As you have sweated, puffed, panted, toiled and grinded over the last 8 weeks, one of two things would have happened within yourselves. Either you are satisfied with your progress and are going along nicely or you haven’t gotten the results you are looking for thus far. If you are going along nicely then great work! You have 4 weeks until you reach the finish line. If you are struggling with motivation or you haven’t gotten the results you have hoped for, fear and fret not! Your challenge is only beginning. You also have 4 weeks to turn it all around and there are plenty of ways to get you back on the right path to achieve greatness in this 12 week transformation challenge.
Personally, when I did the Max’s challenge almost 12 months ago, my results didn’t go the way I had hoped between the weeks of week 4 to week 8. Changes needed to be made with both exercise and diet to help me achieve the results I was looking for. So for those people who are struggling to get it going, here are some tips and advice to hopefully fast track you to the promise land!
One type of cardio training that gets discussed at a very high frequency rate is that of fasted cardio training. The thinking behind this set-up is that you’ll get up first thing in the morning and before downing your usual breakfast meal, you’ll head straight for the gym or go outside and get in a good 30-60 minutes of cardio first. By doing so, the hopes are that you’ll turn directly to your body fat stores for energy rather than utilizing the current glucose in the system as you would be doing had you have had something to eat prior to doing the session.
But, before taking that as the word that fasted cardio is all you should be performing, keep in mind that fat loss is still heavily dependent on your diet. If you go into the gym and burn off 300 calories from that fasted cardio and all those 300 calories are coming from fat stores in your glutes, but then you go and eat 300 more calories that day than what you’ve burned off over the entire 24-hour period, guess what? That’s right, you are no further ahead. While you may burn off more fat doing fasted cardio, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will see a net fat loss over the course of the day. That comes down to what your diet plan looks like. Now, when it comes to the benefits of fasted cardio, they may be more than you originally realized. Most people think that the primary benefit of fasted cardio is that enhanced fat burning effect. While this definitely is one of the benefits that it provides, it’s definitely not the only one.
First, with regards to the fat that is burned during fasted cardio, more than any other form of fat burning exercise, when done in a fasted state like this you will have a greater ability to target the stubborn fat stores on your body, which include the hips and thighs for women as well as the abs and lower back for men. These areas of the body tend to be more resistant to giving up their fat stores and are why these are generally the very last places that you’ll lose body fat as well. In addition to that, if you supplement with caffeine along with yohimbe before doing your moderate intensity fasted cardio, which are supplements that will help to boost the levels of catecholamines in the body, which then stimulates fat burning enzymes to make fatty acids more available to be burned off, you’ll see even better results yet.
Adding Metabolism boosting foods
When it comes to losing weight and being healthier overall, increasing your metabolism plays a big part. A faster metabolism helps you with digestion, and helps burn off fat and pounds, even while you’re sleeping. Conversely, a slow metabolism can thwart your dieting and weight loss efforts and leave you in a state of frustration, feeling like you’re genetically programmed to be heavy. Here are foods that have been shown to help give your metabolism a boost and get you on your way to a fitter you.
- Beans (Kidney etc)
- Coconut oil
- Green Tea
- Lean Meat (Chicken Breast, Turkey, Kangaroo Etc)
- Lemons & Limes
- Spices (Curry, Black pepper, Cayenne pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg)
Overtraining & Plateaus
You may feel like you have busted your arse off in the last 4 or so weeks with very little results falling in your favour. This is what we call a plateau. You feel like you are pushing against the glass ceiling and are unable to break through and reap the rewards of your hard work. Some might say that you are overtraining. You might be pushing too hard. That may not be the case at all though and perhaps it’s your recovery in between sessions that might be the reason as to why you are not bursting through that plateau.
Genuine overtraining refers to a long-term pattern of being overworked that is often coupled with substandard recovery. There are those who may put themselves in a genuine state of overtraining. Take, for example, the athlete who puts in between 1,000 and 1,300 quality hours a year. That works out to between nineteen to 25 hours per week, every week of the year, with no time off. These aren’t just junk hours, either. They are quality hours. Do you train that much? Do you put in that kind of effort?
Not a lot of people put in these massive amounts of hours with their training. If fatigue tends to be an issue for you at week 8 of the challenge, it might not be because you are overtraining, it could be because you are under-recovered.
Sleep, stress and a lack of vital and essential vitamins in the body play a huge part in recovering from a workout and is just as important, if not more important than the actual workout itself. Here are some of the things that you can do to improve your recovery in between sessions.
Think of yourself as a smart phone and your bedroom as the charger. If you leave the house in the morning and your phone is carrying a 20% charge, how useful a tool is it? It will be shutting down by noon. You can’t text, you can’t talk, and you can’t play on Facebook, get directions, or check your email. The phone becomes useless. On the other hand, if you leave the house on a 100% charge, you have a useful tool all day. Your body works the same way. Get enough quality sleep and you leave the house fully charged and ready to go. If you leave under-slept and undercharged, then how well do you really expect yourself to perform? Look for 8-9 hours per night.
- Stress Management
Managing stress is essential to maintaining a good level of recovery. Stress kills us. It is almost impossible to train hard and recover while under a high amount of stress. Nothing seems to work right. Think back to a time when you were under an incredible amount of stress. Maybe it was from work or from a bad relationship. How was your training? Did you progress or did you plateau?
For most people stress is self-imposed:
- That bad relationship you are in? Get out of it. There is better out there for you.
- That job you hate? Maybe it is time to explore finding new employment. You are probably qualified to do something else.
- Do you find yourself sitting in a traffic jam an hour or two every day? Leave for work earlier in the morning so you aren’t stuck in traffic and then use the extra time to train, read, or relax. Instead of leaving work and hopping in the car only to sit for an hour in traffic, why not train right away at a nearby gym and drive home when the traffic clears?
- Turn off your phone sometimes. You don’t need to be connected all day, every day.
- Get rid of negative and poisonous people from your life. You become what you hang around.
These are just some of the things you can do to alleviate stress. Take a look at your life, take inventory of your current state of affairs, and then start making some changes.
- Recovery Practices
These are pretty self-explanatory and your trainer should have told you about the benefits to the following practices
- Foam rolling
- Recovery walks (Cool down walks)
- Massage & Stretching
You should be drinking about 3 litres a day (Approximately) and 1 litre more per hour of activity. Quite simple really. Your body fails to perform at optimal level if you are dehydrated and it significantly reduces quality recovery time.
We have 4 weeks left. Don’t stress if the results haven’t come yet. A lot can happen in 4 weeks and if you put in the work and dedication, you can achieve what you are looking for.
4 U Body Fitness Mobile Personal Training Specialist