Tag: Tips

How to Stay Safe While Lifting Heavy at the Gym

How to Stay Safe While Lifting Heavy at the Gym

Lifting weights, especially HEAVY weights, is one of the best things you can do for your body. Heavy weights build muscle, strength, and bone density and are good for your general health and longevity, too. Stronger, more muscular people tend to live longer than weaker people (1).
Of course, the term heavy is relative and means different things to different people. A 300kg/660 pound deadlift would be immensely heavy for the average exerciser, but for champion strongmen Eddie Hall and Hafthor Bjornsson, 300kg is barely a warm-up.
So, for this article, you can read the word heavy as challenging. If you’ve got to work hard to lift it, then it’s officially heavy. For instance, 300kg can be light for a world-class strongman, but 40kg/85 pounds can be heavy for a regular person. It’s all a matter of context.
Regardless of your definition of heavy, and as beneficial as lifting heavy weights can be, it is not without risks. The good news is that those risks can be minimized or eliminated. While lifting heavy weights will never be 100% safe, we can reduce them to an absolute minimum.
In this article, we reveal the potential dangers of heavy lifting and share the best ways to stay safe.
The Potential Dangers of Lifting Heavy Weights

So, what are some of the dangers associated with lifting heavy weights? Continue reading and find out!
1. Muscle injuries
Muscle injuries are probably the most common danger associated with lifting heavy weights. Your muscles are made from bundles of muscle fibers, and those fibers can tear when exposed to very heavy loads.
Minor tears heal relatively quickly, often a week or two. However, full-thickness tears take much longer and often require surgery to repair them. Even mild tears are painful, and full-depth tears are excruciating.
2. Joint injuries
Heavy weights put a tremendous amount of stress on your joints. On the one hand, this can help make your joints more robust and more stable, but it can also cause acute and chronic injuries. Acute injuries are often the result of losing control of the weight, e.g., getting stapled under a heavy barbell during squats. Chronic injuries are typically the result of cumulative wear and tear.
3. Cardiovascular stress
While lifting heavy weights is an anaerobic activity, it still has an impact on your cardiovascular system. Straining to lift heavy weights can cause dramatic increases in your blood pressure, make you feel faint, rupture blood vessels, stress your heart, and may lead to long-term cardiovascular issues.
4. Hernias and abdominal strain
Lifting heavy weights causes increased intra-abdominal pressure, pushing your internal organs against your abdominal wall. This can result in abdominal strains or, if the organs protrude through the abdominal wall, lead to a hernia. While abdominal strains usually heal quite quickly, hernias often require surgery.
5. Technique breakdown
Good technique makes your workouts safer and more effective. However, very heavy weights can be hard to control and may affect your form – and not for the better. You may also be tempted to modify your technique to lift heavier weights, e.g., swinging a barbell up during biceps curls. Poor form significantly increases your risk of injury.
6. Back injuries
Strength training invariably involves your lower back. Ideally, your lumbar spine should be slightly arched to keep pressure off your intervertebral disks and ligaments. However, heavy weights can force your lower back into a rounded position, putting tremendous stress on what is actually quite a fragile structure. It’s much easier to maintain a neutral (slightly arched) spine when lifting light to moderate weights.

Related: 15 Ways to Avoid Back Pain in The Gym
7. Accidents
While training accidents are sometimes inevitable, the consequences are usually far worse when heavy weights are involved. For example, missing the J-hooks when reracking your bar after a set of bench presses or squats can be fatal. Accidents involving lighter loads are typically less severe.
How to Stay Safe While Lifting Heavy at the Gym
Now you know some of the dangers of lifting heavy, let’s look at some strategies for staying safe in the gym!
1. Don’t forget to warm-up
Avoiding training mishaps starts before you commence training. A thorough warm-up prepares your muscles, joints, and nervous system for what you are about to do.
Warm muscles contract and stretch more readily, making them more resistant to tearing. In contrast, mobility exercises increase synovial production, lubricating your joints and reducing wear and tear.
More importantly, warming up helps sync your muscles with the nerves that control them so you can contract them more effectively. This leads to an increase in force output, making those heavy weights a little easier to handle.
A strength training warm-up should include the following stages:

Pulse raiser – light cardio to increase circulation and tissue temperature.
Dynamic flexibility exercises – to lengthen muscles and increase range of motion.
Mobility exercises – movements to mobilize major joints.
Ramped sets – progressively heavier sets of your main exercises to potentiate nerves and increase strength.

Read more about warming up for strength training here.
2. Leave your ego at home
A lot of lifters are driven by their egos, and if they see someone lifting a heavy weight, they feel compelled to match or beat them. Other exercisers are guided by their egos to toss three plates on each end of the bar just because that’s what they think is expected of them. After all, why use tens when you can pile on the 45s? Those big plates DO look much more impressive!  
Unfortunately, ego-driven lifting is a straight path to injuries and accidents. Plenty of lifters have been hurt or even killed attempting to lift more than they should.
Though it’s undoubtedly challenging, try to detach your ego from your workouts and focus on lifting mindfully. In most cases, a lighter weight lifted well will produce better results than a heavy weight lifted poorly.
Training is not the same as competition, and lifting for ego-driven reasons in training can lead to unnecessary injuries. Unless you are a powerlifter, weightlifter, or strongman competitor, it doesn’t actually matter how much weight you lift. Even then, most strength athletes only focus on their actual poundage as they peak for their next event.
So, no more ego-lifting. Weights are tools, and bigger is not always better.
3. Good form – always
There are two ways to do any exercise – the right way and the wrong way. The right way is safe and puts most of the tension on the muscles you are trying to develop. Your joints are in a biomechanically favorable position, and the risk of injury is as low as possible.
In contrast, the wrong way puts stress on nearby joints and muscles, taking it away from where you want it. This makes the exercise less effective, although it may mean you can lift more weight or crank out a few more reps.
There are lots of examples of poor form, including using your legs and back to lift the weight during curls, kicking your legs during chin-ups and pull-ups, bouncing the bar off your chest during bench presses, and rounding your lower back during squats and deadlifts. However, each of these technique faults increases your risk of injury.
Trump Junior Deadlift
If the weight you are using forces you to use poor technique, it’s too heavy for you. Lower the weight, perfect your form, and come back when you’re stronger.
4. Use a spotter
Lifting heavy weights when you’re alone is a recipe for disaster. All it takes is one badly racked barbell or a failed rep, and you could find yourself pinned under a heavy barbell, injured, or worse.
Minimize the risk of accident and injury by having a spotter on hand for your heaviest lifts. They can help you unrack and rerack your weights and help you out if you are unable to complete a lift.
That said, while a good spotter can be a literal lifesaver, a bad one is a liability, so make sure your spotter knows what they are doing.
Read more about spotters and spotting here.
5. Squat and press in a power rack
Even if you have a good spotter available, it’s generally best to squat and press heavy weights in a power rack. Power racks have adjustable safety bars that prevent your barbell from descending below a set point. This means you can lift as hard or as heavy as you want, safe in the knowledge that you won’t get pinned under the weight.
Most gyms have a power rack, and there are models made for the home workout market, too. While buying a power rack can be a sizable investment, having one could save your life. Also, power racks don’t tend to wear out, so once you’ve got one, it’ll provide decades of faithful service.
6. Progress slowly
If you want to lift heavy weights, it’s safest to build up to them gradually. It would be a mistake to try and lift too much weight too soon, and rushing into heavy training will invariably lead to injury and accidents.
Muscles tend to adapt to training quite quickly as they have a good blood supply and are highly adaptable. However, tendons and ligaments have poor blood supplies and adapt more slowly. Just because you feel strong enough to handle heavy weights doesn’t mean your body is ready for them.
So, increase your weights slowly. Don’t just slap another pair of 45s on the leg press. Instead, add a couple of fives. Then add two more fives the following week. Small, regular increases are much safer than big, irregular weight jumps. Plus, they’re more sustainable, leading to better long-term progress.
Remember, small, regular weight increases allow your tendons and ligaments to strengthen, reducing the risk of injuries and ensuring safer long-term heavy lifting.
7. Listen to your body
Mindfulness is a popular well-being watchword, usually associated with mental health. However, being mindful in the gym, i.e., listening to your body, especially when lifting heavy weights, can make your workouts considerably safer.
For example, if your lower back feels tight, your hamstrings are stiff, you’re tired, or you are distracted, you should think twice about lifting heavy. You might be okay, but your risk of injury is higher if you aren’t mentally and physically firing on all cylinders.
So, be mindful during your warm-up and early sets, and don’t be afraid to have an easy workout if you don’t feel 100%. As the saying goes, discretion is the better part of valor. In other words, showing restraint and thinking wisely can be more courageous than acting recklessly.
8. Use the right equipment
Weightlifting Belt
Your choice and use of equipment can have a big impact on the safety of your workout. For starters, you should always operate the machines in your gym in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer or resident personal trainer.
Other equipment considerations include:
Weightlifting belt – wearing a lifting belt can help you generate more intra-abdominal pressure, supporting your lumbar spine and taking pressure off your intervertebral disks. Using a belt for heavy squats, deadlifts, etc., can make your workout safer.
Gym chalk – losing your grip can cause serious injury. While grip strength can always be improved, even strong hands can slip when they get hot and sweaty. Gym chalk helps keep your palms dry and prevents them from slipping.
Lifting straps – leading on from the point above, if your grip is prone to failing, lifting straps are a viable solution. With practice, you can use straps to make your grip all but unbreakable, which can be very helpful when lifting maximal weights.
Joint supports – supportive knee and elbow sleeves and wrist wraps can help protect your joints when you’re lifting heavy weights. They also help keep those areas of your body warm, which may prevent injuries. While no joint support will ever completely injury-proof your body, they do add an extra layer of protection and also provide some psychological support.
Shoes – most gyms insist that exercisers work out in shoes. This is for both hygiene and safety reasons. However, hard-soled minimalist and weightlifting shoes are generally best, as they won’t compress or collapse and provide you with a more stable base from which to lift. Super-soft sneakers can lead to foot, ankle, knee, and hip instability, which can cause injuries when you’re lifting heavy weights.
Collars – some exercisers see barbell collars as unnecessary. However, not using collars introduces another potential accident risk into your workout. All it takes is for a weight to start moving, and your barbell can suddenly become unbalanced, leading to serious accident and injury. Not using collars does not make you look cool, and using them will significantly lower your risk of injury.
Poundage rating – make sure your training equipment is rated for the weights you plan on lifting. For example, cheap barbells may only be rated for 250kg/550 pounds, and using heavier weights could cause the bar to bend or snap. Needless to say, if your barbell fails, your chances of injury are very high.
9. Respect your body’s need for rest and recovery
Lifting heavy weights takes a lot out of your body. It causes micro trauma to your muscles, overloads your tendon and ligaments, drains your energy, and taxes your central nervous system. All of these things need time to recover before they’re ready for another workout.
Rest, recovery, and sleep are all critical for safer heavy lifting. If your body is not well rested, your chances of injury are significantly higher. Make sure your training plan includes easy days and days off to ensure you are rested and ready for your heavier workouts.
10. Learn to breathe and brace correctly
Even if you wear a weightlifting belt, you must still brace your abs to generate intra-abdominal pressure to support your lumbar spine.
This is how you brace:

Tense your abs like you’re expecting to get punched in the stomach. Pull up your pelvic floor like you’re training to stop the flow of urine.
Inhale into your abdomen without allowing it to bulge outward. Your entire midsection should feel solid and strong.
Maintain this abdominal bracing throughout the lift, keeping your core tight and stable.
Exhale after completing your rep, and then repeat.

It’s point #4 that’s especially important, as holding your breath significantly increases your blood pressure. When you exhale depends on the exercise you’re doing, and you should breathe out when you don’t need to rely on your core to support the weight, e.g., when you’re standing fully upright or the load is closest to your base of support.
Prolonged breath holding when lifting heavy weights can also lead to fainting, which can also cause serious injury if you strike your head against something hard:

Related: 6 Reasons Which Can Cause A Lifter To Pass Out After Heavy Deadlifts
Do you have questions about heavy lifting and gym safety? No problem, because we’ve got the answers!
1. How dangerous is gym training compared to other recreational activities?
All this talk of accidents and injury could have you thinking twice about renewing your gym membership. However, gym mishaps, accidents, and injuries are actually relatively rare compared to other recreational activities (2).

Injury rate for exercise and exercise equipment: 5.3 injuries per 1000 hours
Injury rate for football: 11.7 injuries per 1000 hours
Injury rate for basketball: 8.2 injuries per 1000 hours
Injury rate for soccer: 7.1 injuries per 1000 hours
Injury rate for baseball: 6.7 injuries per 1000 hours

As you can see, you are more likely to hurt yourself playing soccer or basketball than lifting weights. However, even though the risks are low, you should still endeavor to minimize them by putting the information in this article into action.
2. What is the Valsalva maneuver, and is it dangerous?
The Valsalva maneuver is a breathing technique used during strength training to improve core stability and is part and parcel of abdominal bracing. By taking a deep breath, holding it, and tightening the core, the Valsalva maneuver increases intra-abdominal pressure, offering support to the spine during heavy lifts.
However, the Valsalva maneuver can also increase blood pressure and stress on the cardiovascular system. For individuals with certain health conditions, this may pose certain risks, including:

Cardiovascular stress.
Increased blood pressure.
Risk of fainting or dizziness.
Strain on the heart and blood vessels.
Unsuitable for individuals with hypertension or heart issues.

So, while the Valsalva maneuver can provide support during heavy lifts, it’s crucial to be aware of these potential risks and use it safely and sensibly. If you have any health concerns or doubts, consult with a qualified fitness professional or healthcare provider for personalized guidance.
3. What safety precautions should I take when using weightlifting machines?
Most people assume that resistance training machines are safer than free weights. However, that’s not necessarily the case, and machines can be dangerous, too. Take the following safety precautions to make your machine workouts as safe as possible:

Adjust the seat, handles, leg pads, etc., to match your height and limb length. Machine pivot points should align with your joints.
Check that the machine is in good working order, e.g., cables are not worn, and bolts are correctly tightened.
Ensure that weight selection pins are placed correctly and won’t pop out.
Use the machine for the exercise it was designed for.
Engage any safety catches to ensure the weight cannot fall on you, e.g., on Smith machines and leg presses.
Understand that resistance machines are made to fit average-sized exercisers. If you are taller, shorter, or wider than average, you may not be able to use some machines safely.

4. What is ramping, and how can it help me avoid injuries when lifting heavy weights?
Ramping is usually the last stage of a strength training warm-up. It generally involves doing several progressively heavier sets before you begin your main workout. For example:

10 reps 20kg/45 pounds (empty barbell)
7 reps 40kg/90 pounds
5 reps 60kg/135 pounds
3 reps 80kg/175 pounds
10 reps 100kg/225 pounds (first work set)

As a rule, the heavier your weights, the more ramped sets you’ll need to do to reach it. However, your weight increases can also be larger. Note how the rep count decreased as the weight increased in our example. This ensures you save your energy for your coming workout while still readying your muscles for the workout to follow.
The benefits of ramping include the following:

Preparing your muscles and nervous system for the workout to follow
Making your first work sets feel easier by acclimating your muscles to training weight
Providing an opportunity to practice and fine-tune your technique
Allowing you to assess your physical and mental state so you can adjust your workout if required.

