Posts tagged ‘burn fat’

Do you want to burn calories?

ex-bike-screenA lot of women love the idea that if they are on the treadmill or exercise bike for an hour or more they can burn 400 – 500 calories, and that makes them feel good. The immediate feedback of seeing the readout on the screen telling you how many calories you have burned is very gratifying, and mitigates any guilt you may feel about the chocolate bar or double deluxe bacon burger you ate last night!

The screen readout showing 500 calories burned looks impressive, but the bad news is that the high calorie burn you got from your hour(s) on the treadmill or exercise bike disappears quite quickly. Your body goes back to “normal” shortly after the cardio session ends. Because it has such a short lived effect, this does not make a big difference on your body’s ability to lose fat.

In fact, long sessions of cardio can actually work against your fat loss goals. Muscle is the foundation of your calorie burn – the more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn, all day long (not just when you are exercising). However, the more cardio you do the more you put your body at risk of taking energy from or burning lean muscle. If your lean muscle mass is reduced, your calorie burning capacity is reduced, so your fat loss is slowed. Long sessions of cardio work against your fat loss goals.

As your body becomes more accustomed to the level of cardio you do, ie as your fitness level increases, you will find that you end up having to do more and more cardio to achieve the same amount of calorie burning. It seems that you are working increasingly harder just to maintain a body that you are not really happy with any way!

It can leave you feeling like nothing works. You may think that there is no other option, but to keep increasing the length of your cardio session.

My suggestion is interval training.

Intervals are a type of “cardio” workout where you alternate brief, high intensity periods of exercise (where you are working flat out) with active recovery periods (where you slow down just long enough to catch your breath). High intensity cardio intervals are much more effective than ‘normal’ low intensity cardiovascular exercise – especially in terms of fat loss.

When intervals are performed at an intense level, your body will spend the rest of the day expending energy to recover from the challenge you have given it. This is referred to as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) and it means that you consume a great deal more oxygen recovering from the exercise bout than you would have if you’d just done a steady-state workout – this in turn allows you to burn more fat and calories for the rest of the day.

Short and sweet is the way to go. 10-15 minutes of high intensity cardio performed 3 or 4 times per week is all you need to shed fat and “tone up”.

Interval training can provide all of the following fitness benefits:

* dramatically boosted metabolism – both during AND after exercise
* faster rate of body fat-to-energy conversion
* preserves lean muscle (muscle is your metabolism – you do not what to lose this!)
* significant increase in aerobic capacity (Max VO2) = increased endurance and stamina

How to “Do” Intervals:
Example: Walking on the Treadmill

Start with a three to five minute warm-up then go right into your first interval: 30 seconds of brisk walking (or jogging). At the end of 30 seconds, you should be winded and ready to slow down. This will be your active recovery period, slowing your walking down for the next 2 minutes. Then repeat by increasing the intensity of your speed for 30 seconds.

3-5 minute warm up
30-60 sec. “high”
30-90 sec “low”
Repeat this pattern for 4 to 8 complete Intervals (a total of 10 to 15 minutes) and finish with a cool down. You will find that a mere 8 minutes feels quite long and intense.

The wonderful thing about interval training is that it is so time effective. Remember that your 15 minute investment gives you a bonus effect. Your metabolism is revved up and you will be burning fat all day long – not just when you are exercising.

More good news: You actually do not need any special equipment for an effective intervals workout. All you need is your own body! Moves such as jumping jacks, jump rope and running in place provide just the intensity you need for a great interval workout.

So do yourself a favour – reduce the time you spend doing cardio by adopting high intensity interval training, and burn more calories!


April 11, 2009 at 2:21 pm Leave a comment


The low fat, low carb, low calories diets that have been promoted over the last 10 to 15 years do not work. The Australian statistics on obesity tell the story:

1996 2006
Male 52% 62% (2/3)
Female 37% 45% (1/2)

Obesity is increasing, rather than decreasing. So it seems that low fat diets do not work, and yet many of us still buy into the idea that fat is bad for us because it will clog our arteries and give us heart disease.

