to do that. “Other ways to achieve progressive overload include decreasing the rest periods between sets, performing more complex exercise variations, and switching up the exercises you do,” says Thieme. “Even changing up your grip (e.g., from underhand to neutral) can increase the challenge to your muscles and trigger fresh growth.”
8. Can I do my weightlifting program and still do cardio and other workouts?
The short answer: yes. But you need to be strategic about it. “If your focus is weightlifting, then you should use cardio as a form of ‘active recovery,'” says Thieme.
If you do a heavy weightlifting session one day, and then go for an easy run the next, you can actually enhance your recovery (and results) from the weightlifting session by boosting blood flow—and the vital nutrient delivery and waste removal services it provides. “But a heavy weightlifting workout followed by a long, hard run or HIIT session the next day can do more harm than good,” says Thieme.
If you don’t allow your body sufficient time to recover between intense workouts, the only thing you’ll achieve is an increased risk of burnout and injury.
9. Will weightlifting make me bulky?
Lifting weights can cause men to become bulky if they focus solely and intensely on bodybuilding or pure strength training, Thieme explains, but this is rarely the case for women. Why? Genetics.
Men typically have a higher percentage of type II muscle fibers, which are bigger and have a higher growth potential than type I fibers. Plus, men produce more testosterone, which is critical for muscle building. “Women do not produce testosterone at high enough levels naturally to get bulky,” Kelley says, even if they’re lifting heavy amounts of weight. That said, a woman can still increase her muscle size through weightlifting if that’s her goal. “Studies also show that while most women can’t build as much muscle as most men, they can achieve similar increases in strength,” says Thieme.
10. How do I make sure I’m lifting with proper form?
Practicing correct weightlifting form is key to preventing injury and getting the results you want. The best way to guarantee good form? “Utilize a fitness professional [like a trainer] until you feel safe and confident in the staple lifts of your program,” Kelley says.
If you’re working out on Beachbody On Demand, pay attention to the trainers as they explain the correct starting stance, movement pattern, and key form points for each exercise, as well as which muscles to engage during the moves. Having a friend observe you can also help you keep your form on point.
11. How long should I follow a weightlifting program?
In general, Kelley recommends maintaining a specific weightlifting program for three to five weeks before you mix it up. “This gives the muscles time to adapt and grow in the current program; then, just as they acclimate, you tweak the program slightly to keep progressing,” he explains.
Perhaps more important than the timeline, however, is paying attention to the way your routine makes you feel. “If you haven’t increased the weight you’re lifting after a few weeks, or if you’ve noticed a significant drop in your motivation, it’s time to switch things up,” Thieme says.
Of course, if you follow a professionally designed program, like you’ll find on Beachbody On Demand, knowing when to switch things up isn’t even a concern. “Such variation is built into the program, eliminating the stress and guesswork for you,” says Thieme.
12. What should I eat before and after a workout to maximize my performance?
Before a weightlifting workout, focus on carbs, which will help top off your energy stores. The key is to choose something that you can digest before you start exercising. A piece of fruit is a good choice if you have 30 minutes or less until you work out. If your workout is still an hour out, our go-to recommendation is a piece of whole grain toast with nut butter.
Post-workout, the most important factor is protein, which can help facilitate muscle growth and speed recovery, Thieme says. Aim for 20 grams of fast-absorbing protein (like whey) within 30 minutes of exercising. A protein supplement such as Beachbody Performance Recover makes that easy.
13. How do I know if my weightlifting program is working?
To get the most accurate and objective measure of progress, Kelley suggests recording your workouts and tracking the numbers. “If you can increase the weight you lift by
13 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Weightlifting Program was originally posted at <a href="https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/weightlifting-program-questions" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://www.beachbodyondemand.com/blog/weightlifting-program-questions</a> by Hannah Rex
Daily Deliberate Practice
Anders Ericsson has written an excellent book PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise. Ericsson’s research contributed to the common recited 10,000 rule.
If you’re not familiar with it, Malcolm Gladwell interpreted Ericsson’s research and suggested people need to accumulate 10,000 hours to become an expert.
Ericsson, however, says,
“[T]he key thing that people have misinterpreted is that it’s not just a matter of accumulating hours. If you’re doing your job, and you’re just doing more and more of the same, you’re not actually going to get better.” (source)
Ericsson instead says the missed element is something he calls “deliberate practice.” As fitness experts, this idea should resonate with you.
Imagine a client who wanted to get healthy and strong, but they kept repeating the same exercises done incorrectly. If they reached 10,000 hours without hurting themselves, would they really have improved? They may even be in a worse position long term.
