by Dr. Rick Kattouf II
I am sure that if you are like most individuals, you are looking to burn body fat. Now, how do we maximize the body’s ability to utilize fat as its primary fuel source? Do we train more at higher intensities? Do we adopt the conventional thinking of “eat less, workout more?” Do we cut out carbohydrates and adopt a high protein diet? If you said ‘yes’ to any of the above, you are not alone. Too often we adopt conventional thinking and beliefs, which in turn do not allow us to reach our goals.
High Intensity Training:
Are you of the school that higher intensity exercise will burn excess fat? Are you continually pushing your limits, drastically increasing your heart rate and sweat rate in hopes that the scale will be your friend the next day? If so, let me help you explore another path to follow. When we train at too high of heart rates/intensity, too often, we are calling on our anaerobic metabolism. Anaerobic metabolism means we do not have sufficient oxygen going to the working muscles. Without sufficient O2 to the working muscles, fat will not be metabolized as our primary fuel source. My suggestion is to lower your heart rate slightly to the intensity that you can sustain for a longer period of time. This will allow for aerobic metabolism (with oxygen), and you will begin to facilitate fat burning. Do not look at this as training slower, rather, you are training smarter; in time, you will become increasingly more efficient. With this increased efficiency, you will find yourself going harder, longer and faster at the same or lower heart rates. When this occurs, look out! You have become an entirely new athlete.
Eat Less/Workout More:
If this is your school of thought, not to worry, this is a very normal and conventional way to think. By eating too few calories than is needed by your body (yes, I understand conventional thinking says it’s all about calories in versus calories out…BUT, if it were that easy, well, it would be that easy), you are placing an undue stress on your system. In response to this stress, the body is signaled to hold onto body weight/fat. The individual thinks they are doing right by eating less and working out more, but their body weight does not change. Always remember, the body feels as if it is being threatened and starved in this situation. The solution is to stoke the fire in the body. To do so, feed it, do not starve it; food is kindling wood for the fire.
Ah yes, carbohydrates:
If you feel a high protein diet is the key to weight loss success and carbohydrates make you fat, let’s change this destructive belief. We can keep this simple folks…fat burns in the presence of carbohydrates…period! Carbohydrates are critical for enhanced performance in life, fitness, and sport.
Weights or No Weights
Conventional thinking leads us to believe that in order to get lean we need to do endless hours of cardiovascular exercise. The reality is this… In order to get lean and burn body fat, we have to build lean muscle. Weight training/resistance training is what builds lean muscle. If you are ready to see some amazing body transformation, get a net weight room and train your upper and lower body 2-3 days per week. Your weight training combined with the proper nutrition and the proper cycling/cardiovascular training will be the key to bringing about an amazingly healthy and lean physique.
If you have not been getting the return on your investment of time, let’s change some things up. Step one is to look at your training intensity. If you have been really ‘getting after it’ and the results are not showing, let’s try to reduce the intensity slightly, reduce the heart rates during training, train smarter and bring the necessary oxygen to the working muscles in order to facilitate fat burning.
If you have been skipping meals, especially breakfast, and eating too few total calories with little to no results…it is time to eat and stoke that fire! Keep in mind; digestion burns calories (this is the Thermic Effect of Food). So, feed your body, and let it work for you. And, if your lunch and other meals consist primarily of a salad with chicken, it is time to embrace carbohydrates my friends.
If your mindset regarding weight training is “I will get bulky”, not to worry; it takes time to change some of these beliefs. I want you to start to develop some positive feedback loops. As you start to incorporate weight training into your training regimen, you will start to feel stronger, you will get leaner and you will quickly realize that you are not getting “bulky.” This is a positive feedback loop that will keep you going back for more.
If you are ready to make some significant and lasting changes, get ready to ‘Wow’ yourself with some amazing results!
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc.
Author of Forever Fit/Host of Rx Nutrition
ITCA Triathlon Coach
Food Psychology Coach/Wellness and Nutrition Consultant
Sports Nutrition Consultant/Inspirational Speaker
3x Duathlon AG National Champion
4x Team USA Duathlete