How Many Calories Do You Need to Burn for Fat Loss?

By Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training

If you depend on classic aerobic cardio for fat loss, you probably spend 30 minutes on a machine trying to burn a set number of calories.

 

But does that work?

Does burning 500 calories per day cause you to lose 1 pound of fat per week?

Well, according to science, it should. But if it did, you probably wouldn’t still be reading this article.

Back in the day, I used to write a column on fat loss myths for Men’s Fitness magazine. Here’s a classic weight loss topic I covered.

Myth: I need to burn 500 calories each workout to lose fat.

Truth: Possibly one of the worst inventions for fat loss was the calorie-counting monitor on treadmills, elliptical machines, and stairmasters.

Because of these, millions of men and women now obsess about the number of calories burned per session. You’ve probably even been one of those people, watching it creep up ever so slowly during a slow-cardio session. All the while knowing that you can wipe out a 30-minute, 300-calorie treadmill session with one fell swoop of the Krispy Kreme hand.

Too many people are brainwashed into thinking that if they don’t burn 300-500 calories per session, then they won’t lose fat. After all, that is what you’ve been told time and time again in those fluffy fitness/fashion magazines.

The problems with this approach to fat loss are numerous. First off, it’s difficult to say if the calorie counters are even accurate. A story on CBS news showed that cardio machines overestimate calorie burning by up to 20%.

Next, depending on slow cardio for advanced fat loss is relatively useless and at the very least, inefficient. It takes a long time for you to burn a lot of calories and one study showed that men who only used cardio training for weight loss ended up with a reduced resting metabolism. You are basically undoing the calorie burning by depending only on cardio. On the other hand, guys in the same study that used strength training didn’t suffer a reduced metabolic rate.

 

So what is the solution to burning fat in a faster, more efficient method? The answer is to use strength and interval training to burn fewer calories in less exercise time, but with a more intense form of exercise.

Your body will burn more calories after exercise (when you use intervals) than it does after you do slow cardio and your metabolism will stay high. Some experts refer to this as the afterburn effect. How do you do intervals? Well, you could sprint for 30 seconds and rest for 90 seconds and repeat that for 6 sets – using the bike preferably or treadmill if you are experienced with it.

Within that short time frame the intervals will cause your muscles to go crazy with activity (I call it a metabolic turbulence). This crazy metabolism boost causes lots of calorie burning after exercise to get your body back to normal. The result is you would end up burning more fat and more calories in the post-exercise period as your body tries to get things under control.

Now there is one time where you’d want to count calories, but that is when you are counting up and determining how many calories you eat per day. Again, you can wipe out an entire workout’s work in less than a minute simply by eating garbage. Without some structure and discipline to your nutrition, there is nothing that even my programs can do to help you lose fat.

So exercise nutrition control and interval training. These are the two anti-calorie counting methods that will help you lose fat and get lean.

For some great, high intensity bodyweight-only workouts proven to help you lose fat, check out Craig’s Bodyweight workouts. Click here for more information.

15 Minute Bodyweight Workout

Image by abbyjane Here is a really great bodyweight workout using simple, basic movements that’ll take just 15 minutes of your time:

Perform 5 rounds of:

2 minute interval:

  • Pullups, 5 reps
  • Pushups, 10 reps
  • Bodyweight Squat, 20 reps

1 minute rest

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Set the timer for 2 minutes, and perform as many rounds as you can of each of the exercises listed for the suggested repetitions
  2. After the 2 minutes, rest for 1 minute
  3. Repeat four more times

Some ideas on how to make this workout harder:

  1. Increase the time interval. You can perform 3 rounds at a 3 or 4 minute interval, or 2 rounds with a 5 or 6 minute interval, followed by a minute rest.
  2. You can replace the exercise for difficult ones. For example, perform Side to Side Pullups instead of regular pullups, hindu pushups instead of regular pushups, and squat jumps for bodyweight squats.

Some ideas on how to make this workout shorter:

  1. Shorten the rest period to 30 seconds
  2. Use alternative interval schemes such as Tabata – 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest.

One of the best ways to help you with your intervals is to use the GymBoss Interval Timer. It costs just $19.95, and you can program it to help you keep track of any sort of intervals you may use. Click here to grab yours today.

Turbulence Training Workouts for Obese People

Obese individuals can still follow typical Turbulence Training workouts. However, they just need to lower the intensity and change around some of the exercise selection.

