Monthly Archives: May 2017

10 Days to Melt Your Winter Waistline

Despite what you’ve probably been led to believe, churning away like a rat on a treadmill during the holiday season (or any other time of year for that matter) is really not the best way to burn fat. In fact, it can actually backfire and lead to the common cortisol and catabolic hormone release that accompanies excessive aerobic exercise – which winds up making you fatter!.

This can result in hormonal imbalances, fluid retention, overtraining, and injury. It’s why the folks who approach New Year’s fat loss by simply trying to stay on a mind-numbingly boring cardio machine for as long as possible are usually the folks who fail (and the ones you probably stop seeing at the gym by mid February).

But the good news is that you can embark on a 30-day rapid fat loss journey without sacrificing your health, body, or performance for the rest of the holiday season. And with the safe, healthy, and effective guide in this episode, you can melt your holiday belly in a fraction of the time it takes your over-exercising friends. Feel free to start this workout now, or save it for your official New Year’s routine!

10 Days to Rapid Fat Loss

The 30-day rapid fat loss guide below is split into three separate 10-day cycles – the first 10 days involve easy fasted fat burning sessions; the next 10 days will add slightly more difficult body weight training; and the final 10 days will round out the routine by adding high intensity intervals and weight training.

Ready? Roll up your sleeves, tighten your belt, and let’s jump right in:

Days 1-10: Burn

For the first 10 days, exercise is simple. There will be no hard or long exercise sessions. For many, this will be a practice in self-control and moderation, since most holiday exercisers are notorious for eating whatever they want, then trying to burn it off with excessive exercise. But days 1-10 of this plan are the exact opposite: limited exercise combined with sane, responsible, calorie control. The side benefit of this approach is that it will also give your body and gut a chance to rest, recover, and reboot.

For each of these 10 days, you will simply do a morning fasted fat burning session of 20-60 minutes. There’s no need to exceed an hour, but if you can get a little longer than 20 minutes, you’ll definitely get an added benefit. You get to choose the activity: light jogging, cycling, elliptical trainer, brisk walking or hiking, or any other type of easy exercise will suffice.

For intensity, you’ll want to be in your fat-burning zone, which occurs at 45-65% of your maximum heart rate, or about 20 beats below your lactate threshold heart rate. If you’ve had anaerobic or lactic acid threshold testing done in a lab or field, simply take that heart rate, subtract 20 beats, and you’re set. If not, simply do the following:

  • Warm up on a bike for 10 minutes.
  • Pedal at your maximum sustainable pace for 20 minutes. You should be breathing hard and your legs should be burning, but you should be able to maintain the same intensity for the full 20 minutes.
  • Record your average heart rate during those 20 minutes.
  • Subtract 20 beats from that heart rate. Add and subtract 3 beats from the resulting number to get a range, and that is your peak fat burning zone.

For example, if your average heart rate was 160, 160-20 is 140, 140+3 is 143, 140-3 is 147, and so your peak fat burning zone is when you have a heart rate of 137-143 beats per minute.

New Fat Burning Exercises

In the episode Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight, I describe the SAID principle of exercise. SAID stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands – and this means that our bodies eventually adapt to the demands we place upon them.

So if you’re doing the same workout routine or the same exercises week after week, or month after month, your body becomes very efficient at those exercises or that routine, and you no longer burn as many calories or get as good a fitness response from your efforts..

This is why I personally change up my routine every week and I recommend you introduce new fitness moves or change up your workouts at least once a month to get the biggest bang for your workout buck.

In today’s episode, you’ll get 5 brand new exercises that will burn fat fast, challenge your metabolism, and keep your workouts exciting.

You can view most of these exercises in my New Fat Burning Exercises video. Let’s jump right in!

New Fat Burning Exercise #1: ManMaker

The ManMaker (sorry ladies, I didn’t invent the title) is the only exercise in this episode that actually requires equipment – in this case a set of dumbbells. To do this exercise, get into a push-up position with one hand on either dumbbell, then do a push-up. Next, row with one dumbbell, then row with the other dumbbell. Stand quickly (also called a “clean”) and place both dumbbells on your shoulders, then do a front squat followed by an overhead press.

