Fitness Q&A

I’ve had a few conversations and questions recently about my experience and/or opinion on some fitness  issues and I thought it would be good to share that here – in case it might help someone else!

How did you lost your “last 10″ pounds?

I actually lost my “last 10″ doing a combination of The 30 Day Shred, Ripped in 30 and weight lifting I learned from Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle… and of course calorie counting***.  One thing that helped me as I moved to more rigorous workouts was carefully calculating calories and not going TOO low (maybe only 300 under).  My weight loss had started to plateau and making sure I was eating enough for my activity level was crucial to getting “unstuck”.  I also introduced calorie cycling – instead of eating 1700 calories every day, I ate 1500/1500/1500/2000/1600/1600/2000 as an example.  This really helped to shock my fat burning back awake!
From what I learned in BFFM I did start to eat more whole foods (also termed “clean foods”) but I’d credit that for better body composition rather than weight loss as I’d lost the last 10 before I began that process.

***Despite what others may say, my actual weight loss I credit to calorie control, not exercising.  Exercise is important for overall health and gives you a higher calorie burn, but when you learn to adjust your calories this will make or break your weight loss efforts.  In other words, you should exercise for health and appearance but if you do not have control of your eating, you will not lose weight just from exercising***

I’ve read that cardio is the most important for fat loss and also that diet is most important – what is your opinion?

Diet is probably about 90% of your success in losing weight – you’ll hear me say that 100 more times I think :)   Diet alone though will cause your weight loss to come from muscle as well as fat.  And you need muscle in order to keep your metabolism higher.

Having said that, cardio is the quickest way to burn some major calories so it can certainly accelerate any fat loss efforts!   But cardio without any diet control won’t lead to fat loss either :)
So you need both  (actually you need a 3rd piece and that is muscle building exercises – some kind of strength training).

To keep muscle and lose fat it is smarter to eat 1700 calories (for example) and burn 300 of them off with exercise than to eat 1400 calories and not exercise – your muscles are getting more food, the fat is being burned off rather than starved off.

There are theories that too much cardio, especially long duration, thwarts muscle building efforts, so if muscle mass is important to you that might be a consideration.  Muscle is in fact one of my major fitness goals so I do not do long duration cardio – you’ll catch me running sprints (or HIIT) 2-3 times a week to rev up the metabolism and that’s it :)

Quick question, were you more strict on carbs or fat to get to the bikini pic (she is referring to this)?

That bikini pic was from a challenge I signed up for and I followed the food guidelines which are REALLY simple – calculate your calories and eat 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat.   I wouldn’t say that is strict with either one – just kept them in a specific proportion.
Sounds hard to calculate but with 40% there is a trick (and it only works with 40%)… if you eat 1700 calories, it’s 170 grams of protein, if you eat 1500 it’s 150 grams. (contact me if you need help calculating your percentages)

If you are scared about carbs – which is understandable the way they are shunned nowadays – know that it is not necessary to be scared of them!  The ebook I talk about in other posts (BFFM) was my first introduction to putting carbs back into my diet – I’d never cut them out completely but I was not eating potatoes or rice but was getting carbs from secret sources like packaged foods, etc. I’ve been eating them for over 7/8 months now (and I mean huge potatoes, not little tiny servings) and it’s not hindered my weight loss at all :)

Now having said that I do think it is wise to learn to eat “good” carbs and “good” fats – google that or reference this abbreviated list which I love…  and fats – there is such a thing as eating too little fat (which yoru body needs for many functions) so you want to keep tabs on that.  Don’t fill the void with fried chicken – try almonds or fatty fish :)

I want try a diet regimine for low fat/minimal carb like 30-35 grams per day.  What are your thoughts?
*related to above question, but more specific*

30 grams of carbs is VERY low (see above where my intake is more like 170)… BUT veggies have carbs so if you are eating lots of those then your tally should be more acceptable.
Personally I wouldn’t go that low BUT I weight train and exercise 6 days a week and my body needs carbs to get that done… need them for energy and brain function.  I also do not want to lose weight at the expense of my body’s normal functioning.

It is a strategy that can be used for a short period of time, so it depends on how long you plan to stick to that (even bodybuilders who restrict carbs for contests generally restrict for 3 days and feed up 1, then repeat because it is just too taxing on the body). I also read that whatever weight you lose on extremely low carbs tends to be muscle and water, not much fat.

When asked what kind of diet I follow and I answer “high protein” people automatically assume I mean “lo carb” and that is not the case at all – I eat the same amount of each! :)

If YOU have questions we might add – feel free to contact me :)

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