What’s More Important, Losing Weight or Adding Muscle?

I overheard a question the other day.

“What’s more important, losing weight or adding muscle?”

HMMM…

If I know one thing, it’s that there is a ton of information out there. Some of it good and helpful, but much of it pretty crummy and confusing. This question is an opportunity to hopefully sort some of that out.

Obviously this question is very general, so I’m going to put some parameters on it. We’re going to assume the following:

  • The person’s overall goal is weight loss for general reasons such as overall health and appearance
  • The person is generally healthy, meaning no serious injuries or illnesses
  • The person does not have a long history with intense resistance training

Also, it’s important to understand that when we say adding muscle, we are NOT talking about becoming a huge bodybuilder. We are talking about adding some lean body, and if you want more definition to your body YOU MUST ADD LEAN BODY!! The assumption with someone with these goals is that as you add lean body you are also decreasing body fat, thereby making you smaller. Take a look at this picture if you need a little clarification on that.

Muscle is denser than fat making the same weight much smaller!

OK. Let’s start with this.

Adding muscle and losing fat are done mostly with two different processes. Losing fat is done largely with diet and adding muscle is done largely in the gym. Now this doesn’t mean that the gym and diet aren’t involved with both to varying degrees, but for the most part losing fat is done with diet and adding muscle is done in the gym.

What does that mean? Well, it means that these things are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can do both, to some extent. Note that the person we’re talking about does not have a long history with intense resistance training.

At home you can work on your diet and in the gym you can exercise with purpose and intensity and try hard to get stronger. Both of these things should be done if you’re trying to lose weight.

As to which is more important this is a tougher question. Here’s the thing, when you are trying to lose weight it would still be very helpful to include resistance training in your routine. Although you might not have a goal to build muscle per se, this can be a big help in a couple of different ways:

  1. More muscle means a higher metabolism. This means that instead of our metabolism slowing down as we lose weight (which it will) the muscle allows it to stay as high as possible which makes it easier and more manageable to either continue with weight loss or maintain it.
  2. More muscle gives us better nutrient partitioning. This is the process where your body decides what to do with the food you’re eating. The more muscle you have and the more resistance training you do, the more your body will take that food and use it to maintain and build muscle as opposed to adding fat.

What does this all mean when it comes to the original question?

“What’s more important, losing weight or adding muscle?”

Well, here is my answer:

I think that whatever your goal is, that is what’s most important. If you want to lose weight, then that is most important (by the way, figuring out WHY you want to lose weight is a huge key to this whole thing). Having said that, adding muscle would be a huge advantage to this whole process, especially in the long term.

I hope this gets you thinking a little differently about what you’re doing. Please let me know if you have any questions about how to make this all work for you.

Thanks!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

 

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

I help one of our members who runs a preschool with the wellness program for her employees. I received a question from one of them that, I think, is a common source of confusion for many people. Here it is, along with my answer.

If you’re trying to lose weight as an older woman should you eat carbs at dinner or only have protein and vegetables? Also, is whole wheat making us fat? Should we avoid it to be slim?

This is a very common question and one that creates a lot of confusion for many people.

First I want to go over some basic facts.

  1. Weight loss is determined by calories. In other words, to lose weight you must eat fewer calories than you burn.
  2. Many studies have shown that the macronutrient (carbs, proteins and fats) makeup of someone’s diet doesn’t really matter for weight loss.
  3. It really doesn’t matter when you eat  for weight loss. The only thing that matters is calorie intake. In other words having carbs at breakfast or dinner makes no difference.

In other words eating carbs at dinner is perfectly fine as long as the overall amount of calories you are taking in is less than what you are burning.

Having said that, cutting down on carbs can be a perfectly legitimate and simple way to achieve the caloric deficit necessary for weight loss. The main issue with this, however, is that a low carb approach can be difficult to sustain for people. In fact, many studies have shown that people who resort to low carb diets don’t stay on them for very long, even if they have success with the diet!

My opinion is always that the most important thing to consider when dieting is sustainability. Simply put, you should not go on any diet that you can’t see yourself on for a long time. That is the only way to truly achieve and sustain weight loss.

Lastly, whole wheat is not making us fat unless it’s eaten at a caloric surplus. Really, any food eaten at a surplus will make us gain weight.