5. What are some effective strategies for preventing and managing muscle soreness after lifting heavy weights?
Heavy lifting can leave you with severe delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short. DOMS is thought to be caused by muscle microtrauma and lactic acid accumulation. However, this theory is not definitive, and DOMS may be caused by other mechanisms.
Regardless of the cause of DOMS, strategies for preventing and managing it include:

Warm up before you work out.
Increase your weights gradually.
Follow a training program that’s appropriate to your current fitness and strength.
Cool down and stretch after your workouts.
Remain physically active between workouts.
Get a massage or try foam rolling.
Try hot/cold contrast showers or baths.

DOMS is a natural part of working out, especially when you train hard and lift heavy weights. However, if your muscle soreness is so severe that it affects your ability to perform everyday activities, you may have overexerted yourself and should revise your training program.
Read more about delayed onset muscle soreness here.
Closing Thoughts  
Lifting heavy weights at the gym can be immensely rewarding, but there are also potential risks. While heavy lifting builds muscle, strength, and bone density, there are also potential dangers, including muscle and joint injuries, back problems, and cardiovascular stress. The good news is that most of these risks can be minimized with proper safety measures.
To stay safe while lifting heavy:

Start every workout with a thorough warm-up to prepare your muscles, joints, and nervous system.
Focus on lifting with good form to reduce the risk of injury.
Always have a spotter for heavy lifts, and use a power rack when squatting and pressing.
Progress gradually, allowing tendons and ligaments time to adapt to heavier loads.
Listen to your body and be mindful of your physical and mental state during workouts.
Respect your body’s need for rest and recovery, and avoid heavy lifting when you’re tired.
Adjust and use the machines in your gym correctly and for their intended purpose.
Learn to breathe and brace correctly to support your spine and protect cardiovascular system.

Remember, while lifting heavy weights can be beneficial, safety should be a priority. Follow these strategies, consult with professionals when needed, and lift mindfully to achieve your fitness goals without unnecessary risks. Happy lifting, and stay safe!

Srikanthan P, Karlamangla AS. Muscle mass index as a predictor of longevity in older adults. Am J Med. 2014 Jun;127(6):547-53. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2014.02.007. Epub 2014 Feb 18. PMID: 24561114; PMCID: PMC4035379.
Horton R. GBD 2010: Understanding disease, injury, and risk. Lancet. 2012 Dec 15;380(9859):2053-4. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)62133-3. PMID: 23245595.

Nick Walker Shares Pro Tips for Building a Huge Back

Nick Walker Shares Pro Tips for Building a Huge Back

Bodybuilder Nick Walker is switching gears in his training journey as 2023 Olympia is drawing closer. Walker recently went through a pull-day workout as a part of his preparation for the show and posted the video of this session on his YouTube channel.
Walker is an American professional bodybuilder and a top competitor in the IFBB Pro League’s Men’s Open division. He rose to prominence with a series of impressive performances in this first year of turning Pro. After making the debut with a fourth place finish at the 2020 Chicago Pro, Nick Walker snatched a win at the 2021 New York Pro, earning the maiden Olympia invitation in the process. He then became the 2021 Arnold Classic winner and rose to the contender’s status even before making the Olympia debut.
The fifth place finish at the 2021 Olympia was a great achievement given that ‘The Mutant’ was relatively new in the professional circuit. However, he decided to step away from the competition to improve his physique and take on the top crop.
Walker returned to competition at the 2022 Olympia and dominated the stage from prejudging to the finals. His effort earned him a podium finish as Walker stood third at the show. Walker’s most recent appearance came at the 2023 Arnold Classic in March. Although he was favored to become the two-time Arnold Classic champion, the New Jersey native lost to Samson Dauda by a razor thin margin.
Nick Walker will now attempt to dethrone Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan and achieve the ultimate goal of his bodybuilding career at the 2023 Olympia. 16 weeks out of the show, he annihilated a pull day workout in the gym to prepare his physique for this task. So let’s see what Nick Walker’s current pull-day workout looks like.

Nick Walker goes through a pull-day workout
Back Workout
Cable Straight Arm Pullovers
Walker started the pull-day workout with this exercise. But instead of pulling the weight in line with the upper body, he pulled it back as far as possible to get maximum stretch in the lats. The 28-year-old employed slow movement in the eccentric phase to focus on the muscles.
“On this movement, I’m able to get a full stretch. It’s giving me more of a stretch than an actual pulldown would. So I think it’s very beneficial when you’re trying to grow your lats, 100 percent.”
Walker pushed through three sets of straight arm pulldowns adhering to 15 to 20 rep range and took to the next exercise.
Chest-Supported T-Bar Rows
The 2021 Arnold Classic winner followed up the cable machine exercise with one of his favorite back movements – the chest-supported T-bar row. Specifically, Walker likes to perform this exercise on the Atlantis plate-loaded machine as it offers different grips for variation. To put more emphasis on the stretch, he employed a wide grip in this training session.
After using explosive movement during the concentric phase, but similar to the previous exercise, the 28-year-old performed the eccentric phase at a really slow pace. He is a huge proponent of slow eccentric movements and advises to adapt them for maximum gains.
“You’ve got to realize that training in this fashion, you don’t need to do seven to eight exercises per body part,” Walker added.
He performed eight to ten reps in all three sets of this exercise and proceeded to do the next one.

Assisted Pull-ups
Pull-ups are arguably the best bodyweight compound exercise to build the upper body pulling strength. However, it is not a suitable exercise for beginners as it needs sufficient upper body strength. This is where assisted pull-ups come in handy. But professional bodybuilders have to focus on hypertrophy.
To eliminate the jerkin motion or momentum and to build mind-muscle connection many elite bodybuilders opt for assisted pull-ups. Walker’s weight is hovering in the 290 lbs range right now. He felt that doing assisted pull-ups was probably in his best interest and performed three sets of ten to 15 reps to stimulate the pulling muscles.
Wide Grip Seated Cable Rows
After working on the lats for the first few moments, Nick Walker advanced to doing the seated rows to work the upper back muscles. In between sets, Walker explained the main challenge of developing the back muscles. He feels that the back is a tricky body part to grow simply because you can’t see it. Experience has taught the 28-year-old to use moderate weight while focusing on the contraction and eccentric phase for the best results.
“Ever since doing that over the years, what was once a weak body part has become one of my best body parts.”
Finding the best rep range is also crucial as it may vary for each muscle group depending upon individual body type. Walker applied this same wisdom to seated rows as well and performed two sets of this exercise for 15 reps each. This movement served as the finisher to back exercises as Nick Walker shifted his focus to the biceps next.

Biceps Workout
Nick Walker’s arms training routine has changed significantly over time. A few years ago, ‘The Mutant’ dedicated a separate arms day in his routine and performed a few biceps or triceps exercises on other days. However, his current split of push, pull, and leg day does not have a full Arm day.
Instead, Walker performs two to three biceps exercises (for two to three sets each) on a pull day and follows the same method for triceps training on a push day. The 28-year-old feels that his arms are pretty dominant already and overdoing arms exercises may not be ideal from the aesthetic point of view. On this pull day, Nick Walker incorporated two variations of machine curls after finishing up with back exercises.
Seated Machine Curls
Walker first performed seated machine Curls to stimulate the biceps. He reiterated that his arms respond best to high volume for inducing hypertrophy and shared the ideal rep range for him:
“I specifically like to stay in the 12 to 20 range. More so 15 to 20 but 12 I am okay with. But I feel for biceps and triceps, I feel I got the most growth was definitely in the 15 to 20 range.”
Walker is a big believer of slow reps and that’s how he performs the arms exercises as well. Needless to say, they have responded well to this type of training. Additionally, Walker employed the myo-reps training method for doing seated machine curls to eliminate the junk volume and produce maximal muscle growth. He performed two sets of machine curls for 15 to 2o reps and proceeded to the final exercise of the day.

Cable Curls
Cable Curls concluded the pull-day workout for Nick Walker. He performed a few sets of this exercise and addressed a crucial problem that a lot of people face.
Walker stated that quite a few people experience the plateau in their fitness journey and fail to make gains in spite of adapting the best training methods. He attributed this to wrong exercise selection and advised:
“You’re probably just doing wrong exercises too. Find the exercises that you best connect with already and then do those methods. I guarantee you, you will transform.”
After doing three sets of cable curls for 10 to 12 reps with a slow eccentric phase, ‘The Mutant’ called it a day in the gym.
Overall, the workout included:

Nick Walker gives health update as he makes changes to diet and training for 2023 Olympia
Nick Walker is already leaps and bounds ahead in 2023 compared to his previous off-season. He admits having fallen into the ‘more, more and more volume’ mindset in 2022. But he has made the necessary adjustments and said:
“Now I’m paying more attention to just making the sets count. I think it has shown in my physique thus far. I think I have made quite some improvements in a short amount of time.”
At the time of recording this video, Walker was 16 weeks out of the 2023 Olympia. He spoke about the changes in his diet as well and said:
“We’ve upped the cardio and dropped food in terms of fats. We did drop the carbs just a little bit but not crazy but we did drop all the fats pretty much out of my diet except for Beef meals and a little almond butter before the diet.”

Nick Walker stated that his weight has already started to drop down, which is a positive sign. He feels that he has made a lot of progress during this off-season and he is confident that 2023 is going to be his year. Although ‘The Mutant’ is closer to the Olympia title than he has ever been, he will have to push aside elite competitors like Derek Lunsford, Samson Dauda, and reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan to take it home.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Nick Walker’s personal YouTube channel:

Published: 29 July, 2023 | 9:22 AM EDT

Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat After 50 — Get Fit and Fabulous

Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat After 50 — Get Fit and Fabulous

Once you pass your fifth decade, everything gets harder. Building muscle is a great struggle. Getting stronger takes a more dedicated effort. And maintaining a healthy body weight becomes a massive uphill battle. The reasons are clear; your metabolism is slowing down, your testosterone levels are depleting, and you’re naturally losing muscle and strength. So, what can you do about it?
Once you’re past 50, adopting a more intelligent approach to training becomes essential to conquer the innate obstacles to maintaining a healthy weight. Following the gym crowd and doing the old stand-by exercises to lose belly fat won’t cut it.
This article lists the best exercises to lose belly fat after 50. I’ll also lay out the other aspect of weight loss over 50 — how to eat to lose belly fat.
Importance of Losing Belly Fat Over 50

There are two types of fat in your body, subcutaneous and visceral. The fat that is beneath your skin is referred to as subcutaneous fat. This type of fat may be easily grabbed by hand and gathered in the usual “problem areas,” including the thighs, hips, neck, and arms. It accounts for around 80% to 90% of our total body fat.
The remaining 10 to 20 percent is called visceral fat and is found around the liver, spleen, intestines, kidneys, and other internal organs, as well as beneath the stomach muscles. It sometimes goes by “deep fat” since it covers your internal organs and fills the spaces between your stomach, intestines, liver, and other organs. [1]
Subcutaneous fat differs from belly fat, which is far more hazardous because it increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disorders. Belly fat forces the abdominal muscles outward because it is harder than subcutaneous fat.
These deep abdominal fat cells transfer their free fatty acids directly to the liver rather than releasing them into the bloodstream. Triglycerides and cholesterol are other types of fat that the liver creates in reaction and release into the bloodstream. Free fatty acids are the types of fat that are released from fat cells and carried into the blood, whereas triglycerides are another type of blood-borne fat that the body uses as an energy source. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease is linked to high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. 
Challenges of Losing Belly Fat Over 50

Once past 50, you will find it increasingly difficult to keep your belly fat down to healthy levels. It’s not that your willpower to resist tempting foods is lower. Here are four physiological reasons you’re more prone to putting on belly fat over 50: 
1. Reduced Metabolism
At around 30, most people’s metabolisms decline by about 1% every two years. Although the exact cause of our aging metabolism is unknown, it most likely involves a decline in muscle mass and a shift in hormone levels. Men produce less testosterone, while women’s estrogen levels decrease after menopause. [2]
2. Less Muscle
Age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, kicks in from about the age of 40. Because muscle is more active metabolically than fat, having less of it negatively affects our metabolic rate. As a result, you won’t burn as many calories at rest, making it easier for that spare tire to develop around your belly. [3]
3. Lifestyle
Most people tend to slow down as they age. By the time they reach their 50s, most folks stop playing sports, no longer play with the kids, and spend more time on the couch. That means fewer calories burned throughout the day. 
4. Stress
When we experience chronic stress, our cortisol levels increase dramatically. This can indirectly contribute to higher levels of belly fat. As we get older, our stress levels can increase due to many factors, including work stressors, financial problems, and the concerns of looking after elderly parents.
Cortisol can increase the desire for comfort foods with high caloric content, particularly those high in carbohydrates and fats. These are the very foods that contribute to increases in belly fat.
Cortisol encourages fat storage, particularly visceral fat, which builds up around the abdominal organs. In fact, the hormone can actually redistribute subcutaneous fat to visceral fat.
Cortisol also has a catabolic effect on muscle tissue, causing a breakdown of amino acids. This can contribute to age-related muscle loss. [4]
15 Diet & Nutrition Tips To Lose Belly Fat Loss Over 50
As we’ve learned, excess belly fat is aesthetically unpleasing and dangerous. It puts you at a higher risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and depression. Fortunately, it is possible to reduce your belly fat levels dramatically.
Here are 15 diet and nutrition tips that will complement your exercise-based efforts to reduce the spare tire: 
1. Increase Your Fiber Intake
You can shed belly fat by increasing the amount of soluble fiber in your diet. This is because fiber will assist in lowering your blood sugar levels. You’ll experience stable insulin levels as a result.
Fiber, which is incredibly filling, also serves as the body’s natural cleaner. It enhances digestion and improves waste excretion. A 2011 study found that a 10-gram increase in soluble fiber consumption over a five-year period reduced belly fat accumulation by 3.7%. [5]
The best sources of fibrous carbs are brightly colored vegetables and berries, including strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, beans, lentils, and other legumes.

2. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Unsurprisingly, overindulging in alcohol can lead to a ‘beer gut.’ In fact, if you are trying to reduce your belly fat, alcohol will be one of your worst enemies. Alcohol contains zero proteins, carbohydrates, or fats. In other words, it has no nutritional benefit whatsoever, and every gram of alcohol adds seven calories to your system.
After you drink alcohol, your body prioritizes metabolizing it. That means your body will first burn alcohol instead of fat, postponing your ability to burn off the spare tire. 
Alcohol puts almost twice as many calories per gram into your body than carbs and protein (seven versus four). And those calories are much easier to consume than the solid foods we eat to get macronutrients into our system. As a result, it is extremely easy to take in hundreds, even thousands, of zero-nutrition calories from alcohol in an evening. 
Alcohol slows down the central nervous system and lowers inhibitions. One of the effects of this is that people eat more when they are drinking. And the foods that are normally consumed on these occasions are those that are high in simple carbs. All of this is a sure-fire recipe for fat gain.
Alcohol hurts food digestion, leading to reduced efficiency in breaking down fats for fuel, impeding the weight loss process.
Alcohol has a negative effect on testosterone production. Testosterone is an important hormone for fat loss, so its alcohol-induced lowered release will directly impact fat-burning ability.
The bottom line here is if you’re serious about getting rid of visceral body fat, you need to cut back on the booze. [6]
3. Consume More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Your feelings, behavior, and physique aesthetics will change dramatically if you consume more omega-3 fatty acids, particularly while following a weight loss program.
Here’s what increasing your omega-3 intake will do for you:

Boost your insulin sensitivity
Aid with fat burning
Boost your metabolism
Reduce cortisol production and increase your energy
Assist with muscle growth

The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are eggs, fatty fish, chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseeds. [7]
4. Eat More Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats have the power to lower insulin and LDL cholesterol levels. Here are five excellent sources of monounsaturated fats:

Avocado Oil
Coconut Oil 

5. Eliminate Processed Grains
Processed grain products include cereal, bagels, pasta, bread, and bagels. The nutritional content of the grains is reduced while the calorie density is increased by milling, refining, and bleaching. That’s not a healthy combination.
Although whole grain types are preferable because they still contain some fiber and nutrients, even these are processed to some extent and may be high in calories.
However, you should only consume only whole grains going forward. That means avoiding products made from white pasta, rice, or flour. [8]
6. Prepare for Snack Time
A vital tactic for effective weight loss is predicting and planning when you’re likely to feel hungry throughout the day. When hunger strikes, having ready-to-eat, homemade snacks can come in handy.
Here are five tasty, straightforward snacks:

Apple crisps  
A nutritious smoothie
Hard-boiled eggs
A can of water-packed tuna

7. Reduce Liquid Calorie Intake
Liquid calories have several significant issues. Refined sugars are frequently used in weight loss smoothies as flavoring. Others use preservatives to enhance flavor and mixability. Those who consume solid meals feel satiated longer than those who use meal-replacement beverages.
In a 2007 study, test subjects were given solid food and a meal replacement shake, and their degree of satiety was monitored over the next four hours. 
The satiety levels were much higher in the solid food group. In fact, the meal replacement group’s body didn’t even recognize that they had eaten from a chemical standpoint. [9]
8. Increase Water Intake
Hydration is crucial to a successful weight-loss strategy. Water can also help increase metabolism. Participants in a study who drank 16 ounces of water daily experienced a 30% rise in their metabolism. [10]
Always keep a water bottle with you. To stay full, regularly sip from it. Drinking water will also assist you in satisfying your thirst so that you don’t confuse it with hunger.

9. Begin Meal Prepping
One of the keys to sticking to your smart eating plan is prepping your meals in advance. This involves keeping a couple of hours aside, usually on the weekend, to prepare your weekly meals. 
This greatly eases your search for nutritious options that adhere to your macronutrient guidelines. Meal planning will also significantly reduce your likelihood of reverting to poor eating patterns.
10. Avoid Trans Fatty Acids
Unsaturated lipids become trans fatty acids when hydrogen is introduced. They have been demonstrated to increase belly fat in addition to being connected to heart disease and insulin resistance. According to one study, eating a lot of trans fats can increase belly fat by 33%. [11]
11. Do a 14-Day Detox
To get rid of toxins and other impurities in your body, try a 14-day detox. The doors of fat loss may effectively be flung open by this. It’s not necessary to starve during a cleanse. It involves giving your body the proper nutrients to remove toxins and restore its natural equilibrium. 
12. Increase Coconut Oil Consumption

Recent years have seen a lot of research focused on the coconut. Many of these studies have focused on how they can aid in weight loss.
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that do not circulate in the bloodstream like long-chain fatty acids. Instead, they are sent to the liver, which turns them into energy. As a result, your body turns to coconut oil for energy rather than storing the calories as fat.
According to some studies, switching from olive oil, which contains long-chain fatty acids, to coconut oil, which contains medium-chain fatty acids, results in greater fat reduction. Coconut oil is particularly helpful for decreasing weight around the abdomen, where visceral fat collects. Because it is linked to so many ailments, visceral fat is the most harmful type of fat.
In a recent study, one ounce of coconut oil was added to women’s diets with excessive abdominal fat. Both their waist circumference and their BMI significantly decreased after 12 weeks. This was accomplished without any exercise or other dietary changes. [12]
13. Add Herbs to your Meals
Several plants have been used by indigenous peoples worldwide for centuries to help with weight loss. In recent decades, science has confirmed the effectiveness of some of them. Here are three of the best:


14. Consume More Protein

Protein aids in fat loss in addition to helping you develop muscle. This is because protein has the strongest thermogenic effect of all the macronutrients, is very filling, and reduces hunger. As a result, it requires more energy to digest than fats or carbohydrates.
When paired with weight resistance exercise, protein’s ability to build muscle also aids in belly fat reduction. Maintaining muscle demands five times as many calories as maintaining body fat. Therefore, the more muscular you are, the leaner you will be!
Plan to consume one gram of protein per pound of body weight, with your preferred protein sources being eggs, chicken, fish, legumes, Greek yogurt, and cream cheese. [13]
Related: Try Our Protein Calculator
15. Cut Yourself Some Slack
It is important to be realistic when trying to lose belly fat. When you try to lead a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find yourself moving in the opposite direction from the vast majority of people. The environment you are in will constantly provide you with temptations. It’s ridiculous to expect yourself to never make a mistake. Remember that a poor eating decision won’t halt your progress.
The key takeaway is that you shouldn’t punish yourself if you make a poor nutritional choice or skip an exercise. Your ability to succeed depends on developing long-lasting habits that you can maintain. An occasional slip-up won’t hamper your results.
Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat Over 50
Losing weight, and keeping it off, is all about consistency. Sticking to a balanced training and diet plan to create a calorie deficit will help you shed unwanted pounds effectively and sustain your weight loss progress over time.
The key to success is incorporating a sustainable exercise schedule into your lifestyle. Let’s find out how it should (and shouldn’t) be done.
How Not to Lose Belly Fat
Let’s get it straight from the outset, you will not lose belly fat by doing hundreds of sit-ups, crunches, leg raises, or other exercises for your abdominal muscles. The reason is simple; you cannot spot-reduce belly fat. In other words, doing a thousand crunches will not burn fat off your belly fat.
Fat comes off the body evenly. So, when you do a calorie-burning exercise, you cannot dictate what part of the body it will come from. Depending on your genetics, the fat might come off the belly and the sides of the waist (the dreaded love handles) last. When you build muscle, you will also increase your metabolism to burn more calories.
Exercise Type: Fast or Slow?

There is a lot of confusion about what type of cardiovascular exercise is best for weight loss. It boils down to two options — long and slow cardio or fast and short cardio. Both sides have their passionate advocates, yet the current scientific consensus is squarely on the side of fast, short, high-intensity sessions. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick bursts of high-intensity training followed by short rest periods.
The best HIIT exercises will allow you to use maximum exertion to burn maximum calories. Running is a great choice, allowing for hard-out sprints (imagine a Doberman is chasing you) followed by a slow jog. Incorporating HIIT training into your exercise schedule thrice weekly will help you burn calories while exercising and turn your body into a fat-burning furnace by boosting your metabolism for the next 24 hours. [14]
The best exercises to reduce belly fat for men are those that burn the most calories. Combine this with a healthy diet, and your belly girth will decrease. Here are the six effective belly fat exercises to reduce fat from your midline: 
Exercising on a treadmill is the most popular form of cardio exercise in gyms worldwide. However, most people do not do it with enough intensity. Walking at 2 miles an hour while reading a book will not cut it. A far better way to go is HIIT. This involves interpreting short sprints with even shorter rest periods for multiple bouts. 
Tabata is another effective form of HIIT workout for fat loss. It involves a slow two-minute warmup and a 20 seconds max speed sprint. You then throw your legs out to the side of the running belt for 10 seconds. That is one round. The workout involves performing eight rounds. It is extremely hard work but burns a ton of calories. Then, thanks to what is known as the enhanced post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect, you will have an elevated metabolism for the next 24-36 hours!

Rowing Machine
The rowing machine is another excellent exercise that will help you reduce fat around your belly. This exercise involves your whole body and gets your heart and lungs in good shape. While rowing, stay upright and move through a full range of motion, pushing through the legs. [15]
Here’s an awesome fat-burning rowing machine workout that combines the rowing machine with body weight and free-weight exercises:

Row at a steady pace for 10 minutes.
Jump off the machine and do 10 dumbbell overhead presses.
Do 10 standing torso twists or cross-body punches.
Row at a steady pace for 10 minutes.
Jump off the machine and do 10 lateral shuffle walks.
Now do 15 kettlebell swings.
Row at a steady pace for 10 minutes.
Jump off the machine and do a 30-second plank.
Now do 10 step-ups.

Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks is a classic old-school cardio exercise you can do anywhere, anytime, to burn off those excess calories. To perform them, start with your legs together and your arms by your sides. Take a small jump straight up and, as you do, move your legs apart. At the same time, swing your arms up above your head into a clap. Take another small jump and return your arms and legs to their starting position. 
You can use jumping jacks to burn off calories as a stand-alone exercise or add them to your workout routine. For example, if you are doing a weight training program, do 20 jumping jacks between each set.

The burpee is another old-school bodyweight exercise that must be a part of your training regimen. This is, in fact, one of the highest calorie-burning exercises that you can do without any equipment. 
Here is how to perform the burpee:

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
Drop down into a push-up position, kicking your feet back behind you.
Perform a push-up.
Jump your feet back toward your hands.
Spring up into the air to return to the start position.

Burpees can be performed in HIIT fashion, making them an even more effective fat burner. Here is an example of how you can do this:

Do burpees for 20 seconds.
Rest for 10 seconds.
Do another 20-second round of burpees.
Rest for 10 seconds.
Repeat until you have completed eight rounds, aiming to maintain the same number of burpees in each round.

Step-ups are another effective calorie burner that you can do without any equipment. Besides helping you reduce belly fat, this exercise will work on your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Here is how to perform step-ups:

Stand out 12 inches away from a step or bench with a hip-width stance. 
Place your right foot on an elevated surface while the left is grounded. 
Drive your right foot into the surface and extend your leg. Both your feet should be together at the top. 
Reverse the movement to lower yourself to the floor. 
Switch between legs or complete recommended reps on the same side between changing sides. 
Always keep your body straight and tall. Avoid the temptation to lean forward from your hips. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands to burn even more calories.

Shuttle Sprints
This is a challenging cardio calorie burner that will also improve your agility. 

Set up two markers on the floor 3 yards apart. 
Begin with your hand on one of the markers in a sprint stance. 
Sprint to the other marker and touch it with your hand. 
Immediately sprint back to the other marker.

Lift Weight to Lose Weight
The second tier of your weight loss exercise regimen needs to involve some form of resistance training. There is conclusive evidence that exercise involving muscle contraction burns more calories and assists in fat loss. 
Incorporating weight training into your exercise schedule will not only boost your fat-burning efforts but also ensure that you are not losing vital muscle tissue. In the process, it will help build your dream physique. [16]
Lifting weights burns a considerable amount of calories. That is especially the case when you perform what are known as compound moves, such as deadlifts, that involve several muscle groups working together. But there’s an extra benefit. After you finish your workout, your body will have a greater need for oxygen to meet the demands that your workout has placed on your muscles. This brings on the EPOC effect. 
EPOC stands for excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption, and it leads to a higher metabolic rate for up to 24 hours. That means you burn more calories for up to a day after your workout.
When you work a muscle with weights, you place stress on that muscle. This can cause micro-tears in the muscle fiber. When you recover after the workout, your body uses energy to rebuild the muscle. That, too, is burning calories from stored body fat. 
Weight training is the best way to add muscle mass. Muscle is much more dense than fat. It takes up more space and burns five times more calories than fat. So, every ounce of muscle you add makes you more of a fat-burning machine. That’s why resistance training should be integral to your belly fat loss program. I recommend doing resistance exercises at least twice weekly. 
Rather than doing multiple sets of the same exercise before moving to the next one, you will do all five exercises consecutively, with a minimum amount of rest between exercises. Don’t rest at all between exercises one and two. Then give yourself 30 seconds to regain your breath before doing exercises three and four. Rest another 30 seconds before doing exercise number five.
Go through this circuit thrice, resting for two minutes between each circuit.
For each consecutive workout, your goal will be to add more resistance to the bar. However, only do so when you are confident that you have optimized your form on that movement.
Here is your six exercises resistance training circuit for weight loss:
Dumbbell Bench Press 
Prime Mover: Pectorals

Sit on the end of a bench with dumbbells resting on your thighs. Roll back onto the bench, bringing the dumbbells up to arm’s length above your chest. 
Breathe in as you expand your chest and lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest. Be sure to go down to a point at least an inch lower than your nipples. 
In the bottom position, your scapulae should be squeezing together. Now breathe out as you power back to the start position.

Farmer’s Walk 
Prime Mover: Quadriceps

Select a pair of light dumbbells of an appropriate weight.
Stand between the dumbbells and bend down to grip the handles. Lift the dumbbells by driving up through your heels while keeping your back straight and your head up.
Take an exaggerated step that requires you to lunge. The longer the step, the more emphasis is placed on your glutes, while shorter steps maximize the effect on the thighs.
Pushing off with your forward leg, continue lunge walking until you have covered the set distance.

Prime Mover: Upper Back

Stand in front of the bar so that your midfoot is under the bar and your feet are shoulder-width apart.
Grab the bar by bending the knees but maintaining a neutral spine. Hold the bar with a shoulder-wide mixed grip.
Push through your heels as you pull with your hips, not your arms. Your hips should be higher than the knees at the start of the pull.
Bring the hips, shoulders, and chest up together as the bar comes off the floor. You want the bar to travel directly up and close to your body.
As the bar reaches the mid-thigh level, squeeze your glutes tightly to prevent pulling with your lower back. At the same time, pull your shoulders back. 
Continue pulling until you are standing erect. 

Kettlebell High Pull
Prime Movers: Quadriceps / Glutes

Holding a light kettlebell, and with your feet shoulder-width apart, squat down with a neutral spine and your hips slightly higher than your knees. Your shoulders should be ahead of the kettlebell.
Simultaneously pull down through your feet while driving your hips up and forward. Pull the kettlebell up toward your chin. This movement should bring you up on your toes.
Immediately squat back down into the start position.

Incline Dumbbell Curl
Prime Mover: Biceps

Set an incline bar at a 45-degree angle. Grasp two dumbbells with an underhand grip.
Curl the weights towards your shoulders.
Stop and squeeze your biceps when the dumbbells are 6 to 8 inches in front of your shoulders. Hold the contraction, squeezing tight, for 2 seconds.
Slowly return the dumbbells to the starting position. Be sure to resist gravity during eccentrics.

Lying Triceps Extension 
Prime Mover: Triceps

Lie face up on a bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands.
Extend your arms directly above your upper chest.
Keeping the elbows in, bend at the elbows as you bring the dumbbells down at the sides of your forehead.

Contract the triceps to return to the start position.

Putting It Together
Now that we’ve identified the types of exercise that best fit your weight loss exercise schedule, let’s consider the frequency of performing those movements. You must exercise five days a week. You will perform your HIIT exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. As already explained, HIIT involves short-duration workouts. In fact, you’ll only have to allocate six minutes to your workouts on those days.
Here’s how it will look:

Choose an exercise you are comfortable performing with maximum intensity (sprinting, cycling, and skipping are good options).
Perform a medium-intensity warmup for two minutes.
Perform 20 seconds of maximum intensity.
Recover for 10 seconds.
Repeat this sequence until 4 minutes are up.

