How to Choose a Gym- Large Chains Versus a Home Gym

Can you give me some pointers on choosing the right quality gym? What is reasonable to expect?

Most cities and metropolitan areas have several major gym chains with fully equipped exercise floors, saunas and changing rooms (Here in NYC we’ve got over 1000 different gyms and training centers in Manhattan alone!). Trying to choose between the number of options can be a major pain but as always, approaching the task with a plan makes things a great deal easier.

First off, what’s your budget to join a gym?

The amount you’re willing to spend will largely determine the type and scope of facility you’ll be able to use. As you’d expect, higher-end, bigger, better-equipped facilities command higher fees than smaller, more personal spaces. A major high-end chain (like Equinox here in the city) will run you roughly $200 monthly. Other large chains like Crunch or New York Sports Club, run quite a bit less, but the facilities are generally more crowded than the more expensive gyms.

Your budget considerations only limit your aesthetic sense. If you’re looking to join a gym to get into shape, virtually all gyms will have the basic equipment (i.e., heavy things to lift, a bathroom, etc.) that you require to have great workouts and get great results.

Cheaper Gym Options

A great choice for the budget conscious is to get a membership at the local college or university sports/recreation center. They are usually spotless, well-equipped, and empty (at least, the ones at Temple, Rutgers, and St. Peters were). A year’s membership will typically run you less than half of what you’d pay at a comparable commercial gym.

What are your goals? It makes no sense in plunking down $200 a month for a gym with a boxing ring and a heavy bag if you’re just looking for a place to do your squats and deadlifts. Nor does it make any sense to join a sports training facility that churns out champion athletes if you’ve no desire to ever run for a bus, much less a $50 trophy from Everlast. Keep your gym choices aligned with your goals, and don’t pay for bells and whistles you’ll never use (like a hyperbaric running chamber!).

Getting a Personal Trainer

Finally, what level of expertise are you? If you’re an inexperienced exerciser, you may be better off not joining a “gym” at all, but patronizing a smaller, one-on-one personal training facility. What you’d spend in training fees would be far less than the amount of time you’d be wasting trying to make sense of all the options available to you in a larger gym.

Home Gym and Body Weight Training

If you trend towards being curmudgeonly (like me), you may want to consider putting together your own home gym. It doesn’t require a whole lot of space or a ton of equipment.

Of course, you don’t even need to join a gym to lose fat. We detail several fat-burning workouts in Man on a Mission that don’t require any equipment except your own body weight. You can read more about it here.

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The BEST 7.5 Minute Fat Burning Workout You’ll Ever Use. Really.

Ok, kids, rally around, because I’ve got a real barn-burner of a workout for you. Tabata- the fastest and most effective fat burning workout you’ll ever use.

Note: This routine is forbidden for absolute beginners. No newbie’s allowed – you’ve got to have a basic competence level in fitness to play this game (but don’t despair! We have plenty of resources for the neophyte in the second part of this article).

On with the show!

You know the drill, folks – first the science, then the workout (all disinterested parties can skip the heady stuff and scroll to the end of the article for the workout).

An informal survey of the clientele Mike and I have worked with over the years reveals that the numero uno reason most people don’t exercise is time – as in, “I don’t have enough time in the day to spend 5 minutes using the bathroom.”

To each his own elimination habits, I guess.

Well, certainly to the harried, busy individual with nary a moment to spend, spending an hour every day at the gym is downright impossible. But certainly anyone can carve out 7.5 minutes in their day to complete their quota of sufficiently rigorous fat burning exercise (except our aforementioned bathroom time-challenged client).

Enter: The 7.5 Minute Fat Burning Workout

Thank Dr. Izumi Tabata of the National Institutes of Fitness and Sport in Tokyo for this workout. In 1996, Dr. Tabata published a groundbreaking study that showed the effectiveness (and superiority) of high intensity interval training.

By working his athlete-subjects intensely for 20 second spurts and allowing them a 10 second rest period, Dr. Tabata was able to squeeze incredible improvements in both aerobics and anaerobic fitness (28% and 14%, respectively) from already conditioned athletes.

Not bad for four minutes of workout time (yes, four minutes).

Of course, Dr. Tabata’s work has been expanded upon in the last decade and it’s now well established in exercise science that brief, intense workouts pack a bigger punch than their longer, less intense counterparts (not to mention that they take a whole lot less time as well).

