The trouble with trying to lose weight is that it takes a long time and it’s difficult to keep from gaining it back once you lose it. It’s the same old story— you endure months of miserable low-calorie diets that sap your energy and leave you hungry all the time. Adding exercise doesn’t help much, either. The few extra calories you burn during weeks of 20-minute workouts on the stairclimber or treadmill aren’t worth the time it takes to go to the gym.
What if you could burn 1,000 calories in a workout? That would make your excess fat disappear in a hurry. A pound of fat contains 3,500 calories. If you could cut back on your calorie intake just a little, plus burn an extra 1,000 calories a day, you could turn your body into a fat-burning machine. That’s not all— most weight loss plans leave you looking gaunt and untoned. The 1,000- calorie per day workout plan will give you toned, sleek muscles that will make you look fit and beautiful. All you have to do is to exercise a little longer and more intensely and lift a few weights and you’re on your way to a sleek, athletic, healthy-looking body.
Don’t read any further if you’re not willing to work hard. The downside of this program is that it’s difficult and requires self discipline. If you’re looking for an easy path to weight loss, this plan is not for you. But, if you want a weight loss plan that works and will produce unbelievable results, read on. If you stick with it, this program will make you a fit, hard body— even if you have cottage cheese legs and a round belly.
Fitness magazines— including Fitness RX— are full of photos of fit, beautiful people. For many women, these photos are little more than wishful thinking. With the 1,000-calorie-a-day workout plan, you don’t have to dream about having the body of a fitness model; you can have that body you always dreamed about.
Intensity is the Key to Fat Loss
You lose fat by burning more calories than you take in. You will burn many more calories training intensely than exercising slowly. The body does not metabolize fats by themselves. Rather, fat use is integrated with carbohydrate (sugars) and protein metabolism.2 Even if you used more carbohydrates during intense exercise, fuel storage balances itself out according to energy balance— calories in versus calories out. Intense exercise causes you to burn more calories and fat after the exercise is over.1 So, when trying to lose fat, work harder and burn more calories.
Fats are the most important fuel at rest and during light exercise. Research shows that carbohydrates are the most important fuels during exercise above 65 percent of maximum effort.2,3,5 Conventional wisdom suggests that you should exercise slowly if you want to lose weight. So, how does hig- intensity exercise help you lose body fat?
- You use more calories exercising intensely than when you train slowly. Calorie balance determines whether you gain or lose weight. You will lose body fat if you consistently take in fewer calories than you use during the day for metabolism and exercise.7,8 Intense exercise builds muscle tissue— particularly if you include weight training in your program.6,7 Muscle uses more calories than any other tissue in the body. The more muscle you have, the more calories— and fat— you will use.
- Intense exercise increases fat use after the exercise is over. You use the readily available carbs during intense exercise, then switch to fats during recovery. The body uses more fats as fuel after an intense workout than after an easy one.
- Intense exercise increases post-exercise metabolism more than light exercise. Run for an hour at 70-80 percent of maximum effort and you get an extra calorie-burning bonus of nearly 100 calories.4
- Carbohydrates are your most important fuel when you train hard. However, because the exercise requires so much energy, you still use a lot of fat as fuel.
Women are much more sophisticated about new weight loss programs than they used to be. They are less apt to fall for dramatic weight loss claims made by supermarket tabloids. The 1,000-calorie exercise/weight loss plan works! The benefits of intense exercise have been supported by a series of studies conducted for more than 10 years at Laval University in Canada. These results suggest that women who train intensely have more muscle and less fat than women who exercise at a more leisurely pace. Hundreds of studies have shown that you use more fat as fuel when you exercise slowly. But, you’re interested in the bottom line— does the program help you lose fat, look better, and help you fit into a smaller size? Overwhelmingly, research studies tell us to exercise intensely to lose body fat.
How to Burn an Extra 1000 Calories a Day
At rest, you burn about 1.5 calories per minute. Most women burn about 15 calories per minute when exercising at maximum intensity— training as hard as they can. But, you can only exercise at that intensity for one to two minutes at most. When you become fit, you will be able to exercise for an hour or more at 80 percent of maximum effort and burn about 12 calories per minute.
As we’ve said, you burn more calories if you exercise intensely rather than slowly. For example, if you walk slowly on the treadmill, you burn about five to seven calories per minute. But, if you run at 80 percent or more of maximum effort, you will burn more than 12 calories per minute. Plus, you will build muscle and rev up your metabolism, which will help you burn more calories for the rest of the day.
