Fat Loss Tips from the Experts:
10 Top Tips for Fat Loss Exercise
For Any Age
Dr Michael Colgan
If you exercise to lose fat, you must believe you have too much of it. For many folk that fat has taken years to establish. Some have gradually spread the same, 20, 30, 40 lbs of fat all over their bodies again and again, year after year by yo-yo dieting. It`s pretty well stuck. Yo-yo dieting also destroys a lot of muscle. Fat is easy to regain. Muscle is hard.
The muscle loss creates a further problem. The less muscle you have relative to fat, the more difficult it is to lose fat, because most fat is burned by muscle So if you have little muscle and a lot of fat you have to be very patient and consistent with the exercise, until you gain enough muscle to burn it.
It’s not easy to change a body that is stuck in the yo-yo state, but if you follow the rules it works like a charm. People who don’t like rules, or mistakenly think there are magic ways to become slim in 30 days, may just want to get their head down and pant the fat off. Boot camps love these folk, telling them “You just have to work your butt off at our level and you will lose the fat.” The science says, NO WAY. You will likely end up fatter.(1)
Other folk read social buzz that whole neighbourhoods lost masses of fat by getting together and doing aerobics clad in plastic bags (or sitting in simmering hot tubs, or beating each other with bundles of twigs, – whatever). Creates a lot of sweat, but hardly any fat loss. Sweat is a measure of water loss, not fat loss.
Anyone who has run the extreme sweating effort of a marathon knows well they lost little fat doing it. Having measured runners in quite a few marathons, an average marathoner is lucky to lose a quarter pound of fat. Some folk who stuff with carbs, gels, bars or other goop during a marathon, actually gain fat. They may be 7 lbs lighter from water loss at the finish, because the carbs inhibit water absorption from the gut, but their belly rebounds and then some within 24 hours.
A representative study from an analysis of 25 years of exercise and fat loss research measured fat loss in men and women over the training program for a half-marathon. They did 20 weeks of fairly intense endurance exercise (80 workouts of 1-3 hours, 150 hours average). The men lost an average of 5.3 lbs of fat. That’s only a bit over half an ounce of fat per workout. The women lost an average of only 2.0 lbs of fat in 80 workouts. That’s a measly one-quarter ounce of fat loss per workout.(1) That`s what you can expect from most exercise programs.
This negligible loss of body fat with usual exercise gives some folk the false belief they are different from everyone else, and just can’t get slim. Yes you can. All you need is the right exercise. It’s not rocket science. Look at the photo at the top of this article, taken May 2014. It shows my youngest daughter Tamara, age 23, at 11.9% bodyfat. It also shows me age 75 at 5.3% bodyfat. It works with anyone at any age.
Here are, 10 Top Tips for Fat Loss Exercise, to get you started. They go together with my article,10 Top Tips for Fat Loss Nutrition. All are grounded in a lot of recent science and a lot of successes at our clinic. And you need to follow ALL of them to get sterling results.
Rule 1. Get 8 Hours Sleep per Night.
Rotation of the Earth gives us light and dark cycles of 24 hours. We have a built-in circadian clock in the brain linked to light, which programs our bodies to perform thousands of physiological processes at optimal times of day and night (2-4)
Our circadian clock regulates almost everything, including sleep-wake cycles, brain growth, memory consolidation, muscle growth and recovery, cardiovascular activity, fat loss, hormone cycles, and kidney and liver function. (2-4).
It is not surprising that circadian cycles also have a profound effect on bodyfat. Many hormones involved in fat metabolism, including insulin, glucagon, leptin and ghrelin, operate by circadian rhythms.(2-4)
Timed by the circadian clock, your fat cells release our major satiety hormone, leptin. Leptin acts on the hypothalamus of the brain to reduce food intake and increase expenditure of energy. Poor sleepers show greatly reduced levels of leptin, and increased levels of our major appetitive hormone ghrelin. They also show increased hunger and appetite (2-4).
Many recent studies show that short sleep duration and disturbed sleep are linked to increases food cravings, and increased bodyfat, especially visceral fat. (5-7). Get your sleep fixed first or you will struggle endlessly to lose fat. Folks in the know sleep long, dark and cool, and use Isagenix Sleep Spray every night.