On Tuesday and Thursday, you will perform your resistance training workout. On each exercise, you will perform 12 repetitions. Then move directly to your next exercise until you have completed the six-exercise circuit. Work up to doing four rounds of this circuit workout.
Supplement Strategies to Lose Belly Fat Over 50
The are four mechanisms used by fat loss supplements to help users strip off body fat:

Appetite suppression
Increased metabolism
Increased fat oxidation
Boosted energy levels

Here are five supplements you can consider for your weight loss program:
Caffeine has been a foundational ingredient in fat burners from the very start. Its main appeal is its ability to speed up metabolism. Each milligram of caffeine you add to your body has been shown to increase your metabolic rate by about one calorie to a maximum of about a hundred calories daily. Caffeine also reduces perceived exertion during exercise. That means you can work harder for longer and burn more calories. 
Caffeine also can focus your energy consumption during exercise on your fat reserves rather than stored glucose. The evidence that caffeine suppresses the appetite is not very strong. 
Too much caffeine, however, is not a good thing. The maximum daily dosage should be limited to around 300 mg (250 mg for women).
Coffee Caffeine
L-Carnitine is added to fat burners to increase fat oxidation. That’s because it has been shown to play a key role in transporting long-chain fatty acids into the cell’s mitochondria, where energy is produced. The body naturally produces carnitine, but it quickly depletes when exercising. Adding it to your fat burner will help to replenish your carnitine levels and speed up fat oxidation.
Look for a supplement that provides 1-3 grams of carnitine daily.
Green Tea
Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant. It is rich in polyphenols, including catechins and flavonoids. Catechins have been shown to be especially beneficial for fat loss, boosting the metabolism. The star among the catechins when it comes to fat burning is a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG will boost your metabolism and work with L-carnitine to promote fat oxidation.
Green tea also gives you an energy boost. The ideal daily dosage of green tea for fat loss is 100 mg. Some products will individually list EGCG on the ingredient label. In that case, look for 500 mg.
Green Tea
Capsicum contains a polyphenol known as capsaicinoids. This compound provides a hot and spicy flavor to hundreds of foods. It has been shown to have some pretty impressive fat-burning benefits. For one thing, capsaicinoids increase the core temperature of the body. Your body will then work overtime to bring the temperature back to a state of homeostasis. This takes up energy, which burns calories. 
Capsaicinoids also break down adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main form of energy in the body. It has also been shown to boost the body’s lipase production, which breaks down fat for energy.
The roots of the konjac plant are used to make the dietary fiber glucomannan. It has an incredible capacity for water absorption, which transforms it into a thick, gel-like substance. It multiplies to many times its original size when ingested because it combines with bodily fluids. Your stomach has to make place for this, which causes you to feel full. In this manner, glucomannan aids in appetite suppression so that you consume fewer calories throughout the day and finish with a net calorie deficit.
In addition to making more room in your stomach, glucomannan also delays stomach emptying and lessens the absorption of fats and proteins. The recommended dosage is one gram taken three times daily.
This article provided a complete blueprint for losing belly fat over 50. You’ve been given the ideal balance of cardiovascular exercises to burn calories and resistance training to increase muscle mass and stoke your fat-burning furnace. At the same time, you’ve been given a wealth of nutrition and dietary tips to get you beyond the barriers to belly fat loss.
It’s now over to you to put all this belly fat-burning knowledge into action. Don’t let procrastination hold you back. Instead, resolve to start your workout program tomorrow, starting with the three weekly HIIT workouts and then adding in two circuit weight training sessions. Then, work through the 14 nutritional tips, incorporating one new tip daily into your routine over the next two weeks. Stay positive, remain consistent, and you will steadily lose that stubborn belly fat. 

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Two Best Love Handle Workouts For Building a Shredded Midriff

Two Best Love Handle Workouts For Building a Shredded Midriff

Love handles poking through your shirt can be the first sign of trouble. Most people are in denial at first when they start accumulating body fat. They blame their ‘ill-fitting’ shirts for their love handles or consistently tug on their shirts throughout the day to conceal them. Since you’re reading this article, I assume you are guilty of doing at least one of these at some point.
Ignoring these signs can worsen your spare tire situation, and it will require more work in the future to fix. Love handles can be notoriously difficult to lose. These are among the last fat stores to disappear during a fat loss program.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of love handle workouts, let’s get to the basics. Do you know how love handles got their name? I thought so.
Love handles is a colloquial expression that refers to excess fat deposits around the waistline, specifically on the sides of the abdomen and lower back. They got their name as an individual’s partner or loved ones often embrace them around the hips. Furthermore, it is often the body part your partner holds onto during a love-making session. The term ‘love handles’ will never be the same for you from this moment. You’re welcome!
In this article, we go over everything you need to know about love handles, including their causes, the associated risks, the holy grail of losing love handles, the best workouts and exercises, and the best lifestyle tips to see quick results.
What are Love Handles?

Love handles are protruding fat stores that sit above your hip bones and cover your external obliques. They are among the most stubborn areas to lose fat from. “Muffin tops” are a sign of poor physical fitness. Plus, they can hamper your physique aesthetics. The V-taper, characterized by broad shoulders and a narrow waist, is widely regarded as the epitome of aesthetic perfection. Love handles, on the other hand, hamper your shoulder-to-waist ratio.
Genetics, hormonal changes, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and overall body composition can influence love handle development. Besides their impact on your overall fitness and aesthetics, love handles can also lead to health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Contrary to what most people think, performing a few exercises in the transverse (axial) plane isn’t enough to shed the spare tire. Additionally, you cannot spot-reduce your love handles. You must follow a balanced diet and exercise regimen to achieve overall fat loss.
The love handles can be a tricky area to target with exercises. Performing the exercises with a picture-perfect form is crucial to achieving the desired results. You must also make mindful lifestyle choices to lose the love handles and keep them off.
Causes of Love Handles
Love handles develop as a consequence of weight gain. You gain weight when you are in a calorie surplus for a prolonged period, which includes consuming more calories daily than you expend. Your body converts the food into glycogen to use as fuel. However, your body stores excess glycogen as fat. Love handles tend to be the primary area where surplus fat accumulates in the body.
Besides a calorie surplus, here are the other factors that can cause weight gain — and love handles:

Genetical predisposition
Sedentary lifestyle
Hormonal changes
Lack of sleep
Certain health conditions

Risks of Love Handles
While some may perceive muffin tops as endearing and dismiss them, it is important to acknowledge that love handles can have significant health implications. Here are some potential risks associated with love handles: [1]

Increased risk of chronic diseases
Higher chances of contracting cardiovascular diseases
Insulin resistance and diabetes
Metabolic syndrome
Body image and psychological well-being
Kidney disease

The Secret To Losing Love Handles
If eating more calories daily than you can burn leads to excess fat accumulation and love handle development, guess how you can lose the spare tire? Right, by burning more calories in a day than you consume. It is known as a calorie deficit. 
Many people believe they can trim their belly fat by doing abdominal exercises and do not need to change their diet. Unsurprisingly, most of these folks never achieve their weight loss goals and end up shopping for new pants and loose-fitting shirts to hide their body fat. 
Weight loss ultimately comes down to calories in versus calories out. You can enter a calorie deficit by cutting your calorie intake or burning more calories through exercise. Using a combination of the two will get you the fastest results. 
Two Best Workouts To Lose Love Handles
There are two popular ways of training your core. You could do it after a strength training workout to tone your midsection and develop a six-pack. The other method involves performing a high-intensity full-body workout to burn calories and increase fat loss. The HIIT workout is more prevalent among people that want to focus on losing weight, whereas the first type of core workout is favored by lifters that want to build muscle mass and strength. 
Core-Strengthening Workout To Lose Love Handles
This type of workout consists of three to four exercises and is done after a resistance training session. Focus on your breathing pattern and contracting your target muscle group with each rep to get the best bang for your buck. 

Here is how to perform each exercise in this workout:
Russian Twist
Sit on the floor with an upright torso, your knees bent, and heels on the ground. Lean back until your torso is at a 45-degree angle with the floor. Lift your feet off the floor and extend your arms so they are parallel to the floor and over your knees. Turn to your right side while breathing out. Contract your abs and obliques at the isometric contraction point. Return to the starting point and repeat on the other side. Alternate between sides for recommended reps. Advanced exercisers can hold onto a weight plate to make this exercise more challenging. 

Stand upright with a hip-width stance while holding a dumbbell with both hands in front of your hips. Interlace your fingers around the dumbbell’s handle for a firm grip. Lift the dumbbell across your body and over your right shoulder. Twist your left foot slightly during the upward motion and fix your eyes on the dumbbell. Bring down the dumbbell diagonally across your body so it is at the side of your left knee. Pause and contract your core during the downward motion. Repeat for recommended reps before switching sides. 

Bicycle Crunch
Lie on your back on the floor. Hold your hands next to your ears and lift your legs so your thighs are perpendicular to the floor. Bring your left knee toward your chest while reaching across with your right elbow. Pause and contract your core. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. 

Side Plank
Lie on your side on the floor. Place your elbow under your shoulder and stack your hips and legs. Plant your forearm on the floor so it is perpendicular to your body. Lift your hips off the floor; your body should be in a straight line from head to toe. Place your top hand on your hip. Hold this position for a minute. Without stopping for rest, repeat on the other side. 

HIIT Workout To Burn Calories, Boost Fat Loss, and Get Rid of Love Handles
Given below is a full-body high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout that will spike your heart and metabolic rate. This 17-minute HIIT workout will help you shed excess fat and build a shredded core. Perform two rounds of these exercises and limit rest duration between exercises to 30 seconds. You are allowed a two-minute breathing time after completing the first circuit. Also, do not stop for rest while changing sides in the side plank pulse. 

Given below are step-by-step guides to performing these exercises:
High Knees
Stand upright with a shoulder-wide stance and place your hands on your hips. Brace your core, bend one leg, and lift your knee until your thigh is roughly level with the floor. Return the leg to the ground and repeat on the other side. Establish a steady rhythm. 

Mountain Climber
Assume the push-up position; your hands should be under your shoulders and legs extended behind you. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe. Lift one foot off the floor, bend at the knee, and bring it toward your chest. Return it to the start position and repeat on the other side. Alternate between sides in a rhythm. 

Plank Jack
Get into the high plank position. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Extend your legs behind you and place your feet together. Maintaining the high plank, jump and place your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Jump and return to the starting position. Repeat in a rhythm. 

Side Plank Pulses
Get into the side plank position so your body is in a straight line from head to toe. Lower your hips to the floor and return to the starting position. Repeat for the recommended reps before switching sides. 

Sledgehammer Overhead Strikes
Grab a sledgehammer in front of your body with your left hand at the bottom of the handle and your right hand just above it. Swing the hammer around your right side and behind and over your head. Smash the tire in the center with full force. Switch hands and return the hammer to the overhead position while swinging the hammer around your left side. Repeat for recommended reps.

Cross-Body Mountain Climber
Get into the high plank position. Maintaining your body in a straight line from head to toe, lift one foot off the floor, bend your knee, and bring it toward the opposite shoulder. Contract your core at the top. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. Perform this exercise using a steady rhythm.

Sit-Up Twist
Lie on your back on the floor, bend your knees, and plant your feet on the ground. Hold your hands next to your ears. Contract your abs and lift your torso off the floor. Turn to your side and bring your left elbow to your right knee during the upward motion. Return to the start position and repeat on the other side. 

Most Effective Love Handle Exercises
Sticking to the same exercises can get really boring, really fast. If you dread doing the same movements in every workout, we have got you covered. Below is an exhaustive list of additional exercises that will help tone your love handles. Add these movements to your exercise arsenal to keep your workouts exciting. 
Standing Dumbbell Side Bend
Stand upright with a hip-width stance while holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Keeping your elbows locked, brace your core, and slowly lower the right dumbbell as low toward the floor as possible. It should at least be at your knee level at the bottom. Return to the start position. Complete the recommended reps on one side before switching to the other side. Read more about standing dumbbell side bend here.

Oblique V-Ups
Lie on your right side on the floor. Stack your legs while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Place your right arm on the floor so it is perpendicular to your torso. Hold your left hand behind your head. Lower your head and left arm to the floor behind you; this will be your starting position. In a single motion, lift your legs off the floor and raise your knees toward the ceiling while bringing your left elbow to your knees. 

Cable Side Crunch
Set a cable pulley at the highest setting and attach a D-handle bar. Grab the handle with a neutral (palm facing inward) grip and take a big step away from the pulley. Place your other hand on your hip. Holding the handle to your ear, perform a side crunch. Contract your core at the bottom of the movement. Repeat for reps before switching sides. 

Read more about cable side crunch.
Side Jackknives
Lie on your left side on the floor; your hips and legs should be stacked. Place your left upper arm on the floor in front of your body so it is perpendicular to your torso. Keep your right hand on your right hip. Lift your right foot toward the ceiling while performing a side crunch. Pause and contract your obliques at the top. Rinse and repeat. 

Read more about side jackknives.
Side Plank Twist
Get into the side plank position. Place your top hand behind your head. Your top elbow should be in line with your shoulders at the starting position. Bring your top elbow to the floor under your shoulders while keeping your legs stacked. Contract your core during the lowering movement and hold for a two-count at the bottom. Repeat for recommended reps before switching sides. 

Standing Torso Twist
Stand upright with a hip-width stance. Extend your arms in front of your body so they are parallel to the floor. Interlace your fingers and turn to your right side as far as possible without bending your elbows. Twist your left leg during the turn for optimal range of motion and contract your abs and obliques. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Experienced exercisers can hold onto a dumbbell or kettlebell to make this exercise more challenging. 

Flutter Kicks
Lie supine on the floor with your legs extended. Place your hands under your hips for leverage. Brace your core and lift your feet a few inches off the floor. Raise your head off the floor. Without bending your knee, lift your right leg toward the ceiling while keeping your left leg in place. Return the right leg to the starting position while lifting the left leg toward the roof. Maintain a steady tempo for recommended reps. More on flutter kicks here.

Side Plank Knee Tucks
Get into the side plank position. Place your top hand next to your ear. Simultaneously, elevate your upper leg towards your chest while bringing your elbow to your knee, all in one fluid motion. Breathe out and contract your abs throughout the range of motion. Return to the start position and repeat for recommended reps before switching sides. 

Standing Side Leg Lifts
Stand with your left side facing a sturdy elevated surface like a cable pulley machine. Hold on to the pulley machine with your hand. Hold your right leg slightly in front of your body. Bring the right leg toward the pulley while keeping your knee locked. Raise the leg out to your side as high as possible. Return to the starting position and repeat for recommended reps. You could also perform an oblique crunch during the concentric motion for better muscle contraction. 

Side-to-Side Medicine Ball Slams
Place a medicine ball on the floor. Stand upright with a shoulder-width stance so the medicine ball is at your left foot’s side. Bend over and lift the ball off the floor. In a sweeping motion, lift the ball over your head. Raise onto the balls of your feet and slam the ball on your right side as hard as possible. Bend over and lift the ball. Alternate between sides for reps. Learn more about side-to-side medicine ball slams here.

Lateral Band Walk
Wear a loop resistance band around the bottom of your thighs. Take a wide stance so that band is engaged. Bend your knees slightly and hinge at your hips. Hold your hands in front of your chest. Take a wide step to your right side. Walk 10 steps to your right side and return to the starting position. Start with the opposite leg on the subsequent set. 