So if Dr. Tabata’s research suggests that a four minute workout is all it takes to deliver solid results, why does this workout take 7 and a half minutes?

For two highly compelling reasons:

1. Dr. Tabata killed his athletes. Their prescribed workloads were 170% of their max (and I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t be looking forward to a workout that required I perform at nearly double my work capacity). It is reported in the study text that the athletes literally ended up on the floor after each bout of data collection.

2. See #1.

To make this workout fall back into the realm of reality (and to make it useable with clients), Mike and I adapted Dr. Tabata’s intervals and scaled the workloads. Add a bit of progressive strength training to the mix and you’ve got:

The “Tabata Push-Pull” Workout

The Basics. We use Dr. Tabata’s interval format of 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. In other words, go all-out (or close to it) for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.

Pick two complementary exercises that require very little change/set up between them, and perform alternating intervals of each for 7 rounds, or until you’re “shot.”

“Hey, that’s only 7 minutes.”

The extra 30 seconds? Use them before the intervals for a quick warmup – some bodyweight squats and/or pushups work well.

Exercises:

This workout works well in many different permutations, but we’ve found the Tabata format works best with exercises of opposing functions (hence, the workout’s moniker).

I’ve compiled four of our favorite combinations here:

Dumbbell Squat/Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Dips/Pullups

Pushups/Row

Front Squat/Chinups

Some performance notes:

1. Take it easy on weight, especially if you’re doing this for the first time. A weight that feels ridiculously easy during the second interval will have you on the floor by minute 7.

2. Try to keep a steady work rate and max out on reps – push yourself. Remember, Dr. Tabata’s subjects worked at 170% of their maxes. While you shouldn’t push yourself nearly that hard, you should look to push yourself past your perceived limits – you’ve got goals to achieve, and you’ll only get out what you put into the exercise.

3. While it’s far from necessary, it helps to have a workout partner to act as both a motivator and a bean counter. Keeping track of reps gets tough once fatigue sets in, but is doable (after all, you’ve got 10 seconds to write down reps in your workout log between work intervals).

Benchmarks. How do we judge progression on this exercise? After all, it’s gotta be measurable if we’re to hold ourselves accountable to our goals.

A rough guideline that works reasonably well is Total Tonnage – simply multiply the weight you used by the total number of reps you performed.

Ex. Mike chooses the Dumbbell Squat/DB Romanian Deadlift combo and picks up the 35 pounders.

His numbers:

Rd 1: 10/10
Rd 2: 10/10
Rd 3: 10/8
Rd 4: 9/7
Rd 5: 6/8
Rd 6: 7/6
Rd 7: 6/5

Total: 58/54 – 112 total reps with 70 pounds

His Total Tonnage for that workout would be 7840 (112 X 70).

To record progression, simply try increasing Total Tonnage.

Important: Compare apples to apples! In other words, don’t compare Total Tonnage for a Squat/Deadlift workout with Total Tonnage for a Dip/Pullup workout – Total Tonnage.

Comparisons are valid for like workouts only.

Okay, your excuses about not having enough time to get in a good fat-burning workout?

Immediately canceled. (Tsoii!) And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For a thorough program that includes all the high intensity cardio you could possibly handle, and more, take a look at our Man on a Mission program- everything you need to quickly build a lean, healthy, energetic body.

3 Fat Burning Workout Routines for the Hotel Room: Your Travel Workouts

Do you ever wonder if those fat burning diet gurus and late-night infomercial hucksters actually follow their own recommendations?

I mean, can you really, honestly see Suzanne Somers pumping away on her Thighmaster, or Tony Little on a Gazelle, furiously sweating away in his basement? How about so-called “diet gurus” like Dr. Phil who haven’t seen their own feet since they were in grade school?

But I digress. I guess I’m testy since I’ll be getting a taste of my own medicine this week. Currently, I’m sitting in a Hyatt in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with a fully-functioning gym/fitness room.

Of course, one man’s “fully-functioning” is another man’s “barely functional.” And as I survey the hotel’s weight training selection (with nothing heavier than a 35 lb dumbbell in sight), I think to myself,

“This is going to be an interesting challenge.”

What’s a fellow addicted to lifting heavy things to do for fitness?