Mitch Rothbardt, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
510-755-9191

2 Things You Might Not Realize About Weight Loss

Hello! I hope you’re having a great day. I’m going to make this one pretty short today so let ‘s get started.

When it comes to losing weight I’ve found that there are a few things that typically get people’s way. Let’s talk about two of them.

1 – It’s not about the food. I can feel your eyes glazing over right now. “What do you mean?” you’re asking. “Aren’t you the one who’s always saying that losing weight is all about the nutrition?” Well yes, but let me explain. You don’t need me to tell you to eat your vegetables, right? You don’t need me to tell you that an apple is healthier than a candy bar, right? At least 5 times a week I hear some version of “I know what to do but I just can’t do it.” We all know what we need to know about nutrition. It’s really very simple. The issue is what is getting in our way of doing it.

Creating Healthy Lives

You don’t need me to tell you to eat this

2 – The most important skill for weight loss is emotional regulation. The truth is that the real reason most people can’t do what they know they should do has to do with emotions. When we’re emotional that’s when we have trouble making the decisions we know, deep down, that we should make.

I hope this helps clear some things up for you. I know this is tough. If it does help, I want to let you know about a program we are starting up. It’s a nutrition program that we’ve put together that we believe covers what REALLY MATTERS about weight loss. (remember it’s not about the food!) Its starts up on the 24th and you can get all the information right here:

Creating Healthy Nutrition 

Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt

 

 

I Know What To Do But I Just Can’t Do It

I heard it again today. “I know what to do but I just can’t do it.”

If I’ve heard this once I’ve heard it a thousand (million) times.

I know what to do but I just can’t do it.

At Castro Valley Fitness we believe that, for the most part, people know just about everything they need to know about nutrition. You don’t need me to tell you that an apple is healthier than a candy bar and that you should eat your vegetables, right?

You may be asking yourself, if people know all they need to know, then what’s the problem?

Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? If we answer that, we can pretty much solve everyone’s food issues, right? The problem is that this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

It requires work that really has very little to do with food itself.

It requires an approach that is both honest and unemotional. Both of these qualities tend to get lost when we think about how and why we eat.

Let me give you a few things that have worked for some of our members when they’ve been tying to figure some things out.

  • Slow down. Sometimes I’ll ask someone how fast they eat. Usually they just laugh. Slowing down allows your stomach to let your brain know it’s full. That can take 10-15 minutes. How much food can you eat in that time? It also gets you out of GO-GO-GO-GO mode which is when so many of us wind up eating whatever is easy and fast. That’s not usually conducive to making good decisions.
  • Keep a journal. Just reading that might have given you a chill.
    Holiday Season

    An actual person when asked to keep a food journal.

    If it did frighten you, you should ask yourself why. You just might figure out something that’s been holding you back. Journaling keeps us honest and accountable. It also can reveal things that we didn’t know. You might not have realized how much you actually snack in a given day, for instance.

  • Aim for progress not perfection. One of the biggest problems I see is all-or-nothing thinking. This is when people think that one slight slip counteracts all the good they’ve done or they feel like they the “perfect” plan to get started. The truth is that there is no such thing as perfect. No perfect diet or perfect workout. The closest thing we have to perfection is in this picture right here.

    The Closest Thing To Perfection

                      All we need to aim for is progress in whatever form it takes.

Listen, we all have crazy lives. Kids, work, family. We sit in traffic for hours each week. The more we can figure out the REAL issues behind our diet the better off we will be.

Let me know what you think. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
510-755-9191

4 Ways To Feel Good About Your Diet

We know that feeling good about what you’re doing can make a HUGE difference when it comes to doing it. We also know that consistency over time is the absolute key to making your diet work for you.

In todays video let’s talk about 4 ways you can actually feel good about what you’re doing with your diet instead of angry and resentful.


Mitch Rothbardt
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

Are You Hungry? Deciphering the Clues for Weight Loss.

Don’t let them lie to you. You will be hungry if you are trying to lose weight. The thing is that it might not be physical hunger you feel. How you deal with this the the ABSOLUTE KEY to your weight loss journey.

In this video I go over:
– The 4 different kinds of hunger
– How to figure out which one you are experiencing
– How to deal with it so that you can reach your goal

Let me know what you think!

