Something that troubles many individuals in today’s society is those extra few pounds that they have accumulated over time. Many are willing to try anything, from sham quick-fixes, to dieting, to intensive training; and what seems to be a commonality is that those extra few pounds will fluctuate, but never really leave.
It took a long time to build up the excess stored fat, and it is not going to be gone without some consistent action, but it doesn’t have to take years to get rid of them. Most of us by now have a sense that there is no such thing as a miracle cure, or a way to make the belly be gone without any real work. I have written before about the uselessness of dieting, and that it is a lifestyle of healthy choices that will bring success, so now I would like to present you with a holistic approach: how to train for weight loss and body composition.
The first thing that I feel that should be made clear is that no amount of exercise, no matter how complete and awesome the program is, can negate poor eating habits. Research has shown that when exercise alone is used as a weight loss mechanism, the results were so low that they wrote off the change in weight as negligible. This makes perfect sense; what you put into your body greatly determines body’s composition. See our article on phases of attaining better nutrition
With that being said, once you are on the track to making healthy eating a lifestyle, it is now the time to complement that healthy lifestyle with physical activity. There are a few aspects of physical activity that should be addressed, and the first is consistency. As with any type of activity it takes regular commitment and practice in order to improve, so just like all other activities you must be consistent and committed. If you find it difficult to be motivated you could try group training, finding a buddy to accompany you, or personal training so that the trainer can keep you accountable.
The second thing that you must concern yourself with is the intensity of the exercise. It is easy to go to the gym and be there for a while plugging along on the cardio machines without too much exertion. A simple way to ensure you are in the ultimate training zone and getting the most benefit out of cardio training is to use the talk test. If you can carry on a conversation while exercising, your intensity is too low. You are actually exercising once you find it difficult to talk complete sentences without gasping or lowering your speed. With weight training, intensity is determined by how greatly you are fatiguing your muscles. You will typically want to push for a weight that leaves you struggling to get those last few repetitions during your last set. This can be difficult to gauge, so a simple way is through EPOC.
EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, and is the third aspect of physical activity that you should pay attention to. In simple terms, EPOC is the heavy breathing that occurs and persists after you have finished your activity. For example, think back to the last time you sprinted. The heavy breathing that came afterwards is EPOC. If at the end of a weight training set you don’t find yourself breathing heavily, then you need to increase your weight. Be careful when increasing your weight however, because too much to soon can be harmful. If you are new to weight training, give your body a few weeks to adjust before pushing for high levels of EPOC. Be sure to execute your lifts and exercises with proper form to provide maximal benefit and minimize risk of injury. Lastly, let muscle groups rest and recover with stretching before training those same muscle groups again.
If you make healthy eating your lifestyle, and remain consistent with intense, frequent exercise, you will find that your physical gains will be great, as well as your loss in weight.
By Coach Kevin Hehr
As founder of Ivanco Fitness, my promise is to ensure your journey in fitness is unlocked and uplifted. It was the summer of 2012 and I was burnt out - I had spent over 10,000 hours personally training clients through rehabilitation to health, and from health to strength. Young and old and in between, I worked with these individuals to help them create their best version of themselves. While this brought me much joy, I was stressed, tired, and knew I was limited to only a small group of people I could help in this way. I had worked with other coaches along the way, and realized it was time to build a team and create a system that would allow talented coaches to create meaningful connections with those who seek to uplift their lives through physical training. Having brought the right people on board, Ivanco now works as a team of trainers, kinesiologists, holistic nutritionists and administrative staff to provide a more streamlined and versatile experience than an independent trainer could offer. Yours in health, Ivan.