great abdominal muscles

You can use these dynamite abs for motivation. Boy, do they look great!

As the New Year is upon us, many people are looking for the fastest way to lose weight to help satisfy their new year’s resolution. If your resolution for 2010 includes losing weight, read on. You’ll discover the fastest way to lose weight, and some myths that can keep you from making all the progress in your weight loss program that you should.

Most people, when they think of losing weight, are a little misguided. What they really want is to lose fat, not simply weight. Roughly speaking, your body weight is in two major classes, lean body mass, and fat. You want to burn off as much fat as possible, or until your body fat percentage drops to around 10% for men and 18% for women. Some competitive athletes will want to go even lower.

What many people do not know is that actually gaining lean body mass will help them lose their fat. That is because lean body mass takes more energy to support, so the more of it you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. This increase in resting calorie burn is called increasing your basal metabolic rate, and it is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal in your quest to lose weight.

You see, you can exercise a few days a week for an hour or so every day, and that will definitely help you to lose weight, but if your basal metabolic rate increases, you will burn more calories all day, every day, no matter if you’re sleeping, watching TV, sitting at your desk, or shopping at the market. Since for most people these other activities comprise a much greater percentage of their daily lives than does exercising, it only makes sense to maximize the calories they burn when away from the gym, bike or court if they are trying to lose weight.

Weight Loss Myth
One of the biggest problems people face when they are trying to lose weight is that they go too far, and it comes back to bite them bad. People go overboard and actually cut back their calories too far, too fast. The human body, being a finely tuned machine with millennia of evolution at it’s disposal, can take over and do the opposite of what you want in this scenario. It actually slows your metabolism down and holds on to excess weight as tightly as possible.

10,000 years ago when humans roamed the Asian steppes and the African plains, food was not all that easy to come by. Safeway and Subway hadn’t been invented yet, so it was common for people to sometimes go a day or two with no food at all. In times of scarcity, the body evolved a response to help ensure it’s survival, slow down and conserve. That way whatever stored energy was contained in the body fat would last until the next meal could be found. There was no way of knowing weather that would be a berry bush around the next corner, or three days hence, after a successful hunt. In some cases food may have been even farther away than that.

The uncertainty of finding food in ancient times led the body to develop a conservation of mass strategy that confounds dieters to this day. That means for you to lose weight you want to actually keep you caloric intake above a certain threshold to avoid the body slowing down your metabolism.

The Fastest Way to Lose Weight
You can lose plenty of weight in a relatively short period of time, but most people want to lose weight and actually keep it off forever. To do that, you’ll have to take a more strategic approach. The strategy includes increasing your basal metabolic rate for help with long term weight management, and getting rid of as much fat as possible in a short term so you look great for that reunion.

If you need to look great in a hurry, you can do some pretty amazing things in 8 – 12 weeks. If you are looking at a shorter time horizon that that, like a week or two, you can still burn off some fat, but much of your weight loss will be water. Before you head off to the gym or the kitchen, there is something that you need to know. In the opinion of many personal trainers and training professionals, the 7 – 20lb weekly weight loss totals portrayed on the TV reality series “The Biggest Loser” is unrealistic and not the best solution for long term weight management. A figure of 2 – 3 lbs per week is closer to the weight loss target for most individuals.

That rate of weight loss is easily achievable and will typically yield better long term results than trying to kill yourself striving for a 20lbs loss per week. What happens on many occasions when shooting for such extreme weight loss figures is that you will over train your muscles, which actually inhibits their growth. You should be seeking to maximize muscle growth.

The other common problem faced by people that try to lose too much weight, too fast is rebound, where they lose weight fast, only to regain it in a relatively short time period. In many cases they actually end up heavier than they were before they started their weight loss efforts. What you should be trying for a is a synergistic approach, where strategic diet and exercise work together to have you dropping the maximum amount of fat in the shortest amount of time, and then (this is important) keeping it off forever!

If you have a need to lose weight in the short term, such as for an event of some kind, you can have the best of both worlds. You will lose a relatively large amount of weight in a short period of time, and then less per week over the long term, until your ultimate goals are met.

Short term weight loss program:
You’ll use this program for 2 weeks to jump start your weight loss program. If you stay on this it will actually hurt your progress long term, so after the first two weeks, you;ll transition to the long term program. It is fairly intense, so check with your doctor to see if you are up to it.

Quick Weight Loss Diet Section –
All the foods are strategically chosen for this diet. For example, the yogurt is very important because in a 2005 study test subjects who ate 3 servings of low fat, sugar free yogurt every day lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat (and an amazing 81% more belly fat) than those who simply cut calories and didn’t eat yogurt.

Before you begin the diet portion of this, described below, there are some rules to live by, but the simplest are these: Do not eat white rice, white flour or refined sugar. You’ll have to get into the habit of actually reading the labels on the food you eat because there is a tremendous amount of crap on supermarket shelves these days. Remember, if there is one type of sugar in food, there is 20. If it ends in “ose” it is sugar. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose are all different kinds of sugar, as is the worst, high fructose corn sweetener.

Your carbohydrates should primarily be of the low glycemic index variety. Low glycemic index carbs include green vegetables and some fruits. Glycemic index is basically a measure of the speed at which the carbohydrate is absorbed into your bloodstream. Quickly absorbed carbs cause your body to rapidly release the powerful hormone insulin. High insulin levels facilitate fat storage, so keeping them in check is essential in helping to combat high body fat levels. For more on this, see my previous post on low glycemic index foods.

