Mmmm… Catching the waft of a batch freshly baked muffins as you open the oven to take them out and then BAM! just one look at the tops spilling over the sides to remind you of those new pair of jeans that fit perfectly a few weeks ago and are now becoming a bit snug around your waist.
People have been referring to the excess fat around the waist as the “Muffin Top” phenomena. There are many causes that influence the way we put fat on around our waist, ranging from metabolism to problems with digestion and other factors. However, the main reason we put on fat around the abdominal area is mainly due to the bad food choices we make. Late night binging, wrong snack choices, the over consumption of alcohol and the list goes on.
“To successfully get rid of the fat around your abs you need to follow a good exercise plan with a healthy, balanced diet.” – This is the basic information we have all seen in magazines and on the internet, right? That doesn’t say much however, so here goes:
Making sure you do not exceed your daily caloric intake needs. For optimum fat loss you would opt to have a high protein, low fat, low carb eating plan – but make it fun, because we are more likely to stick to something we like than something that is completely foreign to us.
Keep moving and start losing!!
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OK, this maybe the most controversial piece of information you have ever read, though, deep down you know it to be the most truthful. This is because like so many people you are exercising how ‘they’ tell you and eating how ‘they’ suggest you should (probably paying money for a subscription to a club or paying money for supplements) and you are either not gaining the results you want, or, you’re actually having negative results.
How can this be? Surely gyms and slimming clubs are there to help you lose weight, slim down, and help you achieve your goals efficiently and as quickly as possible. Well, no. Without meaning to sound like too much of a conspiracy theorist. That is not the case at all. Slimming clubs and gymnasiums are businesses. Sure, they may have intentions to base their missions statement at the centre of their business that they support your weight loss, slimming and physique desires, BUT, in reality they’re a business. They’re more interested in maximising profits, reducing overheads and maintaining customer loyalty and lifespan.
Having worked in the health and fitness, and supplement marketing industry for over 12 years, I have a good grasp of the world of personal training, health club sales, nutritional supplement marketing, manufacture, retail and both online and offline marketing of such ‘products’. I also have worked with hundreds of clients in the real world to maximise their results from their exercise and nutrition programs, whilst debunking so many of the popular myths and nonsense promoted by slimming clubs, gymnasiums and nutritional supplement marketers.
So, let’s instantly get this straight. I am now not talking about ‘sports specific’ or ‘skills’ training. Nor am I talking about the multiple levels of fitness that people can attain by spending tens of hours practising ball dribbling, or back flips. If your goal is sport specific or skills based, this is not what I am writing about in this piece. This information is written for the many tens of thousands of frustrated people who are wanting to lose some fat, gain muscle tone, and of course be slimmer and happier with their figure, energy levels and life.
Hands up how many people believe you have to become a slave to exercise in order to lose weight. Well, in reality, that is the worlds biggest myth ever promoted by personal trainers and gymnasiums who make their money by you committing hours to their services or facilities. Exercise does NOT help you lose weight or change your physique. If your goal is slimming and weight loss (or more specifically fat loss for the proper logic) then you need to know that in reality exercise will deliver no more than 10% of the results towards your goal. Remember this weight loss is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise.
Exercise is for a couple of factors. The first is the health benefits. Your cardiovascular health and the health of your joints and ligaments. Muscle tone (yes it exists) is the state of permanent muscular contraction to a small degree, giving your body better shape and be visually more appealing to the eye, showing your muscle is strong, and functional. Exercise can help you build and/or maintain your lean skeletal muscle tissue which is metabolic active (i.e. alive). Muscle burns calories by the very nature of being in existence. Your goal through exercise should be no more than the minimum effort required to deliver the amount of visual muscle tone (and size) you desire, and improve your cardiovascular health for a long energetic life.
Any exercise above and beyond your goals of your required muscle tone and health benefits are not only a waste of your time (unless you just love the social side of exercise which many do), but a waste on your central nervous system and recoverability from that exercise. If you put your nervous system under undue pressure then you blunt your immune system and immune response, and actually make it harder and harder to build metabolically active muscle. You may even lose muscle from over training and seriously slow down your metabolism making it harder to slim and lose weight.
Most people can achieve the optimal results from an exercise plan in around 2 hours of work per week. Again, this is not a point to be argued by sports specific athletes training for some other goal. If you want to look good in your underwear and have maximum energy, if you believe more than 2 hours of exercise is going to make much difference then I’d have to see some serious scientific evidence to back that up. I’ll cover shortly how to exercise specifically for maximum health benefits, muscle tone, and metabolic optimisation.
So, shortly, you will know precisely how to maximise your training to stoke your metabolic furnace, create quality muscle tone, and get on with your life without being a slave to cardiovascular exercise. You are free from the crazy notion that hitting a treadmill or cycle machine for an hour, burning maybe 300 calories at best, is actually going to do anything for your slimming or weight loss goals when in reality, it is doing nothing more than draining your glycogen stores and most likely making you hungry and tired. If you love exercising, and being social with exercise, go right ahead and carry on, just don’t think it’s going to make you leaner or slimmer. It is not.
