Kcal in/out & fat burn zone

I am so guilty of obsessing over my kcal burn at the gym compared to my calory intake, especially since I got my new Fitbit Charge HR. It’s funny how we perceive something to be so true and solid, while at the same time, it’s really fooling us. For example, how do you know your food contains exactly the amount of calories you’ve calculated? You actually don’t, its all an estimation, which is fine by me, but thought you might want to know before you stress out over a few of them 😉

So now something about the fat burn zone. It has been a myth for a long time, that in order to lose weight or lose fat, you need to do low intensity steady state (LISS) workouts to burn fat. The myth says your heartrate needs to be in a certain zone to maximise the amount of fat burned. There is a bit of truth behind it, but not in a way you might think. I’ll try to explain. Screenshot_2015-12-19-21-49-09-1

Your body contains a certain amount of glycogen, which is basically long chains of glucose. There’s some storage in the muscles and in the liver. It’s a fast and easy way of providing the body energy fast when it needs it. Like in emergency situations, where you have to run away fast in case of danger for example. The thing is, your body really wants to preserve this storage for these emergencies, but will use is when it’s necessary. Fat burning is slower though, it needs more processes to get to energy so it’s not efficient in emergencies. So, for example, you go for a long and sturdy walk (LISS), the body will burn some glycogen, but finds out you go slow and steady (no emergency), so it starts up the processes of burning fat. Slowly, the amount of fats used as energy will increase and the amount of glycogen used will decrease. It will never go to 0%, but because of the slow and steady pace, you’ll have a higher % of fatburn in comparison to the fast and shorter situations where you’ll get a higher % of glycogen burn.

So up to now, you’ll be like, ok, you said it’s a myth but this really sounds like LISS is the way to go for fat burn? I’ll try to get to the clue. It is ALL about energy in and energy out. If you burn more energy than you eat, you’ll lose weight and vice versa. It doesn’t really matter if you burn a higher fat %, because in the end, the body will restore the glycogen stores, using the fat stores if you don’t eat more than you burn! And guess what, the more intense the workout, the more kcal you burn, so in the end, you’ll also burn more fat with intense workouts. There’s been a lot of research about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is short bursts of high intensity training followed by short periods of lower intensity training. It happens to be that you’ll burn a lot more kcal during these workouts, but also AFTER them, making them very efficient for losing weight!

So before I conclude I’ll have to add something else. There actually are other benefits of LISS, like getting more endurance. You’ll not hear me say that you shouldn’t do LISS. It’s just that I think it’s good to know what type of exercise benefits are out there and what will fit your goal! Personally, I’ve been heavy weightlifting (which is also a bit of a HIIT workout) since the start of my journey. For the first 10 months or so, I never did any cardio. Right now, I do 20 minutes of HIIT intervals on the elliptical after weightlifting. I also try to get 10.000 steps daily, which means I go for walks almost every day, which is my LISS workout. It keeps me active and energetic!

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How to get that booty, strike a pose!

IMG_20150214_164425Yes, this is a picture of me, both are me and made on the same day. It might be a bit obvious, but it’s dead simple to make a before and after picture when it’s about that booty progress! Just adjust your posture, arch your back, point your toe and make 100 pictures and select the best.

 

The whole fitness industry is getting obsessed by the booty. I´ve seen a lot of ´fitness´ profiles on Instagram, promoting (selling) a program to get a booty. They have great booty pics of themselves and women fall for their programs like it’s the new 50 shades of grey. And don’t get me started about those ‘she squats’ pictures, they annoy me to the bone as you can see from their body that most have never seen a gym on the inside, at least not the weights room. Recently someone posted a gross picture of Kim Kardashian, showing clearly that she has booty implants and how messy it really looks. It still makes me shiver thinking about it. Getting a real nice booty can be simple and hard. Why? There are 3 reasons why it can be hard, I’ll sum them up for you:

  1. Genetics: You can be born with real nice round and full booty, just losing a bit of weight and a couple of months in the gym in the weights section can give you an amazing booty. If you’re born with a not so great booty, you can still get one, but it will definitely take longer and more work!
  2. Genetics part 2: how fast do you build muscle? If you’re a fast builder, it will take you less time than a slow builder.
  3. Starting point: If you’re obese, you won’t get that perky cute butt as fast as somebody who is only a few pounds overweight, simple as that!