  • Fat is a rich source of energy and is important for carrying fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K which support thyroid function and healthy metabolism.
  • Fats also supply essential fatty acids for healthy skin and have a role in regulating body functions.
  • Fats are needed for proper function of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel-good” chemical. A lack of fat in your diet can make you feel depressed!

Not all fats are bad for us – fat can make you thin, if it is the right kind of fat. It is about both quality and quantity.

Good fats: include things like cold pressed olive oil, avocados, nuts, fish oil

Bad fats: found in pastries, cakes, take-away meals, potato chips, butter and dairy products (full fat milk, cream, cheese, etc)

So if you’re serious about fat loss, get some healthy fats in your diet.

February 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm 2 comments

Lose that belly fat!

When it comes to losing fat, most of us focus on the excess fat we are carrying in the belly region. It is that “spare tyre” which we would most like to get rid of. The belly can be one of the most stubborn areas to remove fat from. Why is that? Two reasons:

* It is where we store body fat first

* It is where body fat is needed the most – to protect the internal organs.

Unfortunately, it was oh so easy to put on (happened while you weren’t looking, didn’t it), but it is also the hardest to take off. If you persist, it WILL come off, but it is going to take some work and it may not be the first place on your body that responds to your fat loss efforts.

To give it your best shot, this is what you should do.

First – hit the weights. Weight training is brilliant for burning off fat, and the good news is that if you push yourself hard you stimulate muscle growth. This keeps the fat burning happening for hours after you have actually finished your exercise.

Second – focus on high intensity intervals (see my blog entitled “Maximum results, Minimum time”) when you do cardio and follow this up with some longer steady state cardio. The high intensity intervals will release the fatty acids from the tissue and the steady state cardio will then burn them off.

Third – monitor what you are eating (and what you are drinking). Is your diet Low GI? Are you drinking excessive calories without realising it? Are you eating to satisfy hunger, or emotions?

Pay attention to these three areas and you are well on your way to getting rid of that stubborn belly fat. It won’t happen over night though – you need to persist with it!

February 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

EAT to be LEAN

Your target should be a lean body composition, improving your ratio of muscle to fat. The key is to minimize “biologically inactive” fat tissue and maximize “biologically active” muscle mass.

Good reasons to be lean:
* It is a major factor in 8 out of the 10 biomarkers of ageing.
* A higher ratio of muscle to body fat produces a higher metabolism and burns more calories. So you can eat more!
* Statistics show that lean people have fewer years of work disability and a lower requirement for long-term medication use. They are less at risk of diabetes, cancer and heart disease.


The question of what diet to adopt is highly individual and quite complex, however below are three tips you may want to consider.

Tip 1: Include protein at each meal

Your body uses the amino acids that comprise the protein we consume to repair, maintain and facilitate growth in muscles. Protein is also used by your body in a host of other ways, specifically by enzymes, blood and other cells. Did you know that adding protein at each meal will generally reduce the Glycemic Index of the meal? A meal which includes protein will keep you full for longer, avoid “sugar spikes” and reduce cravings for sweets and carbohydrates.

The recommended amount of protein for most adults is around 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day. So a person who weighs 80 kg would need 64 grams of protein per day. Lean beef, skinless chicken and fish supply about 7 grams of protein per ounce (28.3 grams). A cup of milk or yoghurt supplies 8 grams of protein. Half a cup of lentils provides 9 grams of protein and half a cup of beans provides 7 grams of proteins. Rice and other cereal grains provide about 3 grams per half cup. An 84 gram egg provides 7 grams of protein. So it should be easy to meet your protein requirements and to spread it throughout the day.

