is by running an ultra marathon. I don't run long distances to lose
weight ... and neither should you. The stress of running a long way for a
long time increases cortisol production which in turn inhibits fat loss. The
human body is a super efficient machine and so will have you using up the least
amount of fat on that long run ... so no fat loss there.
I do it because I like the challenge, both the mental and physical, whilst
running through and experiencing the beauty of nature. As I've said many times before, I find it romantic.
It's also not that healthy, yes you have to be super fit to do it but health
and fitness are not necessarily the same thing ... but I digress.
After a great deal of research both from scientific study, practical
client success stories and personal experience my conclusions are as
Without doubt this is the number one fat burner and
its quick and super efficient. You can burn the maximum amount of fat
sprinting by doing only 12 minutes of exercise a week. Yep, that's what
I said 12 minutes a week! For example studies have shown
that if you do 8 x 30 second sprints with 90 seconds rest in between, 3 times a
week, you can lose up to 30% of body fat over an 8 week period. Its
the EPOC effect of burning fat for up to 36 hours after the exercise is
completed. That's 12 minutes a week and you can increase Growth hormone
(GH) production by up to 771% over the same period ... add hill sprints
just to make it spicy. Are there downsides? The main downside is that if
you don't train up to this level then you can have injuries, so start
slowly and build up to this protocol week by week.
2) Cross country skiing.
Okay, so you've got no snow but if you have, this is serious exercise
... and I don't mean downhill skiing, sorry. The downside is it takes
longer than sprinting and more preparation but it is less prone to
injury and a great all round cardiovascular workout. It also provides a
different metabolic stimulus for the body in the winter season.
Ever seen a fat rower thought not. Rowing
machines are just as effective as long as its for example 400 metres
of short bursts of high intense rowing. Intense means full out. The
downside here is that you have to learn proper technique for it to be
4) Lifting weights.
SCpecifically, Barbell Back Squats, Dumbbell Decline Renegade
Rows, Chin ups, Deadlift, Dips, Lunges, Cleans, etc but any
combination of these exercises will increase lean muscle mass, cut fat and
increase your fat burning potential. They can be done individually,
combined in supersets or in a circuit. Correct technique is essential for
these to be effective.
5) Bodyweight exercises.
Burpees, press-ups, dips, mountain climbers, box jumps, lunges ,squats.
The main benefit here is that you don't need any equipment and you can do these
virtually anywhere. I would also add skipping or jumping rope and cardio
This is a great fat burner and a superb exercise
but it has to be vigorous, as in short sprints. Cruising up and down
the pool all day, nice as it is, ain't gonna burn much fat ...
and you need water!
A surprising choice perhaps but walking at a good pace,
i.e. power walking for an hour burns fat. Its low impact, low injury and can be
done anywhere anytime. But, I mean a good sustained pace not a slow amble
through the countryside picking daisies and reciting Wordsworth.
If you are new to exercise then jogging a
few times a week (Minimum 45mins) will burn fat but after about 3 months its
effectiveness will wear off as your body adapts, so then its just maintenance.
Please don't jog on a running machine week after week ... you are wasting
your time, its just junk miles and studies have shown that if you do only this
for several years you will slowly put weight on! I know I have done it myself
many years ago. I remained at 18% - 20% body fat and never got slimmer. The
only reason I didn't get fatter was that I ran further and further until it was
an ultra marathon ... and still I didn't burn any fat!!
This comes low in the list for obvious reasons. Long slow distance cycling
burns very little fat (unless its the Tour de France) but throw in a
few mountains and some speed sprints and now your talking. Doing a 4 minute
'Tabata' on a stationary bike is highly effective or do a Sprints x 8
routine but on the bike. The downside is time, preparation ... and you need
This is a highly intense anaerobic sport but I don't know many people who play squash,
good as it is, probably because the downside is firstly, injuries and
secondly ... you need a squash court!!
So there you have it, my top 10. To be brutally honest any high
intensity exercise, (sprint/row/cycle) combined with strength work,
(bodyweight or free weights), done 5 times a week will do it but at least you
have some variety in this list. We are all individuals and an exact program
designed in line with your goals, body condition, fitness level and
overall ability is the preferred option but if this is not possible then
just do something!
No doubt I will get emails and comments disputing some of my choices but
feel free, its all a learning curve and we never stop learning.
Obviously you need to combine these exercises with healthy nutrition ... but
you knew that anyway.
Okay, so in my first two blogs in the first week of 2014 you know
my opinions of what to eat and what to do ... and I think today is a great time
to start, so go do it.
