Most people think they have to starve themselves and do hours of cardio to lose fat. But that's not true. You can lose weight and increase your metabolism with a hard diet or boring exercise plan. I strongly recommend a diet of whole, natural foods combined with fast strength and interval training workouts to help you get results in a hurry.
Q: How much fat can I lose with strength and interval training?
Answer: The short answer is, 'a lot'. To be more specific, you should be able to lose one pound of body fat each week (in addition to following sound fat loss nutritional practices). At the same time, you should expect to gain or maintain muscle. Overall, total weight loss will be about a pound per week.
Q: Why should I only use each version of a workout for 3-4 weeks?
Answer: We want to keep the element of variety in the training program to achieve consistent fat loss (see the above article). Nothing, except poor eating, halts fat loss like staying on a training program for too long. By switching it up on a frequent basis, you'll avoid fat loss plateaus and keep making gains in strength and fitness at the same time.
Q: I'm starting strength and interval training today and I'm unsure what is meant by interval training. Also, as I improve can I reduce the low intensity time to 30 seconds, and then if I improve further can I add more sets?
Answer: One set of interval training is defined as: Each time you do an interval and follow it with a rest period. Therefore, to do 3 sets means you will do three intervals and you'll rest three times.
As for improving, focus on increasing the intensity of the intervals. As you get fit, the once relatively hard interval will soon be an easy interval. Therefore, you will just need to increase the resistance. As we improve, simply use a higher level on the stationary cycle.
You can reduce the rest periods to 60 seconds, but we don't often reduce them any further. The key to success is the work interval intensity. Don't sacrifice work intensity by reducing the rest interval too much. We might also increase the duration or number of work intervals, but we don't do any more than 12 intervals in a workout.
Q: What is the rationale for the eating plan?
Answer: 1. Recent research* has shown that subjects lost more fat mass and had a greater reduction in their systolic blood pressure when they substituted almonds for complex carbohydrates in their diet. *Wien, M., et al. Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program. Int. J. Obes. 27: 1365-1372, 2003.
2. The post-workout nutrition was chosen based on John Berardi's recommendations given in the last newsletter. According to John, "During the post-workout period, the body makes a distinctive metabolic shift. It shifts toward fat oxidation (burning) at the expense of carbohydrate. In other words, most of the energy your body uses during recovery comes from fat. At the same time, carbohydrate storage becomes a priority; the body's attempt to refill those muscle and liver glycogen stores."
3. Recent research** has shown that, "the American-healthy pattern was characterized by high intakes of green, leafy vegetables; salad dressings; tomatoes; other vegetables (eg, peppers, green beans, corn, and peas); cruciferous vegetables; and tea."
**Kerver, J., et al. Dietary patterns associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease in healthy US adults Amer. J. Clin. Nutr. 78: 1103-1110, 2003.
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines and all over the Internet, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit http://www.TurbulenceTraining.com