By Fahad Maniar
I have literally spent the last 15 years of my life researching what it takes to turn your body into a fat burning machine and get it working with you, rather than against you in your fight for health, fitness and well being and here's what I have found.
The reason why most diets and fitness plans fail
We all appreciate that eating more nutritioous food, less junk and processed foods and being more physically active are conducive to a healthy life yet diseases and conditioned directly linked to poor health choices such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease etc are on the rise throughout the world on a global scale. So, knowing that we should do more exercise and eat better, why do most people still fail? My belief is in the programming of the mind. I am a huge believer in the fact that we are the direct results of the habits we choose to cultivate. The thing is, most people's habits are not serving them when it comes to their health, fitness and well being yet most diets and exercise plans fail to address this issue. We see this in the "New Years Rush" where gyms get inundated with new clients and fitness dvds and program sales go through the roof yet, let's face it, after a few weeks, people are back to their old negative eating and exercise patterns. The key therefore is to start by assessing your current habit patterns and understanding that you will need to replace the negative ones with more positive ones and start programming your mind for success so it doesn't come back and sabotage you later.
Why starving yourself is not the answer
When many people think of the word diet, they think in terms of having to eat less foods or eating foods that share a taste to card board. As human beings, we resist change especiallly when that change seems like a restriction to what we enjoy yet one of the ways so many people try to lose weight is to go on crash diets and forcing them selves not to eat. Let me tell you why this is probably the worst tactic you can employ when trying to lose fat.
Firstly, the resistance you will face from your own mind that will get very angry with you for restricting it of what it loves will cause resentment and anger. Secondly, and the main reason why this tactic is totally horrible is that going on a crash or starvation diet usually means creating a massive calorie imbalance or restriction. This in turn signals your body that food is scarce and as a result energy is scarce (Because food = energy) – The body will then do what it needs to do to conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism and preserving the fat you are eating or have. Yes, you'll lose a lot of weight but a tonne of that will be muscle mass and as we're about to see, Muscle is incredibly important in your fight against body fat and for a healthier lifestyle.
Resistance training is crucial
We've just emphasized the fact that muscle is one of the most important components to creating the body of our dreams and to incredible health benefits. Many people, especially women, avoid weight training and opt for purely aerobic exercises such as jogging. Whilst it is great to jog and perform aerobic exercise, the importance of resistance training with or without weights can not be understated. But, before I go on, Let me debunk one common held preconception especially by women – Weight training will not make you bulky and look like a man! Women simply do not have the levels of testosterone in their bodies to be able to allow them to grow muscle mass at the same rate as men and those women that do have above average muscle mass train, eat and supplement according to those goals so unless you're going to train, eat and supplement like a female bodybuilder, the chances are that weight training will leave you with a sexy, toned, bikini worthy body as opposed to an overly muscular one.
Muscle not only makes your body look desireable and fill you with confidence but from a fat burning point of view, it is important to have a better muscle to fat ratio on the body because muscle, unlike fat, requires energy. In otherwords, your metabolism will be higher as a result of having more muscle mass in your body and a higher metabolism means higher fat burning potential at rest which in turn means you've become a fat burning machine! Other heealth benefits of resistance training include more strength to do daily tasks and make moving easier, reduces the risk of osteoporosis later on in life, better posture, reduced risk of injuring joints and better insulin sensitivty (ideal for people with type 2 diabetes or interested in fat loss!)
Ensure you are doing the following things to maximise lean muscle mass development in your body:
Propper Training – This means resistance training be it with weights, free weights or resistancec machines at a gym. It is important not to under or over work any muscle group and generally advisable that you work one muscle group a week.
Propper Nutrition – The second component in gaining lean muscle is propper nutrition. This means eating nutrient dense foods with an emphasis on good quality proteins (proteins help build and repair muscle). Eating adequate amounts of food, drinking water and focussing on protein and nutrient dense foods will creae an environment within the body that is conducive to building lean muscle.
Rest :- Believe it or not, this is a crucial step too. In fact, rest is the time where your muscles actually grow! During exercise, the stress from resistance training, providing it is adequate, tears down the muscle fibres (This is why you're often sore a day or two after a good workout) when your body is at rest and is given adequate time to heal, over time, it will say "Screw this, everytime I repair your muscle, you tear it down again. Well not this time, I am going to build it a bit bigger and stronger this time" and so, the muscles in your body grow. This is known as muscle hypertrophy.
How to eat for fitness success
Nutrition is a huge topic and I could literaly spend hours writing about this topic here but to keep it short and sweet, I thought i'd share the following guidelines. I've made them so you can implement them straight away into your diet regime and you should see results in as much as a week by following them!
– Drink plenty of water! Your body is mosly made up of water and adequate hydration is essential for health. Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of fresh water very day!
– Focus on quality proteins. Try to aim for about 1 1/2 grams of protien per kg of body weight per day and split it accross 4 to 6 smaller meals (make it 2g if you're very active or training to gain muscle)
– Supplement with fish oils. Try to get about 2-3 grams of fish oil per day and notice the results in your health and well being!
– Focus on nurient dense foods i.e. foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and other quality nutrients.
– Earn your carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are your body's main energy source but have got a bad rap in recent times due to being one of the main culprits from stopping you from losing fat. It isn't that eating carbohydrates is bad but eating too many and the wrong type. As a rule of thumb, earn your carbohydrates through exercise and physical activity
– Limit junk food, processed foods and fizzy drinks as much as possible. If you can eliminate these altogether, you and your body will thank me later!
– Practice portion control. Don't stuff yourself and eat until you are satisfied.
Let's be honest now, there are a million and one diet plans out there and something new and crazy is released almost every other week however, It is my belief that if you follow those steps above alone along with a physical activity or exercise plan, you'll see positive results in as fast as a week. Keep it simple and managable. Remember, the last thing you need is to make drastic changes and have your mind resist and work against you.
The secret of a sexy midsection
Having ripped, washboard abs or a sexy flat stomach seems to be the holy grail in fitness and whilst I believe it is more important to focus on how you feel ont he inside, I have to admit, knowing you have a flat tummy or ripped abs is a pretty awesome feeling and it's quite an addictive thing. The thing is though, most people tend to believe that having ripped abs or a flat stomach is all about being able to do 100's of crunches on a daily basis and it couldn't be further from the truth. There's an old adage in fitness that states, "Abs are made in the kitchen and not the gym". Essentially, this means that in order to get a flat, toned stomach, more emphasis is to be placed on nutrition than on exercise because it's reducing the fat between your muscle and your skin which is going to be the most important factor in having a scumptious midsection. Exercise plays its part too but remember, your abdominal muscles are like any other muscle group and need to be trained and rested accordingly. Afterall, you wouldn't do 100's of bicep curls every day and expect them to grow so don't expect your abdominals to react the same way.
There's so much more I could tell you about this subject so, if you liked what you've read so far, you will love the free eBook i'm going to give you. As a bonus, you'll also receive my news letters full of tips, advice and motivation on how to live a kick ass awesome life and achieve your health and fitness goals in record time!