Side Plank with Leg Lift
Get into the side plank position. Raise your top leg as high toward the ceiling as possible. Exhale and contract your core during the upward motion. Hold the position for a two-count. Slowly lower the leg to the starting. Repeat for recommended reps before switching sides. Experienced exercisers can wear ankle weights while performing this exercise for optimal oblique engagement. Also, perform a side crunch to target your love handles. 

Side Plank Reach-Throughs
Assume the side plank position. Raise the top arm toward the ceiling so it is perpendicular to the floor; this will be your starting position. Lower your arm toward the floor and thread it between your body and the floor. Breathe out and contract your abs during this lowering motion. Repeat for reps and switch sides. 

Lie on the floor on your side. Bend your knees while keeping your hips and legs tacked. Place your bottom arm under your head for support. Place the hand of your top arm on the floor for support. Keeping your ankles stacked, lift your top leg toward the ceiling as high as possible. Hold the contraction for two seconds. Tie a resistance band around your knees for better glute engagement. 

Seated Side Bend with Dumbbell
Sit upright on an elevated surface, such as a flat bench, while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Place your feet on the floor wider than shoulder-width apart for better stability. While breathing out, lower the right dumbbell to the floor. Explode back to the starting position. Repeat for recommended reps before switching sides. 

More Love Handle Exercises
Here are a few more love handle exercises that will help burn off the spare tire and give you the coveted sex lines:

Cable Woodchoppers
Stability Ball Side Bend
Side Lunge with Twist
Plank with Knee Tucks
Side Plank with Arm Reach
Crunch and Twist on Stability Ball
Side Plank Clamshells
Side Plank with Dumbbell Row
Kettlebell Windmill
Standing Side Bend with Resistance Bands
Heavy Farmer Walk
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row
Box Jump
Floor Wipers
Hanging Windshield Wiper

Tips For Losing Love Handles
Here are a few tips to speed up your fat loss and build a shredded six-pack:
Follow a Balanced and Healthy Diet
Folks serious about losing the spare tire must avoid following a cookie-cutter diet plan. You must follow a personalized diet plan that helps you lose 1-2 pounds weekly. According to the CDC, you must maintain a daily 500-1,000 calorie deficit to achieve this goal. [2]
Use this total daily calorie expenditure (TDEE) calculator to determine your goal daily calorie intake. Then, break it down into a suitable macronutrient split to lose fat and build muscle mass simultaneously. 
Although training is not mandatory on a weight loss program, it can help speed up your progress. Perform two daily cardio training sessions for optimal results — one HIIT and another low-intensity steady state (LISS). 
Seeking professional help can help beginners save time and effort. A personal trainer can give you a customized training program and will teach you the correct exercise form. On the other hand, a registered nutritionist will ensure you are hitting your daily macro and micronutrient goals. 
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Losing weight and love handles and keeping them off might require a complete lifestyle change. Folks with desk jobs must add more physical activity to their days. You must choose the stairs over the elevator and bike to work when possible. 
Start with a goal of walking 5,000 steps daily and slowly make your way up until you are logging 10,000 daily steps. Staying physically active will help burn calories throughout the day and keep your metabolic rate high. 
Stay Hydrated
Drinking water at regular intervals can keep you satiated. Furthermore, it can help curb cravings. Drink at least a gallon of water daily to ensure optimal body functioning and overall well-being. Switch calorie-laden sugary drinks and sodas with plain water to speed up your weight loss. 
Adequate hydration can also boost your metabolism. Your body is more effective at metabolizing stored fat and converting it into energy when you are hydrated. It can help improve your fat-burning process. Staying hydrated also enhances digestion and nutrient absorption, supporting your overall weight loss efforts. 
Many people tend to overexert themselves while trying to lose weight and love handles, which can be counterproductive. Remember, you lose weight while you are asleep, and you must give your body enough to recover. Sleep at least seven to eight hours each night for optimal results. 
Also, learn to listen to your body. If you are very sore after a workout, it is best to skip a training session and allow your body time to recuperate. Pushing too hard in the gym can lead to overtraining, which can negatively impact your central nervous system. 
Avoid Stress
Your cortisol levels rise when you are under stress, which can increase your appetite, slow down your metabolism, and increase fat storage. Chronic stress can lead to greater inflammation, emotional eating, and impaired sleep. 
Elevated cortisol levels can make it more challenging to lose weight, even when you are following a balanced diet and training program. Meditation, yoga, and journaling can help deal with chronic stress. However, you must consult a healthcare professional if these three methods don’t work for you. 
Set a Goal and Track Your Progress
Starting your transformation journey with a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal can increase your chances of success. Having a deadline will also motivate you to stick to your fitness regimen. 
You must have long-term and weekly goals. Track your progress every week to ensure you are on the right path. Stick to your regimen if the progress is favorable. Conversely, make necessary adjustments if the needle is not budging in the right direction. 
Stay Consistent and Dedicated
Love handles can be a stubborn muscle group. Depending on your current and goal physique, it might take you weeks, if not months, to achieve your objective. Nonetheless, you must stick to your fitness regimen with military discipline and ensure you never miss a training session or meal. 
You must also consistently challenge yourself by increasing your training intensity and volume to avoid hitting a plateau. Establishing healthy habits will reduce the friction in your training regimen and help you stick to the fit lifestyle for the long term. 
Can I lose love handles without exercise?Yes. The love handles vanish when there is a reduction in your overall body fat, which requires you to be in a calorie deficit. You can lose your love handles by limiting your calorie intake. That said, adding exercise to your fitness regime can help speed up your results.
Is it possible to have a flat stomach and love handles simultaneously?Some skinny individuals can also develop love handles, known as skinny fat. Skinny fat can result from several factors, including genetics, sedentary lifestyles, medication, or certain health conditions.
How much time will it take for me to lose my love handles?It will depend on your starting physique and ultimate objective. You cannot spot-reduce your love handles and must work toward overall body fat loss. A 500-1,000 daily calorie deficit can help you lose 1-2 pounds weekly.

Note: The content on Fitness Volt is for informative purposes only. Do not take it as medical advice to diagnose, prevent, or treat health problems. If you’re suffering from a health issue, are pregnant, or are under 18 years old, you should consult your physician before starting any new supplement, nutrition, or fitness routine.
Wrapping Up
Love handles can be stubborn, requiring dedication, determination, and consistency to burn them off. Avoid falling into the spot-reduction trap and focus on reducing your overall body fat to see quick, favorable results. 
This article has two highly effective workout routines specifically designed for strength trainers and those engaged in full-body HIIT exercises to effectively target and eliminate love handles. So, what are you waiting for? Lace-up your shoes and get moving. Best of luck!

Patel P, Abate N. Body fat distribution and insulin resistance. Nutrients. 2013 Jun 5;5(6):2019-27. doi: 10.3390/nu5062019. PMID: 23739143; PMCID: PMC3725490.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Losing Weight. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html

How To Gain Muscle Fast: The 12 Most Effective & Proven Tips

How To Gain Muscle Fast: The 12 Most Effective & Proven Tips

Every individual on this planet would gladly embrace the opportunity to effortlessly achieve instant muscle gains. However, life isn’t so easy.
Most gyms have an individual who has been lifting for several months, if not years, but cannot seem to move the needle in the right direction. Also, most lifters cancel their gym cards without achieving their goal physique. 
Although most exercisers want a muscular physique for its aesthetic benefits, there is more to it than meets the eye. Building a jacked physique improves your overall strength, functionality, and athletic performance. It also reduces your risk of falls, improves brain health, boosts self-confidence, and promotes a better quality of life. [1][2]
Many newbies think advanced lifters are hoarding secrets that unlock super gains, such as if you read a certain Bible verse just before starting a workout, you’ll be blessed with the physique of your dreams. This is one of the reasons why beginners are always asking for ‘tips’ and ‘tricks’ from much bigger and jacked dudes. 
We are sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but this assumption is only partly true. Yes, only partly. There are bodybuilding secrets that only the elite know. However, it is about to change with this article. Also, if you are wondering, reading a Biblical verse before a workout doesn’t do much. (I’ve tried it.)
In this article, we go over the factors that influence muscle gain and the most effective tips to gain muscle mass fast. We also uncover how much time you must expect to wait before seeing noticeable changes and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this subject. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get right into it. 

Factors Influencing Muscle Gains
Several factors determine how quickly you can gain muscle mass. While some are under your control, others cannot be modified. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot gain muscle or speed up your bulking progress. Fine-tuning these factors can get you to your dream physique in a record time. Furthermore, the 12 tips for gaining muscle mass can be clubbed under these factors. 

Genetic factors play a crucial role in your transformation program. Your genetics determine your body composition, structure, height, weight, and how much muscle mass you will gain in a particular time.
Genetically superior lifters will gain muscle mass and strength faster than their counterparts. However, folks that were left behind in the genetic lottery shouldn’t hang their heads low. You can make the most of what you’ve got by following an effective diet and training regimen.
Related: Bad Chest Genetics and How To Build a Barrel Chest
Hormonal Balance
An individual’s hormonal balance can turn the tide of muscle and strength gains in his favor. Folks with a generous level of natural testosterone production are better positioned to make muscular and strength gains.
High natural test production is the reason the ladies do not gain as much muscle mass as the men. Most steroids are synthetic versions of testosterone that boost your T-levels and muscle-building potential.
Other hormones that influence muscle gain include growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Notably, you must avoid tweaking your hormone levels using supplements or gear, as it can have long-term health implications.
Building muscle becomes more difficult with age as your natural testosterone levels decline. The decline in the muscle-building potential for both genders starts to occur after 40.
Although gaining muscle mass will become more complex with age, you can hold onto your gains by working hard in the gym and following a balanced diet. Folks who engage in strength training usually hold onto their muscle mass longer than untrained elderlies.
Muscle Memory

Muscle memory is often overlooked while discussing the speed at which an individual can gain muscle mass. If you are a gym regular, you’ve encountered a person who seems to have undergone an astonishing transformation practically overnight. No, these folks don’t have a version of The Vita-Ray Chamber that Steve Rogers used to transform into Captain America in their basement. Muscle memory hit them like a lightning bolt.
Do some digging, and you’ll find that these folks had a decent physique back in the day and have just recently resumed training. It is much easier for a person to regain muscle mass than for a new lifter to build it. This is why you should never compete with anyone at your gym; you never know where they are coming from. Trying to keep up with them can lead to burning out or, even worse, an injury.
Experienced lifters will start seeing positive results within a couple of weeks after returning to their tried and tested diet and training program. In contrast, newbies should expect to spend 12-16 weeks adhering to a strict fitness routine before they achieve noticeable gains.
Related: Muscle Memory For Bodybuilding – How to Use It to Regain Lost Muscle
Training, Nutrition, and Recovery Program
This is a no-brainer. Your gains will depend on the effectiveness of your workout, diet, and recovery program. You cannot expect to build muscle mass while overlooking any of these areas. 
Furthermore, you must be patient and consistent with your transformation journey to reap the fruits of your labor. Some people overlook their recovery to gain muscle fast; however, this can negatively affect their growth potential, lead to a muscle and strength plateau, and increase their risk of injury. 
Your lifestyle plays a significant role in determining how fast you can transform your body. Do you prefer the stairs over the lift? How often do you work out? Do you use a standing desk at work or sit on a chair for most of the day? And finally, do you prep your meals in advance or go out to your favorite fast food restaurant whenever you are starving? These factors will determine how quickly you shed body fat and build muscle. 
12 Best Tips on How To Gain Muscle Fast
Spoiler alert: We do not have steroids on this list. All the tips mentioned in this article are WADA-approved (World Anti-Doping Agency) and will help you achieve a jacked and shredded physique while improving your overall health and well-being. 
Without further ado, here are the 12 best tips for how to gain muscle fast:
Start with a Goal

Starting their transformation journey without a goal is the first mistake most people make. You must set SMART goals to speed up your results and get the best bang for your buck. SMART goals are:

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Attainable
R: Relevant
T: Time-Bound

For example, “build muscle mass” is not a SMART goal. Instead, your goal should be to “build 2 pounds of muscle mass in a month.”
Furthermore, your muscle-building goals will also change depending on your training style. Bodybuilders that train for hypertrophy can expect better muscle-building results than CrossFitters who juggle multiple things. 
No, this is not a jab at CrossFitters. It is just that you should be aware of the results you can expect and the difference between different training styles. 
Use a Personalized Training Program

Most lifters make the mistake of following a cookie-cutter training program. Not only does this return poor results, but it also wastes a lot of time, effort, energy, and money. Each individual is different and will react to different training programs uniquely. 
Owing to a lack of knowledge, many folks with a lagging lower body end up following a training regimen designed for a lifter with a weak upper body. An ideal training program will bring up your lagging muscle groups and polish your strengths. 
Furthermore, you must follow a balanced training regimen to speed up your muscle gains. Your workouts should have a balance of compound and isolation lifts. Compound movements will help build muscle mass and strength, whereas isolation exercises will improve your conditioning. 
In contrast to the popular practice, you should not eliminate cardio training from your muscle-building training program. Cardio exercises will help lower your body fat, which will improve your muscle definition.
Related: Build Your Program: How to Design the Perfect Training Plan
Work With a Coach
Most people try to do everything on their own in their muscle-building program. Using an expert’s help can speed up your gains by significantly shortening your learning curve. A personal trainer will give you a personalized training program to suit your needs. Plus, he can help avoid injuries by showing you the correct exercise form. 
Also, seeking the help of a registered nutritionist can help you lose body fat and build muscle mass. Getting your training and nutritionist to work together can skyrocket your results. Hiring a diet and training coach might cost you a little money upfront but will pay dividends in the long run. 
Eat More Calories
Sticking to your regular diet after starting a training program can help with body recomposition. It can result in fat loss and toned muscles. However, you shouldn’t expect significant muscle gains while sticking to the same diet. 
You must enter a calorie surplus to build muscle mass, meaning you must eat more calories in a day than you expend. Eating a surplus of 500-1,000 calories daily can result in gaining 1-2 pounds weekly. [3]
However, you must ensure that the additional calories come from nutrient-dense whole foods. Eating empty calories can have counterproductive results as it can lead to a gain in body fat. 
Nail Your Nutrition 
After determining your daily caloric intake, you must follow a suitable macronutrient (carbs, protein, and fat) split to optimize muscle gains. Follow a high-protein and high-carb diet to gain muscle fast. 
Focus on splitting your protein intake into equal quantities throughout the day to boost your recovery and build muscle mass. Furthermore, consume a carb-rich meal two to three hours before a workout to ensure you have enough energy stores to get you through a grueling workout.