Monday – Saturday
– Calories in parentheses to the right –
Breakfast (405):
3/4 cup oatmeal (225)
2 heaping tblspns flax seed meal (60)
1 scoop protein powder (120)
½ tsp cinnamon (0)

AM Snack (222):
8oz sugar free, low fat yogurt with heaping tbsp protein powder (170)
½ grapefruit (52)

Lunch (264):
½ skinless chicken breast, grilled (142)
8oz sugar free, low fat yogurt (90)
4oz broccoli, steamed (32)

PM snack (222):
8oz sugar free, low fat yogurt with heaping tbsp protein powder (170)
½ grapefruit (52)

Dinner (425-574):
1 skinless chicken breast, grilled (286)
or
4 – 6oz salmon fillet, grilled (232 – 348)
or
5.3oz extra lean turkey burger, grilled (200)
½ tomato, sliced (10)
4oz broccoli, steamed (32)
1oz walnuts (183)

Daily Total: 1587 – 1736 calories

To reduce calories down to 1,400, just cut the ¾ cup of oatmeal for breakfast down to ½ cup and eat only ½ a chicken breast for dinner.

On Sunday, completely go off this diet, and eat tons of junk. Well, not tons of junk, but you can eat up to 3,000 calories, and much of it should be of the simple sugar variety, and starches such as pasta. If you love spaghetti, here’s your chance to pig out on it. Eating like this one day a week will do a few things, such as keep your body from trimming back your metabolic rate to conserve until more prosperous days are back again. It will also help normalize levels of a hormone called leptin, which help to control hunger. See my post on leptin control for more on how this can keep your body fat levels low.

Follow this diet for 4 – 6 weeks.

While also doing th exercise section to follow:

Quick Weight Loss Exercise Section –

Fast Weight Loss Cardio –
Before breakfast, 6 days a week, 45 – 60 minutes of cardio in the “fat burning zone”, where your body is operating at approximately 65% – 70% of it’s maximum heart rate. To find your target heart rate for this, see my previous post on target heart rate for fat loss. It is important that you do this before you eat breakfast so your body is metabolizing fat for energy rather than the carbohydrates you just ate for breakfast.

Resistance Training –
Weight training, along with diet, is the very foundation for fat loss. Building muscle that keeps your metabolic fires burning is incumbent upon you if you want to keep from having to slave away doing cardio for the rest of your life to fend off fat. Don’t get me wrong, cardio definitely has it’s place keeping your heart healthy and increasing your endurance, but after you drop this initial weight, you can concentrate more on short, intense weight training sessions instead of long, grueling cardio workouts.

It isn’t just me saying that weight training will increase your metabolism and help reduce body fat percentage, either. A recent Boston University Medical School study published in the journal Cell Metabolism revealed that resistance training did increase metabolism and help in burning body fat, in addition to increasing strength.

Another study, published in 2000 and performed by the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Ohio University’s Athens campus entitled “Effects of High-Intensity Resistance Training on Untrained Older Men. I. Strength, Cardiovascular, and Metabolic Response” demonstrated that even previously untrained, older men will get tremendous increases in strength and decreases in body fat percentage from doing resistance training exercises with a repetition range of 6 – 8.

Still further evidence of weight training’s efficacy in terms of increasing metabolic activity for hours after training has ceased is provided by another 2000 study, this one authored by Drs Osterberg and Melby and published in the “International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism” examined females in their mid 20’s. It looked at one of the standards I like for measuring metabolic rate increases; excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

In this study EPOC was measured at specific intervals after the exercise period was over. Again, resistance training showed a great ability to increase metabolic activity for many hours after the training period was complete. In this case, the training translated into significant body composition improvements.

Here is a great workout to get you started on your fast weight loss program. You’ll need only four things to build muscle: Sleep, nutrition, recovery period between training sessions, and of course, intense training to stimulate growth.

Stay tuned for a more on exactly how to lift to maximize your results while minimizing effort.

Fast Weight Loss Weight Training Workout Program (5 day cycle)-

Day 1                    (# of Sets x # of reps in that set)
Bench Press                1 x 16
1 x 10
3 x 6

Incline Bench Dumbbell Press    3 x 6

Overhead Dumbbell Press        3 x 6

Upright Rows            3 x 6

Day 2 – rest

Day 3
Squats                1 x 16
1 x 12
1 x 10
3 x 6

Leg Press                3 x 8

Dumbbell Deadlifts        3 x 8

Seated Rows                3 x 6

Pull Ups / Pull Downs        3 x 8
(do pull downs with so you
can use less than your body
weight if you can’t do pull
ups)

Day 4 – rest
Day 5 – rest

Use enough weight that you can easily complete the sets of 16 repetitions, and enough that you can complete the sets of 10 or 12 reps with some difficulty. The sets of 6 or 8 reps should be done with enough weight that you can barely complete the first set of 6 reps.

Sleep 8 hours a night during this weight loss program, drink plenty of pure water (at least 6 12oz glasses per day. You’ll also get water in your food.)    every day, and follow the dietary recommendations. This is the fastest way to lose weight and keep it off. After the 6 weeks of this program, you can cut back on the cardio training to twice or three times per week of high intensity interval training, which I’ll discuss more thoroughly in a future post, but you can do more in less time with H.I.I.T., something I am a big fan of.

Keep up  the weight training though, and switch up things every 4 weeks or so to take advantage of the muscle confusion principle, and prevent plateaus. For more on how to lose weight quickly and keep it off forever, see more posts at:

Weight Training Routines to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat

Tips on How To Lose Weight

Quick Fat Burning Exercises

How Much Protein Do I Need?