The main Turbulence Training principles remain the same:

  • Use Multi-Muscle Exercises
  • Organize them into Supersets
  • Use Interval Training for Cardio

According to Craig Ballantyne, as long as your doctor approves you for exercise, you’re ready to go. In fact, he’s trained men over 300lbs and women over 225lbs using Turbulence Training principles.

If you are obese, you want to start off with the Introductory and Beginner level workouts included in the original Turbulence Training Manual. In these workouts, 90% of the exercises have you lying down on the ground.

Hence, the workouts will be easier than other TT workouts for obese individuals. But, they’ll still be intense, and they’ll still provide results. If anything, they’ll build up your body so that you can perform tougher workouts.

Obese individuals need to get stronger, and learn how to use and move their bodies again. The best way to accomplish this is to use bodyweight-only movements.

However, many people can barely move. So performing pushups or squats is out of the question. A better alternative would be to use dumbbells to improve overall strength and mobility.

Most people work backwards. They do a lot of cardio to try an melt the fat off, and then try to build up their muscles with weight training. This will only lead to injury.

Craig Ballantyne warns of is steady state cardio. This is especially dangerous for obese individuals. Too much jogging, cycling, or aerobic exercise will lead to overuse injuries.

On top of that, assuming that the Cardio does help an individual lose weight. They’ll be much weaker after the cardio, then before doing the cardio. Instead, do your strength training first, then try and lose the fat with the cardio.

Most likely, if you stick to Turbulence Training guidelines, you won’t need to do too much cardio. Craig’s workouts help boost your metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is a measure of how many calories your body burns through out the day.

Most obese individuals have very slow metabolic rates. And fat is not very metabolically active. In fact, it takes more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it does to maintain a pound of fat.

So, putting on muscle will help you lose fat in the long term. There are three things that boost your metabolic rate with regards to exercise:

  • The workout itself
  • The post-training oxygen consumption following the workout
  • The addition of lean muscle mass

I already mentioned how adding lean muscle mass helps you boost your metabolic rate. Now lets take a look at the other two methods:

When you train, your body needs energy. They also produce heat, which is a by product of muscular contraction. The more muscle tissue involved in the exercise that your performing, the more energy is needed and more heat is produced.

This is why Craig Ballantyne sticks to compound, multi-joint movements. After your training, your metabolism will be elevated to help your body recover from the intense workout.

Some studies state that your metabolism stays elevated for up to 48 hours after an intense workout. Regardless of the number, if you train with a Turbulence Training workouts 3 days a week, you’ll be leaner in no time.

Craig Ballantyne has developed hundreds of fitness programs that revolve around the basic concepts of Turbulence Training.

To get an overall introduction to Turbulence Training, you should grab the original Turbulence Training manual. The manual includes everything you need to get started on your fat loss journey. There are workouts for beginners, intermediate, and advanced trainees. If you go through each program separately, in a few months you’d have literally transformed your health and physique. Click here for more information.

For individuals who have had some experience with exercise or even Turbulence Training, then Craig has numerous other workouts specifically designed for women, muscle mass, bodyweight only, abs training, and more.

You need to make the decision today: Are you going to continue to follow pointless, boring workouts and never get any impressive results, or you going to take a chance and try some trully unique ideas using Craig Ballantyne’s workouts? Start today with either one of the Turbulence Training workouts:

If It’s Not Measurable, Then It’s Not Manageable

I’ve been making a HUGE mistake. I’ve been tracking my workouts, but not measuring them. Before I go any further, I should probably clarify two words: tracking and measuring. There is a difference.

Tracking is the recording of an event, in our case a workout.

Measuring is estimating by evaluation or comparison.

Image by jeysun35 When you combine tracking and measuring, you get progress. I have been tracking, but I have not been measuring.

Here is the major flaw: Each of my workouts is random, from week to week I perform a completely different workout than the week before, and my workouts rarely ever repeat.I had adopted this training style simply because I realized that I adapted extremely quickly with my workouts and could not stand the thought of performing the same workout week in and week out. However, this was before I had discovered fast, intense workouts. This was when I was doing some hybrid form of martial arts and bodybuilding. I didn’t know anything about metabolic conditioning or how to train with your bodyweight. All I knew was that you were supposed to stay in a gym for 2 hours and do “stuff” until the clock told you to leave (or someone from the staff).