Incorporate Progressive Overload Into Your Training
Most people experience muscle and strength plateaus during their muscle-building campaigns. These stagnations result from following the same training routine for a prolonged period. You must constantly challenge your muscles by switching up your training regimen. It will keep your muscles guessing and help you avoid a plateau.
Progressive overload involves gradually increasing the intensity of your strength training routine. You could do it by increasing the weight, frequency, number of sets and repetitions, or time under tension.
Contrary to what most lifters believe, you don’t always need to train to failure to achieve hypertrophy. Pushing your muscles to failure in each exercise can lead to overtraining, which can set you back on your muscle-building goals.
Use Advanced Training Techniques
Advanced training techniques are a progressive overload method. However, they deserve individual recognition. Using advanced training techniques such as super sets, drop sets, and intraset techniques can help ignite muscle growth, as they put your muscles under significant stress.
You can include two advanced training techniques (ATT) in a single workout. Notably, you don’t need to use an ATT in every exercise, as it can lead to muscle exhaustion and overtraining. Beginners should seek expert guidance while using these methods to limit their risk of injury and optimize their performance and results.
Train Each Muscle Group Multiple Times a Week
If you want to build bigger, fuller, and rounder muscles, you should train them multiple times a week. The more often you stimulate your muscles, the more opportunities they have to adapt to a higher workload, which can help them grow bigger and stronger.
Your training frequency will depend on your experience level. Beginners who follow a low-intensity full-body training regimen can train each muscle group up to thrice weekly. However, advanced lifters following a high-intensity regimen should limit their weekly workout frequency to two sessions per muscle group.
Switch Your Training Routine Frequently
Staying glued to the same training regimen for a prolonged period can lead to diminishing results. You must consistently change your training style to keep your muscle guessing and avoid hitting an overhead ceiling. Besides switching training programs, changing training approaches can also be an effective technique for building muscle mass. 
For example, if you’ve been following a bodybuilding program for an extended period, you could switch to a CrossFit program for improved metabolic conditioning, which can boost your muscle definition. 
That said, you shouldn’t switch your training regimen too often, as it can lead to subpar results. Give your training regimen between 12-15 weeks to work its magic before trying a new workout program.
Focus on Your Recovery

Irrespective of how hard you train in the gym, you cannot make the necessary gains until you give your muscle enough time to recover. Remember, you break muscle tissue in the gym. They grow back bigger and stronger outside the gym, especially while you’re sleeping. 
Feel free to take a day off if you feel sore from your workouts. Pushing too hard without proper rest can lead to overtraining and increase your risk of injury. Furthermore, you could use self-myofascial release, massages, and cold plunges to speed up your recovery. 
Although supplements are not necessary for building muscle, they can help you on your journey to a more aesthetically appealing physique. Furthermore, supplements are a godsend for people who cannot meet their macronutrient needs through nutrient-dense whole foods. 
Pre-workout, Whey protein, creatine, and BCAA supplements are all you need to build muscle mass. However, take this with a grain of salt as the optimal supplements for you can change depending on your current physique and training objective. 
Track and Monitor Progress
You must track and monitor your progress to keep yourself accountable. Having a SMART goal is like racing against the clock. It will push you to do your best and surpass expectations. You could track your progress using photos, taking body measurements, and keeping a training journal where you record your exercises, sets, reps, weights, and the RPE (rate of perceived exertion). 
Sharing your goals and progress with your family, friends, and coaches will keep you accountable. Furthermore, it can motivate your near and dear ones to join you and work towards their best self. 
Gaining muscle mass and strength requires time, patience, consistency, and determination. You should be willing to stick to your training goal for a long period. It doesn’t end here. You must work just as hard to maintain your gains. 
How Much Muscle Can I Gain and By When Can I Expect Results?
Much Muscle
The rate at which you gain muscle mass and the expected time before you can see noticeable results will depend on several factors, including your genetics, age, gender, hormone levels, training, diet, recovery program, and lifestyle. Further, your commitment and adherence to the 12 tips mentioned in this article will dictate your results. 
Most people can expect to build between 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.22 to 0.9 kilograms) of muscle in a month. That said, the amount of muscle you gain in a month isn’t necessarily the same as the gain in numbers you see on the weighing scale. The uptick in your weight could be the result of a combination of water weight, muscle mass, and fat build-up. [4]
Building muscle mass isn’t as simple as it might sound. It requires stressing your muscle fibers to a point where they must adapt and grow bigger and stronger to handle the load. Your body does this by building or recruiting more muscle fibers, increasing their density and numbers. 
Furthermore, the amount of muscle mass a beginner can gain will vary from what an advanced lifter can accomplish. Beginners initially experience quick and significant muscle gains; however, their rate of growth tapers as they gain more experience. 
Lifters can boost their muscle and strength gains with high-intensity training. On the flip side, their gains might tank if they decrease their training frequency, volume, or intensity. 
What is the fastest way to gain muscle mass?
A lot goes into building muscle mass. It is a combination of several things. You cannot build muscle mass by tweaking one thing in your daily routine, let alone doing it quickly. Following the 12 tips mentioned in this article will help fast-track your muscle-building progress. 
How much muscle mass can I gain in a week?
It depends on several factors, including your genetics, current fitness level, nutrition, training program, and recovery. That said, an average untrained individual can gain around 0.25-0.5 pounds (0.1-0.2 kilograms) of muscle mass per week. However, this rate decreases as you gain more experience and approach your genetic potential. 
Can I gain muscle without entering a calorie surplus?
Weight training while sticking to your original diet can help achieve body recomposition and a well-toned and sculpted physique. However, you must enter a calorie surplus and eat a protein-rich diet to build muscle mass. 
Note: The content on Fitness Volt is for informative purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice to diagnose, prevent, or treat health problems. If you’re suffering from a health issue, are pregnant, or are under 18 years old, you should consult your physician before starting any new supplement, nutrition, or fitness routine.
Wrapping Up
The 12 muscle-building tips mentioned in this article are backed by science and endorsed by fitness experts and athletes. The quickness of your gains depends on several factors, including your genetics, current fitness level, nutrition, training program, and recovery. 
Remember, building muscle mass and strength is not a sprint but a marathon. Gaining quality muscle mass can take time and demand commitment and patience. Pushing too hard too soon can lead to excess fat gain and increase your risk of injury. You must stick to your guns when the going gets tough. Focus on improving in each workout, and the results will follow. Best of luck!

Thomas MH, Burns SP. Increasing Lean Mass and Strength: A Comparison of High Frequency Strength Training to Lower Frequency Strength Training. Int J Exerc Sci. 2016 Apr 1;9(2):159-167. PMID: 27182422; PMCID: PMC4836564.
Sherrington C, Fairhall NJ, Wallbank GK, Tiedemann A, Michaleff ZA, Howard K, Clemson L, Hopewell S, Lamb SE. Exercise for preventing falls in older people living in the community. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Jan 31;1(1):CD012424. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD012424.pub2. PMID: 30703272; PMCID: PMC6360922.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Losing Weight. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html
Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(24):4897. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897

How to Burn 400 Calories a Day: 12 Effective Ways To Flame Up Your Fitness

How to Burn 400 Calories a Day: 12 Effective Ways To Flame Up Your Fitness

Most people want to lose weight but never start their transformation journey because they have no idea how to go about their weight loss goal. On the flip side, some folks spend so much time thinking through choices that they end up with analysis paralysis. 
In this article, we will take you through the psyche behind burning 400 calories daily, the results you can expect, the prerequisites you should know about, and the 12 most effective ways to achieve your new goal. 
You must enter a calorie deficit to lose body weight. A calorie deficit includes burning more calories in a day than you consume. 
But why 400 calories and not 300 or 500 calories?
We are glad you asked. A 400-calorie deficit hits the sweet spot. It is not as intimidating as cutting out 500 calories from your diet. Conversely, it is more effective at helping you improve your body composition than cutting 300 calories, which can be slow. Nonetheless, even the slightest calorie deficit is a good place to start for beginners trying to get rid of their spare tire. 
Since shredding 400 calories isn’t an overly ambitious objective, most people can achieve this goal by making small adjustments to their daily routines. Plus, you don’t even need to hit a gym to burn 400 additional daily calories, which is often a bottleneck for folks with a packed schedule. You could burn 400 calories a day by mowing your loan or biking to work. 
So, without any further ado, let’s get into the article. 
If I burn 400 calories a day, how much weight will I lose in a month?

This is probably the first question that popped into your head after reading this article’s title. That said, it is an excellent question since burning an additional 400 calories daily requires serious effort, and knowing the final result can motivate you when you don’t feel like working out. 
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cutting your caloric intake by 500-1,000 calories a day can lead to a weight loss of 1-2 pounds weekly. Plus, staying in this range will keep your physique transformation journey gradual, steady, and sustainable. [1]
You must burn 3,500 calories weekly to lose a pound of body fat. Breaking this into a daily target gets you to cut 500 calories from your diet. Similarly, restricting 400 calories from your diet leads to a 2,800-calorie deficit, which will result in a weight loss of 0.8 pounds per week. Sticking to this regime can help you lose around 3.5 pounds in a month. [2]

Summary: A daily 400-calorie deficit will lead to a 2,800-calorie weekly deficit, helping you lose around 3.5 pounds monthly. However, your gender, age, training intensity, and activity levels can influence your results. 

How Long Does It Take To Burn 400 Calories?
The 500-1,000 calorie deficit mentioned above can be achieved by cutting calories from your diet and adding exercise to your daily regimen.

Depending on the type of physical exercise and intensity, you can burn 400 calories between 25 to 60 minutes of continuous work. An exerciser can burn calories more quickly during high-intensity circuit cardiovascular training compared to low-intensity bodybuilding-style resistance training workouts.
That said, no two people will lose the same amount of weight using the same techniques. Your weight loss results will depend on your age, height, weight, gender, activity levels, muscle mass, body fat percentage, and genetics. Meaning your training partner might lose more weight than you following the same techniques.
Men usually lose weight faster than women. Higher estrogen levels lead to greater fat storage among women. Men also tend to have greater muscle mass density, which improves their metabolic rate and spikes their fat loss progress.
Folks that engage in regular exercise usually lose weight faster than sedentary people. Furthermore, advanced exercisers will shed weight and body fat faster than newbie trainers.

Summary: As with the amount of weight you can lose in a month with a 400-calorie deficit, your genetics, age, gender, weight, training intensity, and experience will affect the time it will take to burn 400 calories in a day. However, you can torch 400 calories within 25 to 60 minutes of continuous work. 

Prerequisites For Burning an Additional 400 Calories Daily
Knowing about the following things can make your weight loss journey easier: 
Know Your BMR

Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to accomplish its most basic (basal) life-sustaining functions, such as breathing, circulation, and cell production. For example, if your BMR is 2,000 calories, it means that your body burns 2,000 calories to sustain itself.
Your BMR depends on your age, height, gender, activity levels, genetics, and target body weight. We will not consider your BMR calories for the sake of this article. You must burn the additional 400 calories through physical activities. Need help to figure out your BMR? Check out our convenient online calculator to find out. 
Use Cardio Machines With Monitors For Precise Calorie Tracking
If you hit the gym to achieve a calorie deficit, you should use machines with monitors to track your progress. Spending hours on a machine without a monitor or other method to track your calorie expenditure can leave you confused about your progress. Thankfully, most cardio equipment in the gym, such as the treadmill, elliptical, bike, Stairmaster, and rower, come with a calorie tracker. 
That said, the number of calories a 200-pound male burns from running a mile in 10 minutes will be different from the calories a 140-pound lady burns who logs in the same distance. However, a cardio machine will return the same result for both users. 
Furthermore, some low-quality machines tend to have uncalibrated monitors, which can give you skewed results. Inaccurate machines can lead you down the incorrect path, which brings us to our next point. 
Wear a Fitness Tracker
Although the in-built calorie trackers are great, they are usually inaccurate. A study conducted by Sam Houston State University found that elliptical machines spike the number of calories burned by up to 100 calories for each 30 min of exercise at moderate intensity. [3]
Using a fitness tracker such as an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or a chest strap can better gauge the calories you burn during a particular physical activity or throughout the day. Plus, since these apps require you to input your age, height, and weight, they also give you a fairly accurate reading of the distance you cover while running. 
Remember, when using these trackers, you should look at ‘active calories.’ Active calories are the ones you burn through all kinds of movement, from taking the stairs at work to playing with the kids to cleaning out the garage. You should start a workout on your tracker before engaging in physical activity to get more accurate results. 
Use Calorie Burning Calculators
Folks that don’t have access to a wearable calorie tracker but want an accurate calorie-burning estimation can use our calorie-burning calculators to measure their fat-loss progress. You can use these calculators to plan your exercise or daily routine to ensure you burn 400 calories a day.
These calorie-burning calculators can also be used to double-check the data from your wearable calorie trackers or the numbers on the machine. A conservative approach to your calorie-burning progress best ensures you are meeting your objectives. 
12 Ways To Burn 400 Calories
Given below are 12 effective ways to burn 400 calories in a single day:
Walk More

This is arguably one of the easiest and most convenient ways to burn an additional 400 calories daily. Folks that find intensive physical exercise intimidating should focus on walking more throughout the day to burn an extra 400 calories. 
An average 140-pound person will burn 400 calories by walking 10,000 steps a day.  Depending on your stride length and walking speed, walking ten thousand steps equates to about eight kilometers, or an hour and 40 minutes walking. 
Remember, most of us cannot walk 10,000 steps in a single session. You must break down these steps into 6-8 smaller parts to complete the desired steps. You can schedule a longer 3,000-4,000 step walking session earlier in the day to get a head start. 
Going on hikes on weekends is another fun activity that can help you get in the desired 10,000 steps on your rest day. Take your friends or family along with you on your walks, as it can allow you to spend some quality time with them. 
Check Out: Calories Burned Walking Calculator: Find Calorie Burn from Walking?
Get Comfortable Doing Your Chores

You must gamify your daily routine if you want to burn an additional 400 calories without hitting the gym. Wash your dishes, mow your lawn, wash your car, scrub your bathroom floor, or do anything that keeps you moving. Time yourself doing these tasks and try to set a new record every time. 
It will take an average 170-pound individual around 60 minutes to burn 400 calories mowing his lawn using a power mower. However, the same results can be achieved in under 50 minutes using a hand mower. 
Mowing the lawn is an underrated low-impact cardio activity that will help you achieve your calorie deficit goal without stressing your joints. 
Check Out: How Many Calories Does Mowing the Lawn Burn?
Play a Sport

Most of us quit playing sports after graduating from school or college. However, this is one of the biggest reasons many people gain weight. 
Most sports require intense physical effort, which can help keep you in shape. Plus, playing a team sport can make you feel like a part of a community, which can make you stick to the sport for the long term. 
Choose sports that involve a lot of running for optimal calorie-burning effects. For example, an average 180-pound individual can burn 400 calories in 35 minutes playing football. 
Check Out: Calories Burned Playing Football Calculator

Did you think we forgot running? No, we didn’t. 
Most people have a love-hate relationship with running. However, you are more likely to get hooked on running after you get over the initial hump. 
It takes an average 180-pound male around 50 minutes to burn 400 calories while running. He can cover a mile during this period. 
If you are not a frequent runner, we recommend starting with shorter runs, like a 100-minute easy jog. Increase the distance slightly after every 4-5 days until you can finish the mile at a comfortable pace. 
You could also choose between running outdoors or on a treadmill based on your comfort level. Notably, running outdoors is more challenging than running on a motorized belt. 
Check Out: Calories Burned Running Calculator
HIIT Workouts

If your primary goal is to lose body weight, we recommend doing cardio-based high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. These will get your heart racing and will get you to your 400-calorie goal quickly. 
HIIT cardio workouts generally involve a 5-10 exercise circuit that has to be repeated 2-5 times. On average, a HIIT cardio workout can help you burn 400 calories in a 25-30 minute session. 
You could use HIIT protocols, such as Tabata, AMRAP, ladder, and EMOMs, to increase your training intensity. Ensure that you do not compromise your exercise form while trying to push the intensity, as it can increase your risk of injury. 
Check Out: The Best HIIT Ab Workout: Get Ripped Abs in Record Time

