Can you possibly lose fat or even gain muscle while on vacation? Absolutely. It’s not easy of course. You are on vacation after all, so you probably want to indulge and eat and relax. Here are some tips to actually lose fat and/or gain muscle and STILL have a fun indulgent vacation.
Let’s say you are taking a one week or two week holiday. You can do a lot of damage to your body in 14 days of eating junk, drinking, and laying around the beach. Don’t let that be you! You can be the person who comes back from vacation not just well rested and rejuvenated but also in better shape! An important step is to plan ahead – waiting until you are on vacation is too late. So good for you for reading this article now.
These are notes partially to myself (I’m on vacation as I write this). And as with many of the approaches I take, I need to thank Tom Venuto and his Burn The Fat ebook.
1. Find A Gym – Chances are, there is a gym near your vacation spot. Search before you leave, find out if they have a power rack or squat rack. (Yes, you’ll still do the Big Seven as your primary lifts). Find one with day passes.
2. Time Your Workouts around the “indulgent” meal. You’ve heard me (and countless others) talk about how important it is to feed your muscle within that 1 to 2 hour block around your workout. You need protein and carbs to start the repair process. Many people advocate eating most of your calories for the day around this window (shake before, shake during, big meal afterwards). Well, if you are on vacation and you love big, crazy breakfasts, then workout in the morning before you indulge. If instead you are going to go hog-wild over dinner, then workout beforehand.
3. Count Calories – Calories do still count. There’s no magic here – if you eat more than your body uses then you will gain fat. I believe it’s more complicated than just counting calories (hormones play a huge role) but for some people, the logical process of counting calories let’s them eat crazy for a meal, then dial it back the rest of the day. Which brings me to… (more…)
Nobody wants to be a fatty. Whether you are now fat, on your way to being fat, or just want to get leaner, there are countless things to keep in mind.
With so many tips, I’ll overrule my usual verbose nature and dive in, somewhat tersely, with the 25 Ways To Be Unfat. Each of these could be its own article (or even its own book!). But I’m just giving you a sentence or two for starters. We’ll break these down into 5 categories: Overview, Attitude and Behavior, Eating, Lifting, and Cardio.
Since I focus worldfitnessnetwork.com on weight training and running, you might expect this article to be focused on weight lifting and running, right? Well, for sure, those are both part of the picture to be unfat. But eating habits are the most important factor for getting trim.
Final preamble: these are written for the person who wants to be lean, not super-lean. If you want to get into cover-model shape, there are more subtle techniques that come to play. But if you want to look good enough for the beach, these are for you!
1) 80% of the battle is what you eat – the cliché is true: you can’t out-train a bad diet. Eat smart and you’ll be lean.
2) 10% of the battle is resistance training – training with weights can help by burning some calories, increasing metabolism, and changing your body composition. Even for women. But many guys fall into the trap of building muscles that are still covered in fat. More on this later…
3) 10% of the battle is cardiovascular training - cardio (e.g. running) can help with calories but is only one-tenth as important as how you eat. And too much of the wrong running can burn muscle in addition to fat so you can’t over-rely on it.
All of these are mostly mental; if you learn the right techniques and then have the discipline to act on that education, even when you don’t feel like it, then you’ll win. Your attitudes and behaviors are key:
4) Don’t strive for perfection – getting your psychology about fitness right is most important; until you want to get ultra-lean, you are shooting for a 90% compliance; do the right thing 90% of the time and you’ll get lean.
5) Set goals – if you don’t set targets, it’s hard to know if you are making progress and it’s hard to know when you’ve “arrived” at your destination. Forget complicated goals – keep them simple by focusing on Measureable and Timebound. An example of a good goal for a woman: I will weight X pounds, at less than 20% bodyfat, by July 4.
6) Adjust your social life – avoid other fatties or soon-to-be fatties; who you surround yourself with influences who you become. If you’ve already had a junk-food meal this week, say ‘no’ to the group going out for a Chinese lunch.
7) Keep a log – write down what you eat, when you exercise, what you did, etc. Think of it as your fitness diary. You can do this online or on paper, I don’t care. But keeping a log will keep you on track even on days when you are less motivated.
8) Eat frequent small meals – eating smaller meals more frequently will (more…)
You’ve heard the preachers, including me, talk about how important it is to eat every 2 to 3 hours. And how important breakfast is.
But are we right?
Two counter-approaches contradict the above recommendations:
a) Intermittent Fasting (complete fasting for at least 24 hrs once a week or so)
b) Semi-Fasted Cardio (first thing in the morning after about 12 hours of not eating)
Today we’ll cover the pros and cons of intermittent fasting. Then next week we’ll cover “semi-fasted cardio”.
Here’s today’s outline:
- Pros and Cons of Fasting
- Roots of Fasting
- Fasting for Fat Loss
- Fasting for Muscle Gain
- Making Fasting Easier – 10 Tips
Let’s start with a summary, then follow with the details:
Pros And Cons Of Fasting For Fat Loss And Muscle Gain
Pros For Fasting
- Possibly very effective for fat loss, as studies show increase fat burn compared to carb burn, during fasting (much more detail on this in the rest of the article!)
- Easier, for some people, than being in slight caloric deficit each day
- Most people get a natural “high” on those days; better attention; surprising increase of energy
- More time for life; less time cooking, eating, and doing dishes
- Increased natural growth hormone: potentially good for muscle gains (much more detail on this in the rest of the article!)
- Disrupts the body’s expectations about food, thus preventing diet plateaus (hypothetical)
- Confidence – any time you try something difficult, and then turn that into a habit, you will feel more confident in yourself; this will lead to you accomplishing more over the course of your life
- Bragging rights – most people are impressed with someone who has the discipline to fast one day a week
- Potentially clears the body of toxins and waste
- Anecdotal benefits to a whole range of health issues, from reducing arthritis and migraines to improved skin and hair
Cons For Fasting (more…)
Are you trying to lose fat? Or to gain muscle?
That probably seems like a big question, huh? In fact, I get questions from readers all the time asking things like “what are the best guidelines for eating when you want to lose fat?” or “I’m trying to add a (more…)
I know I just sent you Tom’s incredible article critiquing the TV show The Biggest Loser. Well, I happened to just see this week’s episode.
Overall, I enjoyed it. I won’t repeat Tom’s list of all the positives here. But I do have one specific that astonished me…
You’re trying to lose weight, right?
No, you just think you are. You are actually trying to shed fat.
You’ve been working out, just like I advise, using weight training and cardio.
But each week, the scale is only going down 1 pound. Or maybe less.
What do you do? (more…)
I almost never talk about other people’s blogs but I’m making an exception today.
This is the best analysis I’ve seen of the show The Biggest Loser.
It happens to come from one of my favorite people in the fitness world, Tom Venuto. He really gets to the core (more…)
A recent article posted on the AskMen.com site made me cringe. I’m not going to cite the official link, because I don’t really want to promote them. I’ve never read anything at this site before, as it’s a little risqué for my tastes, but one of the other sites I (more…)