3 Strategies to Maximize Your Weight Loss
Brian Calkins - NSCA-CPT, ACE | Cincinnati, Ohio
I'm often asked to share the inside secrets for fast weight loss and my reply is always the same: there is no short cut; the bottom line is we need to modify our nutrition and move our bodies on a regular basis. With that said, there are a couple of strategies that certainly can optimize your body's ability to lose weight while enhancing your health and fitness...
1. Perform Cardio First Thing in the Morning
There is a slight metabolic advantage (ability to burn more body fat) when doing cardiovascular exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Why? Our bodies have two options to fuel a cardio workout, body fat and blood glucose, yet the body prefers the latter. So performing cardiovascular exercise first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach when your glucose is the lowest of the day will allow you to burn the highest amount of body fat.
2. Strength Train First, Cardio Second
When you perform strength training, also called anaerobic exercise, your body primarily burns blood glucose (sugar). Cardio training can burn glucose or body fat, as mentioned above. So if you were to first perform a challenging strength training workout that depletes blood sugar, your body will then use predominately body fat to fuel your cardiovascular exercise immediately following.
If on the other hand you perform cardio first, your body will use blood sugar as fuel first, before using body fat. Then when you transition into your strength training your depleted glycogen stores will leave you with limited energy for your resistance training session.
So, performing weight training first will allow you to utilize blood glucose for energy while maximizing your body's ability to use excess stored fat optimally when you progress into cardiovascular exercise.
3. Keep a Nutrition Journal
One of the most important keys to successful weight loss is the habit of keeping a nutrition journal. Nutrition journals allow you to keep a detailed record and track everything you put into your mouth. You will gain an immediate awareness of your eating habits. Your journal will keep track of how many meals you eat every day, the size of your meals and when each meal is consumed. Are you a late night eater? How about an afternoon binge eater? Your journal will offer a wealth of information about your personal eating patterns.
Along with recording all of the foods you eat, your journal should also contain your feelings, thoughts and reactions with each meal. Were you actually hungry when you ate or just bored? Did you eat because you were happy, sad or frustrated? Did you feel anxious or rushed during a meal? Also, make sure to record how you felt after you ate your meal. Did you feel tired and lethargic? These are extremely important points to document when keeping your journal. It's amazing how much you will learn by recording these dietary events - using this tool can be crucial for long-term weight loss success!
So there you have it, three important strategies that when employed, will lead you ever closer to your health, fitness and weight loss goals.
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