Do you spend a lot of time at the gym and don’t see any results? Do you stay on a diet and can’t lose weight?
Like many people I can gain weight very quickly when I don’t pay attention to what I eat. However, I can also lose weight very quickly. Over the past few years I have lost 8-10 kg twice (obviously it would have been better and healthier to maintain my weight throughout this time). To achieve this I worked with a number of personal trainers and nutritionists. As private consultations are expensive I decided to summarise what I’ve learned and share it with you. I’d like to point out that I myself am not an expert but am sharing the knowledge gathered while working with experts as well as tips and tricks that worked for me personally. However, I do believe that by applying this method ANYONE CAN LOSE A LOT OF WEIGHT without much problem. There is only one condition- you have to like to exercise.
This post will have 3 parts: 1) general overview and an explanation on why certain types of exercises are better than others, 2) how to exercise to achieve optimal results, 3) what to eat while training to achieve optimal results.
5 lb of fat vs 5 lb of muscle. Image from FitNish.co.za
So when I say ‘lose weight’ I’m implying two separate processes: becoming visibly slimmer and losing actual body weight. It’s important to notice the difference between the two. While using this method I first lose dress sizes (become slimmer) and then drop body weight. I will explain further on.
This method is not a secret. It’s based on a combination of good exercises and nutrition. Again, it’s important to understand that just because you spend a lot of time at the gym you won’t necessarily lose weight. A couple of years ago I got very discouraged after going to the gym 4 times per week for a couple of months and seeing very limited results which gave me the initial impulse to research this subject. Also, just because you eat less you won’t necessarily lose weight. Under certain circumstances eating less can actually increase your body fat!
1 Becoming slimmer. Changing your body measurements. Myths about muscles.
So the secret to becoming slimmer, and the beginning of the whole process, is developing muscles. Women are often afraid to gain muscles cause they think it will make them look masculine. This is not the case. I specifically asked one of my personal trainers about this. It’s very hard for a woman to build the kind of muscles bodybuilders have. It takes a lot of effort, time and planning. It won’t happen just because you use resistance machines. Even for a guy developing muscles is a lot of work. When you develop muscles you will look toned and slimmer – you will not look like Arnold! There are two reasons why muscles are important for becoming slimmer: 1) the type of exercise used to develop muscles, and 2) because muscle take up less space than fat.
Exercises that develop muscles.
There are two types of exercise:
1) Aerobic exercises: all cardio, running, ski machines. They help to increase cardiovascular endurance.
2) Anaerobic exercises: resistance machines, sprinting, intensive interval training. They help to increase muscle strength – build muscles.
The whole point behind this ‘method’ is to use the latter type. Here is why. Anaerobic training increases the resting metabolic rate (the rate with which your body burns calories) in the 24h after exercising much more than aerobic ones. Result: within a 24h cycle you will burn much more calories after 1h of anaerobic training than after 1h of aerobic one. But that’s only the beginning.
Furthermore, by using anaerobic training you can burn MORE fat in LESS time than with aerobic training. “Repeatedly, studies show that more fat loss is achieved in high-intensity programs that use 20 to 25 minutes of training time than those that use 45 or 50 minutes of aerobic training time.” (more here)
Muscles take up less space than fat.
1kg of muscles takes much less space than 1kg of fat. It’s a much more dense tissue. For that reason when you develop muscles (turn your fat into muscles) you will be visibly smaller and slimmer while your weight might not necessarily drop by much.
2. Losing weight. What your muscles do when you rest.
Muscles are good not only because they take up less space but also because they work more. “Research shows that 1 lb. of muscle burns seven to 10 calories per day, while 1 lb. of fat burns only 2 to 3 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise.” (more here)
However, more importantly, and I’m speaking for personal experience here, once I developed muscles I found it much harder to gain weight. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I gained and lost about 10 kg twice in the past couple of years. This was due to a change in my daily routine and just generally letting myself go. Not a good thing, I admit, but it helped me to notice something. If I start eating more (for example more sugary foods) when I’m not in shape, I gain weight almost immediately. Within weeks I can see the weight increase. When I start indulging my sweet tooth when I’m in shape, I do not gain weight so quickly. Actually it takes me a good couple of months to gain weight. This means there is more room for errors!
So we want to keep muscles and get rid of fat. Again, anaerobic exercises are better as they burn 100% of fat while aerobic ones burn 75% of fat and 25% muscles (more here)
This also helps to become slimmer but we want to keep muscles as they help to drop weight in the longer term. In the part 2 of this post I will explain how to achieve this in the fastest and most effective way.
Monday: How to lose weight without going on a diet. Part 2
Friday: How to lose weight without going on a diet. Part 3