The answer: Use leverage to get around the lack of heavy things, or work on different aspects of the game.

Since the dry desert air has been keeping me up at night, I decided to craft three fat burning workouts for you, the busy Man on a Mission. I had a lot of fun test-driving them and hope you enjoy every excruciating minute as much as I did.

While all of these workouts are based on the development of separate, specific attributes, they all have three things in common:

1. They can all be done in your typical hotel fitness center or your own hotel room.

2. They all dramatically increase your metabolic output, causing you to burn fat faster.

3. They are all short (time-wise) workouts. In fact, workout three is only 7.5 minutes long!

Note: All these workouts work better if you have access to some weights (even limited weights), but all is not lost if you don’t. I’ve written in “weights-less” alternatives where applicable.

Ready to go? Let’s proceed to the Fat Burning Workouts

 

Workout One: Strength-Based

This workout is designed to increase your lean muscle. As we’ve written about previously, increasing muscle mass is the best way to increase your metabolism, so you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.


Adding Muscle to Increase Metabolism

Video Transcript

In this video we’re going to talk about metabolism we’re going to talk about revving it up restarting it I’m going to give you four ways to essentially increase or restart your metabolism alright. I was coming back from Florida and I was reading a sales and marketing book. I was sitting next to a girl and she said what do you sell? I said I sell fitness products and programs that teach people how to take care of themselves.  All of a sudden get into a conversation she’s talking about how she can’t lose weight anymore and she just can’t figure out what it is. She’s got a trainer but she can’t lose weight.  I got to talking to her and she basically said she was eating 1300 calories a day. I said well, do you know if that’s the right number? I mean, it seems awful low and and of course I didn’t know her RMR. Obviously I would get some more information from her to really advise her, but 1300 calories is very low. Rarely am I going to recommend 1300 calories to anyone, and the reason being is because our body our metabolism adapts to the conditions we impose on it. So the more food you eat the more calories you burn the less food you eat. If it’s 1,200 calories your metabolism is going to slow down to just burn 1,200 calories and that’s and that’s the whole premise behind why people in these fad diets. They lose a bunch of weight- because they cut their calories and then all of a sudden there’s they start eating just a little bit more and all of a sudden- boom, they’re gaining more weight back and then some. They can’t figure it out. Well, this is the reason you have to feed your body. That takes me right into the the first way to increase your metabolism. You just simply have to eat more and you have to trust me on this. Now, I speak from experience on this because at one point I couldn’t lose weight anymore so I created the caloric deficit. I was burning fat because of the calorie deficit, but I stopped losing weight and that’s because my metabolism shifted. That’s also why I preach carb cycling so much. It continues to shock your metabolism by increasing calories, then a decrease in calories. The fluctuation in carbs manipulates your metabolism. It never has the opportunity to adapt, and it doesn’t know what it’s what’s coming at it. So that’s why I use the custom meal planning service. We’re doing carb cycles after trying every diet under the sun. Carb cycling is the best way to consume foods to increase metabolism. Eating more frequently stimulates more calorie burn. There’s a lot of debate surrounding eat more frequently- some people like the iifym that eat only two meals as long as they get their macros in that’s fine for them. I just disagree with that. I teach and preach what has worked for me and what has worked for thousands upon thousands of clients. I’m not saying that that doesn’t work for some people, I’m just saying that this has worked for me and my clients. If you look at how sumo wrestlers consume food, their goal is to just bulk up and put on a bunch of fat. If you look at how they consume food, they’re not eating frequently and they’re eating massive meals a couple times a day. Typically before bed. That’s how they’ve been known to bulk up. So that in itself says something to me. All my clients so eat more frequently- 5 to 6 times a day. I think that’s a good starting point they’re not huge meals. Just eat every few hours starting 30 minutes after waking and then every every 2-3 hours to keep the metabolism running hot. Keep the metabolism revving, keep the coals burning. Give it fuel and move your muscles constantly. Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the number one consumer of calories on a day to day basis. Walk around the office more, move your muscles. Make sure you’re not just sitting watching TV. The last the last one is build muscle mass. Muscle burns fat. it’s the number one thing that consumes calories. So, build muscle with a strength training program 45 minutes a day is good. If you’re doing these four things I promise you you are going to tip the scales again. You’re going to jump start fat loss and you’re going to see amazing success. Now, I’m not saying that you’re not going to have to adjust some things as you go. Carb cycle is adjusting and adapting. It’s manipulating carbs from high to low.