Rule 2. Exercise EVERY Day
Each circadian cycle when you go to sleep your body works on growth and recovery from what you did that day. If you miss a day in your fat loss program, that circadian cycle of fat loss and muscle growth is gone forever. You cannot make it up by working twice as hard tomorrow.(5-7) For effective fat loss you have to give the body the right activity and nutrition to work with every day. Exercise every single day as regularly as you clean your teeth.
Rule 3. Exercise in the Morning.
When you wake in the morning, your metabolism is sluggish at first. Your metabolic rate for the day is then determined by what you do. If you have a lazy day off, your metabolic rate will remain low throughout the day, and you will be on maximum calorie retention from anything you eat. If you exercise a bit after waking however, even if it is only a 30-minute walk, it raises your metabolic rate immediately. The rate then remains high for most of the day, and your calorie retention from food goes down. Get in the habit. Do that smidgeon of exercise first thing every day.
Once you wake up and shower, from about 8 -10 am your body is at the most anabolic it will be all day. That is the best time for exercise to build muscle and lose fat. Those in the know follow up the exercise immediately with an IsaleanPro shake.
Rule 4. Exercise on an empty stomach.
Exercise empty each morning (excepting water, coffee or tea. Those in the know use an Isagenix e-shot). Your body takes the easiest source for energy. If you eat before exercise, it will use the calories in your gut preferentially to using bodyfat for fuel.
A small fruit and protein smoothie for example, will eliminate any fat loss effect of an hour of exercise after it. And, drinking high-carb energy drinks or eating bars while working out is just plain dumb if you want fat loss.(8)
Rule 5. Do 20 Minutes Light Aerobic Exercise Before Workout.
When you begin exercise, your body uses mainly sugar for fuel from glycogen in your muscles, and sugar created in the liver. Hopefully you have not given it sugar in the gut to use as well. To achieve your goal of using bodyfat for fuel, you first have to induce hormonal changes to switch from sugar burning to greater fat burning. You can do this with light aerobic exercise for 20 minutes, such as walking to the gym or simply vigorously showering and stretching in the shower.
You cannot achieve the essential fat burning hormonal changes by lumbering on the treadmill, as I see some folk do. As soon as you begin to pant, signalling a shortage of oxygen, you keep the body stuck in sugar burning mode. At 9 calories a gram, bodyfat needs as much oxygen as you can give it in order to trigger burning (oxidizing) the fat.
A whole workout done with great effort, treadmilling wildly, then rushing from weight station to weight station for an hour, uses near zero bodyfat. It also exhausts you into the bargain, because it empties the muscles of glycogen. It’s a tragi-comedy to see people doing this week after week, and losing no fat at all.
Rule 6. Exercise in the “Fat Burning Zone”.
Much nonsense is written about the fat burning zone, as if it’s some magical state that melts fat. It is just a range of exercise intensity where fat use (fat oxidation) settles into a high steady level. Studies have measured this range in all sorts of complex ways involving VO2max, lactic acid threshold, and weird and wonderful equations. It also varies somewhat with the individual, and how much exercise you do, and how often. But I can state it pretty simply.
The fat burning zone is exercise done at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate. If you run at maximum on the treadmill, and get your highest heart rate at 170 beats per minute, then your fat burning zone is 60-70% of that score, that is, about 100-120 beats per minute. At this level of exercise you can still carry on a normal conversation.
First, do your 20-minute warm up in the fat burning zone to make the hormonal changes to trigger a higher proportion of fat burning. Then, for a one-hour workout on an empty stomach, keep your heart rate within the fat burning zone. Your body will then pull approximately 50% of its energy from body fat. That’s about as good as you can get. It makes sense to wear a heart rate monitor, and set your fat burning range so that it beeps you automatically if you move out of it.
Rule 7. Build Muscle to Lose Fat
All the gym programs I have seen that concentrate on aerobic exercise are abject failures for fat loss. We measured one aerobics group for a year at Frogs Gym in San Diego. All of the women in the group wanted to lose fat. They actually gained an average of 2.9 lbs of fat over 12 months, while doing an average of three aerobics sessions a week.