Your goal is to exercise long enough and intensely enough to burn 1,000 calories per workout, three to six days per week. Typically, this means training for 80 minutes per workout at an intensity of 80 percent or more of maximum effort. Don’t do this program right away. Rather, build up to it— slowly. If you haven’t been exercising at all, begin with a series of one-minute exercise bouts on the track, treadmill, elliptical trainer, or stairclimber. Gradually introduce high-intensity training into your workout. Every week, do a little more exercise and train a little harder. Add to this, 30 minutes of weight training and you will develop a sleek, lean, dynamite body. This program works— if you are willing to work hard enough.
Determining 80 Percent Effort
This is not as difficult as it sounds. You can use methods ranging from heart rate watches to intuition. For most 20-40 year old women, an 80 percent exercise intensity will increase heart rate to 170-185 beats per minute. Measure this with a heart rate monitor (i.e., Polar) or take your pulse for 10 seconds as soon as you stop exercising and multiply the heart rate by six. If that’s too complicated, exercise at a level at which you can comfortably carry on a conversation— then exercise at a slightly higher intensity than that. Table 1 shows how much exercise you need to do to use 1,000 calories (running, cycling, treadmill, elliptical training, or ski machine).
Making the Program More Effective
Don’t do this program every day. Begin gradually and build up to three to six 80-minute, 80-percent-effort workouts per week. Cut back if you get overly tired or develop overuse injuries, such as sore feet, knees, hips, or back. Remember, you cannot get thin and fit overnight. It will take time, but the incredible benefits you get from this program are worth the effort. Stay active during your off days by going for walks, playing sports, or working around the house.
If you have time, break up your workout into two 40-minute sessions per day. For example, you could go for a run in the morning, then work out on the treadmill or elliptical trainer after work or at lunch time. Staying active during the day is important. A recent study has shown that people who exercise intensely sometimes don’t burn anymore calories during the day because they become less active than usual after training. Be more active— take the stairs, walk to the store, throw away the TV remote, work in the garden, or go dancing.
Combine your aerobics workout with a weight training program that builds the large muscles of your body. The weight workout doesn’t have to be extensive. Rather, pick a few major muscle exercises, such as standing presses, squats, lunges, step-ups, assisted pull-ups, lat pulls and curl-ups. Do two sets of 10 reps of each, using as much weight as you can during each set. The weight training workout shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes. However, you have to work hard. You should barely be able to complete each set. Don’t socialize too much. Concentrate on your goal. The weight training program will build muscle that will make you look better and help you burn more calories during the day.
What about Diet?
As long as you don’t overeat, you will probably lose weight doing this exercise program. But, the plan is more effective if you cut down on the food you eat. Try to eat a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and olive oil. Many recent studies suggest that people should take in fewer carbohydrates to lose weight faster. Carbs are important when you exercise intensely, so don’t cut them out of your diet. The best advice is to eat a balanced diet and cut down on snacks, desserts and large portions.
Summing Up: Getting Results
Let’s summarize how intense training will give you the kind of body you want.
• Research shows that women who exercise intensely have more muscle tissue and less fat than those who exercise slowly.
• Your goal is to do 80 minutes or more of aerobic exercise, such as track or road running, treadmill running, or intense exercise on the elliptical trainer, stairclimber, or cross-country ski machine. Build up to this workout slowly.
• Begin gradually. If your fitness is poor, begin by walking or running slowly. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your exercise sessions. If you are unfit, it may take you three to six months before you can even begin this program.
• This program will give you the kind of body you want— if you’re willing to do the work. It’s not a quick fix, but it’s worth the effort. Remember, if it were easy, every woman would look like a supermodel.
• Include weight training in your program. This will build metabolically active muscle tissue that will help you lose body fat and keep it off. Train with weight two or three days per week, emphasizing large muscle groups.
• Listen to your body. Cut back if you get injured or feel overly tired. However, if your body tells you to rest all the time, listen to me instead.
1. Brooks G, Fahey T, White T, and Baldwin K. Exercise Physiology: Human Bioenergetics and its Applications. New York:: McGraw Hill, 2000.
2. Brooks GA, and Mercier J. The balance of carbohydrate and lipid utilization during exercise: the crossover concept (brief review). J Appl Physiol 80: 2253-2261, 1994.
3. Horowitz JF, and Klein S. Lipid metabolism during endurance exercise. Am J Clin Nutr 72(suppl): 558S–5563S, 2000.
4. Quinn T, Vroman N, and Kertzer R. Postexercise oxygen consumption in trained females: effect of exercise duration. Med Sci Sports Exerc 26: 908-913, 1994.
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