Mitch Rothbardt
Castro Valley Fitness
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

5 Ways To Combat Emotional Eating

If I had to pick one thing that it seems gets in people’s way the most when it comes to their diet, it is definitely emotional eating. You can call it stress eating, too. I found a great definition of emotional eating at medicinenet.com. It says:

“Emotional Eating is the practice of consuming large quantities of food — usually “comfort” or junk foods — in response to feelings instead of hunger. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.”

I don’t want to get super deep today but I do want you to notice the last sentence of that definition:

“Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.”

emotional eating

I’ve said many times that emotional regulation is actually the most important part of weight loss.

What I’d like to do today is just give you a few different strategies you can use when you feel like the emotional and stress eating bug is about to bite you.

  1. Know that you are not alone. I’ve talked to many people that swear that they are the only ones who have this problem and that everyone else has it all together. Let me assure you, this is not the case. This is a huge issue for so many people. I refer again to the above sentence: “Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions.”
  2. Where does this happen? Try to figure out where these issues occur and get your trigger foods out of there. The old rule is this: If it’s there, you will eventually eat it.
  3. Be honest and prepare. A common version of this is when your schedule just gets in the way and you wind up eating whatever is easy and quick instead of something healthy and nourishing. Take an honest look at your schedule, figure out when eating good meals will be a problem and take some time to make something healthy that will be ready for you.
  4. Take a step back. I know this is hard. If it wasn’t this wouldn’t be a problem in the first place. Having said that, if you don’t take a step back when things are going a little crazy this is just not going to get better. I know that emotional eating feels good when you’re doing it. That’s why people do it. I also know that most people don’t feel very good physically or emotionally when they’re done.
  5. Understand that it’s OK. One piece of cake or one bowl of ice cream is never the reason someone is overweight. Just like one apple or piece of broccoli is never the reason someone is in shape. The worst thing about emotional eating is that for some people it triggers a whole host of negativity. These thoughts usually go something like, “I just blew it. I might as well eat the rest of the carton” or “I knew it. I can’t do this. I might as well give up.” No, emotional eating isn’t good, but it’s understandable. What’s a whole lot worse is letting one episode extend to an emotional black hole that takes days or weeks to escape from.

emotional eating

I know that this is a pretty simplistic view of this. I also know that this is incredibly hard for so many people (again, you are not alone). I just want to try and get you thinking a little bit about some ways that you might be able to combat this a little bit. Also, I want you to notice that I didn’t say defeat this or beat it.

It is incredibly important that you understand that this is a process. This is not about winning or losing, it’s about getting better. I know that doesn’t sound nearly as sexy as “Lose 20 Pounds In 4 Weeks” but getting your mind around this process is the only way to make this really work in a way to make your life better, and that’s what we are all really looking for. Right?

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness at 2861 Grove Way
We Help People Discover Their Strength

The CV Fitness Diet Guide

Diets are confusing. I know it and you know it. Amazon currently lists over 50,000 diet books! Just on the first page alone you can get books that promise you solutions in 30 days, 17 days, 14 days, 7 days and 20 days! It’s no wonder everyone is so confused!!

Well, I’m here to help sort a few things out. Today I’m going to break down a few of the diets that seem to be getting a lot of attention these days. I’m going to let you know the positives and negatives and I’m going to talk about the things you need to understand to get the most out of each diet.

Here’s the first thing you need to know. All of these diets work. Every one of them.

Yes. That’s right. All of the books that tell you that their diet is the best one are simultaneously right and wrong. The truth is that it very well may be the best diet for you. It might contain the foods you like. Whatever meal timing it promotes might fit perfectly into your schedule. The preparation for the meals might be easy for you. It might fit into your life in a very workable and sustainable way.

On the other hand, the opposite of all those things may be true.

Here are some very important facts to know.

  1. Weight loss diets work because they cause a calorie defecit. That’s it. They may cause the defecit in a number of different ways but that is why they work. Not because of insulin, not because of hormonal reactions to their specific combination of foods. Not because of blood types. Because they cause a calorie defecit.
  2. There have been a number of studies that show that over time there is virtually no difference between any type of diet.
  3. Those same studies have shown that the most important aspect of a diet is that a person will stick with it.
  4. The ability to stick with a diet is a very individual thing and takes many different forms.

I’m going to break things in a bit of a general way but I think I’ll be able to get the point across.

OK. Let’s talk diets.

