There’s one thing I’m constantly asked, and this is probably on your mind right now if you’re reading this article: “How do I lose weight?”.
The funny thing is, for the majority of people it’s not really weight loss that they want, it’s fat loss.
If you’re part of the crowd of people who want to tone up this bit or firm up that bit then, for the most part, you don’t really care about your actual weight as long as you can see the fat coming off.
This short article is going to be my take on the most effective ways to lose fat, rather than weight, and why I don’t recommend doing loads of cardio in the gym.
That’s right: I’m saying that you don’t need to do cardio (in the sense of long, constant paced cardio).
So, what do you need? Interval training. You need to do exercise that makes you sweat (sweating removes toxins) and you need to do resistance training. But you do not need to do that boring long, slow cardio workout in order to lose fat.
Why not long cardio?
First, it’s boring. Especially if you’re on a piece of cardiovascular equipment. The idea is to stimulate the body, not send it to sleep doing mind-numbingly boring exercises.
When you’re cardioing (yes, I just made a word up but it serves a purpose) you’re not only burning fat, you’re burning glycogen and you’re burning protein (i.e. muscle).
You’re burning off protein in your body, which essentially are your muscles and this isn’t good. Why is it bad? Well, the more muscle you drop the lower your metabolic rate is going to be. This means that your body will burn less calories each day you do cardio.
The result? It’s going to get easier to do the cardio, but that’s actually a bad thing because as you go on you’re going to be burning less fat.
This isn’t good at all.
You’re Hit With Cortisol
My next point is that you’re giving your body a massive dose of cortisol every time you train. Doing this isn’t good for your body.
Watch my hormonal video to understand more about why when you’re cardioing you will actually make it worse.
So, can long, slow cardio be good for anything? The answer is yes. If you want to be a runner then you must run to train in that way because the more you run the better you will get at it.
4 Keys To Fat Loss
However, this discussion is about fat loss and weight loss, not improving your running.
So, what are the most effective ways to lose fat off your body?
- Lift weights
- Hard interval training
- Get good quality sleep
- Stay hydrated
The last point above is important, as this is another reason cardio can harm you if you don’t replenish the water and salts you lose when doing it.
Now, I know what you’re thinking “I don’t want to get big and if I lift weights then I’ll get big”. Well, that’s not true. If you want to gain muscle then it’s a lot more complicated than losing a bit of fat off your body.
Lifting weights increases your metabolism in the long-term and improves muscle density and tonality.
High Intensity Interval Training
Interval training boosts your metabolism higher and quicker than cardio, and it’s impact being carried over to endurance is high. So, even if you don’t want to work on your endurance, you should do some intervals. And you know what the most interesting part of it is? It burns more fat than cardio will.
You should get lots of sleep as growth hormone is the single most important hormone for fat burning. (You also produce this when you’re weight training.)
And finally, you must stay hydrated. Your body is unable to burn or detoxify fat from your body if you’re dehydrated. So, it makes sense to keep putting water into your body
There you have it: my opinions on how to lose fat faster from over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer in the fitness industry.
Now, some people will disagree with this and, of course, they’re entitled to keep those thoughts. Listed above is my opinion from working with a number of different people with different body types over the last 15+ years.