1. Problem: Your Workout is Just Long, Slow Cardio
The path to a leaner body isn’t a long, slow march – or bike or stair-climb, for that matter.
People stick with slow cardio because they’re told it’s the ‘fat-burning zone’.
But what that doesn’t tell you is that while cardio burns more fat as a percentage of total calories burned, it burns far fewer calories than more intense exercise, meaning you burn less fat overall.
Slow cardio burns very few calories.
And unlike other forms of exercise, which keep burning calories after your workout, inefficient cardio sessions stop chipping away at fat as soon as you step off the machine.
The solution: Do a mix of strength training and interval cardio for efficient burning during your workout and after.
The best thing to do is metabolic resistance training, where you do supersets and circuits of intense, total-body exercises, with incomplete recovery so you get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. In workouts such as these, you move to the next exercise while you’re still somewhat breathless from the previous one, mixing cardio work into a strength workout that builds muscle – muscle that feeds on calories and fat to grow even after the workout ends.
For a similar effect on a cardio machine, alternate short bursts of intense cardio effort with slower intervals of recovery time. You’ll burn at a higher rate during the intense periods, and will continue to burn at that rate as your body recovers – in the same way that your heart keeps racing while you’re bent over after a sprint.
To perform a simple cardio interval workout, warm up for five minutes using the cardio method of your choice. Then perform 30 seconds of intense work – about an eight out of 10 effort. After 30 seconds, perform a slower, recovery period at four out of 10 for 30 to 45 seconds. Continue alternating between these intervals for about 20 minutes. Over time, try to make your intense intervals more intense, and perform more rounds. Take the Manna FAT burner 20 minutes prior to your workout, because it will help you to work harder for longer and burn more fat in the same time.
2. Problem: No Planning, No Tracking
Shedding fat is tricky enough, but many dieters only have a vague idea of how much they’re eating.
Too many people lie to themselves about how compliant they are with their nutrition. They’re good most of the day, but there’s a handful of this snack that’s off-plan, or a bite of chocolate that’s non-compliant. These bites are forgotten because nothing’s recorded. Then they struggle and can’t figure out why they can’t overcome a plateau.
The same problem arises in the gym.
You wouldn’t set off driving to your holiday destination without a map. You’d get lost, if you don’t know the exact way. But many gym-goers walk in without a plan, doing whatever tickles their fancy – and not tracking how their session progresses.
The solution: Keep a food journal and a workout journal, and follow a specific workout plan.
When you go to the gym, have a game plan, period. Whether its certain body parts you’re going to work or a circuit or something, have some sort of plan you can go in and execute instead of guessing.
When you’re doing the workout, track how much you’ve done so you can progress – increasing reps, weights and time so you’ll actually build muscle and improve. And do the same with your eating.
Research shows that people who use a food journal get better results than those who don’t. You’ll be able to identify the times you cheat so you can avoid temptation. For bonus points, take photos of everything you eat and post them online.
Create a blog or journal on a weight loss forum and post your meals there. You’ll be less tempted to cheat when it means lying to the world.
3. Problem: Working Out, Then Pigging Out
If you did your workout, you can have the large fries, right? Not if fat loss is your goal.
That’s true if you’re looking at weight maintenance. But if you’re trying to lose weight or fat, “eating extra cancels out the effect [of the workout].”
The solution: Try to make a dent in your calories with both diet and exercise.
Losing ½kg requires cutting 3,500 calories from your diet or burning the same amount. By reducing your calories by 500 each day, you’ll lose ½kg each week.
You can figure out how to make that dent in your energy intake between exercise and diet. Leave a few bites of food on your plate at each meal to reduce your intake by 250 calories and do 250 calories of exercise – the equivalent of a 4km run. And don’t overdo it when the workout’s done.
There’s some evidence that people are hungrier after they work out. “Does this negate the effects of exercise? Only if you let it.”
4. Problem: Not Eating After a Workout
If you’re not eating after your workout, it’s harder to build lean muscle that helps you burn fat. Exercise breaks down muscle and uses up its fuel; if you don’t refuel your body soon after, it breaks down other muscle fibers to refill the tank, undoing some of the workout benefits.
The solution: Eat a mix of protein and simple sugar after your workout.
The best time to consume simple sugars – like those found in Manna Low GI Shake and fruit, and opposed to complex carbohydrates – is right after you’ve worked out. Your muscles have used up their stored carbohydrate energy and can quickly use this simple sugar to refuel.
Protein will help your muscles grow, which will lead to further fat-burning. This mixture will also help your body recover from the workout faster, so you’ll be less sore and can work out more frequently, increasing your results.
Follow the Manna Diet Program in the free e-book for a hassle free plan to lose weight the healthy way.