To say that I have not been making progress is a false statement. I have. I see it in my movements. I see it on video. And I see it in the mirror. But all this “seeing” is dangerous. There is something about writing down your time and then comparing it to last weeks time with the same workout: it never lies. When you “see” things you rationalize your way into thinking that you are making progress. Or for some people, you rationalize your way out of making progress.

How do you know you are making progress?

This question was actually posed to me by my bodybuilding friend: “How do you know you are making any progress if you keep doing random workouts?” Good question, and one that I really couldn’t answer. I went to the Crossfit forum to pose the same exact question, and they referred me to their benchmark workouts. Benchmark workouts are simply workouts that are used to measure progress and appear in the Crossfit programming once or twice a week. For example, one of their workouts is Fran. This particular workout may be performed on, say, December 8th, 2006, and will not appear again until February 16, 2007. I’m just throwing out random dates here. But the point is that Fran will appear a few weeks apart, but they will have other Benchmarks within the weeks such as Barbara and Nate.

I have attempted to create benchmark workouts in the past. But honestly, at that moment I was not as familiar with Crossfit’s programming as I am now. I respect Crossfit, but I’m not sure if all their methods are a right fit for me.

I have two options in terms of measuring progress:

  1. Create a training program based on five to six workouts per week, and repeat them for six weeks straight, attempting to make as much progress on them as possible. This progress can be measured by being able to complete the workout at a faster time, the amount of weight used in the workout, increasing reps, or increasing rounds.
  2. Develop a series of benchmark workouts that appear in your programming each week along with a few other random workouts. Use these benchmarks as measures of progress.

Ok, so the second method is Crossfit. The first method I’ve actually seen on a few bodybuilding forums. People will choose one workout and then perform it along with their bodybuilding workouts as a form of cardio or conditioning. They’ll choose a goal, say drop total time by 3 minutes, and keep working on it until they reach their goal.

Hmmm…I think this time around I’m going to side with the bodybuilders.

I’ve decided to create 5 workouts, some of which I’ve done before, and work on them Monday through Friday. Each workout will have a set of measurement, a different one for each workout. For example, the Monday workout may be focused around time. The Tuesday workout may be focused on increasing weight. Etc. you get the point. I will try this for 6 weeks as an experiment, and then show you guys the progress I’ve made on this very website. Stay tuned!

Turbulence Training Super Set Workouts Vs Traditional Cardio For Fat Loss

The question is…do you really need to perform lots of cardio in order to lose fat? Or is there another, better way? Last week, someone asked me if I was “anti-cardio.”

I’m not “anti-cardio.” If anything, I’m “anti-traditional cardio.”

Anyone who is trying to get into good shape or lose unwanted body fat believe that all they need to do is tons of cardio in order to achieve their dream body.

There are many people out there that are extremely lean that rarely ever go out for a long, slow and steady jog or do any sort slow, steady cardio. So what do these people do? They do something known as Turbulence Training. No, this isn’t some super secret form of training.

It’s a simple training style developed by trainer Craig Ballantyne which combines High Intensity Interval Training with Intense Super Set Weight Training. Here’s the problem with cardio: It’s great for beginners who’ve never done any cardio before. Anything new will get you results fast.

However, as your body gets used to your workout, you stop getting results. So, people just decide to make their workouts longer. Next thing you know, you’re spending 2 hours a day working out, 5 days a week just for a measly.5 lbs of fat loss per week.

There’s a better way. But, in order to find that better way, you need to ask yourself: what is cardio? Is it really just all about pumping mindlessly on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike?

Nope. “Cardio” is all about getting your heart pumped and geting you huffing and puffing. Cardio exercise is any type of exercise or any activity that strengthens your cardiovascular system.

That is exactly what Turbulence Training workouts do: they raise your heart rate and force your body to work harder. When your body works harder, you boost your metabolic rate.

Your metabolic rate is a measure of how fast your body burns calories. The higher your metabolic rate, the more fat and calories you will burn. Here’s a quick sample of what a Turbulence Training superset feels like: Take a dumbbell and press it over your head for 10 repetitions.

Now drop your arms to your sides, and without resting, hold the dumbbells and perform 10 squats. Now, you can rest for 1 minute. Notice how face your heart rate is pumping. If you are using a challenging weight, you will find your heart rate has increased to about 80-90 % of the maximum recommended rate.

