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Fat Loss For Intermediates
(Stepping up to the next level)
By Tom Venuto
If you've been training for at least three months
and now you're ready to kick it into high gear and start learning more about
training and nutrition so you can get better and faster results, then this
week's article is for you.
If you're currently not working out at all and
you'd like to know the best way to get started, refer back to part one in this
series: Fat loss for Beginners at: http://www.leehayward.com/fat_loss_beginners.htm
If you've been training for years and consider
yourself "advanced," then the later instalments in this series will
be for you, so stay tuned!!! But don't skip this one - even if you’re advanced,
you might learn something new in this newsletter that you missed along the way.
THE SECRET TO INCREASED FAT LOSS IS...
Ok, so you just got started on a program of
walking or light cardio and some basic lifting, maybe some dumbbell work -
nothing fancy. You feel better, you've lost a few pounds, you have more energy
and you're confident that you're getting healthier.
But you want more.
You want the results to come faster. You want to
look in the mirror and really SEE the difference. You want other people to see
the difference too.
You want more than "a little tone."
Maybe you want a nice hard chiseled six-pack with a small waist, or maybe
streamlined, muscular thighs. Arms like Madonna perhaps? A Brad Pitt
"Fight Club" body maybe? Nothing too crazy - not a miss fitness
Olympia body or the massive bulk of a Mr. Universe - but definitely better than
Well, if you're prepared to STEP UP to the next
level and pay the price necessary to reach the next rung on the ladder, here's
how you do it:
The answer is very, very simple. As you leave the
novice stage behind, it's time to start WORKING HARDER.
Were you expecting something more esoteric? Some
secret Bulgarian periodization program and thermogenic - anabolic supplement
stack? Sorry, but the secret is that there is no secret. A great body all boils
down to outright effort and hard work.
Not counting the "genetic freaks" who
seem to have been born with muscles and zero fat, there's one thing that all
people with great bodies have in common: they all work HARD, HARD, HARD, HARD,
If you want to ascend beyond the lowly beginner
level you simply have to push yourself harder. And that means DIS-COMFORT. When
you're pushing yourself out of the comfort zone, it hurts. Frankly, sometimes
it sucks! But outside the comfort zone is where you grow. Staying inside the
comfort zone will only maintain you at best but usually it sends you plummeting
into a downward spiral.
Most people retreat into the confines of their
comfort zone the second the effort gets difficult. The comfort zone is a very
dangerous place because if you slide back into the comfort zone even once, then
it starts becoming a habit.
First, it's stopping just a few minutes short on
your cardio or coasting on level 5 when you could be doing level 6. You stop at
8 reps, when you had 11 in you. Then you start blowing off workouts completely.
Pretty soon, you're sliding back in other areas of your life; you slide back
from making those sales calls; you slide back from spending quality time with
your family, you slide back from saving money and watching your finances. You
become.... A BACKSLIDER!
You can either be a backslider or you can be an
ACHIEVER but you can't be both and you can't "hang out" in between -
it's one or the other. Although you might think you're safe just
"maintaining" in the comfort zone, unbeknownst to you, you are always
in motion in either a forward or a backward direction. There's no such thing as
standing still; ask any physicist - everything in the universe is always in
motion...vibrating... growing or dying.
The ACHIEVER is the person who is aware that to
"stand still inside the comfort zone" is akin to dying, so he or she
is ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD. The only way to move forward is with hard work and
effort in the direction of a specific goal.
AVOID THE TEMPTATION TO SPEND (WASTE) YOUR MONEY ON GIMMICKS... AND LEARN TO
RECOGNIZE A GIMMICK WHEN YOU SEE ONE
Once you begin getting a taste of what real hard
training is like, it often becomes tempting to succumb to the error of looking
for the "easy way." An electrode on your abs, a
"fat-melting" cream, a pill, a drink mix, a drug - anything and
everything except sweat and hard work. But shortcuts will always fail you in
the long run.
You are setting yourself up for so much trouble if
you give in to the lure of the quick fix. You see, it's all about the Law of
Sowing and Reaping. This great law of life states that your rewards will come
back to you in direct proportion to what you put in. Everything has its price
and that price must be paid in advance.
If you were a farmer, how ridiculous would it be
for you to skip the planting of the seeds in the spring and then go out in the
fields looking for a harvest in the fall? How ridiculous would it be to stand
in front of a wood burning stove and say, Ok stove, give me some heat and then
I'll put in some wood?
