The word “diet” has such a bad rap… and rightfully so. No one wants to starve themselves or cut out entire food groups just to lose a few pounds. Losing weight starts from creating lifestyle changes that are incorporated into your everyday life. These become habits that you can live by. Here are some easy changes you can make that can help you shed pounds.
First, a few tweaks to how you eat, namely the kind of calories you eat and when you eat them. Believe it or not it DOES matter when you eat what, especially carbs. While there are not necessarily rules on when you should never eat carbs but there are definitely rules on when to eat the “right” carbs. For example, carbs before a workout are great, but you want to limit the amount of fiber you eat before a workout or you can suffer some tummy troubles during your workout. Choosing carbs that do not have a substantial amount of fiber are best so that your body can metabolize it easily. Another rule of the “right” kind of carbs is after a workout. When you have done an intense workout, especially one requiring weights, it is best to eat a higher glycemic carb like white potatoes, white rice etc. The spike in insulin will help bring these carbs to where they need to go to repair damage done during your workout. A third rule of carb eating is for the carbs you are eating throughout the day. When you are eating a meal not centered around workout you want the carbs you are eating to be low glycemic carbs (those that are not going to cause a spike in insulin) to see energy steady and your blood sugar stable. These are things like quinoa, brown rice, oats and other whole grains that are full of fiber and other nutrients.
One of the biggest tips I can give anyone wanting to lose weight, especially when we’re talking body fat, is one word: muscle. That’s right, building lean muscle is really the only way to get rid of body fat. Muscle actually burns fat while you’re at rest, so the buff guy at the gym is burning more fat just sitting still then you are during your sweaty cycle class. The more muscle you build, the more fat you are going to burn. Muscle is going to built in 2 ways: diet and exercise… duh. But to be more specific, it’s the type of things you are eating and the types of exercise that can help build a lean body. Carbs and carb timing, as I mentioned earlier, is one way to help keep the fat away. The other nutrient you need to keep an eye on is protein. Protein is the building block of muscle so getting adequate protein is essential to building lean muscle. To build lean muscle, you also need to hit the weights. It doesn't have to be super heavy weights every day; it could be as simple as going up a couple pounds in your barre class, grabbing the tighter resistance band for arms in dance cardio, or grabbing the heavier medicine ball in your sculpt class. The key is always challenging your muscles. Weight training, along with adequate protein, is going to be the best way to build and maintain lean muscle. And, to build the lean body you want requires a combination of weight training AND the right amount of protein. One without the other will result in you burning through your muscle during your workouts (the result: “skinny-fat”) or just eating a ton of protein for the sake of eating protein. You need both to create and maintain muscle. Here’s how it works. Weight training puts stress on your muscle fibers which then have to repair themselves. These repaired muscle strands increase in thickness as they repair creating muscle growth, as long as your body is adequately nourished and rested. You see, this process happens when you are resting, not while you are working out. If you are not nourishing your body between weight training bouts, you are just going to continue damaging these little muscle fibers so they never repair themselves which means they never have chance to grow to build lean muscle. The long and short of it is this: you can’t spot reduce fat (sorry!) but if you want to lose body fat you need to begin weight training while keeping yourself nourished and well rested!
One last exercise tip for losing weight is to incorporate HIIT workouts. These are High Intensity Interval Training workouts that get a lot done in a short amount of time, because it is quick intense bursts of exercises which revs up your metabolism and will keep your burning fat and calories even after you have stopped. Lucky for you, many of of our workouts at inBalance are built into this HIIT model! OUr signature barre, dance cardio and flow classes are built into intervals so you get these bursts of cardio mixed in with your strength training to get the benefits of a HIIT workout. WHen you can’t make it to the studio, do your own. When doing your own HIIT workouts, you want to get in as much work as you can in a short amount of time. If you are just getting started with HIIT workouts, try just doing some bodyweight exercises (think push ups, air squats, burpees, lunges etc) in your HIIT and throw in weighted exercises once you have gotten use to the pace of a high intensity workout. Aim to include some combo moves in your HIIT workout (moves that work many muscle groups at the same time). By using combo moves, you’re really doing double duty, because not only are you getting your heart rate up and working cardio endurance, but since you are using multiple muscle groups you are exponentially amping up the calorie and fat burn by throwing in muscle endurance at the same time. Think moves like deadlifts, wall balls, burpees, thrusters (squat to overhead press), ground to overhead with a weight or weighted bar, etc.