This simple superset will make you feel as if you just ran a 100-meter long sprint. This may look like just basic strength training, but it’s so much more!

You can replace your tradiational cardio with these types of superset routines, saving your lots of time and energy. Of course, you’ll be burning off tons of fat in the process!

If you’re really serious about gaining muscle mass and losing fat, then you need to check out more of Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training workouts.

Click here for more information

Increase your Metabolism

I first realized how big a role metabolism played in fat loss when I read Alwyn Cosgrove’s article on T-mag, titled the Hierarchy of Fat Loss. Cosgrove stated that the most important factor in a fat loss routine is metabolic resistance training. This includes workouts such as complexes, circuits, trisets, and supersets. The idea is to get your heart rate up and keep it up while lifting moderate to heavy weights.

I liked this approach to training much better than doing steady state cardio, and so I gave it a try. By the time I had lost 15 lbs, I had developed four methods vital to fat loss: heavy training, metabolic resistance training, aerobic training, and anaerobic interval training. Then than list was refined to include only metabolic resistance training, heavy training, and eating a lot to maximize your resting metabolic rate. Continue reading Increase your Metabolism

Building Muscle Tip

Overlooked Secrets to Building Rock Hard Six-Pack Abs

Overlooked Secrets to Building Rock Hard Six-Pack Abs
By John Leotardo

If you’re like many people out there who want to lose their belly fat and gain those amazing looking six-pack abs, then there are some things you should know before you begin your journey. Neither diet or exercise alone will help you achieve your goals. You will need to incorporate a combination of both in order to keep the fat off and the muscle showing!

People who do hundreds of sit-ups or crunches per week are often stumped as to why they are not getting any results. The answer is simple; you absolutely cannot spot reduce fat on your body! Just because you are targeting your abdominal muscles with exercises doesn’t mean you will reduce any amount of fat there. You can build up muscle anywhere on your body at any time, but if there is a layer of fat covering it, you’ll never even see it. The key to getting those new muscles to show is to lose fat all throughout the body. Cardio, such as jogging, is probably one of the most effective and easy ways to lower your overall body fat.

Since muscle burns the most amount of calories, increasing the general muscle mass of your body through weight training will help to speed your metabolism up and help you burn fat, even while you are sleeping. You don’t need to lift 100 or 200 pound weights to achieve this, either. Start small, but keep a consistent schedule and you will soon notice that your body fat is slowly being replace by lean muscle. Before long, you’ll see that crunches and sit-ups will actually start to produce results because you have lowered your overall body fat.

Click Here to Learn about One of the Best Ab Workout Programs Ever!

If you are interested in learning more secrets about getting rock hard abdominals, then check out the truth about abs. This site has sections for both men and women, so anyone seeking the truth on how to get that awesome six-pack can get started right away. Get more info by visiting http://www.ab-truth.info. Check it out today!

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This article links out to a product. If you purchase this product, I recieve a percentage of the sale. Click here to read my disclaimer.

24 Dumbbell and Bodyweight Exercises that Work the Heart

The word “Cardio” or cardiovascular means “relating to, or involving the heart and blood vessels,” according to the Merriam-Webster medical dictionary. In other words, “Cardio” has nothing to do with spending countless hours on a treadmill, or watching a video of an anorexic woman doing aerobics.

Cardio basically refers to training the heart. And the best way to train the heart is not with boring jogging or aerobics, but instead high intensity bodyweight and dumbbell exercises. This is because I prefer to have fun while I workout.

The following is a list of 24 bodyweight and dumbbell exercises that you can use to develop your own fun cardio workout:

  1. Dumbbell Push Press
  2. Dumbbell Jump Shrugs
  3. Bodyweight Split Jump
  4. Bodyweight Knee Raise to Side Push Up
  5. Bodyweight Free Squat
  6. Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift
  7. Bodyweight Hindu Pushups
  8. Dumbbell Alternating Hanging High Pull
  9. Dumbbell Front Squat
  10. Dumbbell Two Handed Swing
  11. Bodyweight Squat Thrust
  12. Bodyweight Step Ups
  13. Bodyweight Squat Jumps
  14. Dumbbell Squat Clean
  15. Bodyweight Rest Pause Pull Ups
  16. Bodyweight Butt Raises
  17. Bodyweight Ice Skater Hops
  18. Bodyweight Dive Bomber Push Ups
  19. Dumbbell Renegade Row
  20. Bodyweight Classic Push Up
  21. Dumbbell Bent Over Row
  22. Dumbbell Twisting Military Press
  23. Dumbbell Split Jerk
  24. Dumbbell Golf Squat

To learn how to perform these exercises, along with high intensity workouts and intensity techniques, check out the Gladiator Body Workout. Click here for more information.