Increasing muscle mass is a combination of two factors: intramuscular tension and accumulated by-products of fatigue. In other words, you have to create high levels of tension in the muscle by making it work hard, and you’ve gotta feel a burn.

This workout calls for concentration and effort – so be sure to use resistances that feel “tough.”

Pistols (One-legged Squats) x 10 reps each side
One-armed Pushups x 5 reps each side
Dumbbell Deadlift x 15 reps
One-armed dumbbell row x 10 reps each side
Trunk rotations x 10 reps

body weight workout #1 black book of secrets

Using weights that feel like a challenge to you, perform the above as listed, in that order. Repeat the series three times or until muscular exhaustion occurs.

If muscular exhaustion occurs on any given exercise, you’re done on that one. Move on to the next.

Use the resistance (i.e. weights) used to track your progression.

As always, if you’re confused as to how to perform a given exercise, check our library of how to videos and form checklists in Man on a Mission for clarification.

Workout Two: Metabolic Conditioning

This workout is designed to maximize EPOC. Mike’s already written fairly extensively on the fat-burning benefits of EPOC, but let me summarize. Maximizing the overall work effort maximizes calorie burn, both during AND after the workout.

You should move quickly during this workout; don’t dilly-dally! Take as little rest as possible. It’s only 15 minutes long, so you can rest afterwards.

Set your timer to 15 minutes. If you don’t have a timer, use the wall clock or clock radio in your room.

Perform the maximum number of circuits (without resting) of the following:

Chinups x 5 reps
Pushups x 10 reps
Bodyweight Squats x 15 reps

bodyweight workout #2 metabolic conditioningUse total number of circuits completed to track your progression.

Yes, you must complete all reps of one exercise before going to the next one.
Yes, if you can’t do a full pushup or a chinup, you can substitute modified pushups or Smith bar chinups.

And no, 10 rounds is NOT impossible. Enjoy!

Workout Three: Interval-Based

Workout numero tres delivers the strength and muscle-building benefits of workout one and combines it with the conditioning effects of workout two.

Needless to say, it delivers quite the punch! It’s based off of the Tabata Push-Pull workout and is better left to readers who are already “fighting fit.” But hey, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Romanian Deadlift/Overhead Dumbbell Press
Alternating Dumbbell Lunge/Chinups
Bench Dips/Smith Bar Pullups


Choose one of the listed pairs and perform them in a Tabata interval, i.e.,

Perform a 30 second warm up – body weight squats or push ups work well – then,

Do the first exercise for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds (and pick up the weight for the second exercise).

Perform the second exercise for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds (and pick up the weight for the first exercise).

Repeat for 7 minutes total.

Use the Total Tonnage method described in the Tabata Push-Pull article to track progression.

Remember to choose a weight that feels “moderate” for this one – it gets tough!

So there you go!

Three workouts, three different ways to keep your fat-burning efforts alight while you’re on the road.

Choose your medicine wisely and take your iron pill. No excuses now. Now if you all will excuse me, there’s a post-workout recovery shake on the counter that requires my urgent attention…

What do you get with a subscription to Double Your Swagger? The latest in fitness and nutrition research, fat-burning workouts, motivational pointers, and Jedi Mind Tricks to reprogram yourself for maximum fat loss. All at the remarkable price of…FREE!

Simply put your name and email address in the sign up box and confirm your subscription. Rest easy – we never have and never will sell or rent your email address to anybody. Your secret is safe with us.

Want to know our secrets? The best of the best tips and tricks we’ve accumulated over the years and countless hours of client contact? We’ve collected them in a tight little volume called Man on a MIssion. Interested? Curious as a newborn kitty? You can read more about it here.

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Weight Training for Beginners- Fat Loss Basics 101

Okay, so hopefully we’ve convinced you that weight training is a vital part of your fat loss program (if not, go back and read our propaganda…err…articles on weight training and fat loss). Yes- lifting weights does help you lose pounds of body fat.

Naturally, you’re chomping at the bit and can’t wait to get started, but lo and behold, you’ve never stepped foot in a gym and you have no idea what to do when you get there.