Low-Carb Diets

Common diets: Atkins, Ketogenic, Paleo

What is it? Low carb diets are diets that contain a minimal amount of carbohydrates. That can run from as little as 20 grams per day to as many as 150 grams depending on the exact diet. These diets focus mainly on lean protein and varying amounts of healthy fats, again, depending on the exact diet.

How it works: Since carbohydrates, particularly processed ones, can contain lots of calories for the amount of food they contain, cutting them out may be a relatively easy way to get in a calorie defecit.

The Good:

  • There’s not much to think about. Other than vegetables and a little fruit just don’t eat any carbs.
  • These diets can also be a good way to change some general meal planning habits from starch-based (noodles and bread) meals to protein-based (lean meats or eggs).
  • It can bring some good initial weight loss (even though most of the initial weight is going to be due to less water and glycogen in your body, not fat loss).
  • This diet can lower systemic inflammation in some people although that may be the case mostly in people that tend to eat a lot of the processed carbs this diet eliminates, not due to any magical food combinations. In other words, if you stop eating the junk the inflammation goes down no matter what diet you’re on.

The Bad:

  • The adjustment to this kind of diet can be extremely hard for people. It can cause headaches, a lack of energy, general mental fatigue, and like any extreme diet it forces someone to make very big changes all at once. Because of these and some other factors,
  • ]most studies have shown that this diet is just not sustainable for most people.
  • Over time the lack of carbs can lead to some vitamin and mineral defiencies in some people.
  • It may cause a real lack of energy. Particularly among those that exercise on a regular basis.

Who is the diet good for?

  • Someone who is OK with the initial adjustment period. It can effect some people more than others.
  • Someone who is not emotional about food.
  • Someone who doesn’t mind eating pretty much the same food on a daily basis.

Who is the diet not good for?

  • Some people seemingly have a tougher time converting fat to energy. This diet would be problematic for them.
  • People who tend to emotional or stress eat usually eat the kinds of foods this diet prohibits. While this may sound good initially, the reality is that this diet sets up a feeling of denial which will inevitably lead to someone falling off the diet and usually in a very dramatic way. Again, for most people this diet is just not sustainable.

Intermittent Fasting

Common Diets: Eat Stop Eat, Warrior Diet

What is it? Intermittent Fasting diets alternate long periods of not eating with shorter periods of eating. Common fasting periods can range from as long as 23 hours (dinner from one night until dinner the next) down to 16 hours (this usually takes the form of either skipping breakfast or dinner each day)

How it works. It’s pretty simple, really. If you restrict when you eat, and not go crazy when you do eat, it can be easy to cut calories.

The Good:

  • It’s very simple. Just skip the meals you are supposed to skip and eat sensibly to rest of the time.
  • Many people find that not having to worry about certain meals can relieve stress.
  • Many people find that this diet allows them to realize that they’re just not as hungry as much as they think.

The Bad:

  • This kind of diet may lead to overcompensation during your eating periods, which can eliminate any caloric deficit, or even cause a caloric surplus.
  • Similar to the last point, this diet could lead could lead to the “if not eating for a little bit is good, then not eating for long time is better!” type mindset. That is NOT a good thing and could easily pave the way for problems.

Who is this diet good for?

  • People looking for an easy way to cut calories without a lot of prep work.
  • People who don’t mind feeling a little hungry.
  • People who don’t mind skipping breakfast.

Who is this diet not good for?

  • People who have difficulty when they feel a little hungry.
  • People who tend towards disordered eating patterns.

Calorie Counting Diets

Common Diets: Pretty much any diet that tells you eat specific amounts of food. Zone, South Beach, If It Fits Your Macros and a million others.

What is it? Any diet that gives you specific quantities or recipes to eat that require you to weigh out your food.

How it works: By weighing and measuring what you eat it can be easy to figure out where your calories need to be to get the desired results and make the necessary adjustments.

The Good:

  • It can be pretty easy to make adjustments on this diet as long as your are accurate with your measurements.
  • There’s not any guess work here.
  • Seeing what an accurately weighed out serving size really is can be pretty enlightening. I’m looking at you peanut butter!!!

The Bad:

  • Requires a lot of time to get used to weighing everything.
  • Raise your hand if you enjoy weighing out all your food. I didn’t think so.
  • Requires a lot of prep time, especially at the beginning.
  • If you are not accurate with your weighing (many people are not) these diets will simply not work.
  • These types of diets may not give the dieter an internal sense of what they should or shouldn’t be eating, which can crucial for long term success

Who is the diet good for?