Cardio Home Workouts: The Key to Fat Loss in a Bad Economy

It’s time to throw your gym membership out the door. In a bad economy, you need to cut back where you can. Exercising at home is probably the best way to save a whole bunch of money and get into great shape!

What are my Cardio Options?

Performing cardio at home is very easy. You don’t need to purchase any fancy equipment at all. The following are some cardio activities you can perform with limited to no equipment:

Shadowboxing

This is an activity that professional boxers use to train for their fights. It requires standing in front of a mirror and basically boxing yourself. They usually practice footwork and punching. However, you can shadowbox practically anywhere just by throwing some punches in the air while bouncing side to side.

Jump roping

A jump rope shouldn’t cost you more than $15. Just the way you were when you were little, just start skipping rope. Eventually, you want to learn some techniques such as doubleunders and crossovers. These techniques will really get your heart rate up and give you a great cardio workout.

Running

Running is the basic cardio choice for most people. Now, I’m talking about running, not jogging. This shouldn’t be an easy run. If you’re only going to run a while, then really run a mile. Try to run that mile as fast as possible.

Calisthenics

Calisthenics are those exercises you used to do in your school gym class. They include jumping jacks, windmills, and a variety of other heart pumping movements. You can do circuits of jump roping and running in place for an intense cardio workout.

Sprinting

Sprinting is running all out within a short distance. You can start out by just sprinting from one end of the block to the other. Repeat this 10-12 times for a great fat burning workout. Steadily increase the distance until you can do an all out sprint for approximately 400 meters.

In-Home Cardio Workouts for Beginners

Beginners should ease into their in home cardio workouts. You can set up a very basic 3 days per week, 20 minutes per day routine that will help you lose weight. And because I do not want you to become bored with the routine, I want you to choose 3 separate activities for each day.

Make your Cardio Workouts Harder

After a while, basic cardio will become very boring. You can only shadowbox for so long until your body becomes used to the movement. I am against increasing the time of the movement and prefer increase the intensity of the workout.

The following are some of my favorite cardio intensity techniques:

Descending Reps

This technique works great with shadowboxing, jump roping, and calisthenics. Choose two exercises such as jump roping and jumping jacks. What you want to do is create a workout where the repetitions are steadily decreasing after each round.

Tabata

Tabata intervals are where you perform 20 seconds of high intensity training followed by 10 seconds of rest. This is performed best with sprinting, but can also be performed with high intensity jump roping or shadowboxing.

Traditional Tabata is performed for a total of 8 intervals, so the workout lasts 4 minutes long. You can perform just one exercise per day, or include other exercises. Beginners should start off by just performing one exercise per day.

If Tabata Intervals are too hard for you, then you can start off with easier intervals such as 30/60, or 30/30. Start off slow, because Tabata intervals are one of the most brutal exercises out there.

One of the best ways to help you with your intervals is to use the GymBoss Interval Timer. It costs just $19.95, and you can program it to help you keep track of any sort of intervals you may use. Click here to grab yours today.

Alternate with Strength Training

Performing cardio movements in a superset fashion with bodyweight or free weight exercises is another great method to help you drop fat really quickly. You get both the cardio and strength benefit with these workouts.

Setting up this workout is very easily. All you need to do is choose one cardio movement, and one bodyweight or dumbbell exercise and alternate between them the way you would perform regular supersets.

Doing Cardio without Doing Cardio

Now it’s time change your mind set. That last technique there, alternating with strength training and cardio is only scratching the surface when it comes to creating cardio workouts without doing cardio. The thing that most people don’t realize is that Cardio is short for the word “Cardiorespiratory.”

In short, you’re training your heart. So as long as you keep your heart rate up, in a way, you’re performing cardio. The cardio effect disappears when you rest too long and let your heart rate return to normal. If you rest for a very short time between two or more strength training exercises, then you will never need to do actual cardio ever again!

Remember one thing: no matter how great a fitness program is, you will never get results from it if it’s not fun. You workouts need to be exciting and challenging. So you need to choose something that you truly enjoy doing.