Enter our beginner’s primer on weight training.

Now, this isn’t intended to be an end-all, be-all, individualized blueprint on weight training nor is it intended to be a polemic discussion on the merits of various weight training approaches, but it should answer most of your questions and enable you to get started without doing anything that will land you in a hospital waiting room.

First off, “What am I supposed to do?”

You need a plan. A solid plan of action, so you can go into the weight room, do your business, and get out with as little wasted time as possible (after all, we’re here to stimulate serious fat loss, not fraternize with the regulars).

For fat loss purposes, we’re not looking to pump up our biceps or feel the burn in our hip muscles (fat lot of good that’ll do anyone anyways). No, what we want is to increase metabolism through added muscle tissue.

1) Working multiple muscle groups at once.

2) Taking little rest between sets.

3) Using the twin principles of intensity and progression to maximize results.

P.S. No gym or equipment available? You can dive into our home workout program here.

Ready to get to lifting? Read on!

With these ideas in mind, let’s move onto your first weight training program:

Lower Body Push – Squat (Barbell) or substitute with Leg Press (machine)

Squat:
Place your feet approximately shoulder width.

Lower Body Pull – Deadlift (Barbell) or substitute with Leg Curl (machine)

Deadlift:

With the loaded bar on the floor, stand close to the bar with your feet slightly narrower than shoulder width apart.

Upper Body Push – Bench Press (Barbell) or substitute with Chest Press (machine)

Bench PressUse a complete range of motion. Do not do partial reps or restrict your range for the use of a heavier weight.

Upper Body Pull – One Arm Row (Dumbbell) or substitute with Pulldown (machine)

One Arm Row With your dumbbell on the ground next to your flat bench, place one knee on the bench and your other leg planted planted firmly on the ground.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: only 4 exercises?

Yes. Only 4 – and here’s why. First off, these four exercises will work your body head to toe. It won’t completely and totally exhaust every single muscle you have, but the most important ones will be addressed, getting you in and out of the gym in a flash.

Secondly, we want you to actually do the exercises, so the more compact we make the workout, the more likely you’ll actually do it.

Lastly, since you aren’t performing these exercises under our watchful eye, we’ve decided to give you fewer exercises so you can sooner perfect your technique on each one.

“How much weight should I use, and how many times should I lift it?”

Your rep goal on all of these exercises is 15. Perfect for a newbie to strength training (allows for plenty of practice, since you’re doing a lot of reps) and great for an experienced exerciser (since getting to 15 reps with a sizable weight can be a real challenge).

Now, of course, the few times you do this workout, take it easy with the weights. You need time to perfect your technique and make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly. As soon as you’re ready, however, start adding the weight, a little at a time.

The best way to go about it is using the single progression method:

Let’s say the rep goal is 15 reps (which, conveniently, it is!). You perform the Chest Press at 50 pounds and get 15 reps.

Wonderful! Write it down.

Next time you perform that exercise, add a little bit of weight, about 5 pounds (or whatever the smallest increment you can increase the weight by is).

It’s next time. You perform Chest Press for 55 pounds and get 15 reps. Fantastic. Same story.

The next time. You perform Chest Press for 60 pounds and only get 12 reps. Disaster? No – you simply keep the weight at 60 until you can hit the 15 rep mark. Then, start increasing the weight again.

Ah – simple, but elegant. Kind of like e=Mc^2.

“Should I work out everyday?”

No – you should not.

But I applaud you for your enthusiasm! If you can apply that same enthusiasm to your diet, then there’s no stopping you.

As we discussed in our program, Man on a Mission, exercise is merely a stimulus for muscle building. Muscle needs time to actually get built. After all, it’s not as if you pick the dumbbell up, you curl it a few times, and voila, your arm is instantly stronger.

What you’re doing is causing microtrauma to the muscle fibers, damage which your body is called upon to repair. It is only after this repair process occurs that you actually have more muscle and get stronger.

So, back to the issue at hand: How often should you work out?

I’m setting the cap at three times a week, on non-consecutive days. Monday-Wednesday-Friday works well, as does Tuesday-Thursday-Sunday. You could even get wacky and do Monday-Thursday-Saturday (and no one will be the wiser).

The only caveat is that you need to leave at least one day between weight training workouts.