FAT LOSS SECRETS AND THE GRAND CANYON
Odd title but read on.
As many of you are aware I have been conducting personal one on
one training sessions for much of this year ... hence the reason for my
lack of blog postings. It has been a frenetic, fun, busy and highly
rewarding period and the last 7 or 8 months in particular have been
I would say the number one goal for the
majority of my clients is fat loss, followed by a toned body
and increased fitness. Men want to build lean muscle, as
do many women (as long as they don't look like Madonna - poor thing she
gets such a bad rap). Now obviously these goals are interchangeable and if
training is to be successful then all these goals must be achieved, however
for 90% of clients fat loss is still the predominant desire. I have been
quoted as saying that most people are fat and have even been accused of
being a 'fatist' (whatever that is) but the point is simple, whether
you like it or not, fat and more especially obese people are
unhealthy. At 7.8% body fat, I am fat, even though on any measure I am
considered well toned, fit and healthy, its just a word. I think overweight
unhealthy people should face up to the problem and deal with
it. Please don't comment or email me with the 'I know lots of fat
healthy people' because you don't. Do the research, go chat to their doctor,
check their blood samples, look at their health records ... or just see how out
of breath they are after climbing a few stairs. They are ripe for Type 2
diabetes, heart attacks, high cholesterol, arthritis, dementia and on and on.
They will eventually become a burden to the health service, their families
and ultimately to themselves.
To be honest I am a bit tired of having
to quietly dance around the subject, it's as if when I say anything
everyone goes into a panic and asks me not to mention anything about fat people
in case I offend someone. Its ridiculous this faux kindness, lets take action! I
have the greatest respect for clients who have, for example, 30% body fat and
want to do something about it; Bravo, they have the guts to say let's change
this and they work damned hard to do so. Its fantastic to see people realise
their dream of a healthy, vibrant, toned body... or run a race they never
thought they could do.
The press talk about anorexia as a disease or
illness, but not obesity. Having read a plethora of research studies, clinical
analysis and so on, only a very, very few people have some kind of
medical reason for their obesity. In the main it comes down one simple thing
'They eat too much of the wrong food'
Its not rocket
science. If you change the type of food you eat, even by a small amount, you
will see a difference. If you reduce your portion sizes you will see a
difference. If you do the right exercise you will see a difference. So lets
simplify this, here are my top 12 secrets to fat loss:-
1) Eat 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking
up (with vegetables) No Carbs.
Severely reduce your carb intake (and only eat good carbs), and
increase your protein and vegetables/salad intake.
3) Drink a minimum
of 2.5 litres of water per day.
4) Get a good night's sleep. (min7
5) No alcohol. ( Okay, I guess I just lost half my readership :)
6) Eat a naughty cheat meal once every 7-10 days.
7) Severely reduce
your portion size for your early evening meal i.e. before 7pm.
Do intense anaerobic exercise 3 times a week. (25 mins only)
Strength train 3 times a week.
10) Have a minimum of 30 grams of whey
protein within 30 mins of finishing your exercise.
11) Eat every 3/4
hours ... and NEVER skip meals.
12) Supplement with
high quality fish oil, glutamine, zinc, magnesium, green drinks, vitamins
Okay, that's it. I could go on and add more
and I could go into long detailed explanations of why we do this or
that, and why it works but most people just want to know the 'how' ... and
that's how. One of my clients followed this routine exactly and lost 17
kilos in weight and gained 6 kilos in lean muscle mass, losing 18% of his body
fat in 12 weeks, no gimmicks or quick fixes just hard work and sensible eating.
This may be an extreme example but I have many similar success stories
of clients achieving their own particular goals.
The New Year is upon
us, why not make 2014 the year we set new standards, new goals, new horizons ...
and set up a plan to take action and achieve them.
My goal is simple, I plan to run from
the North rim of the Grand Canyon to the South rim, unassisted, alone
and in one go. Its not a race and there are no aid stations, its just me
and the elements. This is my goal for 2014 and I began my training at 8 am
this morning, New Years Day with my marathon expert and friend Jamie. As with
all goals you have to start today. In February I am going to recce the Canyon to
get a feel for the task, its all booked. I will do the run in October on the
last day before the North rim closes for winter. I will map out the route etc
and test my ability to climb 10,000 feet out of the Canyon running nearly a
full trail marathon in the process. Its hot and dangerous but also fun,
exhilarating and exiting ... I can't wait but preparation is the key and planned
training is the solution.
This is my goal but if your
endeavour is to simply feel better in yourself, fitter
and healthier then great, its a worthy desire ... but take action ...
I wish you all good luck and good health for