Return the dumbbells back to their starting position to complete that repetition and get ready for the next repetition. To maximize your results, choose a weight that makes it difficult for you to complete 10 repetitions of the ManMaker. Just 10 repetitions of this potent move can be used for a fast, 5 minute, full body, fat-burning workout!

New Fat Burning Exercise #2: Breakdance Push-up

This exercise will not only improve your core and upper body strength like a regular push-up, but also will also increase your agility and flexibility – and it doesn’t actually require you to be a professional breakdancer.

Start in a bridge position with your bellybutton facing the ceiling and your weight supported on your hands and feet. Then “flip” to one side or the other, keeping one leg off the ground, and do a push-up. Then “flip” again back to the bridge position. Here’s a great example of a breakdance push-up. Try 5 breakdance push-ups for each side.

The Hidden Ab Muscle That Will Get You a Six-Pack

As you learned in the episode 10 Flat Stomach Alternatives to Crunches, I’m not a huge fan of crunches. Not only do crunches burn a miniscule amount of calories and fat, but because they involve lying on your back and repeatedly bending and extending at the spine, they’re a big culprit when it comes to placing excessive strain directly on the portion of the low back that has the most nerves and is most susceptible to injury and fatigue..

So how can you maintain six-pack abs without doing crunches? One of the keys is a hidden ab muscle that you tend to hear very little about. In today’s episode, you’re going to learn exactly what that ab muscle is.

The Hidden Ab Muscle That Will Get You a Six-Pack

There is a muscle called the Transverse Abdominus that acts as a stabilizer to the middle part of your body. This muscle is actually located right behind your abdominal muscles.  If you’re not familiar with this muscle, you may want to sign up for the military, because military drill sergeants are very aware of how to make the Transverse Abdominus sore.  The reason drill sergeants love exercises that involve the Transverse Abdominus is because when this muscle is strong, your back and stomach are strong.  And if you want a strong stable core that helps six-pack abs form, this muscle must be strong.

As a matter of fact, I spoke with one of my military friends, seargant Michael Volkin, and he had this to say about the Transverse Abdominis:

“I have to admit, I was doing sit ups for most of my adult life, but when I reached 30 I realized that my ab muscles were getting harder to see. No matter what I ate (or didn’t eat) and no matter how many stomach exercises I did, my abdominal muscles kept slowly disappearing. Then, I did some research on the anatomy of the stomach muscles and found the Transverse Abdominus.  Ever since then, I am happy to say my stomach muscles are more prevalent than ever before. Not only that, my posture is better.”

So why did Michael find that this rarely mentioned ab muscle makes such a big difference? It’s primarily because the Transverse Abdominus is connected to your back, your ribs, and your pelvis.  In essence, it is the ultimate stabilizing muscle for your entire mid-section.

How to Get Rid of Muscle Soreness Fast

So what does a fitness guru do to bounce back as fast as possible from soreness (especially when he wants to enjoy a few good days on the Hawaiian beaches)? Here are the most effective methods I’ve been using lately (and here’s how to know whether you should actually feel sore after your workout):

  1. Hot-Cold Contrast Showers: These increase blood flow and help to shuttle inflammation out of muscle. Just take a 5 minute shower, and alternate between 20 seconds cold and 10 second hot. See also How to Use Cold Weather to Lose Weight.
  2. Curcumin: In high doses, this tasty ancient Indian spice is actually a potent anti-inflammatory. I take over a gram a day for several days after a really hard workout. I use a capsule, since using that much curry on food would be a bit much! And I definitely avoid ibuprofen – here’s why.
  3. Massage: Since it can be time consuming and expensive, I rarely go out of my way to hunt down a long sports massage. But after a very hard workout or race, I make an exception. Just one good massage can make an enormous difference, and is far more effective than a foam roller if you really, truly are beat up – (since a foam roller takes quite a bit of energy to use properly).