But isn't it the same thing when you take a pill
or attach some electrodes to your stomach, or smear some cream on your thighs
and expect to lose the flab without exercise or eating right?
Even if you've made the decision to avoid
gimmicks, in today's marketplace, how do you know what's a gimmick and what's
legit? After all, these marketing people are smart - they know how to play on
your emotions and make gimmicks sound scientific. Don't feel bad; judging by
the e-mails I get every day, most other people don't know the difference
either. Nearly all of these e-mails include this sentence:
Does "IT" work?
Here's how to tell if "IT" is a gimmick
or not: If it makes getting in phenomenal shape sound easy and effortless, then
it's a gimmick.
If it addresses the symptom but not the cause -
it's a gimmick.
If your gut feeling says it sounds too good to be
true - it's a gimmick.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks
like a duck... it's a duck!
Do yourself a favor and stop looking for a quick
ride to the top. The elevator to success is out of order - you're going to have
to take the stairs.
HOW TO DOUBLE YOUR RATE OF FAT LOSS IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS
How would you like to learn a way to DOUBLE YOUR
FAT LOSS in the next seven days? I know, I know - sounds like a gimmick, right?
Well, it's not! It's really quite simple.
To burn more fat you have to burn more calories.
Most beginners start off with three days a week of cardio training. This amount
of cardio is enough to get health benefits and it's enough for many people,
especially beginners, to lose body fat. That's because when your body isn’t
accustomed to exercise, then any increase in activity above no activity will
always produce results.
However, more often than not, the results begin to
slow down a bit within a few months of training (commonly known as
"hitting the plateau"). Then they scratch their heads and wonder why
it's not working anymore.
This is why: Because three days a week is a great
starting point for beginners, but it’s often insufficient for intermediates to
keep the ball rolling, or for those seeking maximum fat loss in the least
amount of time (such as bodybuilders in the pre-contest period or people
preparing for fitness contests and "12 week transformation
If you want a little more fat loss, increase your
cardio a little.
If you want twice as much fat loss and you want it
twice as fast, double your cardio - if only for a very short period of time to
reach a peak condition.
Suppose you burn 400 calories per workout for
three workouts per week. That's a total of 1200 calories per week burned. If
you increased that to six days per week at 400 calories per workout, you would
burn 2400 calories per week. YOU JUST DOUBLED YOUR FAT LOSS! That was a real
no-brainer, wasn't it?
HOW TO TRIPLE YOUR RATE OF FAT LOSS IN THE NEXT 7 DAYS
While we're on the subject of burning more
calories, what would happen if, in addition to increasing your cardio frequency
from three to six days per week, you increased the intensity so you’re burning
600 calories per workout? With six workouts at 600 calories per workout you're
up to 3600 calories per week.
Holy abdominals Batman - You just tripled your fat
Yes it's that simple and the solution was right
there in front of you all along.
If you’re a proponent of High Intensity Interval
Training (HIIT) and you're thinking that I forgot to factor in the post
exercise calorie burn that comes from brief, intense cardio workouts, then
Studies on Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption
(EPOC), also known as the post-workout elevation in metabolism, or
"afterburn effect," have shown that EPOC INCREASES with both the
intensity and duration of the exercise session. Not only that, but if you do
cardio daily, you’re getting this post- exercise metabolic boost every day of
the week, not just every other day. Why wouldn’t you want your metabolism
revved up to the max every day?
By the way, this kind of frequent, intense cardio
is how I reach 3 - 4% body fat for competitions: Six days per week of
moderately intense (not low intensity) cardio, 30-45 minutes per session. For
maintenance, I pull back to 3 days per week for only 20 minutes.
Naturally, of course this advice is for people who
have at least reached the intermediate phase and have already built an aerobic
conditioning base... and who have no health problems the preclude high
ALWAYS BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR SOMETHING TO MOTIVATE AND INSPIRE YOU
After the initial novelty of starting a workout
program wears off, one problem nearly everyone runs into is lack of motivation.
I can personally confirm this just by the membership attrition (drop out)
statistics in my health club. Fifty percent of all people who join a health
club quit in the first three months. Here's how you can prevent becoming a part
of that statistic:
Always be on the lookout for something to motivate
and inspire you - anything! Go see a movie, watch a video, read a book or
article. Hire a coach or personal trainer. Get a training partner. Think about
your goals and write them out repeatedly. Pick a role model of someone you want
to look like. Attend a competition. Enter a competition. Hang out with people
who motivate you. Ditch the people who don't support you (I'm not kidding - get
out of unsupportive relationships like you’d get out of a burning house!) The
list of motivational methods is endless.
