Anytime I’m in line at the store, waiting to buy my kale and sardines, I glance over at the headlines of the magazines. And I am always outraged by teh claims.
Lose 10 pounds in 10 days.
Shrink you belly in 7 days.
Bigger biceps in just 2 weeks by eating pizza.
They make ridiculous claims to get you to buy their garbage. But the worst part, those claims are designed to make you feel like crap.
Sure Lose Your Gut in 5 Days sounds encouraging! But what that claim is really saying is this:
Hey, we know you have been trying to lose that stubborn belly fat for awhile now. You clearly don’t know what you’re doing because there’s a magic plan that would fix it in just five days. Just buy our product. Follow our plan. Do x, y, and z (with your credit card of course) and BAM, flat abs!
And we give in to those silly claims. Because we want those dang flat abs that seem so easy to get!
But this marketing stuff is GARBAGE!
These fools know that slimming down in 5 days is impossible (unless you are already slim…). And that eating pizza does not doesn’t give you bigger biceps.
Here is the truth about how to get the body you want.
And let me begin by telling you upfront – it will NOT happen in 5 days. It won’t even happen in 5 weeks.
To really transform our bodies, we have to commit to a lifestyle change.
So here’s the truth on how to transform your body:
Combine a nutrition and fitness plan designed for your specific needs.
Nutrition could account for up to 80% of your weight loss. So what you eat is clearly important. But we already reviewed what to eat a few posts ago. (And if you missed those details, just click here to check it out).
And after masting the nutrition, we’ve got to master to training. And for you awesome folks, we created a free 2-week training plan for your specific body type, you can download it at the end of this post.
Now, these fitness plans are NOT going to slim you in seconds. But they WILL get you real results. Without the BS.
For most of us, our main fitness goal is this: Burn fat and build muscle.
And even though we may all (or most of us) have the same goal, we have to attack that goal in different ways. Why?
Because we have different body types. (Well hey there, we reviewed that body-type science junk in Post 1 too).
Just as our body types require different levels of nutrients, our body types require different fitness programs to build muscle and burn fat.
To do that, you have to lift more than those puny 5 pounders that sit at home in your basement (mostly collecting dust). And you have to do more than eat pizza for dinner every night of the week.
HOW DO MUSCLES GROW?
Our muscles are made up of fibers. These fibers are bundled together like a bunch of oats to form our muscles.
When we exercise, we cause little tears in the individual muscle fibers. And because our bodies are awesome at self-preservation, the cells surrounding that damaged fiber jump in to the save the day. Those savior cells band together and fill in those holes and tears to stitch the muscle back up. Good as new.
And because we added some cells to the torn muscle, we gain a little extra mass. Just a little. Remember cells are teeny tiny. So a few extra cells bound into the muscle fiber won’t really make a big difference. But when this happens over and over and over, we WILL start to notice the growth!
So, when we workout, we break down our muscle fibers. The surrounding cells repair the tears and grow the muscle fiber. Got it.
Let me make two points about building muscles:
1. Muscle breakdown (the tears and holes) happens when you workout. Muscle GROWTH happens when you rest. Those savior cells only work when the muscle is resting. So in order for your muscles to grow, you MUST give your body rest. Without this rest, your muscles will just continue to break down without any repair. So that means no muscle growth.
Moral of the story: work your butt of in the gym and then let your body rest! But remember, “rest” doesn’t mean that after you workout, you have to keep your lazy butt on the couch for the other 23 hours and 15 minutes of the day. What it does mean is that you don’t need to be doing strenuous exercises for 6 hours each day. And yes, some days you need to stay out of the gym. Find your balance that allows your muscles to recover.
2. Women, this is for you: I can’t tell you how many times I hear: “I don’t want to lift heavy because I don’t want to look huge.” Trust me. You won’t. I know that Gwyneth Paltrow’s coach claims you can get a total body workout without lifting over 3 lbs. But guess what, you lift WAY more than 3 lbs on the daily. Ever picked up your kid? Ever carried groceries from the car? Yeah… you can lift more than 3 lbs. So start lifting more at the gym.
Your muscles do break down and grow in the same process that a man’s do. BUT, because you have lower levels of testosterone, there is NO WAY that you will get huge from lifting heavy weights. In order to turn into the body building she-man that you FEAR you’ll become, you’d have to start taking some serious steroids to boost your muscle growth. So quit using those puny 5 pounders and start lifting something real.
Alright – cleared that up.
Since the goal for most of us is to build muscle AND burn fat – we have to learn Physiology Lesson #2.
HOW DO I BURN FAT?
Burning fat does not happen in 7 minutes. And it is physiologically IMPOSSIBLE to swap fat for muscle.
So the lesson:
We have muscles. And we have fat cells. They are not the same thing so they don’t get to be exchanged.
Remember learning about micronutrients and what happens when we eat too much glucose… (I know, if you don’t remember it now, you don’t really want to hear all about it again. So I’ll just give you the jist of it):
Excess carbs turn to glucose and get stored in your fat cells.
Okay. So we have these fat cells that are full of glucose (actually – that glucose is converted to triglycerides when it’s stored in the fat cell, but that doesn’t change the principal). And since we want to lose fat and build muscle, we have to burn those fat cells.
When I think BURN THE FAT CELLS, what I picture is a fat cell, screaming for mercy, ablaze with a mighty flame, charred to bits where it will eventually turn to ash and float away. I want that fat cell burning to smithereens.
But this isn’t really what happens. Clearly it doesn’t literally happen. But this doesn’t really happen metaphorically either.
Fat cells don’t burn.
So if we aren’t burning fat cells, what are we doing?
When we want to lose fat, we’re really trying to empty the glucose out of the fat cell. When the fat cell is empty, it shrinks down in size. And when our fat cells shrink, we slim down. Sounds simple.
But once you have a fat cell, you will never “burn it” off completely. Fat cells are like good old Fannie Mae. You can run but you can’t hide. Yes, you can empty and shrink the fat cell. But that shriveled up prune will always be there, waiting to regain that excess glucose again.
AND, what’s even worse? That fat cell never hits a max in glucose storage. It will expand as much as necessary to hold that glucose crap.
Those dang fat cells just won’t leave (unless of course you get lipo… but I don’t recommend that, you don’t need it). We just have to shrink those babies down and keep them empty!
So how do we really shrink those cells down?
It takes a little work. A little high intensity work. When you do some high intensity exercise, your muscles and cells start calling for more energy. The glucose stored in our body gives us that energy. So first, they use up the glucose stores from the muscles and liver. When those are empty, they turn to the glucose (really the triglycerides) in the fat cells. So first, burn through the current stores – then start tapping into the fat stores. Once you tap into the fat stores, the glucose gets released for energy and those fat cells shrink down!
Alright. We know how to build muscle and we know how to burn fat!
So how do you build muscle and burn fat for YOUR SPECIFIC BODY TYPE? Because remember, different body types need different types of training!