Recently, while spending time in Double Bull waiting on a longbeard, I received a great question from a Fit Bowhunter reader. The email read:
“I’ve been working out five days a week for exactly four months. I am mostly focused on cardio, as I’m not only trying to get into better shape, but am hoping to shed a bunch of pounds as well. I really want to get lean and gain some muscle definition. I typically workout for about 30 to 35 minutes each day and try to watch what I eat, but my workouts make me feel hungry, and I find myself eating more than I should. Thoughts?”
Out With the Old, In With the New
Once believed that 30 minutes of exercise for five days a week would help with weight loss, that’s no longer the case. Recent findings by the American College of Sports Medicine show that 150 to 250 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio is effective in preventing weight gain in most adults. The key word in the aforementioned sentence is “preventing.”
Yes, you are going to get healthier and prevent future weight gain but, if you really want to shed pounds, 250 minutes of cardio-type exercise per week is recommended. In addition, if you want to drop weight and get lean, mixing in strength training is important. I recommend doing 45 minutes of medium to intense cardio followed by 20 minutes of high-rep, lightweight free-weight lifting.
Heed this cardio/strength routine three times a week. During the other two days, focus on completing 50-60 minutes of cardio preformed at medium-intensity.
What Is Fasted Cardio?
Another great way to boost weight loss and get lean in the process is fasted cardio. A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, showed subjects who fasted during morning cardio burned up to 20 percent more fat than when they had a meal beforehand. As you sleep and fast throughout the night, your body focuses on retaining carb stores and prepares to mobilize fat for fuel. In addition, your body brakes down amino acids into glucose while you snooze; so, a morning cardio session allows the body to burn fat at a faster pace.
The key to fasted cardio is not doing too much too soon. For instance, don’t make your first fasted cardio mission a five-mile run. Doing too much too soon can lead to sickness and a feeling of serious weakness. Learn how your body operates and functions on an empty stomach, and be sure and replace lost nutrients after your run, but be smart about it. You will feel hungry, but that doesn’t mean you have to hit the Golden Corral buffet line.
Typically, after a morning of fasted cardio, I consume a whole avocado and a shake containing MTN OPS whey protein, along with an easy, slow-to-digest casein. Fasted cardio, in my opinion, should only be done once during a five-day workout week. As you learn how your body responds, you can increase the amount of exercise you preform while fasting. As you begin to implement fasted cardio into your workout routine, you’ll notice that it works wonders for those hard-to-carve-away fat areas.
Diet Is Key for Weight Loss
Whether or not you decide to implement fasted cardio into your weekly workout routine, you must focus on controlling your diet. If you don’t eat well, you won’t provide your body with the fuel it needs to accomplish your next workout. Plus, you’ll rob yourself of all the hard work you’ve put in.
I’m no expert when it comes to diet, but I do suggest plenty of fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts and meat. Try to stay away from grains, and pay attention to the time of day you take in your carbs. If you really want to shed some pounds, consume all of your carbs before 3 p.m., and then hit a fasted cardio the following morning.
Recipe: MTN OPS Berry Shake
- ½ scoop of MTN OPS strawberry whey protein powder
- ½ cup of low-fat yogurt (you pick the flavor)
- 1 whole banana
- 4 whole strawberries
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
To help curb that “I’m so hungry” feeling, blend all ingredients together until smooth and enjoy! It’s that simple. It tastes like a desert and is very good for you.
Featured image: iStock