Some people insist that "motivation"
doesn’t last. I always tell them they’re right! Motivation doesn’t last - but
neither does bathing and you do that every day anyway, don’t you?
Every day you must ask yourself, "What can I
listen to, do, find, or watch to get inspired today." Then follow through.
I recently watched a movie called Without Limits,
which is the story of Steven Prefontaine, the runner. Even though I'm a
bodybuilder and not a runner, that movie got me so motivated I ran to the gym a
blasted through a killer leg workout, smashing through several PR's (personal
I also have the videos of the 1996 Atlanta
Olympics narrated by Bud Greenspan. If watching Michael Johnson win his races
and accept his gold medals doesn't motivate you, see if you still have a pulse.
For the bodybuilders, here's an old motivational
stand-by. Watch (or re-watch) the movie Pumping Iron.
One of the absolute best ways to
get motivated is to spend time in serious thought about what you want to
accomplish and then write it down, which leads us to the next "next level
SET NEW (AND BIGGER) GOALS
If you ever feel unmotivated and you want to get
over it, just take a look at your goal list. What? You don't carry a goal card
or a frequently updated, written goal list with you? Well, I guess we know why
you're not motivated don't we?
Goal setting is not an event - it is a process.
When you move up the ladder to intermediate status, the modest goals of a
beginner are a thing of the past. "I am walking for 20 minutes three days
every week" is a great beginning, but eventually, you have to move out of
the minor leagues.
Goals are the fuel in the fire of motivation.
Goals get you out of bed early and into the gym in the morning. Goals keep you
on the treadmill for forty-five minutes when you feel like stopping at thirty.
In a set of ten reps, goals are what make you push for that eleventh and
Goals are so much more powerful than you can
imagine. Read any book on the subconscious mind, such as "Psycho
Cybernetics" by Maxwell Maltz or "The Power of Your Subconscious
Mind" by Dr. Joseph Murphy and you'll begin to understand why goals are so
If you don't have goals...and if you don't have a
new set of them every few months, then you're not deserving to move up to the
next level. Remember, you don't get what you want in life, you get what you
And one last thing - a goal is not a goal if it's
not in writing - its only a wish (as in wishy-washy)
MOVE UP TO A SPLIT ROUTINE
A full body routine performed three days per week
is probably the best way for a beginner to start strength training. However,
this routine gets old fast. Within months or even weeks, you will outgrow it
and you'll need to add exercises.
The problem is, the more exercises you add, the
longer your workouts will become. If your workouts are too long, you reach a
point of diminishing returns and over-training. Stress hormones rise and
anabolic hormones will fall. Workouts must remain brief and intense for you to
keep making progress.
The solution is a split routine.
A split routine means that instead of doing all
your exercises in one session, you "SPLIT" your body in half and
train one half on DAY ONE and the second half on DAY TWO.
Adding more exercises allows you to:
1) Work each muscle more thoroughly and more
deeply into the fibers
2) Work the entire muscle group; for example,
front deltoid, side deltoid AND rear deltoid
3) Concentrate on each muscle more instead of
spreading your attention out
4) Apply more energy and effort to each body part
instead of holding back and conserving energy for the last few muscles
Here's a sample 2 day split:
Day one: Chest, shoulders, triceps, Abdominals
Day two: Thighs, Back, Biceps, calves
And here's how it would fit into the week if
you're training three days per week:
Mon: Chest, Shoulder, Triceps, Abs (cardio
Tues: Off (just cardio)
Wed: Thighs, Back, Biceps, calves (cardio optional)
Thu: Off (just cardio)
Fri: Chest, Shoulder, Triceps, Abs (cardio optional)
Sat: Off (just cardio)
Sun: Off: Total rest day
Repeat cycle beginning with day two workout
If you're ambitious, you have the time, and your
recovery ability warrants it, you can do this split four days per week, working
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.
I don't have space to write out a complete program
with every exercise, but you can check out my book, Burn The Fat, Feed the
Muscle for that - It has four routines, each with two variants to fit your
personal schedule, for a total of eight routines to choose from.
