More than Crushing Calories

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A fitness plan is about more than crushing calories, and for some, it can be tough to break through the "hour-on-the-treadmill or bust" mentality. How do we obtain great results and not sabotage our weight-loss efforts? It's all about a healthy you, and curbing health-related risk factors. Here's the "skinny."


1 - Changing workouts will help us lose that last bit of weight, and/or accelerate the process for those in a hurry. If you’ve been running long distances, add short-distance sprints, hill repeats and stairs at your local high school. For those only attacking cardio, weight-lifting blended with cardio will get you to your goal faster. Also, changing workout times throughout the week can be a challenge for those in a routine, yet effective. By switching it up, your body is guessing and yielding faster results. A targeted program balances fat burn with muscle development. Note - as we age our bones lose density. A well planned, weight-based program will increase density and slow the inevitable. 


2 - Be aware of your heart rate. For low-intensity exercises, like yoga or hiking, aim for 50% of your max heart rate. Moderate-intensity exercise should run between 65-75%, and vigorous intensity targets 80-85%. High intensity interval training, or HIIT, can put us at or above max threshold. To calculate max heart rate subtract your age from 220. For example, max heart rate for a 50 year old is 170. Anything above that for a short time is healthy, however we do not want to stay in the red zone for too long. Spikes up and down are acceptable, and can be accomplished under correct supervision. 


3 - Programs that blend compound multi-joint movements, such as a pushups, deadlifts, squats, battle ropes, slam balls, sleds, rowing, pullups and more, involve more muscle groups and require more energy than single-joint exercises, like a stationary bicep curl. Multi-joint movements develop functional strength and yield a high calorie burn. Building muscle with compound movements also spikes metabolism. Add great nutrition, at the right intervals, and our goals are suddenly within reach.


4 - Rest windows need to be short in order to burn fat. Racing the clock during SuperSet Tabata is an example of a targeted workout using timed intervals to obtain great results. HIIT increases your heart rate and enables fat burning, even after you're done! Combining aerobic and anaerobic exercise into your regime also helps fight boredom.


5 - Overtraining can hurt weight-loss goals. Instead of spending countless hours on the move, condense. Your trainer can help develop the right plan for YOUR specific journey, introducing the best components at the right time. Also, don't forget to rest! When recovery is compromised, it can be difficult for the body to change. More does not always equal better. Keep it fun and do not brutalize yourself in the name of results. 


6 - A celebratory meal following a workout may not be the wise choice. Why sabotage the effort? Instead of a burger, fries and a Coke, how about hitting the market to grab fresh ground turkey, veggies, and fruit for a fast meal at home. Change the game! Treat your food as fuel. Nutrition and rest should be valued higher than your workout program! For more help with nutrition, consider a customized plan carved up just for you! 


7 -  Focusing on portion size rather than cutting back on a single nutrient will help the pounds melt off much faster. Instead of banishing one or more of the three macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein) from your plate, bring them all on board. Carbs, fat, and protein at every meal! Also, dont forget a light, healthy snack midway between meals can be fantastic for the metabolism, and a great compliment to working out.


8 - Stay focused on your goal and surround yourself with like-minded, encouraging people. Training needs to be fun, and the right base of people create the best community for success. Find an encouraging professional that can connect with your individual needs, and speaks from a place of experience. Keep your eye on the prize and remember why you started the journey. 


9 - Finally, don't believe the hype. Everyday new information is rolled out on what is good for us. In the 80's fat was removed from everything and guess what happened? We then thought it wise to replace sugar with artificial sweeteners (linked directly to cancer). And of course cholesterol is bad for the heart, right? Our bodies actually need fat, cholesterol, and low doses of natural sugar. Obesity is a modern phenomenon that occurs through a lack of inactivity and poor nutrition (in many cases). 
Take control of your health, energy levels, confidence, and how you feel! Curb disease the old fashioned way, by moving and staying away from processed foods. And don't forget alcohol... drinking calories will not only destroy progress, but impact sleep and many vital physical functions.


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About Michael Beavers: 
Age 49, Michael is the chief motivator and coach at Eager Beaver Fitness in St. Louis, Missouri. He uses 30+ years of experience as an athlete, track coach, Certified Personal Trainer & Fitness Nutrition Specialist to achieve significant results with clients. Michael also carries certification in/from SAQ, Youth, Group, CPR & Lifesaver, USA Track & Field, and continues his education regularly. Michael ran his first marathon at age 15, raced bicycles, competed in triathlons, coached numerous champions, and has helped clients lose over 100 lbs in select cases.