Best Fitness Tips for Women

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Fitness Tips for Women

There is a plague across many gyms in America and its women being misinformed on fitness and weight loss. There are tons of misconceptions that you should be aware of that are not necessarily the best way to lose weight. What are the mistakes to avoid, the beliefs to adjust – not to mention the strategies to employ? Check out these most common misunderstandings about the role of exercise in fat loss and the corresponding truths that will put your weight loss journey on the road to sure success.

Fitness Tip #1: Don’t Follow the Crowd

woman measuring her waistThe gym is full of myths that no one knows where got started. The number 1 fat burning myth that won’t go away is, “Women should do cardio on an empty stomach first thing in the morning on a empty stomach to burn more fat.” There was an excellent review paper written by Brad Schoenfeld in the Strength and Conditioning Journal titled, Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss” stating that there is no evidence to support cardio on empty stomach to enhance fat loss. The rationale for doing cardio first thing on an empty stomach makes physiological sense but research studies do not support the validity of fasting cardio for weight loss.   The theory is that glycogen stores are depleted after an overnight fast and that fat mobilization is more readily available for glycogen stores are depleted. As stated by Schoenfeld, “The human body is very dynamic and continually adjusts its use of fat for fuel. Substrate utilization is governed by a host of factors (i.e., hormonal secretions, enzyme activity, transcription factors, etc), and these factors can change by the moment. Thus, fat burning must be considered over the course of days—not on an hour-to-hour basis—to get a meaningful perspective on its impact on body composition.” To support the fact that food before cardio does not stop fat oxidation or burning, researchers evaluated the effect of pre-exercise and during exercise carbohydrate consumption on fat oxidation. The subject’s were assigned to 4 different groups:

(a) a placebo before and during training

(b) a placebo 30 minutes before training and then a carbohydrate beverage every 15 minutes throughout exercise

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(c) a carbohydrate beverage 30 minutes before training and then a placebo during exercise

(d) a carbohydrate beverage both before and every 15 minutes during exercise.

The subject cycles for 120 minutes at approximately 63% of peak power output, followed by a ‘‘performance cycle’’ pedaling as fast as possible mimicking a sprint test after the exercise protocol. All those carbs had to blunt fat burning right? WRONG! The results showed no evidence of impaired fat oxidation associated with consumption of carbohydrate either before or during exercise. These and other studies presented by Mr. Schoenfeld that goes against the theory of exercising in the morning on fasted stomach is superior for fat loss. So don’t feel that a morning breakfast is going to halt your gains, in fact, studies have shown that breakfast will enhance fat loss.

Fitness Tip #2: Go Hard and Fast

Crossfit training at a gymOver the past few years, it has become clear that interval training is superior to steady state cardio for fat loss. For years, women have tried to lose weight with spending hours on the treadmill, but new research shows that interval training is much better for fat loss. In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical and Physiological Functioning Imaging, researchers reported that longer is not always better when it comes to fat loss. In a earlier 2007 study, researchers reported that two 30-minute bouts of exercise with a 20-minute rest between bouts elicited greater exercise-induced fat mobilization than a single 60-min bout of exercise. In particular, the repeated bouts of exercise showed greater increases in fat oxidation during the 60-min following the exercise. So in sum, shorter more frequent bouts of cardio elicited greater fat oxidation than one longer bout. Researchers wanted to break down the cardio to even shorter bouts of exercise and compare a 30-minute bout of cardio compared to three 10-minute bouts of cardio. This study compared the effect of fat metabolism between a single bout of 30-min exercise (i.e. cycling) and three bouts of 10-min exercise of the same intensity (60% maximal oxygen uptake) and total exercise duration (30 min). For those that don’t know, 60% of a maximal oxygen uptake equates to a brisk pedaling pace. So here is the real kick in the ass for those that do hours of cardio: the group that performed the short 10 minute bouts of exercise spaced out had greater fat oxidation that the one long continuous bout of exercise group (30 minutes). The Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER), which is a measure of how much fat is being utilized, was greater during in the repeated trials than in the single trial during the recovery period. These results indicate that the repetition of three 10-min bouts of exercise stimulates fat utilization during the postexercise period. This means that women may be able to get leaner by doing shorter bouts of cardio (i.e. 10 minutes or less) spaced throughout the day and achieve greater fat loss than doing single longer bouts of exercise.

ultimate guide to abs, infinite_labsFitness Tip# 3: Women who Incorporate Cheat Meals Lose More Weight

The current prevalence of obesity is estimated in approximately 400 million people worldwide. The main issue with dieting is that its easy to lose weight, but keeping it off is the bigger issue.  Lets face it, dieting sucks!!  For years, the concept of dieting has always been to stick to your diet, no matter what!  Over the last few years, the concept of dieting has changed and previous research has found that incorporating periodic cheat meals in your diet not only helps out psychologically, but it can also boost your metabolism.  No longer is sticking to a calorically restricted diet year round sound advice.  Cheat meals improve leptin production levels. Leptin is the hormone that encourages metabolism of fat and at the same time, it manages appetite. Normally, the leptin level in the body is reduced after one week of dieting, however,  this level is restored to the normal level during cheat days. Therefore, the body is once again prepared to burn fat and to contain appetite for the next diet week. Cheat meals also lessen cravings during non-cheat days. Foods that can be eaten during cheat days reduce the desire to eat the same foods when dieting. Cheat meals are designed to keep you sane, as our natural compulsions usually take the better of us, a cheat meal helps normalize cravings and keeps you on track with your diet plan or exercise regime. A cheat meal is a meal that has been designated to one day of any type of food you like.  Some cheat meals include pizza, cakes and other foods that make eating and dieting more exciting. Previous research has shown that while on a caloric restricted diet, metabolic rate often drops but when a high caloric meal is consumed, metabolism increases.  Strict weight loss diet works better if you bend the rules occasionally.  A new demonstrates how powerful cheat meals can be to helping you achieve weight loss.  The researchers did trials with two groups each of 37 women with a BMI of 25-37. The women were aged between 26 and 50.