Now, this is what you have to grasp about the human body. It is not magical. It is not mysterious. It is not weird. Think of your body as a precision built, chemical based, fine piece of engineering. Every single reaction in your body is a chemical reaction based on stimulus. Stimulus creates an effect – a result. Good or bad. You provide the stimulus. Your body responds. And that is as complicated as you need to get.
When I say weight loss and slimming is 90% nutrition and 10% exercise this is because the amount of ‘chemical’ (in our case thermal/endocrine reaction) you can elicit by training is minimal for your goals. You food provides immediate chemical (hormonal) reactions that will cause you to gain or lose weight. So your biggest fight against fat is your nutrition and diet, not your exercise program. Many people know this, yet they are unsure of which foods to eat to elicit the proper chemical (hormonal reactions) and so the area of nutrition is so badly complicated and skewed by companies (in most part that make a profit form your confusion) that you are left confused on what is the best food to eat to elicit maximum fat loss.
Start to think of your body as this machine. Everything you eat, or do not eat, is causing a cascade of hormonal reactions within the system. As soon as you eat certain food you can kiss weight loss goodbye plain and simple. This is all down to the primary storage hormone – insulin. And when you understand insulin, you can understand weight loss and slimming. Everything becomes clear and the whole process is very simple. Learning about insulin can get complicated if you go very in-depth, so why bother. Learn the basic principles and start achieving results immediately. You don’t have to be a total expert at something to benefit from the principles. I’m sure most people benefit from using a mobile phone without having to know all the scientific details about how and why it works etc. So forget confusing yourself and just follow the principles and start benefiting immediately.
Let’s take a look at how to maximise your efforts in the gym, whilst minimising your time investment, so you can get on with more important things – like living your life!
You’re going to perform resistance exercises in the gym (so that means training your muscles with resistance machines or free weights). Again cutting out the scientific jargon, and skipping directly to the results orientated principles (called GIVE ME THE SKINNY), here’s what you want to do.
Aim to perform resistance exercise for your entire body … that’s every muscle group in your body once per week. Here’s how you elicit maximal muscle tone, and stimulate maximum response from your resistance exercise. If it’s different than what you’ve been told, ask yourself again – “is what I’m currently doing eliciting the responses I desire?”
Chose one piece of resistance exercise for each muscle group in the body. For example here’s a workout below:-
Start by performing 5 minutes or so of gently warming up such as jogging on the treadmill – your aim being to get the blood pumping around your body, raise your heart rate, and most importantly … begin lubricating your joints and raise your temperature. Why are you doing this? To prevent injury. Nothing more. There is no magic to warming up, it isn’t for weight loss. But it is important.
Now move to your first exercise – in this example, it’s the leg press. Perform 30 or so reps in a slow controlled manner. So chose a weight that lets you achieve around 30 reps, that is uncomfortable, but achievable and so if you were pressed and pushed into it, you could continue maybe to 40 or so reps. So it’s not an all out effort. And then stop when you get to 30. It’s not a magic number, you’re simply getting your body ready to perform the work you want it to do.
Here’s where you perform your work. Now imagine, muscle stimulation is like switching a light switch. Once you have pressed the switch, you don’t have to continue pressing it on many times to have the light activated. Once is the trigger. The switch has performed the stimulus. You triggered the response. So here you go. Mentally prepare yourself for your ONE set of your exercise to stimulate your muscular stimulation. This is where you are going to perform all out maximal effort. There will be not other sets. No other chances. No other attempts to stimulate your muscles in that movement until the same time next week. So make it a good one. And push yourself to your true maximal effort. And it is in this challenge you are probably pushing yourself to your psychological limits, as physically, you can quite simply do it.
Choose a weight you believe you can handle around 6 reps with. This being the suggestion, if someone was to hold a gun to your head and scream at you to perform another rep, you simply could not do it. That is all out maximum muscular effort and what elicits the kind of results you want.
So pick your weight and perform the maximum number of reps you can achieve (aim for 6) but if you honestly (think of the above scenario) believe you could do another (say 7, or even 8 reps) you keep going until you physically cannot perform a single rep more. You are pushing yourself to the absolute limit.
**CRITICAL – raise the weight very slowly at around 4 seconds to raise the weight, and around 5 seconds to lower the weight to the starting position. The speed is critical. Stay slow, and push yourself. Do not speed up. Do not swing. Do not cheat the weight into movement with momentum – USE YOUR MUSCLES.
Once you have completed your reps with maximum effort have a rest. Think to yourself and be completely honest. Could you do the same thing again?? If you can, then you did not work hard enough, and you should attempt this maximum effort again. If you think to yourself that you maybe could, but only manage 2 or 3 reps, you need to work harder next week. If, honestly, you truly believe you cannot do a single more rep again, then you’re done and good to move onto the next exercise.