The best form of exercise for fat loss is resistance training that adds muscle to your body. Muscle is working tissue, fat is not. Over 100 muscles are constantly active just to keep you standing up, and about 200 muscles are merrily using energy just to maintain their tone. Fat hangs limp like jello.
Muscle is the engine that uses body fat for fuel. With more muscle, more fat is burned 24 hours a day. In her book Strong Women Stay Slim, Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University researcher, followed a group of women who did plus resistance training plus a weight loss diet. They lost 44% more fat than those who followed the diet alone. So, put resistance training at the top of your list. Those in the know follow each workout with an IsaLean Pro shake for maximum muscle gain.
Rule 8. Do Resistance Training that Makes You Taller
We have seen it many times, especially with women. They embrace resistance training in order to lose fat, then do all the wrong stuff. Often they hire trainers who give them uni-planar exercises guided by machines with comfy seats, where they sit curled up like a pretzel, doing movements that bear no relation to movements in life. They often turn their posture into a muscle-thickened crouch. Though they can achieve lower body fat because of muscle growth, these unfortunate folk come to look shorter and fatter.
The best resistance training for fat loss (and muscle gain) is free-movement exercises, done standing, Emphasize exercises that lengthen the spine while contracting the muscles. Overhead cables like we use in the Colgan Power Program are best because they can simulate virtually any free movement in life.
Our Program was first developed for Olympic athletes at Colorado Springs, so it is first class for muscle and strength. But it also trains long, lean, flexible muscles. That should be your aim, a tall, elegant, flexible body that sparkles with power and shows off the low body fat you have worked so hard to achieve.
Rule 9. Get a mentor
You can lose fat alone, but a mentor adds immensely to any program. To achieve a great body you need someone who is a walking example of what they know, someone who has the real skills, someone who can calm your wavering doubts and unerringly guide you in your quest.
In an earlier article, You Have Genius Within You, which has been shared and copied innumerable times worldwide, I analysed the components that have produced genius in science, music, and arts. One vital component that most geniuses had was mentors to help them develop throughout their lives. These mentors were all experts in the different fields in which the individuals wanted to excel. They were all folk who had already been there, and had learned to excel at the skills.
Your goal of a great body for life is a difficult one. More than 90% of people who try fail repeatedly. You need a personal mentor: Kathy Edwards, Naturopath – Wellness Coach.
Rule 10. Follow Fat Loss Nutrition or Plump Up Like a Goose
On its own even the best fat loss exercise is ineffective. You also have to learn fat loss nutrition. There is a lot to it. Several earlier articles on this page cover various aspects. The quickest guide is my 10 Top Tips for Fat Loss Nutrition. Those in the know start with a base of the Isagenix 30 Day Program.1. Miller WC, Koceja DM Hamilton EJ. A meta-analysis of the past 25 years of weight loss research using diet, exercise or diet plus exercise intervention. Int J Obesity, 1997;21:941-947.
2. Meijer GA, et al. Body composition and sleeping metabolic rate in response to a 5-month endurance-training programme in adults. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1991;62(1):18-21.
3. Aldabal L, Bahammam AS. Metabolic, endocrine, and immune consequences of sleep deprivation. Open Respir Med J. 2011;5:31-43.
4. Maury E, et al. Circadian rhythms and metabolic syndrome: from experimental genetics to human disease. Circ Res. 2010 February 19;106(3): 447–462.
5. Cipolla-Neto J1, Amaral FG, Afeche SC, Tan DX, Reiter RJ. Melatonin, energy metabolism, and obesity: a review.J Pineal Res. 2014 Mar 21. Doi 10.1111/jpi.12137. [Epub ahead of print]
6. Tsang AH, et al. Interactions between endocrine and circadian systems. J Molecular Endocrinology. 2013 Aug 30. [Epub ahead of print]
7. Saderi N, Alteration of biological rhythms causes metabolic diseases and obesity. Reviews Neurology. 2013 Jul 16;57(2):71-8.
8. Van Proeyen K, et al. Beneficial metabolic adaptations due to endurance exercise training in the fasted state. J Appl Physiol. 2011 January; 110(1):236–245.