Cycling is the perfect middle ground between walking and running. It is not as easy as walking or as intimidating as running, and it gets the job done. 
An average 175-pound individual can burn 400 calories biking within 35 minutes. You can get it done much faster if you push the pace. 
A bike is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. You could bike to work or run some small errands. Furthermore, most cities have biking clubs that go out for a ride on the weekends. Joining such a club can make biking more fun and adventurous. 
Check Out: Calories Burned Biking Calculator

Swimming is an incredibly effective way to burn calories, especially in the summer when running or cycling outdoors can be challenging. 
A 150-pound person will burn roughly 400 calories during an hour-long swim at a moderate pace. Plus, swimming can help in muscle toning and heart and lungs-conditioning.
Swimming is a very low-impact exercise that is perfect for overweight or obese folks. It is much safer on your joints than jogging or running. Put everything you have got into a few laps, and you’ll be gasping by the end of your workout. 
The freestyle stroke has the potential to burn the most calories, as it allows you to cover the most distance in the shortest time. However, you should constantly switch between strokes to keep things interesting and challenging. 
Check Out: Calories Burned Swimming Calculator
Jump Rope

Jump rope is one of those exercises that looks super easy but will have you begging for mercy by the time you are done with it. Beginners should initially focus on mastering the rope swing and hand-eye-rope coordination. Advanced rope jumpers can challenge themselves with high-skill movements such as double unders and crossovers. 
A 170-pound individual can burn around 400 calories in 25 minutes if he jumps between 100 to 120 times within a minute. This makes the jump rope one of the most effective calorie-burning activities on this list. 
You could choose between jumping rope for time or setting a rep target for yourself. Choose your jump rope wisely, as it can make a world of difference. 
Check Out: Calories Burned Jumping Rope Calculator

Depending on who you are, dancing can be the most intimidating or comfortable exercise on this list. Most dancing styles are highly demanding and can help burn a lot of calories in a short period. 
Dancing can improve your heart and lung health, increase muscular strength, endurance, and motor and aerobic fitness, improve muscle tone and strength, help with weight management, build stronger bones, and enhance your coordination, agility, and flexibility. Furthermore, dancing is an art form used for centuries to express feelings, emotions, and stories.
Salsa dancing can help you burn about 400 calories per hour.
Check Out: Calories Burned Dancing Calculator

Although most people consider yoga a relaxed exercise routine that requires sitting on an exercise mat with closed eyes, it is much more than that. Many yoga poses will send your heart rate through the roof and challenge every muscle, bone, and ligament in your body. 
You should opt for Vinyasa yoga if your goal is to burn calories, as it is one of the most intensive forms of yoga. It can help you burn an average of 400 to 500 calories per hour.
Remember, you must perfect your poses to get the most benefit from yoga. We recommend joining a yoga class to learn the basics until you form a solid base and can do it on your own at home. 
Check Out: Yoga Calories Burned Calculator

CrossFit involves constantly varied high-intensity functional movement, which can be broken up into three elements: weightlifting, gymnastics, and metabolic conditioning. It makes CrossFit a highly-intensive exercise form, which can help burn a lot of calories in a short period. 
Since the CrossFit workouts are so varied, it is difficult to put a number to the calories you can burn during one of the workouts. However, it is not uncommon for an athlete to burn up to 400 calories during a 20-30 minute CrossFit workout.
Check Out: How Many Calories Does CrossFit Burn?
Resistance Training
Bodybuilding-style resistance training isn’t given its due credit when it comes to burning calories. However, a bodybuilder can burn 400 calories within an hour during a free-weight training session. 
You must maintain a high training intensity to burn 400 calories in 60 minutes. Resting more than 120 seconds between sets will lower your intensity and hamper your training performance. Remember, compound exercises burn more calories than isolation and machine movements.
Check Out: Calories Burned Resistance Training
Is burning 400 calories a day safe?
Yes. Torching 400 additional calories daily is safe. Furthermore, it is below the CDC guidelines, which recommend limiting your calorie restriction to 1,000 calories a day. Burning 400 calories daily can help you lose 0.8 pounds weekly. 
Can I burn 400 calories a day without exercising?
Yes. You could burn 400 (or more) calories daily without hitting the gym or even going near your running shoes. An average 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) person will burn 400 calories on average by walking 10,000 steps a day. If you cannot walk 10,000 steps daily, you could instead do all your chores yourself to enter a calorie deficit. Doing one hour of chores burns around 400 calories. 
What are some fun activities that can help me reach the 400-calorie burning goal?
Contrary to what most people think, burning calories doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, choosing a boring activity is a sure-shot way of dropping off your fitness routine. You burn calories by engaging in any physical activity; hence you should pick something you can stick to for the long term or at least until you achieve your weight loss goal. Use our calorie-burning calculators to determine how many calories you can burn during your favorite activity within a specific period. 
Wrapping Up
Burning 400 calories a day isn’t as difficult as most people make it out to be. Most folks can achieve this goal by following a 45-minute HIIT workout. People that do not exercise can still achieve the 400-calorie goal by adjusting their schedule to add an outdoor run, walking 10,000 steps, or doing daily chores like mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, and doing the dishes. 
You must, however, remember to maintain a calorie deficit if your goal is to lose weight. Burning 400 calories and eating 500 calories over your maintenance calories will get you nowhere. 
You could switch between the 12 calorie-burning methods mentioned in this article to keep your daily regimen interesting. We recommend using a wearable tracker like an Apple watch or a chest strap to get accurate results. So what are you waiting for? Put on your shoes and let that fat melt off. Best of luck! 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Losing Weight. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html
Wishnofsky M. CALCULATION OF DIETS. JAMA. 1957;163(5):384–385. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970400056024
Glave, A. & Didier, Jennifer & Oden, Gary & Wagner, Matthew. (2018). Caloric Expenditure Estimation Differences between an Elliptical Machine and Indirect Calorimetry. Exercise Medicine. 2. 10.26644/em.2018.008. 

Are Calves Genetic? Unlocking The Mystery of Lower Leg Growth

Are Calves Genetic? Unlocking The Mystery of Lower Leg Growth

“Are calves genetic?”
If you’ve ever seen someone who clearly has never stepped foot in a gym with full, rounded calves, the question has probably crossed your mind; especially if you’ve been hitting your lower legs with calf raises for years with little result. You’ve probably also noticed that some pro bodybuilders, with massive development in every other muscle group, just can’t seem to bring up their calves. 
If calf development is genetic, it means those of us who have lucked out in the genetic lottery will never turn our calves into bulls. However, if that’s not true, we’ve still got hope. Let’s dig into the facts to find out.
Calf Anatomy

The calves are generally understood to comprise two separate muscles: the gastrocnemius and the soleus. However, some people contend that they are actually two parts of the same muscle. That’s because they both converge at the Achilles tendon and produce the same action; plantar flexion (ankle extension). 
The meaty part of the muscle that we generally consider as the calf is the gastrocnemius or gastro. The soleus is a flat muscle that lies under the gastro and has minimal growth potential. 
The gastro comprises two parts; the inner and outer head. Both heads originate at the base of the femur, on the medial and lateral condyles (the rounded structure at the end of the bone). These origin points are just above the knee joint.
The soleus originates just below the knee. The gastro and the soleus then converge into the Achilles tendon, which then connects to the heel bone. 
Role of Genetics on Calf Development
Genetics does, indeed, have a part to play in your ability to build your calves. Three key genetic factors contribute to the size potential of your lower legs:

Muscle Fiber Type
Muscle Fiber Density
Muscle Belly/Tendon Length

Muscle Fiber Type
There are two types of muscle fiber; slow twitch (Type I) and fast twitch (Type II). Slow twitch fibers are created for endurance work required for repetitive movements like walking and running. The soleus comprises more fast twitch fibers, while the gastro, though it still has more slow twitch fibers, has a higher percentage of fast twitch fibers. Fast twitch fibers are designed more for explosive, strength-type work, as is required when doing calf raises. These fibers have greater growth potential than slow twitch fibers. 
A study by Gollnick et al., published in the European Journal of Physiology, analyzed the muscle fiber make-up of the soleus and gastro and other lower body muscles. They found that, on average, the soleus contained 80% of slow twitch fibers, while the gastro averaged just 57% of fast twitch fibers. [1]
This study also revealed that there is quite a variance in the percentage of fast twitch and slow twitch fibers among the study subjects. The range of fast twitch fibers in the soleus was between 64% and 100%. Regarding the gastro, the range was between 34% and 82%. These differences are the result of the genetic lottery.
So, a person whose gastro comprises 34% fast twitch fibers (and therefore 66% slow twitch fibers) will have a genetic advantage regarding muscle-building potential compared to a person with 82% fast twitch and only 18% slow twitch. 
This leads to whether changing your muscle fiber type with training is possible. In other words, could a guy with 82% fast twitch fibers in his calves train a certain way to reduce that down to 50% to have more slow twitch fibers?
The short answer is that researchers don’t know. There is debate among scientists on this question, with some believing that you’re stuck with what you were born with, while others contend that, by doing more of a specific type of training, you may be able to make up to a 10% change. So, you may have a 10% window to develop more slow twitch muscle fibers by doing a calf raise exercises. You would engage in running, cycling, and other endurance work to develop more fast twitch fibers for endurance. 
Related: The Average Calf Size for Men and Women
Muscle Fiber Density 
Your muscle fiber density refers to the number of muscle fibers per unit of muscle volume. Your genetics determines this. Some people will be born with more muscle fibers in their calves than others. As a result, they will have more muscle-building material to work with. Their muscles will be able to grow bigger and stronger than a person who is born with fewer muscle fibers in the calves. 
There is scientific debate about whether it is possible to grow more muscle fibers. This is known as hyperplasia (contrasted with hypertrophy, which refers to making your existing muscles bigger). The current consensus is that if hyperplasia does occur, it would only be possible to a small degree. [2]

Muscle Belly/Tendon Length
Genetics determines the length of a person’s calf muscle belly. A long muscle belly runs down from the back of the knee at least halfway to the ankle. A short muscle belly sits much higher on the lower leg. The ideal for muscle development is having a long belly and a short Achilles tendon. However, the length of your muscle bellies and tendons is entirely a matter of genetics. 
High calf bellies are better suited for endurance exercise. In fact, you will notice that many high-level sprinters, basketball players, and endurance athletes have noticeably high calves. It is believed that their longer Achilles tendon provides for more force production in the way that a longer rubber band would. 
It is important to remember that, for most people, their genetic predisposition to building calves will be about the same as for the rest of their bodies. So, you’ll probably have the same proportion of slow-twitch to fast-twitch muscle fibers in all your muscles. The length of your muscle bellies will likely also be proportionate throughout your body. 
Sometimes, what appears to be a genetic predisposition to weak calves is actually the result of training style and focus. A classic example is when Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America in 1968. Back in Europe, the bodybuilding focus was on the upper body. As a result, Arnold did very little calf work in the gym. Looking at him onstage at the 1968 IFBB Mr. Universe (in which he came second to Frank Zane), you may have concluded that he had terrible calf genetics. 
Arnold Schwarzenegger / Instagram
Yet, when Arnold came to appreciate that he needed to seriously focus on his lower legs to start winning competitions, he undertook an amazing transformation. Rather than hiding his weakness, he actually cut all of his training pants off at the knee so that he could be reminded every day of what he needed to focus on. He performed 500-pound sets of standing calf raises, along with seated and donkey calf raises six times per week. Within a few years, during which he once said he invested 5,000 hours on calf training, he was able to turn his biggest weakness into one of his greatest strengths. 
Factors Beyond Genetics That Impact Calf Development
So far, we’ve seen that genetic factors affect your calf-building potential. The length, muscle fiber type, and density of your calves will not change much over the course of your life. So, if you’ve got high muscle bellies and long Achilles tendons, there’s nothing you can do about that. 
You can’t, for example, alter your calves’ shape by modifying how you do your calf exercises. You may have heard that you can better target the inner or outer head of the gastro by angling your toes in or out when doing calf raises. This is not the case. That’s because the inner and outer heads pull on a single Achilles tendon. This causes the ankle to extend in just one direction. If it were possible for the ‘inner’ calf to work differently from the ‘outer’ calf, each head would require its own separate tendon and separate attachment to the heel bone. That would allow each one to act separately based on toe angling. 
So, while you can’t change your calf muscle shape, what you can do is maximize what you’ve been given. Let’s now consider the best way to train to maximize your genetic calf-building potential. 

The most commonly seen calf training exercise in the gym is the standing calf raise. This involves placing your shoulders under a pad that is connected to a weight stack. You then place your feet on a block that allows you to lower your heels below your toes level. 
I often see people doing this exercise with just their toes on the block. However, this is a limiting foot position that would be akin to doing barbell curls by gripping the bar with only your fingertips. 
The best foot position when doing calf raises will provide the most support for the movement to follow. When it’s just your toes on the block, you’ll find those toes slipping off as you progress through your reps, probably resulting in a shortened set.
So, rather than just your toes, you should place the balls of your feet on the block. This is the large, bony pad just below your big toe. Each toe has its own sesamoid bone, running on a diagonal rather than horizontally across the foot. So, to give your foot the most support, you should place the ball of your foot on a slight diagonal from the big toe down to the little toe. This will result in a ‘toes in’ position.
By the way, if you feel your feet slipping off the block while doing a set, you should pause and reset your position. If you don’t, you will compromise your ability to get a full extension and contraction on every rep.

Ideal Range of Motion on Calf Raises
You will never achieve your genetic muscle-building potential unless you move your calves through their full range of motion. Yet, it’s common to see people using an extremely abbreviated range of motion that often equates to a short ‘bouncing’ movement. This usually happens when the person uses more weight than they can properly handle. 
The whole reason that you have a block to stand on when doing calf raises is to allow you to get a contraction in the bottom part of the rep. So, if you’re doing reps where your heels don’t even come down to the level of your toes, you’re defeating the purpose of having a block!
It is far better to reduce the weight to achieve a full range of motion. 
Knees Straight or Bent During Calf Raises?
If you have completely straight legs (with no knee bend) during the standing calf raise, you might experience some knee discomfort. To avoid this, you should slightly bend your knees throughout the exercise, especially when you start to go heavy. Make sure, though, that you keep your legs locked in this slight knee position to avoid bringing your quads into the movement. 
How Much Weight for Calf Raises?
To maximize your calf muscle growth potential, you need to achieve maximum effort on your lower leg workouts. There are two ways you can do this:

Muscle fatigue that results from performing high reps in the 20 to 50 range.
Using a weight that limits you to 80-90% of one rep max, with low reps in the 4-10 range.

