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Answers To “How To Lose Weight”

By February 9, 2009 3 Comments

Awhile ago I asked everyone to share with me 3 questions you have about how to lose weight.  I got a lot of great responses and I apologize for just now getting back to answering some of them.  Every once in awhile, I will pick a couple of these questions and give my opinion.  Check out the previous post about questions and feel free to add your own questions for me to answer

#1 is from Rebekah: One thing that would be interesting to know is if you stop working out, how long (or how little) does it take to lose muscle? I’ve heard that it takes as little as a month for your body to revert and to be back at square one, so to speak.

Rebekah, it is true that if you stop working out for awhile you will begin to lose muscle and could put on fat depending on your nutrition.  A one week break won’t be a big deal, and in fact, I encourage you to take a week off of lifting every 3-4 months.  This can help heal any small injuries you might have and allow your body to recharge and get refocused.  From a cardio standpoint you will notice a decrease after a week, things might be a little tougher and you will be out of breath for a bit.  It takes a couple weeks to a month of not working out to really see the muscle start to decrease.  It depends on how long you have been working out, to go back to square one.  It would take longer then 1 month to revert back to before assuming you have been working out for more then 6 months.

This is why it is so important to make working out a lifestyle rather then a short term fix.  The good news is something called “muscle memory” which means that your muscles are able to get stronger, quicker if they had been there before.  I am amazed at how fast muscle and strength increases on someone who has been fit before and just slacked off for awhile.

#2 This next question is from my Mom: So far I am working out by myself at the “Y”; when I do cardio on the bike and tredmill, using burst training, does that take care of the thing where you need to increase weights or the number of reps to improve….like, the burst style means you don’t have to constantly increase the length of time you run, for example, right?? I noticed on your short video clips, you only rested for 10 seconds between bursts-is that important to keep it that short, to keep the heart rate up, or can you rest longer? :)

Even with the burst training it is important to be changing it up and progressing.  There are 5 ways that I try to increase the intensity.

-Increase the speed of the exercise (run faster, swim harder, faster rpms on the elliptical)

-Increase the resistance (hills, incline treadmill, higher resistance on elliptical)

-Workout for a longer intervals: instead of doing 20 seconds of work, try 30-40 seconds.  Make sure it isn’t too long because then it becomes a lower intensity exercise.

-Shorten the rest periods up.  A general rest to work ratio is 3:1, but you could try a 3:2 or a 2:1 rest to work interval.

-Increase the session length.  Generally you should warmup for 5 minutes and cool down for 5 minutes and do bursts for 10-20 minutes.

#3  Which 3 areas of the body are most responsive to exercise and toning? I heard the good old gluteus maximus toned quickly, but maybe that was just made up?
:-) Thanks!

This is a tricky question.  From a muscle standpoint, I believe all muscle adapts very similarly.  But, when people use the word “toning” they are referring to the ability to gain muscle and lose fat around that area.  So, it is best to look at what areas lose fat faster.  Any guesses???  Ok, if you have been following my blog and reading my stuff for sometime you should know this answer… the answer is your body loses it consistently everywhere and also gains it consistently everywhere.  I can hear you saying “no it doesn’t, my stomach or my thighs never get smaller!  In most cases this isn’t true, but rather, you are genetically predisposed to putting it on in those areas and have more to lose there.  If you took measurements or fat fold pinches, you would see that it decreases proportionately across the body.

So, to answer your question we need to find parts of the body that have the smallest amount of body fat in the first place, since those areas will be more noticeable when they change because there was less fat to start with.

Usually the 3 places people notice first are:




Places like the hips, butt, and thighs tend to hold the most subcutaneous fat (outer fat cells) and therefore take the longest to really tone up!

I hope those answers helped everyone!  Please feel free to ask more questions and I will be getting to them shortly!