-One group followed a traditional – but strict – calorie restriction diet for 6 weeks. The women reduced their caloric intake to 55 percent of their resting metabolic rate. The resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories you burn while at rest.

-The other group followed an even stricter calorie shifting diet (CSD), which consisted of 3 cycles of 2 weeks. The first part of the cycle took 11 days, during which the women ate only 45 percent of the amount of calories their body burned when resting. The second part of the cycle lasted 3 days, during which the women could eat as much as they wanted. The main theory of CSD is to change intake from high to low calories (e.g., to 11 days) to decrease weight, and then change it from low to high calories (e.g., to 3 consecutive days) to keep the RMR at higher levels.

At the end of the 6 weeks the researchers put the women on another diet for 4 weeks in which they were given exactly enough calories to maintain their new body weight. The women in both groups lost the same amount of kilograms. But after they had completed their weight-loss diets, the bodyweight of the women in the calorie restriction diet group [CR] increased more than did the bodyweight of the women in the calorie shifting diet group [CS]. The effect is even more dramatic if you look at the fat mass. After coming off a slimming diet the traditional calorie restriction diet group gained fat mass again fast, but the calorie shifting diet group did not. The women who lost weight on the calorie restriction diet started to burn fewer calories while at rest, whereas the resting metabolic rate of the women in the calorie shifting diet group remained constant. This means the CSD diet was able to maintain metabolism while dieting.  The effect of CSD on RMR was reflected in sustained weight and fat loss and BMI reduction over the follow-up period, something, which was not seen in CR, treated subjects. This study just goes to show that the incorporation of cheat meals not only maintain metabolism but its also helped keep weight off over a longer time.  The key is to use cheat meals occasionally for effective weight loss.

Fitness Tip #4: Add Some “SuperSets” to Your Weight Training

Woman lifting weights in a training sessionA ‘‘Superset’’ describes groups of exercises (i.e., usually performed successively targeting different muscle groups but can be used to describe protocols grouping exercises targeting the same muscle group. A typical “superset” would be a set of bicep curls followed immediately by tricep extensions. Another “superset” combo would be to do a set of leg extension immediately followed by a leg curl. Adding supersets to your resistance exercise workout can enhance fat loss compared to traditional weight training regimen may be something you also want to incorporate This is hot off the press so ladies start Supersetting your workout! Researchers from Syracuse University studied two types of strength training to see which style burned more calories. In the study, the researchers compared superset training with traditional strength workouts. The participants completed 2 strength-training workouts separated by at least 7 days. Their workout consisted of 4 sets of 6 exercises and they performed 10 repetitions of each exercise. One week they trained using supersets. One week later they did traditional resistance training. It should be of no surprise that the subjects who used supersets had a faster workout but more importantly, the researchers found that the superset sessions took less time to complete, but markers of energy metabolism such as Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption (a measure of resting energy expenditure after exercise) was higher, blood lactate measures were higher, and total energy expenditure for the workout was higher. This means supersets leads to a super metabolic rate for burning fat!

Examples of Superset Combination’s for Chest and Back Routine:

Machine Bench Presses – 5 sets-10 repetitions
Wide-Grip Chins (behind the head) – 5 sets – 10 reps (to back)

Dumbbell Incline Presses – 5 sets – 10 reps
Close-Grip Chins – 5 sets – 10 reps

Dumbbell Flyes – 5 sets – 10 reps
T-Bar Rows – 5 sets – 10 reps

Parallel Upright Dips – 5 sets – 15,10,8,8,8 reps
Bent-Over Barbell Rows – 5 sets – 10 reps

Seated Cable rows – 5 sets – 10 reps
Dumbbell Pullovers – 5 sets – 15 reps

Superset Biceps And Triceps Workout

Superset one: Barbell curls superset with lying triceps extensions4 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each superset (combination of two exercises) without rest, or at the very least, minimal rest.

Superset two: Alternate dumbbell curls superset with pushdowns (either variety) 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each superset

Superset three: Seated incline curls superset with kneeling extensions 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each superset

Superset four: Concentration curls superset with one-arm triceps extensions 4 sets of 10 to 12 reps for each superset

If you are looking to peel off a couple of layers of fat off of those abs and sculpt those hips and buttocks, than interval training and supersets is the way to go. Why waste time with low intensity walking programs while you can get shredded abs in less time. Try HIIT and SuperSets for a more streamlined body!

Schoenfeld, B. Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss? Strength and Conditioning Journal. Vol. 33(1); Feb. 2011

Davoodi SH, Ajami M, Ayatollahi SA, Dowlatshahi K, Javedan G, Pazoki-Toroudi HR. Calorie shifting diet versus calorie restriction diet: a comparative clinical trial study. Int J Prev Med. 2014 Apr;5(4):447-56.

Schoenfeld, B. Does Cardio After an Overnight Fast Maximize Fat Loss? Strength and Conditioning Journal. Vol. 33(1); Feb. 2011

Goto K, Tanaka K, Ishii N, Uchida S, Takamatsu K. A single versus multiple bouts of moderate-intensity exercise for fat metabolism. Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2011 May;31(3):215-20. 

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