Pella Chronicle

Opinion

April 9, 2012

How to lose fat when it’s 80 degrees

Pella — How about this weather we’re having!  I, like everyone else, definitely am taking advantage of getting outside and enjoying the warm temperatures.  It was nice to be able to start the golf season in March, and my family is getting a jumpstart on getting our evening walks in.

Perhaps you are doing the same.  As we all know, there are ample ways to be active outdoors.  For me, I enjoy working in my yard, playing golf and being with the family.  Others like to go for a jog or run, work in the garden or ride their bikes.  The point is, when the weather is nice and you have a chance to enjoy it – you should!

As a trainer, my suggestion to those who ask me for help is to not make their outdoor activities their only form of exercise.  I describe the majority of the things the general public does outside as being active (unless you are doing a lot of distance running), not an actual exercise program.  Now whether you agree with me or not, that’s entirely up to you, but let me explain my point.  To me, everyone should try to be as active as we possibly can.  Most of us, including myself, are confined to a desk for a majority of the day, limiting the amount of movement we get, so any activity is a bonus.  But rarely does that activity make a huge impact on the most popular fitness goals – lose fat and/or tone up.

To accomplish those goals I typically recommend as much activity as possible along with an actual training program designed to reach those goals (diet is obviously a huge part of the equation as well).  Now from my experience, wearing “Shape Up” shoes or “butt toning” shoes isn’t going to get you the body you want.  Those products are just a prime example of how our society is searching for a quick fix when it comes to fat loss and/or toning.  And the fitness model wearing the shoe was certainly fit before she ever put those shoes on.  What you should really be asking yourself is, “what did that person do to look like that, before they put the shoes on?”

“But Barry, I don’t want to look like a fitness model – I just want to feel better and fit into my clothes again,” you might be saying.  So with the warmer weather hopefully here to stay, I’m going to still recommend you adopt a training program to reach those goals.  I have numerous people come to me and express that the walking that they are doing just isn’t getting them to where they want to be with their goals.  What is typically missing from most people’s lives is some form of resistance training.  When it comes to fat loss – resistance training is the best form of exercise.

And there is tons of research to back it up.  The most well documented study was done by Kramer and published in Medical & Science in Sports & Exercise.  The study tested three overweight groups: diet only, diet plus aerobics, diet plus aerobics plus weights.  The diet group lost 14.6 pounds of fat in 12 weeks.  The aerobic group lost only one more pound than the diet group (training was 3 times a week starting at 30 minutes and progressing to 50 minutes over the 12 weeks).  The weight training group lost 21.1 pounds of fat (44% and 35% more than the diet and aerobic only groups, respectively).

On the flip side, a sixth month study reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinal Metabolism compared two groups – one that was diet only and the other was diet plus aerobic exercise (50 minutes, 5 days per week).  The results showed that there were no additional effects of aerobic exercise on body composition.  A 12 month study reported in the Journal of Obesity followed a group that completed 60 minutes of aerobic training per day, six days a week.  The average weight loss after one year was 3.5 pounds or about .3 pounds per month.

The facts are, if you want to see significant fat loss, strength training is the best form of exercise.  And unfortunately, it’s very challenging to do that outside.  My recommendation is to train with a purpose 2-4 times per week, meaning you have a specific goal in mind and you train according to that goal.  For fat loss, that typically involves a program consisting of strength training and high intensity interval training.  I also recommend being active every single day.

If you have questions or need help figuring out what would be best for you, contact me at pellaia@anytimefitness.com. Until next time, take care of your body.

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