You go to the gym, but you’re still fat, here’s what you need to do…

1. You need to train at least 3-4 times a week. Sorry, but training once a week will do very little for you, twice a week is better and you will get some results but from working with athletes and regular gym goers over the last few years i can tell you that you will get the best results in terms of weight loss and muscle gain from training 3, preferably 4 times a week.

2. After you have completed your warm up, train for no longer than 1 hour at each training session. Once you are in the gym focus on what you are doing. If you are in the gym longer than an hour you are either socialising – thus won’t be working hard enough to get results, or you are training for too long which will cause a decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol to the point that you will not get the desired results from your workout.

3. Change your workout every 3-4 weeks. This works especially well if you are training 3-4 times a week. Your body is especially good at adapting to the demands imposed upon it and you will eventually get diminishing return on your investment. Your body need a constant change in stimulus to get results.

4. Every work out try to go a little heavier / harder on each set of each exercise you perform. This is where micro loading devices such as plate mates and Eleiko micro plates are especially useful and you can go from 10kg to 10.25kg, to 10.5kg etc… on an exercise instead of the usual 2-2.5kg jump in dumbbells or plates which often make increasing your loads impossible. Even trying to increase the reps per workout will be of benefit, for example if you have a reps / sets range of 5 x 4-6 for a given exercise and you perform the following:

• Set 1 – 6 reps
• Set 2 – 6 reps
• Set 3 – 5 reps
• Set 4 – 4 reps
• Set 5 – 4 reps
Then the next work out you should shoot for:
• Set 1 – 6 reps
• Set 2 – 6 reps
• Set 3 – 6 reps
• Set 4 – 5 reps
• Set 5 – 4 reps

5. As a rule of thumb, when you change your programmes every 3 weeks or so you should alternate between phases of trying to build muscle with phases of trying to build strength. For building muscle you would use higher reps and fewer sets, slower tempos and more exercises per body part. For strength you would use lower reps and more sets, faster tempos and fewer exercises per body part.

6. You need to lift weights! Yes even you girls need to do weight training; this will not turn you in to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Weight lifting builds muscle tissue and muscle is your friend. It makes you more sensitive to insulin (which is good) and gives you more metabolically active tissue that can burn fat 24/7. Go in to any gym in the world and you will see the lean and strong people in the weight training section.

7. Do not do steady state cardio. Conversely to the above point above, go into any gym in the world and you will see most of the fat unfit people plodding along on the treadmill watching the TV or pottering along on the rowing machine while chatting with a friend.. If you can watch the TV or read whilst you are training you are wasting your time, you will not get any results, you do not belong in the gym and should go home and park your fat arse on your sofa and watch TV or read there!

8. Instead of steady state cardio try a bout of interval training. This is a different kettle of fish; this is great for increasing post work out EPOC and for raising your metabolism. If you are doing intervals you should be training to the point of nausea, try reading a magazine when you want to puke!

9. Core training is BS! The research is clear on this; training on unstable devices does not activate your “core” any greater than exercising on the floor. What you need to realise is the results of these studies that show greater activation of core muscle whilst training on unstable devices demonstrate levels of muscle activity of less than 50% maximum contraction. The best exercises that create large activation in abdominal muscles are squats, dead lifts and chin ups! Of course if you add in some Swiss ball exercises at the end of your workout for fun / variety – go for it but make proper weight training the focus of your session.

10. Focus and attention to detail. When you are in the gym – train! No socialising, watching the fit birds on the cross training or watching the TV. Take a stop watch to the gym with you and when your rest period is up – get on with the next set. Pay attention to the reps, sets and tempo of the exercises you are performing. Write down what weights you used and how many sets and reps you did – next work out better it.

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