I want to talk for a minute about my secret for how I lose weight. There are so many myths out there about weight loss. Sometimes it’s really hard to separate fact from fiction. For some, the information is simply overwhelming and they just give up. Others continue to try and weed through the information, only to eventually become numb from the varying arguments being presented by the experts.
Think about it for a second. If you watch television, they make it sound like loosing weight is simple. There are hundreds of weight loss supplements being actively marketed every single day. Every five minutes you see another weight loss product being advertised on television. These quick loss miracles come in pill form. Others are offered as weight loss shakes and drinks. Then there are the weight loss pre-packaged food plans. Those are designed for folks who have tried everything else and just can’t seem to control the amount of food they ingest. I have been around folks who have tried some or all of these things. In some cases, I have seen weight loss occur, but, often the weight loss is short lived. I see that most often play out for people who opt for one of the pre-packaged food plans. They buy the food. They eat the pre-packaged food. They loose weight initially. Then they get tired of lack of variety in the meals and of spending all that money for the pre-packaged meals. They go back to eating normal food and quickly find that the weight comes right back. Eventually, a light goes off for them. They finally realize that the pre-packaged food plan may have helped them short term, but, didn’t teach them anything about how to eat regular food or maintaining the weight loss post pre-packaged diet. It only worked if they continued to eat the pre-packaged meals. Weight loss without knowledge gains often ends in failure.
I am a personal trainer. I normally weigh in at around 205 – 210 pounds. If I lift heavy and don’t do much cardio-vascular work, I find that I do build more muscle. Muscle tissue is heavier than fatty tissue. At the same time I am lifting heavy, I tend to find myself wanting to eat more fuel in order to satisfy my bodies natural urge to feed that new muscle mass. If I work in more cardio-vascular time into my routine, I can offset these urges to want to eat more. There is a catch though. When I am lifting pretty heavy, I tend to want to jog, or maybe jump on the stair machine for 20 – 30 minutes to get my cardio work in. Being that Georgia Personal Training Center is situated right by the Chattahoochee River, a short jog after a workout is just awesome! When I jog really slowly, keeping my heart rate down below say 130 – 135 beats per minute, I tend to find that I don’t lose weight. Instead, I finish the run feeling hungry and wanting to eat. The slow short run doesn’t really burn many calories and just leaves me wanting more fuel. I go eat more fuel and vuala, I just get bigger!
In reading through a number of articles written by long distance runners, it dawned on me. The problem isn’t the strategy of running at the low heart rate. Ultra distance runners actually utilize that approach to great effect in their endurance training. They tell me that by training at a heart rate of under 135 beats per minute, they can actually train their bodies to burn fat cells, versus burning up their glycogen stores. That allows them to run further than us normal folks, because they have learned how to slowly dole out their bodies energy reserves. I know, all these ultra distance athletes are generally pretty skinny. That is true. The difference in their slow runs is, they don’t run just 2 – 3 miles. They do long slow runs that last for 10 – 20 miles. These longer slow runs do allow them to burn off more calories than they normally take in, which leads to their ability to maintain the lower body weight.
The truth is, I enjoy a nice leisurely run along the river. It’s beautiful in the morning or early evening. The river park is quiet and peaceful and the jogging paths are always filled with runners. My problem is this. Unlike the ultra distance athletes, I don’t have time, nor do I have the desire to run 10 – 20 miles each time I jog. Blame it on my busy training calendar, or on the fact I have a two year old at home. The truth of the matter is, I just don’t have that much available time. Still, I know that I want and need running or better stated, cardio-vascular exercise, to be a regular part of my training routine.
Here is my solution. I have found a number of cardio focused training routines that I and my training clients can do in less than 1 hour. These routines are designed to be done at a higher intensity level. The idea is to train at a heart rate in excess of 130 – 135 beats per minute. You may hear some describe this type of activity as anaerobic in nature. The word anaerobic simply means we are attempting to train at a heart rate that involves strengthening our muscles by forcing them to work hard for a brief period of time. In effect, we are teaching our muscles to work hard, while in a state of reduced oxygen levels. These high intensity workouts involve short burst activity. Meaning, we aren’t trying to pass out. We are simply pushing our heart rate up, over a short burst of activity, then allowing a period of short rest in between sets. This short burst activity actually causes the body to burn more calories. Not only does the body burn more fuel, it continues to burn fuel long after the workout has ended. The net effect for me has been the ability to maintain a high level of physical fitness, while keeping my body toned and my weight in check. Each time I do my cardio boxing routine, I walk away from that high intensity workout feeling thirsty, not hungry. My body burns through more calories than I generally have taken in that day, yet all I want is fluid at the end of the activity, versus feeling like I need to fuel up by eating more solid food.
This type of workout is something that you really need to build up to. There aren’t many folks that I have met who can step into the gym and immediately do these workouts. For our training clients, we build them up to these workouts over time. In fact, we start by assessing the skill levels of each individual personal training client who comes into Georgia Personal Training. Then we craft an individual workout plan that will help them to begin heading down the path to a more toned and sculptured physique. We monitor their improvements and slowly incorporate ever increasing levels of high intensity cardio activity into their routines. Most find that having a personal trainer is a great way to go. It’s far better than a diet plan. Your trainer actually helps you to build the knowledge and the skills to know how to train, how and what to eat and how to maintain your weight through a life long approach.
If you want to learn more, I encourage you to stop by Georgia Personal Training. GPT is co-located in the same facility with our Anytime 24 hour fitness center. The address is 9420 Willeo Road, Roswell, Georgia 30075.