One of the most misunderstood concepts in fitness relates to training for fat loss. In fact, most women and even some men believe that the path to a firm physique can only be a traveled by hopping aboard some sort of crazy cardio train. The idea that strength training could actually be the long-awaited answer to their pound-shedding problems doesn’t seem to carry as much weight (pun intended).
For those of us on a mission to slim down and shape up, this type of misinformation can actually prevent us from ever reaching our goals. In fact, they can spark a sort of tunnel vision that causes us to overlook one of the most the important aspects our workouts…strength training. Given the preconceived notions about training for fat loss, many of us who attend group style workouts at CrossFit Country will simply just go through the motions during the skill portion of our training regimen, focusing our attention only on the actual WOD for conditioning and cardio purposes. We may even throw in a few obligatory sit-ups at the end of our routine, for good measure. If you’re guilty of approaching a working in this manner, don’t worry…you’re not alone!
Thanks to an endless supply of long-standing training and exercise myths perpetuated by ill-informed personal trainers and fitness magazines, many of us are convinced that we can reach some sort of fat-burning “zone” and/or reap the benefits of spot reduction. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s time to clear the air.
The amount of time you spend in the gym accounts for only a small portion of your daily caloric expenditure. Unless you’re training for several hours each day as a professional athlete, the bulk of your caloric expenditure comes from your Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR), the amount of calories you burn each day to sustain your bodily functions. In order to increase your BMR, it is necessary to increase the amount of lean muscle mass on your body. [Insert light bulb illuminating above your head]…YUP! Increasing your lean muscle mass is most often achieved via weight training in the form of deadlifts, squats, presses, and other compound movements.
Quick fact: For every pound of lean muscle that you add, you burn approximately 50 calories more per day. (Even though math isn’t my strong suit, that still tells me that swapping out 5 pounds of fat for 5 pounds of muscle will help me burn close to 300 extra calories each day, before I even step foot on the gym floor).
Moreover, doing cardio alone will actually DECREASE your BMR over time, forcing you to do even MORE cardio to make up the difference. Talk about being counter-productive! Without weight training, you will lose the only muscle that is actually accounting for any weight loss you’re able to achieve. This revelation certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, work smarter, not harder!
Now ladies, I can almost hear your brows furrowing over the question, “Won’t weights make me bulky?” The answer, I assure you, is NO! In fact, building that much muscle mass is extremely hard to do…just ask the guy sitting next to you. It takes years and years of hard work, buckets of food and a heck of a lot of testosterone that you simply don’t have because you’re a woman! It true that weight training will add a pound or two of NECESSARY lean muscle, but that addition will pay dividends in making you even leaner and helping you to look more sculpted.
It may help to take a good, hard look at your current training regimen. Ask yourself some questions: How well is this working for me? Am I losing weight and keeping it off? Am I toning up the way I would like? If you are not satisfied with your answers, maybe it’s time to focus a bit more on the strength-based skill work portions of your workouts. Remember, the food you eat to fuel your body plays a HUGE role in this process too! 1 part CrossFit Country + 1 part Healthy Diet (Paleo, perhaps) = Recipe for Successful Fat Loss!
(Source: Training for Fat Loss by Calvin Sun)
Blog Content Written By:
Write This Way, LLC
Paleo, Paleo, Paleo. Is this some sort of cult movement about which I have not yet been informed? I keep hearing people say things like, “It’s so easy. You just eat like a ‘Caveman,’ and you’ll lose weight, have more energy and feel better.!” Well, I like to eat, and I’m constantly on a mission to lose those 5 to 10 pesky pounds that seem to stick to my hips like crazy glue, but how exactly does the Caveman factor into the equation? Is the Paleo Diet really for me, and can I really reap the benefits of its “simplicity” in order to experience success on the plan?
Ok, let’s first define what we’re actually talking about. Paleo (short for Paleolithic) is a diet that is based primarily on the way our ancestors ate prior to the agricultural revolution. Before the days of processed foods and high fructose corn syrups, before we started shooting-up cows and chickens with growth hormones and genetically modifying everything we put in our mouths, human beings thrived in hunter-gatherer societies, maintaining a diet rich in lean meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables. They lived off of the land (wow, what a novel idea, right?)! They consumed foods high in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, omega 3’s and antioxidants. They ate foods low on the glycemic index, low in trans-fat, refined sugars, salt and high glycemic carbohydrates. In short, the Paleo diet provides a way for us to return to the foods Mother Nature intended us to eat. Forget daylight savings, Paleo asks us to turn the clocks back by about 10,000 years. So, do you think you’re up to this challenge? In today’s fast-paced world, is it really possible to eliminate bad foods and replace them with wholesome and fresh foods meant to promote our overall health?
Whether you know it or not, there’s a strong chance that you’ve already consumed Paleo-friendly meals at some point in your life. For instance, have you ever eaten a vegetable omelet? Well then, you’ve had a Paleo breakfast! This is not a fad diet. It is a total lifestyle change.
The foods that are essential to the core principals of Paleo include:
- Lean Meat (Port, Chicken and Beef)
- Nuts (No Peanuts)
Foods to avoid all together when eating according to Paleo include:
- Dairy Products
- Refined Sugar
- Fats and Oils
So, now that you have a rough idea of what this Paleo business is all about, how do you go about getting started? It’s pretty simple, actually. When it comes to planning your meals, feeding yourself and your family, Google can be your best friend, so visit often! Search for recipes, cooking tips, healthy ways to snack and satisfy cravings. Even if making such a dramatic change in your eating habits sounds too overwhelming, then you can just start small. Slowly begin to eliminate processed foods and those dripping with high-fructose corn syrup and salt from your diet. The outer perimeter of the grocery store (minus the dairy products) will essentially be your go-to source for the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. Plus, if you can afford to buy organic, knock yourself out! If not, no worries! Just start taking baby steps towards those baby carrots in the produce department, and give Paleo a shot.
In fact, I propose a challenge! Talk to CrossFit Country’s in-house Paleo Support Group (a.k.a. Wayne or any CrossFitter that actively lives the Paleo way), and try to commit yourself 100% to eating a Paleo-based diet for 30 days. That’s it, 30 little, itty-bitty, short and sweet days (just enough time to gain a better understanding of living life the Paleo way and even see some great results)! Do it…DO IT…Do. It. WE DARE YOU!! You know you want to! Journal about the experience, and share your 30-day challenge with us! Who knows, we just might blog about YOUR success story with Paleo on the CrossFit Country Blog!!
To learn more about the Paleo Diet, visit www.ThePaleoDiet.com
Talk to Wayne. Talk to Google. Talk to YOURSELF and commit to trying PALEO today!
Blog content written by:
Jenny Hice (www.writethiswayllc.com)
- Deadlift 3-3-3-3-3
3 Rounds for Time:
- Run 800m
- 20 Clean & Jerk (135/95)
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According to a report issued by the American Association of University Women, teenage girls are far more likely to base their self-worth on the perception of how they look rather than what they can do. As such, teenage girls are often on a quest to achieve their idea of the “perfect body,” which is generally rooted in an obsession to be thin rather than in a desire to be healthy. Continue reading