Ericsson says, “Purposeful practice is all about putting a bunch of baby steps together to reach a longer-term goal” (p. 15).
An Interview with Anders Ericsson
Check out this interview with Ericsson below:
6 Tips for Incorporating Deliberate Practice Into Your Business
As you think about how deliberate practice might apply to your business, we wanted to share a few tips:
Incorporate practice into daily work life – The first step in applying deliberate practice into your business is to schedule it into your daily work life. You’ll never make progress if you don’t set aside regular time. Get out of your comfort zone – If you only practice what you’ve always practiced, you’ll never grow. That’s true when you exercise and it’s true in your business. If one of your clients only wanted to exercise their biceps, you’d firmly explain that’s not a smart way to exercise. Seek immediate feedback – A core component of deliberate practice is seeking immediate feedback. That might mean seeking out a business mentor or taking an online course where you have access to an expert for a new business tactic. Don’t keep practice something that you can’t get feedback on and don’t know if you’re doing correctly. Learn from others, particularly experts – The best way to become an expert is to learn from one. That might mean reading a book like PEAK: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, taking a seminar, going to a conference, or seeking a new certification. Our digital world provides us hundreds of ways we can learn from experts. Build mental representations – “A mental representation is a mental structure that corresponds to an object, an idea, a collection of information, or anything else, concrete or abstract, that the brain is thinking about.” (source). Many people use this form of learning in school but stopped using it as they transitioned into the business world. It can be a tremendous tool in your deliberate practice. Focus – Deliberate practice requires your full attention, so set aside a specific amount of time and remove distractions. If you’re new to this idea, read more about the Pomodoro Technique.
We’d love to talk more and provide more tangible tips on how to grow your fitness business. Enter your info below to schedule a demo with our expert team!
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Daily Deliberate Practice was originally posted at https://www.exercise.com/blog/daily-deliberate-practice/ by Exercise.com Staff
Sleep Deficiency Hinders Weight Loss, So Try Better Sleep Habits
Do you wake up feeling tired? Well, you’re not alone. One in every three Americans does not get the recommended sleep needed for optimal health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Sleep deficiency is known to cause weight gain, but also contributes to a whole list of more serious health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, and diabetes, just to name a few.
Why Sleeping Is So Important for Weight Loss
Believe it or not, each and every day the most important thing that you do all day is sleep. Yes, you heard right! Sleep quality and duration are so important that they directly affect everything else you do in life.
“We are nothing but slaves to chemical processes,” says W. Christopher Winter, MD, in an article for Livestrong.
Nearly one third of our lives are spent asleep. During sleep, it is peak time for our bodies to repair muscle and release hormones that control natural processes, including appetite. All this is being done without any conscious energy being consumed.
Consequently, a deficiency in the sleep column affects everything; more specifically, it cuts weight loss and exercise performance by nearly 20%. This spirals into a decrease in hormone production, (which occurs when we sleep), and ultimately affects our daily eating pattern. Popular studies show that weight gain occurs because more calories are consumed on the following day, because of lack of hormone release. Therefore, a continued deficit during the night will only lead to months and years of unnecessary weight gain. On the flip side, if you aren’t already experiencing weight gain, you may just be unable to lose weight at all. So you don’t have weight gain, but no weight loss occurs, either.
Practice Better Sleep Habits
The best advice is to practice better sleep habits, getting optimal rest and avoiding insomnia.
Start with controlling your sleep environment by setting it at the appropriate temperature. Experts suggest trying between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Try eliminating all computers and television sets from your room as well, since any source of light tends to disrupt sleep patterns. Aim for consistency rather than trying to catch up on hours you might have missed the preceding day. Don’t be afraid to take short naps when feeling fatigued. These should be anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes long to help improve alertness, performance, and mood. Lastly, never consume caffeine in the afternoon because it has the ability to stay in your system and interrupt the natural onset of sleep several hours later (See our blog on giving up caffeine).
The final verdict is in. A poor amount of sleep greatly hinders weight loss and sets you up for other health problems. So do yourself a favor: turn out the light, tuck yourself in, and get some much-needed Zzzs.
This blog was written by Cara Hartman, NIFS Health Fitness Instructor. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.
Sleep Deficiency Hinders Weight Loss, So Try Better Sleep Habits was originally posted at <a href="http://www.nifs.org/blog/sleep-deficiency-hinders-weight-loss-so-try-better-sleep-habits" target="_blank" rel="noopener">http://www.nifs.org/blog/sleep-deficiency-hinders-weight-loss-so-try-better-sleep-habits</a> by Cara Hartman