Here's one important tip when you’re designing
your own split routines:
CHANGE YOUR EXERCISES, SET & REP SCHEMES,
TEMPO AND REST INTERVALS FREQUENTLY! This will help alleviate boredom and
prevent your muscles from "adapting" to the routine (Changing acute
training variables every 4 to 12 weeks is called the "muscle
JOIN A HEALTH CLUB OR INVEST IN SOME NEW EQUIPMENT FOR YOUR HOME GYM
Does your workout still consist of walking around
the block, or the Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies video in your living
room in front of the TV?
If so, then don't worry, I'm not going to make fun
of you - actually I want to congratulate you for doing more than 95% of the
lazy world population - you got started!
However, if you've read this far, you've expressed
interest in moving up to the next level, so it's time to put those 2nd grade
workouts back on the shelf and move up to something with a little more
First, I'm going to repeat my advice from part one
of this series: Join a health club! Since you'll be adding new exercises, a
good health club will put an almost infinite number of exercise choices at your
Many people are scared to join a gym "until
they get in shape." That’s really putting the cart before the horse isn’t
it? If you're in this category, let me put you at ease:
You'd be surprised how supportive the environment
is in a good health club. I've been in the health club industry for 16 years
and I've never heard a member or employee of any club I've worked in make fun
of a beginner or someone out of shape. (Personally, I prefer to make fun of the
blunders made by the "big-ego, know it all experts," but "gym
blunders" will have to be the subject of another article.)
I've seen people who were very overweight in our
club and the attitude of the staff and members is usually one of, "Good
for you! Is there any way I can help?" If fact, you're more likely to get
a derogatory comment from someone on the street than you are in a health club.
You owe it to yourself to put yourself in a positive, supportive, caring
environment and there's no better place than a health club.
It also helps to realize that everyone has to
start somewhere, and everyone was "out of shape" when they started.
We're all in the same boat in the early learning stages.
If you choose not to join a club, that's fine, but
you'd be smart to invest in a few additional pieces of equipment for your home
gym beyond the bare basics.
Let's assume you own a bench and a set of
dumbbells. The next additions to your home gym should be a barbell set, a set
of squat racks and a cable-pulley apparatus with a high and a low pulley. By
owning these pieces equipment, you've just opened up a whole new world of
exercise options for yourself such as:
Barbell squats, barbell lunges, barbell rows,
barbell bench press, barbell shoulder press, barbell curls, barbell tricep
extensions, wide grip lat pulldowns, close grip lat pulldowns, low cable rows,
triceps pushdowns, cable curls and much more.
By the way, why so much talk about weights? Isn't
fat loss mostly nutrition and cardio? Yep, that's true. However, I'm
emphasizing strength training because it plays a more important role in fat
loss than most people realize. If you're busy aerobicizing and dieting without
hitting the weights, you're much more likely to burn muscle along with the fat.
And when the muscle goes, your metabolism begins to go down the tubes too.
READ, STUDY AND LEARN
Would you like to know how to rapidly blast
through the beginner and intermediate stage, into the advanced stage and then
ultimately go even beyond the advanced stage and become an expert at fat
burning, fitness and nutrition? If so, here's how:
Read one hour a day, five days a week, about training,
nutrition, and personal achievement. In three years you will literally be your
Suppose you only read 30 minutes a day, but you do
it every day as a discipline. That's one book per week, 52 books per year, 520
books in ten years. Think about the level of knowledge you'll achieve.
I personally read two or three hours a day, I have
2700 books and over 250 audio and video programs in my library. I’ll miss an
hour of sleep before I’ll miss an hour of reading. People always ask me how I
learned so much about bodybuilding, nutrition and success psychology. Now you
Some good places to start:
Get a good book about motivation and psychology.
Here's one of the best: "Maximum Achievement" By Brian Tracy.
Also, get a good cassette/CD program about
motivation so you can listen in your car and while you do your cardio. What?
You listen to music? Thought so. Most beginners do. Highly effective people and
achievers always double up and do two things at once whenever possible. Why not
kill two birds with one stone? Learn while you get lean!
Here's a suggestion: Even if you think the
infomercials are cheesy, Anthony Robbins really does put out some fantastic
stuff. Look into "Personal Power" or "Get the Edge. "
Get a good book about nutrition for fat loss. Read
my 340-page manual, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle It's the number one best
selling fitness e-book on the Internet and is available for download at http://www.leehayward.com/burn_the_fat.htm
Last, but not least, keep one thing in mind as you start this journey of
learning and continued progress: Knowledge is not power, knowledge applied is
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer,
gym owner, freelance writer, and author of “Burn The Fat, Feed
The Muscle”: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders
and Fitness Models. Click here to visit Tom's Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle website.