  • Someone who is very disciplined about their eating and doesn’t mind doing the prep work.
  • Physique competitors.
  • Someone who already has a pretty good idea about their diet but wants to take things up another step.
  • People who don’t mind eating the same foods most days.

Who is the diet not good for?

  • Beginning dieters often think this is the approach they need but quickly find out that it simply requires too much change, too soon.
  • Busy, stressed people may find that the prep these diets require is a big problem.
  • People who need variety in their diet.
  • Emotional and stress eaters.

Habit Based Diets

Common diets: Precision Nutrition, this is our approach at CV Fitness

What is it? Diets that focus on specific habits and skills based around eating as opposed to specific meal planning. These diets are meant to establish good long-term habits to change or replace problematic ones. The idea being, that for sustained results a behavioral approach is more effective for the long term.

How it works: The dieter is to focus on one thing to work on. An common example would be taking 5 more minutes than usual to eat a meal. The idea is that we all have good habits and bad ones when it comes to eating. By working on good ones we can replace the bad ones.  Also, much research on behavior change has shown that a “one habit at a time” approach has shown a much greater long-term success rate than an approach where many things must be worked on at once.

The Good:

  • These diets tend to be dieter-driven. Meaning that the dieter themselves has more of a say in the approach than just doing what someone else says. This can lead to a greater feeling of autonomy and greater adherence.
  • Can start to really get to the issues around food that are the real root of the problem.
  • These diets take a gentler approach, for the most part, which can eliminate the intimidation factor that many people feel when starting a diet.

The Bad:

  • The dieter must be patient. These are not 20 pounds lost in two weeks kind of diets.
  • The dieter must be OK with trying to figure out what their real issues around food are.

Who is the diet good for?

  • People that may have tried to diet many times without success.
  • People who are good with a long-term approach to things.
  • People who want to be a part of the process as opposed to just being told what to do.

What is the diet not good for?

  • People who want dramatic fast results.
  • People who just want to be told what to do.
  • People who may have trouble being honest about what their issues around food really are.

Well, that’s all I have for today. I just wanted to give you a relatively quick rundown of some of these common and popular diets. You may have more questions now than you did before you started reading and if you do, please shoot me an email and let me know what they are.

I just wanted to touch on the very basics of these different approaches. Obviously there is much more to learn.

Please keep in mind what I said at the beginning of the post. All of these diets can work but what is most important is how they work for you! We all have different lives so it’s very important to understand that just because something works for someone else does not mean it will work for you.

That being said, let me leave you with this short list of things (in no particular order) to look for and think about when you start on a diet.

  • Is this sustainable for me?
  • What are the changes I have to make to do this?
  • Am I able to make these changes?
  • Am I willing to make these changes?
  • Do I need any additional support to do this?
  • How will this fit into my life?
  • What are my goals and why are they important to me?

There are, of course, many other questions you can and should ask and those will be individual to you. At times it can also be a huge help to have someone to talk through these things with you, as well. If you need that, please drop me a line and we will set up a time to do it.

Thanks for reading this fairly long post. I hope I was able to clear a few things up for you. Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Ways to Get The Most Out of Personal Training

I wanted to step out of the box a little bit with today’s post. I got this idea from an episode of a podcast I listen to (The Hardcore Self-Help Podcast). In the episode he talked about things that he felt would help people get the most they could out of therapy. I thought I’d do the same thing to help people get the most they can out of personal training. By the way everything I’m writing here is with the assumption that you are working with a good personal trainer. There are certainly bad ones out there just as there are bad lawyers, doctors and U.S. Presidents.

1 – Be consistent!!! Man, is this important! The most important thing to keep in mind when you are starting with personal training is to show up!! That sounds pretty basic but it needs to be said. I’ve never had a client get good results if they were inconsistent. Kind of like everything in life, huh?

2 – A personal trainer may motivate you, but not how you think. Let’s start with what a personal trainer does do to motivate someone:

  • Cares about your progress.
  • Provides a positive atmosphere for training.
  • Takes your goals, condition, likes and dislikes into account when writing your program.
  • Pushes you appropriately during your sessions. Appropriately is the key word here. It has many different meanings and varies with each and every client.