The weight you choose for the calf raise, along with every other exercise, should be based on the following parameters:

How many reps do you plan to do
Using a full range of motion
Eliminating momentum
Using proper technique
Maximum effort 

Don’t let your ego get in the way when selecting your training resistance. It doesn’t matter what weight your training partner is using; if you cannot tick off each of the criteria listed above, the weight is not right for you. 
When it comes to the rep range, the calves require more than the conventional 8-12 rep range for hypertrophy. That’s because of the high slow-twitch fiber makeup of the calves. Slow-twitch fibers are highly resistant to fatigue. As a result, they respond better to higher reps. On the other hand, your fast-twitch fibers require lower reps with heavier weight.
Here is a suggested rep scheme over six sets of calf raises, with the weight increasing on each set:

Set One (Warm-up): 50 reps
Set Two: 30 reps
Set Three: 20 reps
Set Four: 15 reps
Set Five: 10 reps
Set Six: 8 reps

6 Best Calf Exercises
Your gym-based calf training options are quite limited. After all, the calves only do one thing; flex the ankle. So every move must be a variation of the calf raise. These resistance-based exercises will primarily work your fast-twitch muscle fibers. However, there are other things you can do to also work your slow-twitch fibers. By including each exercise in your weekly routine, you will cover all bases:
1. Standing Calf Raise

After loading the weight stack, slide under the shoulder pads and grab the handles. 
Place your feet on the block, with the balls of your feet and toes pointed slightly inward. 
Bend your knees slightly, and then keep your legs locked in that position.
Rise on your toes to complete calf extension.
Now lower your heels to below the level of your toes, going down as far as possible. Perform your reps in a smooth, fluid manner. 

2. 45-Degree Leg Press Calf Raise

Load the weight stack and then position yourself in the leg press machine with your lower back firmly against the back pad.
Place the balls of your feet on the base of the footplate.
Fully extend your calves by pushing your toes away from you. Keep your knees supple (slightly bent). Hold for a second.
Now lower your heels to below the level of your toes, going down as far as possible.

3. Seated Calf Raise

Sit on a seated calf raise machine with your thighs tucked under the pads. Set the weights on the machine. Adjust the pad for your height. Place the balls of your feet on the footplate.
Fully extend your calves by raising your heels. Hold for a second.
Now lower your heels to below the level of your toes, going down as far as possible.

4. Jump Rope

Stand with a jump rope in hand; feet shoulder together.
Rotate the wrists to bring the rope overhead.
Jump slightly to allow the rope to travel under your feet.

5. Toe Farmer’s Walk

Grab a pair of dumbbells or other heavy objects in your home gym. 
Walk up and down your gym floor on your toes until you have walked for 30 seconds.

6. Explosive Box Jumps

Stand before a 24-inch high plyometric box. Hinge your hips and swing your arms to load the jump.
Jump both legs onto the box. 
Immediately jump down on the other side.
Change direction and repeat.

While there is a genetic component to calf training, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of what you were blessed with. You can’t change the shape of your calf muscles and can only make minor changes to your muscle fiber type and density. However, you can increase the size of your calf muscle fibers by following a variable resistance workout program across a wide rep range. Besides the conventional gym moves like the standing leg press and seated calf raise, add jumping rope, plyometrics, and the toe farmer’s walk to transform your calves into bulls. 

Gollnick PD, Sjödin B, Karlsson J, Jansson E, Saltin B. Human soleus muscle: a comparison of fiber composition and enzyme activities with other leg muscles. Pflugers Arch. 1974 Apr 22;348(3):247-55. doi: 10.1007/BF00587415. PMID: 4275915.
MacDougall JD, Sale DG, Alway SE, Sutton JR. Muscle fiber number in biceps brachii in bodybuilders and control subjects. J Appl Physiol Respir Environ Exerc Physiol. 1984 Nov;57(5):1399-403. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1984.57.5.1399. PMID: 6520032.

How to Eat Clean Like A Professional Bodybuilder

How to Eat Clean Like A Professional Bodybuilder

Having a healthy diet is one of the most impactful things you can do for your fitness.
Other than time spent in the gym, a healthy diet is the best way to promote your overall health and muscular conditioning. Supplements can be deceiving and many packaged foods at the supermarket are loaded with artificial colors and ingredients that can make you feel bloated and sluggish.
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to get started with clean, healthy eating that promotes fitness, look no further. Here’s a quick grocery list of 10 foods to help get you started with shopping and eating clean like a professional bodybuilder.
10. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark green vegetables, such as kale, broccoli, collard greens, and spinach, are extremely nutrient-rich and low in calories. They act as a great supplement or base to a heartier plate of chicken or fish. These are probably the best natural source of things like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, fiber, vitamin K, folic acid, and so many others. It cannot be overstated what an essential source of nutrients these are in your diet.
Recommendation: Keep a bag of kale or a bag of broccoli in the fridge at all times. The kale makes a great base for a salad, while the broccoli works great in a veggie stir fry. Or switch it up based on what you like!

9. Eggs
Eggs are a versatile, protein-rich food that can be incorporated into almost any meal you could think to make — so use them! Eggs are a bodybuilder’s staple for good reason. They pack a huge punch in terms of protein (which allows your body to build muscle) without having too many calories. They’re also a great option if you’re trying to avoid an unhealthy breakfast. Eggs are completely natural — no saturated fats or unhealthy additives to slow you down.
Recommendation: Keep a carton of eggs in the fridge. You can have them for breakfast or add them to a shake for a quick protein boost.

8. Wild-Caught Fish (Salmon, Cod, Tuna)
Fish are an essential source of omega-3 fatty acids and a core component of any pro’s diet. Fish that is caught in the wild tends to have the highest amount of omega-3s, so aim for that if possible. Salmon has a higher fat content than other types of fish and can help you feel fuller for longer, potentially staving off cravings.
Recommendation: Keep salmon, cod, or tuna in the fridge and have once a week. You can bake or pan-sear as an entree, have it over rice, or put it in a salad.

7. Quinoa or Brown Rice
These grains (okay, quinoa isn’t technically a grain) make a great healthy base for a meal. They’re high in amino acids, which are essential for building muscle. If you like both, great, if not, you can easily substitute one for the other. These are also a versatile “building-block” type food like eggs that can easily be combined with other healthy foods for clean, healthy eating.
Recommendation: Keep a bag of quinoa or brown rice in your pantry. You can have chicken or fish over rice or put the rice into a salad with leafy greens — the possibilities are endless.

6. Chicken
Chicken is another bodybuilding essential. It has an astronomical protein-level for something with a comparatively low amount of fat. Again, the key here is to pick foods that can help you avoid the additives, oils, and unhealthy fats associated with processed foods. Cooking your own chicken at home with vegetables, lentils, quinoa, or brown rice is a filling, protein-rich meal.
Recommendation: Keep chicken in your fridge to have for dinner throughout the week. Combine with brown rice, collard greens, quinoa, or broccoli for a healthy dinner.

5. Dry Beans and Peas
Things like black beans, pinto beans, split peas, and lentils are all great additions to a bodybuilder’s diet. They’re easy to combine with a healthy source of protein like fish or chicken to create a meal. They’re also rich in iron and zinc which can increase joint strength.
Recommendation: Keep two bags of your favorite type of beans or peas in the pantry. They make a healthy, filling side in any meal that will keep you from snacking on unhealthier foods.

4. Greek Yogurt
An essential snack food for when you’re in-between meals, Greek yogurt is a healthy and filling option that promotes gut health and the absorption of other nutrients and minerals. Not to mention Greek yogurt is an essential source of protein.
Recommendation: Keep a pack of your favorite Greek yogurt in the fridge for snacking. You can add honey or some walnuts to add flavor and texture.

3. Olive Oil, Avocado Oil (Oils > Butter)
Try to avoid butter, which is high in saturated fats. Opt instead for cooking with olive oil, avocado oil, or another type of cooking oil.
Recommendation: Keep your favorite type of cooking oil in the pantry instead of using butter to reduce saturated fat consumption.

2. Fruits
There are a lot of different categories of fruit, but pretty much all of them are great for you. Apples, bananas, pears, and berries are high in natural sugars but ultimately much better for you than any artificially sweetened snack.
Recommendation: Keep one or two types of your favorite fruits in the kitchen to snack on, use in a salad, or make a smoothie.

1. Whey Protein
Probably the most popular protein additive in the bodybuilding world. Whey protein is clinically proven to increase gains and help the body develop muscle mass faster.
Recommendation: Keep whey protein in the kitchen. You can add it to tea, water, or as part of a healthy smoothie.

How To Increase Testosterone Naturally For Explosive Gains

How To Increase Testosterone Naturally For Explosive Gains

Boost those T levels naturally and see great gains!
When it comes to building quality muscle, the devil’s in the details. So many people focus simply on lifting heavy weight as if that was the only ingredient needed to attain bodybuilding greatness. Sure, it’s an important component and has a ton of different benefits, but it shouldn’t be your sole focus in building up your physique.
Nutrition is also an important factor to be on top of, but even more than that the production of testosterone is important to excel and grow muscle. A lot of newbies and even some experienced lifters think the only way you’re going to up your testosterone fast is to take steroids. But rather than take the needle or load up on pills, here are some simple things to keep in mind in order to produce more testosterone.

Building testosterone naturally is not only an effective way to see gains, but also a safe way. Using PEDs and other drugs to artificially enhance a natural process can lead to poor health and can put you in danger. Knowing what to look for and how best to increase testosterone naturally can go a long way especially as you look to see explosive gains.

Why Testosterone Matters
Testosterone matters because this is a vital sex hormone when it comes to men and their bodily functions. Increasing testosterone can lead to better body composition, more energy, increased bone density, enhanced sex drive, and improvement in cognitive function. What you will find is that your muscle development and overall strength gains will also improve and that can lead to better gains, even as you age. Testosterone matters because it affects you and your daily functioning in a number of ways and without really taking testosterone seriously, you will ultimately hurt your overall growth and development.

Top Ways To Increase Your Testosterone Naturally
Let’s take a look at some of the top ways to increase your testosterone naturally so you see the best gains. With the right approach and at least knowing what to look for in terms of increasing testosterone and those vital T levels, it can go a long way in your desired goals for muscle growth and overall gains.
1. Reduce estrogen levels with fiber
If you want to produce more testosterone then obviously you’re going to want to lower the other hormone that hampers it’s production: estrogen. Lowering estrogen levels are a major ingredient to increasing testosterone. Increased estrogen can make you weak and keep body fat on your physique. One great and easy way to lower estrogen is by consuming foods high in fiber such as beans and vegetables. By doing so the body can flush out estrogen producing agents leaving room for testosterone to increase (1).
2. Get rid of body fat with HIIT cardio
Having excess body fat means your body is holding onto more estrogen. As such, diet is going to be the first line of defense. After that, exercise is going to be required. Besides lifting heavy weight which naturally produces testosterone, doing HIIT cardio is going to do a number of things for your physique. For one it’s going to eat away at body fat. It’s also going to increase testosterone by putting the body under stress which is a natural reaction to pushing yourself hard (2).

3. Eat healthy fats
Another great way to increase testosterone with nutrition is by eating healthy fats. A huge mistake that many people seem to make is restricting their fat intake. While this may be great in terms of consuming certain saturated fats, avoiding unsaturated healthy fats can spell your doom. Foods with healthy fats are loaded with testosterone producing ingredients that can make growing muscle a breeze. Try eating avocados, nuts, and salmon to get a great boost in testosterone.
4. Consume more zinc
Last, and perhaps the most under utilized method of increasing testosterone in the body naturally is by consuming zinc. Whether it’s through foods like oysters or a supplement of some kind, getting zinc into your body will ensure the production of testosterone. To go more in depth, zinc helps your body stop converting muscle building testosterone into estrogen, a common issue with men of a more advanced age. Keep your zinc levels up and watch your body turn from soft and weak to hard and strong (3).

5. Get The Right Strength Training Workouts
Focusing on the right strength training workouts can also increase testosterone naturally. Great strength training exercises to focus on are the squat, deadlift, bench press, push-up, and pressing movements, all of which use multiple muscle groups, increase strength, and require power to perform. With the right approach to this you can see great gains to your physique and also your desire to increase testosterone naturally.
6. Consider Supplements
Supplements are always helpful if they come from a reputable company. Being able to have a product that can work for your benefit while also being clean and effective is your number one priority. And with companies now knowing that people are only looking for the best, it is absolutely possible.
A testosterone booster is a common supplement to take that can work to increase your T levels while providing for the benefits of optimal testosterone levels. Since this is affecting your health and performance, it is important the ingredients are effective, but also sourced in a natural way.
Check out our list of the Best Testosterone Boosters for more T boosting products!
Wrap Up
Increasing testosterone naturally is important and you shouldn’t use PEDs and other drugs to do so. Having negative effects on your health can hurt you in the long run and you should absolutely not put yourself at risk when it can be done naturally. Knowing the best ways to go about this can put you at an advantage when looking to make this happen and with the right process in mind, you can take your health and performance as seriously as possible.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 
*Images courtesy of Envato


Oliwenstein, L. (2004). “USC cancer researchers report fiber-estrogen link”. (source)
Roy, M.; et al. (2018). “High-Intensity Interval Training in the Real World: Outcomes from a 12-Month Intervention in Overweight Adults”. (source)
Prasad, A.; et al. (1996). “Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults”. (source)

Top 5 Tips For Keeping Up With Your Cardio Indoors

Top 5 Tips For Keeping Up With Your Cardio Indoors

There are ways to keep up with your cardio while working out at home.
Cardio might not be the most appealing type of exercise in the world, but it’s an important part of a healthy and well-rounded exercise routine. Keeping with your cardio can be a burden, but there are ways you can incorporate it into your daily workouts to make it more manageable.
If you’re still working from home, this is a great time to think about how you could incorporate exercise throughout the day since you no longer have going to the office taking up so much of your time.

Tip #1: The kettlebell is your friend.
Weight is your best friend when it comes to doing indoor cardio. Since you don’t have that much space to move around, the best trick is to utilize weights to force your body to break a sweat. The kettlebell is one of the best workout tools in this respect. You can do rapid kettlebell swings to get your heart rate up while standing in living room watching TV or on a Zoom call.

Doing twists while holding a kettlebell, when done rapidly, can also increase your cardio and help you lose weight! If you want to get serious about doing indoor cardio, definitely make sure you have one of these on hand, or an equivalent weighted tool you prefer like a medicine ball.
Tip #2: Sneak cardio into your strength training.
If you’re one of those people that absolutely dreads doing cardio, there are ways you can sneak cardio exercises into your strength training workouts. Simple modifications to common workouts are key. You could try doing five minutes of HIIT in between exercises as a way of getting cardio in while continuing to do whatever workout you normally do and enjoy.
Tip #3: Try jumping jacks, jump rope, and other ways of working out that don’t use equipment.
One of the biggest challenges of doing cardio at home is that — if you don’t have a home gym — you don’t have access to any of the fitness equipment like treadmills or rowing machines that make indoor cardio a breeze. You can still get cardio in at home with some tried and true classics like the jump rope.
Make a commitment to do fifteen minutes of jumping jacks before you start your day or before you go to bed. A jump rope is a cheap and easy way to do cardio in your house whenever you have the time. Remember, it’s the man that makes the workout, not the equipment.
Tip #4: High knees will help you break a sweat.
High knees are a cardio fundamental. It gets the blood pumping and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Plus, it burns fat in a pretty fast amount of time, so as long as you do it rapidly and with intensity you don’t even have to do it that long. Better yet, do it in small but intense bursts throughout the day to burn the most fat.
Tip #5: Don’t rely too much on HIIT for cardio, since it will disrupt your gains in strength training.
Lots of people choose HIIT as their weapon of choice when it comes to getting cardio in and it’s easy to see why. It’s quick, effective, and it gets the job done. But HIIT workouts can actually slim you down and decrease your gains from strength training since the exercises are designed to make your body more lean. If you’re trying to do cardio without sacrificing gains, make sure to not overdose on HIIT.