Let’s address 5 questions I'm often asked.
1) I don’t want to bulk up so can I not do any weight lifting?
Okay, understandable. The majority of the population has no interest in bulking up. So if we keep the resistance high and reps and sets low, the result is stronger and leaner bodies. Conversely, when we do moderate weights and lots of reps and sets the muscles and tissues around the muscles adapt to workload by increasing mitochondria, glycogen and water storage as well as storing fat alongside the muscle cells for added energy storage (like an external gas tank). All these additions to the muscles will obviously make them bulky. Resistance training with high weights and low reps and sets simply stimulates the muscle to become stronger, not necessarily bigger. Sure the muscles will grow, but it usually results in that toned look that many are striving for.
2) How long will it take to lose all this fat (as they grab hold of their belly)?
Maybe the counter question should be, how long have you been fat and out of shape? Changing the body over to lean and strong depends on where you started from. Not an easy question to answer. I’ve seen people who have been in great shape prior to their set back and see a drop in their size in 3 weeks. More commonly it takes 4 months for true life changing results to happen. The secret is a 4-way dynamic: diet, exercise, rest and belief. You must eat clean and not over nourish. Exercise is something the body needs often and higher intensities work best. Lack of sleep is a leading culprit to weight gain as well as inability to recover from your hard work in the gym. You have to believe you are making progress, believe you are feeding your body the right foods, and believe you are truly a special person and taking care of yourself is the right thing for you and those closest to you.
3) How often do I need to workout each week and how long will the workouts be?
Cortisol is a stress hormone, frequent exercise can lower this nemesis. I say this because it’s unsavory effect on most people is adding fat to the mid-section. But hold on, hormones are delicate little things. Face it exercise is technically a form of stress. Once you get past an hour of training the Cortisol levels start to rise again. So the solution is to keep the workouts intense and under an hour. The other secret you see on weight loss reality shows is multiple workouts in a day. For most of us, it’s a session in the morning and another at night. Meaning you could be doing 10 workouts a week. I wouldn’t suggest 2-a-day everyday- remember the body needs to rest and recover. That’s why I don’t work on Wednesdays. It forces my clients to take a break during the week.
4) I’m too heavy to run can I do something else?
While I admit I’m not much of a runner, I do see clients get greater results when they incorporate running into their exercise regime. And sure when most start out in a severely de-conditioned state, running is not an option. Walking uphill is generally my first approach towards increasing exercise intensity beyond walking. Biking and elliptical machines are also supplements for cardio training but not replacements.
5) Why do you keep changing my exercise program?
"I like the one I’m doing now." I could talk forever about this but to avoid being redundant, I’m going to refer you to the blog dedicated to this topic: your 3 weeks are up. It's in the February archives.