The whole workout should take no more than around 20 – 30 minutes. Once you’re done, you’re done. That’s muscle stimulation completed for the week, and take a week off of resistance training until the same time next week. When you return to the gym, you should be able to perform either more weight for the same reps, or more reps with the same weight as you did in the last gym session – this is called progression and a key indicator that you are making progress with your training.
Now, in terms of cardiovascular training for health, I recommend swimming as your all time number one best exercise for maximum stimulus in the shortest amount of time. Why swimming, well, swimming has multiple benefits. First off, it exercises your entire body from head to foot, which causes your heart to work at maximum capacity pumping blood to every muscle in your body. This maximises both your muscle tone, fitness levels and your improves your cardiovascular health. Perform swimming 2 – 3 times a week for half an hour or so. Swimming has the added benefit that you are plunging your body into cold water. Your body is warm blooded, so guess what happens? Correct, a chemical reaction. Your body has to work harder than with any other form of exercise to raise your body temperature back to correct levels. This thermic response is why swimming enables you to burn far more calories during the performance of the exercise than any other form of cardiovascular exercise. But if you can’t swim, or don’t have access to a swimming pool on a regular basis, don’t sweat it. Just pick another exercise and perform around 2 – 3 sessions of 30 minutes or so cardiovascular exercise (running, cycling, dancing etc.) and you’re good.
…That’s your exercise complete.
The rest is entirely diet and nutrition, and here on protein for women blog is a rule book on precisely how to achieve maximum and rapid fat loss. The rest is entirely diet and nutrition, and here on protein for women blog is a rule book on precisely how to achieve maximum and rapid fat loss.
Well, interesting question. Is female bodybuilding a sport, an endeavour, a lifestyle? What is it? And is it natural in any shape or form. We would like to suggest, that in some ways YES and in some ways NO – depending on your moralistic outlook.
For anyone, male or female, bodybuilding can be defined as the pursuit, and art form, of striving to build a better body – that can be from internal health, mental and emotional state, through to the absolute best performance of fitness physically. That all taken into account my gym bunnies – if you are striving to develop a great level of physical fitness, combined with maximum health, and with that comes looking physically aesthetic and attractive … then surely most people would be hard pressed to disagree that bodybuilding is actually a superbly positive pursuit or endeavor.
Especially since the devotion to an exercise and nutrition plan that supports and nourishes the mind and body for optimal functioning and output, developing structure and routine to life it is, most would agree, actually hugely beneficial. In fact most successful business people, and popular icons, work out and ‘bodybuild’ to some degree because they are given a daily and weekly schedule or structure, along with a set routine that supports a healthy goal setting mentality.
Female bodybuilding is so much more popular in the mainstream these days. Take for example famous glamour model from the UK Ms Jodie Marsh, who competed in two natural amateur bodybuilding contests in 2011. No longer do people believe the common misconception that weights are for boys, and cardio is for girls. That’s simply physiologically complete nonsense. Resistance exercise is in fact probably just as important to women, as it is to men, if not more so. Not that bodybuilding for women is entirely resistance exercise only – far from it. Bodybuilding is a lose and generic term that typically encompasses ‘getting in great physical shape‘ and includes being toned and increasing muscular strength at the same time.
Strength and weight training (resistance training) for women holds so many benefits and rewards. Those being immediate and long term, and none of these benefits should be overlooked when analyzing, or even denouncing female bodybuilding in the press and media. You could write an entire book about the many benefits of resistance and weight training for women, though we shall save that for another time and summarize the key critical benefits to resistance training, alongside your cardiovascular training when it comes to female bodybuilding.
So here are just a few outlined benefits of female bodybuilding. So why the turn off? Why the bad press? Well, simply put, the world of professional bodybuilding one thinks of that comes to mind when we hear the phrase female bodybuilding, is usually one of muscle bound freakish women who are often twice the size of the typical average male and golden brown more than bronze itself. What are we dealing with here? Is this what fate is going to befall any woman who turns their hand to resistance training and adding weights routines to their cardiovascular exercise?
Simply put – no. Not it is not. Not unless you begin extremist tactics and often making use of illegal pharmaceutical cocktails – such as anabolic steroids and growth hormones. Women who weight train can enjoy the many physcial and natural hormonal benefits of positive resistance exercise. When it comes to competitive bodybuilding, the coin is often flipped onto the reverse and the female bodybuilder is more often than not subject to an onslaught of terrible negative attack on their physical, emotional and mental state through damaging exercise routines, nutrient deficient dieting and an anabolic cocktail of black market drugs.
So you can rest assured, if you add resistance exercise to your routine, unless you are going to be dabbling in the dark side of competitive bodybuilding, you are very much unlikely to encounter unsightly muscle growth, or a sudden chiseled eight pack looking like it has been forged from steel, and carrying veins like a roadmap.