“How much should I exercise? What is the best way to achieve weight loss?” are some of the most common questions we receive. During the 21-Day Clean Program, most people do experience some weight loss, but weight loss is not the primary focus of the program.
However, weight loss and exercise are important health issues. We asked expert trainer Tanner Martty, owner of 34 North gym in Santa Monica, about what he feels is a realistic and healthy way for people to lose weight. He’s been helping people burn fat for years and has refined his approach into some simple, actionable steps:
Healthy Weight Loss
Weight loss is not a good metric to shoot for, as weight loss refers to our total body weight, regardless of whether we're talking about muscle or fat. We do not want to do exercises to lose muscle or waste muscle, what we want to do is burn body fat. When we gain muscle, we put on weight, but we want this kind of weight.
We want to burn fat for aesthetic reasons, but we also want to do it for health reasons. There are a lot of toxins that are stored in fat tissue. Additionally, there are estrogens that fat tissue gives off which can cause problems, and can be associated with cancer, and other issues. Recent studies have shown that aerobic exercise seems to change how our bodies break down estrogen.
The No-Nonsense Fat Loss Guide
The last thing we want to do here is stoke the fire of magic bullet solutions for fat loss, as there isn’t one. There is a whole industry of products and marketing that looks to make us feel bad about the varying shapes of our bodies.
We revel in the beauty of all our different body types. We also want to give our community the tools to lose fat in a healthy way that has worked for many people. We don’t guarantee that the following plan will work for you, but we do feel whatever your results, the impact on your overall health will be extremely positive.
The single most important thing for fat loss is diet. Perhaps we are familiar with the expression “You can't out-train a bad diet?” Regardless of how intense our workout regiment is, if we're not eating right, our attempts are going to be foiled at some point.
That doesn’t mean that our diet has to be completely strict, never having any sweets or dessert, but for the most part, we need to be eating well. Snacking on clean foods can be very helpful in maintaining good energy levels and mood, and make sure you have the right motivation before taking a bite.
Quality rest is the second most important thing. Even if we are getting regular exercise, if we're not getting enough rest, we will not be able to successfully recover from our training. We are going to get overtrained which can lead to adrenal burnout.
If we're not getting enough sleep, some of those growth factors and hormones that occur when we work out aren't going to get released, and those are the biggest fat burners we have. We need to get our rest, and it helps to create an environment that is calming, relaxing, and soothing.
Strength and Interval Training
First and foremost, we need to be doing strength training. That is the single most important type of exercise we need to be doing. To intensify the fat burning, add in some type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
For example, after I've done my 30 minutes of strength training, I can devote another 10 to 15 minutes to some interval training. This is better than doing just low-intensity sustained state (LISS) workouts.
For fat loss, we are better off doing ten sets of 30 seconds of sprinting and 30 seconds of complete rest for 10 minutes than doing 10 or 20 minutes of jogging at a steady state.
If you're just getting started, don’t worry about doing 30 seconds of sprinting at once, that will feel like an eternity. Start with 10 seconds of hard sprinting and 50 seconds of walking to recover. Do that for 10 sets which would take 10 minutes, that would be a wonderful conditioning program.
Then a week or two later try 15-second sprints, and 45 seconds walking until getting up to 30 seconds of sprinting.
When we do strength training we are building a lot of resiliency in the joints which will build strength, connective tissue, and improves bone density, so we are actually making our bodies really resilient for better future workouts.
A Few More Options
For interval training, we don’t need to do only sprints. There are lots of other options, such as jump squats, kettlebell swings, and burpees (or even utilizing fitness apps). If you have injuries, it would be best to work with a trainer for a few sessions to create a plan that works best. But I do tend to come back to sprinting because it uses every muscle in your body especially the prime movers, your legs and butt.
After that, we can add in some steady state movement like jogging or aerobics. But I recommend only after having done strength and interval training.
Movement as Mindfulness
We’ve established that exercise is super important for health, but of equal importance is having a mindfulness or meditation practice. Sitting, closing our eyes, and breathing continuously without any perceptible pauses for 10 minutes a day (or even better a 15-minute session in the morning and a 15-minute session in the evening) can assist us accomplish our fitness goals.
A big obstacle for many people in regards to working out is psychological and emotional stress. Cortisol is a hormone that can stop fat loss goals dead in their tracks, so it’s important to release that stress.
We all have lives to lead, and we don’t have endless time to exercise. That’s why we focused here on 30 minutes of strength training and 15 minutes of interval training. It requires commitment, but can have an excellent payoff. If we make sure we are getting enough rest combined with eating clean, good results should follow.
Taken from an interview with Tanner Martty