Here’s what a personal trainer does NOT do to motivate someone:

What I’m trying to say is motivation isn’t necessarily what you think it may be. That leads to number 3.

3 – If you are relying on motivation to carry you through, stop. Motivation doesn’t last. You need proof? How many times in life have you been super excited to start something only to fail on the follow through? Plenty. That’s motivation. What carries you through? Discipline and habits. Put something on our schedule and just do it. No questions. No excuses. Motivation wanes. BE BETTER THAN THAT!!

4 – Understand who the miracle worker really is. 

                                 It’s You!!!!

That’s right, it’s not your trainer. It’s you!! Personal training isn’t magic. You will get out of this what you put into it, no matter who your trainer is. You need to own your results. If you want more you need to put the work in. With both your diet and with your workouts! If you don’t know how then ask your trainer.

Also, one other point here. YOU decide how hard you want to work. Everyone has a different level of what they’re willing and able to do and that is up to each and every one of you to decide for yourself. This is the kind of thing that a trainer should understand and work with you on. We all have different things going on in our lives. Just understand that your results are directly connected.

5 – Be engaged. When you are with your trainer be engaged in what you’re doing. Pay attention to what each exercise is, how to do it and how it feels. Do you find that your trainer is giving you the same cues every time you do a particular exercise? Do you not know what an exercise is after doing it for months? You have to be engaged in what you’re doing to get the most out of it.

6 – Ask questions. This relates to our last point. If you don’t know what something is supposed to do or feel like, than ask! Don’t just blindly go through the motions. Oftentimes a small form adjustment can make all the difference in the effectiveness of an exercise. Other times an exercise just might not work for you. You’re not going to know any of this if you don’t ask. Also, if your trainer can’t answer your questions, that may be a red flag. There should be a reason something is in your program.

7 – Follow your program… but feel free to make suggestions. If you’ve hired a trainer to help you reach your goals, don’t pick and choose the things from your program that you do. Unless you don’t really want to reach your goals. If you bought a book on how to fix your brakes you wouldn’t just decide not to do step 4, right?

That being said, feel free to make suggestions on things you want to do and don’t want to do. There are many ways to do things and your trainer should have enough tools in their toolbox to account for that. This all goes back to being engaged and asking questions. After all you started personal training for a reaons, right?

I hope this helps you in your quest for fitness. If you want to talk about how to get the most our of your training, whether it’s with me or anyone else you can click here to schedule a time to do so.Have a great day everyone!!

Mitch Rothbardt, FMS, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way
510-755-9191
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com

 

3 Things You Should Know About Cardio

One of the most potentially confusing things about exercise is cardio. I always hear people say they “need to do more cardio” when they want to lose weight that. Well, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Today I’m going to let you know three things you might not know about cardio, how it relates to weight loss and how you can get it to work better for your goals.

Let’s get started!

  1. You don’t burn that many calories when you’re doing regular cardio exercise. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you just don’t. For example, if you run at a 12 minute mile pace for a half hour, which for many of us is pretty darn fast, you’ll burn off about 250 calories. That means that if you’re feeling like you deserve a little something like this for your efforts: You will actually be taking in somewhere between 150 and 300 calories in excess of what you just burned! On top of that the better you get at running, the fewer calories you will burn as your body becomes better and more efficient.
  2. For weight loss, interval-style cardio training is the way to go. As we talked about last week strength training is the most important exercise you can do for weight loss. Having said that, if you are going to do some cardio, interval-style cardio the way to go. Interval-style cardio has the additional benefit of raising your metabolism after you are done. In other words, you will continue to burn additional calories even after you stop exercising. Now to get this to really work you must push yourself pretty darn hard, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you, right? 
  3. You can get creative with your cardio. At our gym we do all kinds of things to get that cardio effect. You don’t have to just walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. We do different kinds of circuits. Try this one: 10 squats, 10 pushups, and a 30 second plank. Do each exercise as fast as you can (with good form, of course). Rest 30 seconds between each set and do 4 sets. If you’re not breathing heavy afterwards, re-read what I said above about working hard.

Well, I hope this gives you a few ideas you can use to help get more out of your cardio training. Please let me know if we can help.

Have a great day!

Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Level 2 Lean Eating Coach, FMS
Castro Valley Fitness
2861 Grove Way in Castro Valley
510-754-7113
Mitch@CastroValleyFitness.com