So many people focus on squats. Well, there is more to life than only squatting. Here are my tips on getting a killer booty (no, not in 6 weeks, maybe not even 6 months, but it sure helps getting a nicer booty!).

  1. Lose weight by eating healthy and lifting weight. Most women need to lose a bit or a lot of weight before that booty becomes really visible. You can squat till you’re dead, but really, nutrition is more important than squatting! Check out this page of mine with posts about losing weight (nutrition and weightlifting).
  2. Train the whole body! Training one particular muscle group (the glutes) is almost impossible and also not really wise. Training multiple muscles will increase the natural release of growth hormones in your body, which will also make that booty grow faster. Aim for 3 total body workouts a week, check out this post about weightlifting if you don’t know where to start. Having a great back, shoulders, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps will make your booty even look better! Having great abs will also benefit your shape, check out this post about abs.
  3. Squatting is great, but there are other exercises more booty specific. I would advise to start with compound movements (squat, deadlift, split squats, lunges, leg press, step up, glute kickback) and end with more glute specific exercises (hip thrust, single straight leg deadlift, back extention, good mornings). If you focus on that glute squeeze and push the weights from your heels in most of these exercises, you’ll train the glutes a bit more. If you don’t know these exercises, look them up on bodybuilding.com. Don’t do all these in one setting, divide them over the week and add upper body exercises too!!
  4. Use it or lose it! If you’re sitting all day at work, make sure you create some space for walking. Take a walk before work and/or in your lunch break. Go to the bathroom furthest from your place, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Sitting all day is detrimental for a nice looking booty!

So now you know, there are no secrets in getting a nice booty. It’s just hard work and time that will get you there!

How to get abs…..

ab-abominations-1Surprise, you already have them! Or you are some kind of freak of nature, born without abdominal muscles, which would really suck, sorry! Look at this hot example of abs, click on it if you want, it takes you to a great article that I also refer to later in this post.

I read the sentence ‘I just want abs’ all the time and it always creeps me out. Why? Because there is a whole industry based on a lot of nonsense ways to ‘get abs’. The abroller, abtronic, even my gym has its hourly ab-15 minutes. You go to fitness sites and they’ll tell you to do a certain amount of exercises for a certain amount of days and you’ll get abs as a result. Let me tell you, this is all BS!

First of all, by saying ‘I want abs’ most people mean, ‘I want to have a flat and tight stomach with some visible abdominal muscles’. Most abs are covered by insulation (aka fat) so they’re not visible. Training your abdominal muscles till you drop will NOT automatically melt away your stomach fat and show some shizzled abs. Why? Well, abdominal muscles are just like any other muscle: you give them regular heavy training and in time (yes, time….) they will grow a bit and get more definition. Bigger muscles burn more energy, that’s true, but in comparison with the whole body, the abdominal muscles are just tiny and won’t contribute that much to fat burning. You will need other ways to lose your fat and show off your amazing midsection!

Abs are made in the kitchen

Many people write this and though I understand and agree with the thought behind it, technically it is not correct, because you already have abs. The thing is, you need to eat healthier and less calories to lose your fat and at a certain fat % your abdominal muscles will show. This is different for everybody, the same can be said about the way your abdominal muscles look (4pack/6pack)! A much better sentence would be: Abs get trained in the gym and will show itself when you stop putting so much crap in your mouth.

Personally, I would rather call it ‘core muscles’. A strong core is very important for a fit body! Having a strong core will give you great posture and prevent injuries. Training lower back and side muscles is equally important as training your abdominal muscles! Did you know that by doing a lot of free weight and (standing) single arm/single leg exercises, you already train your core? Did you know that doing endless sit-ups doesn’t really take you anywhere? You can read a great article about ab-mistakes over here. If you ‘want abs’ go and read it!

Oh, and if you don’t feel like doing those exercises and reduce eating crap, you can always get ab implants:

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