Tip 2: Control portion size

Too much of a good thing is not good! In our Western society we have grown accustomed to eating far more food than we need. Try eating from a bread and butter plate rather than a dinner plate. Psychologically you will be happier to see a small plate full of food than a large plate only half full. When you eat your meal try to always leave something on your plate – you might be surprised by how little food you actually need. Wait 20-30 minutes after the meal before deciding whether you really NEED to eat more food. Sometimes it is more a case of want than need.

Tip 3: Eat frequently

Your body can only store roughly four hours worth of fuel. The “three meals a day” tradition leaves six or more hours between meals. When you go for too long between meals your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat in case it is needed later. Alarmingly, your body will then use protein (muscle tissue) to supply its immediate energy demands. This is why half of the weight loss in traditional diets is muscle mass.

Ideally you should eat every 2-3 hours to control your blood sugar levels. Filling up on empty calories from refined and processed foods is not an option that leads to lean. A good idea is to maintain the timing of breakfast and dinner but have two lunches – one late in the morning and the other early in the afternoon. Then if each of your four meals during the day is made up of a:
– fist size serving of fruits and/or vegetables
– palm size portion of protein
– fist size serving of Low GI carbs
you will be able to keep your fat burning metabolism working efficiently throughout the day.

If the two lunches thing does not work for you, then make sure you have some protein with your morning tea and afternoon tea snacks. By consistently giving your body enough of the right foods at the right times you will stay in fat burning mode.

In summary then, eating to be lean involves eating the right sized servings of the right types of foods at the right intervals throughout the day.

Here’s to your success.


February 13, 2009 at 11:29 am Leave a comment


Food doesn’t “burn fat”, food is what makes you fat, right?

Not necessarily. Food can burn fat, or food can turn to fat. The secret lies in choosing the right foods that optimise your body’s metabolic and hormonal fat buring machinery.

However, first you must address the psychological factors. You must reframe the way you look at and perceive food. What does food MEAN to you? What images, and emotions, do you associate with food? What do you think food is for???

If you’re struggling with body fat, I can almost guarantee that you’re thinking about food in the wrong way. You may be thinking of food like this:

Food is only for my own pleasure and “tastebud satisfaction”.
Food is the only thing that makes me feel better when I’m feeling bad.
Food is primarily for social occasions.

These are just a few common beliefs about food that may be programming you for failure.

Yes, it is true that food can be one of life’s pleasure and is a focal point for social and family occasions. The trouble is that when that’s the only thing food means to you, and you fail to realise the amazing power of food to transform your body and your health.

I want to suggest a shift in your mental patterns and thoughts when it comes to food. You must redefine or “reframe” what food means to you.  Here are four of the beliefs to adopt if you want this to work for you:

1. Food is for boosting energy (food is fuel)
2. Food is for building muscle (food is construction material)
3. Food is for burning fat (food is a metabolic stimulator)
4. Food is for creating optimal health (food provides essential nutrients).

When you adopt these four beliefs about food as your dominant thinking, I assure you there will be a profound difference in your behaviours and your results. If you don’t adopt these beliefs as your dominant thought patterns I can assure you that no diet or workout will ever be of much use to you because you will continue to trip over your own self limiting beliefs.

When you reframe what food means to you, it is often remarkable how quickly you stop wanting foods that are not good for you (and you learn how to achieve a healthy balance between social and “for taste” eating and eating to develop your body). Most people struggle with food and emotional eating issues their entire lives, so they believe food is their biggest problem……

The truth is: Food is not your problem. Food is your solution. Once this realisation hits you, then you are ready to learn the specifics about what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat and how often to eat in order to burn fat.


Information in this newsletter was extracted from an article by Tom Venuto. I’ve found Tom’s advice to be rock solid. He has an E-book, “Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle” which offers a wide variety of helpful fat burning information, including motivational techniques and helpful ways for people to stay focused on their goals. For further information on Tom Venuto click Click Here!

Here’s to your “fat burning” success.

February 7, 2009 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

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