Archive for April, 2014

If you know me fairly well, you know that I dread cardio…but for many, including myself, it is an essential part of a fat-loss program.  As I’ve said before, the order of importance for a proper fat-loss program is 1.  NUTRITION, 2.  Resistance Training, and (a distant 3rd…) 3.  Cardio.  While doing some form of steady state cardio can and often should be included in a program, in my opinion, it should NOT be the primary method you use for fat loss (unless of course recommended by your healthcare provider).

I prefer many other methods including HIIT, CardioAcceleration (you’ll be familiar with this if you’ve read any of Jim Stoppani’s work), and complexes and other “finishers”.  I’ve previously written a blog on Barbell Complexes for fat loss and you can read it here:  https://fitgirlkris.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/barbell-complexes-for-strength-conditioning-and-fat-loss/ .  There is a huge variety of other “finishers” that you can tack onto the end of a resistance workout to aid in fat loss without ever setting foot near a treadmill.  These forms of cardio can be included 3-4 times per week depending on your overall intensity and need for rest (the other days you can add in a little bit of steady state cardio if you want to).  Don’t forget your Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter!

So, here is what I’m planning to do to finish off my next workout (or in place of it if I’m unable to get to the gym)…who’s with me?  It should only add about 10-15 minutes to your total workout time (you’ll need 1 heavy Kettlebell and 2 moderate weight Kettlebells):

  • 2-arm KB swings (using the heaviest KB you can handle) x 20 reps
  • KB Thrusters (using the 2 moderate weight KBs) x 20 reps
  • Sumo KB High Pull (using 1 or 2 moderate weight KB(s)) x 20 reps
  • KB Renegade Row x 20 reps

Perform these 4 exercises in a row with no rest.  Rest for 60-90 seconds.  Repeat for 2-4 cycles (depending on how intense your weight-training routine was).  This can also be performed as a stand-alone routine on days you are short on time but want to do something (ahem…that will be me this week because my kids are on Spring Break)…have fun!

Who doesn’t love a good cheat meal?  I know I do!  Although it can be something to look forward to when you’re in the middle of a diet or weight loss program, it can easily get you into a lot of trouble.  I hate to break it to you, but cheat meals aren’t necessary for everyone.  If you have quite a bit of weight to lose or if you’re coming off a “bulk”, “building phase”, or even maintenance, there really is no physiological reason for you to have a cheat meal.  But, in this stage of the game, there certainly is a mental benefit.  Starting a diet is hard…maintaining it is even harder.  Having a favorite meal to look forward to or a trip to a restaurant can certainly help you get through the diet grind.  A cheat meal or “reefed” can be much more important physiologically if you’ve been in a deficit for a long time or you’re extremely lean (but I’ll leave that for another blog).

Ok, so here’s the issue.  If you’ve spent all week with your diet on point, with a reasonable deficit, one tremendous meal can 100% erase your entire week…especially if you’re on the smaller side (sorry ladies).  I’ll admit, I hate counting calories but as I’ve said before, calories do count.  I’ve been trying to do a slow cut for a couple of weeks now.  My daily deficit is set around 300-400 calories, so my weekly deficit should be 2100-2800 calories if I do it right.  This should equate to just over 1/2 pound of weight loss per week (which is on the slower side, but I have found that I maintain much more lean mass when I aim for under 1 lb/week of weight loss).  So, what happens if I go out to eat with my family and have a cheat meal of 2 slices of pizza and 2 glasses of wine?  Depending on the pizza and the type of wine, that can add up to almost 1000 calories!  Subtract that from my weekly deficit and it has significantly slowed or even halted my fat loss…not good!

Here’s where planning can help out.  I recommend that you don’t necessarily look at your calories on a daily basis, but on a weekly basis.  This is where technology can be a huge help.  Websites and apps like My Fitness Pal or Lose It! can help you track your input.  You can look back over the course of the week and see how you did.  If you hit your goal everyday (meaning you didn’t go over or under your calorie/macro goal), I wouldn’t recommend having a cheat meal of 1000 calories.  On the other hand, if you’ve been slightly under your goal each day of the week, you have some “free” calories to play with.  For example, if I were under 100 calories each day of the week for 6 days in a row, I have about 600 extra calories to play with on a night out with my family.  So, I can either have the pizza OR the wine and still be on track for my estimated weekly weight loss.  Win!

This isn’t to make you completely crazy with numbers…but do try to have a decent estimate if you don’t keep track.  If you know you’ve been under your goal (or if you managed to squeeze in extra workouts during the week), it’s probably safe to say you can give yourself a reasonable treat!