To intercept the questions I know are already coming:

“Can I work out twice a week?”
Yes. Go right ahead, in fact.

“Can I work out once a week?”
I don’t recommend it for a beginner or for people interested in fat loss – but yes.

“I’m kind of working out already, and not getting any results. What am I doing wrong?”

Overwhelmingly, when Mike and I have coached clients who’d already been trying to lose weight on an exercise program, we found one thing to be consistently true –

They had NO idea what hard work was, or how to properly condition themselves to utilize that much effort!

the harder you exercise the bigger the benefit

That means when you’re giving your all to a hard set of exercise, you don’t stop when you “think” you’re done. Not when your muscles start to get a little shaky. Not when your muscles burn and you desperately want to drop the weights to the floor.

You’re done when you’re done – meaning, when you’ve either achieved your rep goals for that set or when you literally can’t lift the weight another inch. Hey, Ralph Waldo Emerson said nothing great was achieved without hard work, and building a great body is no different.

As far as building up tolerance to exercise, you do it bit by bit. Remember, we talked about progression a page or two ago? Our progression method will provide you with the slowly escalating momentum that you need in order to build up a good level of exercise tolerance. Of course, we’ve picked up a couple of little tricks that make the process easier.

This should get you off the ground and running. No more excuses; now get in that weight room and lift!

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V-Shaped Abs Workout

I’ve heard the best way to develop that V-shaped taper in your lats is to perform pull ups and chin ups. What’s the difference between the two?

Pullups are performed with the palms facing away from you; chinups are performed with your palms facing you.

The best way to fully develop the V-taper body is to work hard and heavy on exercises that hit your latissimus dorsi muscles (aka, “the lats”).

Pullups and chinups are two of the best exercises for this, as they require a high degree of effort (for most people) to complete.

Best way to fully develop the V-taper.

If you are strong and find pullups and chinups easy, take a nod from our Weight Training 101 article and use single progression: add resistance to chinups/pullups by hanging a weight off yourself (a dip belt works great).

When you can achieve your goal number of reps, increase the weight.

Other exercises work the lats and will help you develop both breadth and width to your back.

These include horizontal pulls such as rows (barbell and machine versions) and other vertical pulls such as pull downs and pullovers (a good pullover machine is great for developing big, strong lats)

Whichever exercise(s) you choose to work with, remember the three keys:

1) You will only succeed by working hard (high degree of effort) on the exercise.
2) You must employ progression – when the weight gets easy, increase it!
3) You must eat to recover. Be sure to give the body the raw material it needs to build muscle!

-Eugene

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The #1 Must-Use Weight Loss Supplement: WATER!

What if I told you that there was a miracle supplement out there that could help you burn fat, had no side effects, was readily available, and (best of all) F-R-E-E? 

You and all your closest friends would likely be foaming at the mouth and ready to rush out and buy it by the box load.

And I’m sure one of your financially savvy buddies would make a beeline for the computer and make some surreptitious investments on his eTrade account. 

Well, this amazing supplement does exist. And no, it’s not exactly free, but it’s close.

The A#1, numero- uno, all-important, paramount, top-of-the-heap supplement we recommend for your fat loss efforts is WATER.

What is it about plain-ol’ water that puts it ahead of protein powders, fish oil, creatine, metabolic accelerators, or any other supplement out there?

Simply put, water is vital to life. If you don’t take fish oil for a week, the worst thing that can happen is that you compromise fat burning a little or that your mood might be less than optimal. If you don’t drink water for a week, however, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll die.

Of course, it’s common knowledge that water is necessary for good health and all – but let’s cut to the heart of the matter. What fat loss benefits can drinking water confer upon us?

The Importance of Water: Here’s a short list of fat burning benefits that water gives to you:

1) Drinking water actually burns calories. A significant amount of them, in fact.
I’m sure you’ve heard this on other sites and thought to yourself, “Yeah, right. How can drinking water make a difference in calorie burning?”

Well, a study from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that metabolic rate actually increases by a whopping 30% after drinking just 17 ounces of water. The majority of the metabolic increase came from warming the water to body temperature.

Being that it requires roughly one Calorie of energy to heat an ounce of water to body temperature, drinking a gallon of cold water daily can result in a net calorie burn of over 120 calories!

That’s something to tip your glass to.

