6 steps to amazing fat loss

6 things I did to drop my bodyweight by 3% in less than 2 weeks, while spending only 3 hours a week in the gym.

If you’ve visited this site before, you’ll know that I’m not big on long, drawn out workouts; I prefer to be in and out of the gym as soon as I possibly can, and on with my day.

I was two weeks away from a trip to Maui and I wanted to shed a few pounds of fat, without sacrificing any of my muscle. Here’s the catch: I had two very busy weeks ahead and I didn’t want to spend more than 3 hours a week in the gym. I had more important things to do, but nonetheless, wanted to get in great shape for the trip.

Here are 5 things I did that got me to my goal, and will do the same for you if you follow them:

1.     I woke up early to eat a massive breakfast every morning.

I’d wake up at 6am at least, 5:30am if I had to be up by then, and eat a huge breakfast to start my day.

Why wake up early?

Getting up early to get that first meal in set me up to burn more calories for the rest of the day. If I had waited till 8am, 9am, or even 10am to get my first meal in, I wouldn’t have had enough time to get 6 meals in before 8 or 9. Eating early enough also boosts your metabolism more so than it would were you to wake up later.

How big was the meal?

Well, I didn’t have the same meal every morning, but every meal was huge. You can’t just have a medium or small meal, wake up early to eat it, and then expect to get the same results. Trust me, it has to be a big one!

Example 1

8 eggs, salsa, onions, green peppers, 1 slice whole wheat toast + almond butter.

Example 2

10 egg whites, salsa, avocado, low fat cheese, 1 cup yogurt + oatmeal and fruit.

2.     I ate more fat.

Yes you heard me correctly, I ate more fat. With every meal I’d have a source of omega-3’s, monounsaturated fats, or ‘good fats’. They help your body tap into the fat your body has stored for energy, and use it as fuel.

I’d put olive oil in my pre and post workout shakes, and my last meal of the day would include, yes, a handful of almonds along with some cottage cheese.

3.     I did no more than 9 minutes of cardio.

High intensity interval cardio is much more effective than long bouts of cardio when it comes to fat loss.

I’d lift for around 30 minutes, including abs, then stretch, followed by up to 9 minutes of intense cardio. Exercises included high knees, burpees, frog jumps, mountain climbers and so on. The break I had in between my lift and my cardio also allowed me to burn more calories in the second bout of exercise than I would had I done my cardio and weights back to back.

Intense cardio in short bursts also allowed me to maintain my muscle which was also one of the goals involved.

4.     I shortened my rest periods.

I shortened all of my rest periods to 30-45 seconds. I never reached than minute mark. This allowed me to get more done in the gym than I would have with 60 seconds or longer rest periods. I was also able to keep the intensity of my workouts for a longer period of time. Sometimes even 60 seconds of rest is enough to let you mind wander, but 30-45 seconds is barely enough to recover let alone relax and day dream.

5.     I focused primarily on compound exercises.

If I wanted to do an exercise that concentrated only on triceps, I’d pair it with two other exercises to ensure that the ‘circuit’ focused on more than on muscle group. By doing this I used bigger muscle groups more often and burned much more calories than I would be by doing concentration exercises like curls or triceps extensions.

6.     I mixed cardio in with weight lifting.

I didn’t do this for every workout, but at least once a week I’d do circuit that included both a cardio exercise and a weight lifting exercise.

More often than not it would include an Olympic lift, like cleans, a push or a pull (ie. Push-ups, or chin-ups), and a cardio exercise like burpees or high knees. These circuits would skyrocket my heart rate, burning a ton of calories. The blood flow going from lower body, to upper, and back to lower was also responsible not only for a higher calorie expenditure, but also more fat shed around my mid-section.