Does it have to be pure water? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Another study (this time from the folks over at Charite University Medicine in Berlin) compared the metabolic boost from drinking a pint of pure water against drinking the same amount of an isotonic saline drink (i.e., water with some salt added to it), and there was no comparison. The pure water caused a 24% boost in metabolism; the saline drink caused none.

2) Water is a natural hunger suppressant.
One of the best ways to kill a hunger craving is to drink a tall glass of water. By temporarily filling out your stomach, your hunger cravings diminish. You can use this method to stop your inner Tasmanian Devil long enough to make sure you’re mindful of your food choices and to prevent yourself from bingeing on foods that don’t support your fat loss goals.

3) Dehydration stops fat-burning in its tracks.
Did you know that your body uses roughly a liter of water to go about its daily business? If left unreplaced, it’s easy for you to slip into mild dehydration, and that’s a death knell for fat-burning. Just 1-2% dehydration can cause your fat-burning machinery to stop in its tracks.

Here’s why: Fat burning is not a priority to your body. Survival is.

Our bodies still operate in Stone Age mode – your liver doesn’t know that there’s a Costco down the street with jugs of water or that 50 feet away there’s a faucet with a Pur filter installed on it; if the water’s not in your body, it doesn’t exist!

From a survival perspective, it doesn’t make much sense for your body to break down fat cells for energy when death from dehydration presents a much greater (and more eminent) threat. So your kidneys say to your liver, “Hold on a moment, boys; let us sort this water thing out before you continue with evergy production.” Drats.

Luckily, this scenario’s pretty easy for you to prevent: just drink your damn water!

4) Water is calorie-free.
Because water contains no calories, it can really help you reduce your daily caloric intake if substituted for other drinks you normally have that do contain calories (like sweetened iced tea, soft drinks, and alcohol).

As Mike wrote about in The Quickest and Easiest Way to Lose Fat From Your Waistline, diluting your calories by making smart substitions is one of the most powerful strategies in your fat loss toolbox.

Even small substitutions can have a big impact: a study presented at a meeting of the Obesity Society in Boston showed that overweight women who replaced all the sugary drinks in their diet with water lost on average 5 pounds more each year than women who didn’t, even though both groups were following similar diets.

Tally up all the beverages you drink in a given weekend (yes, alcohol too) and figure out the total amount of calories that represents. If you’re like most folks, you’ll probably total well over 1500 calories. That’s an awful lot of calories you can save just by making one small distinction: drinking only water.

5) Water can help regulate body temperature, which results in improved workouts.
If you don’t work out hard, your results will be sub-optimal. Anything that helps you excel in the weight room will help your fat-burning efforts in the long run, and regulation of body temperature by keeping adequately hydrated is one of the best things you can do.

A study from the Australian Institute of Sport found that cycling performance suffered greatly in athletes that were dehydrated, even if they were consuming carbohydrate gels to compensate for energy losses.

What is really striking about this study is that the dehydrated athletes were given easier workloads than the hydrated athletes, yet their time to exhaustion was nearly 30% sooner. In other words, they pooped out faster, even with easier exercise.

If you’re not giving your best efforts, you can’t reasonably expect to get the best results. So do yourself a favor and stay hydrated during your workouts, ok?

“Enough with the studies already! So where do you start? How much is enough?”

The best starting guideline is to drink as much water as you can tolerate – in most cases, we’ve found that this will almost be enough. A good baseline level of water consumption is the tried and true 64 oz of water a day.

You should seek to progressively increase your water consumption a little bit each week (much in the same way you’d increase the poundage on your squat or bench press), up to consuming an ounce of water per pound of bodyweight, or one gallon (that’s 128 whole ounces, folks). Unless you’re involved in rigorous athletics, you likely won’t need more.

As a point of reference, Mike and I both carry around and drink a gallon of water each day (although I am physically smaller than Mike, I lose tons of water during my jiujitsu training, so our daily intake is similar).

It’s the biggest point of frustration to a weight loss devotee to “be doing everything right” and not seeing the results translate to fewer pounds and less inches. When you’re looking to optimize your fat-burning, do everything you can to “get the little things right.” That includes getting enough water.

The importance of water cannot be overstated. In fact, go pour yourself a tall, frosty glass right now. Cheers!

-Eugene

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