All You Need to Know for Effective Fat Loss

If you want to lose body fat, you’re not alone. Effective fat loss, however, can seem impossible at times, especially if you try to overcomplicate things. Many magazines, articles, Instagram “experts” and YouTubers like to share their opinions on the matter, and this can make it seem even more complicated. Below, you’ll find four simple items that you need to remember for effective fat loss. Stick to them, and it’ll work for you too.

Find a Type of Exercise You Enjoy

Exercise is important but not the most important aspect of fat loss, believe it or not. It can help, though, and a ton of additional benefits come with it. Finding a type of exercise you enjoy regularly will make it so much easier. Switch it up occasionally and just have fun with it. 

Get Your NEAT Up 

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is the energy your body uses for daily movement other than exercise. Len Kravitz, PhD, defines NEAT as “the energy expenditure of daily activities such as sitting, standing, walking, and talking – all activities that are not considered planned physical activity of a person’s daily life.” It is basically the “micro” exercise you do each day while going about your daily activities. By walking more and aiming to be more active day to day, it will, collectively, make a big difference.

In one research study it was determined that lean subjects (higher NEAT level) expend approximately 350 more calories a day (i.e. walking and standing) when compared to obese subjects (lower NEAT level). That amount of calories over the course of one year (with all other factors being equal) would equate to a weight-loss of 36.5 pounds!

Control Sleep and Stress 

Sleep and stress play a huge role in fat loss. Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 8 hours a night, and keep your stress levels under control. Look after yourself and get into a routine with it. A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that individuals who got less than 5.5 hours of sleep each night, lost 60 percent more lean muscle that those who got adequate sleep.

Eat a Balanced Diet 

The most important aspect of fat loss is how you eat. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistent. Fad diets should be avoided, and instead, a balanced, healthy eating approach should be taken. Finally, remember the following quote from exercise scientist, Tim Noakes, MD, PhD, “the benefits of exercise are unbelievable, but if you have to exercise to keep your weight down, your diet is wrong.”

Workout with Jefit

Jefit is a workout log app that helps you meet your fitness goals. By providing an extensive exercise library, you can pick and choose your workouts according to your goals. You can also join our members-only Facebook group where you can connect and interact with your fellow Jefit members. Share your successes, stories, advice, and tips so you learn and grow together. Stay Strong!

A Few of the “Strong” Benefits of Reverse Pyramid Training

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Reverse pyramid training (RPT) is great training option to use when looking to gain muscle size and strength. This type of program design features high-intensity sets but low volume workouts. Reverse pyramid training is simply a lifting style. RPT involves the heaviest weight used early in each overall sequence of sets for a particular muscle group. The reason this type of training works so well is because it takes advantage of a persons high energy level early in a workout. As a result, the muscles are not fatigued (yet) and, therefore, have the ability to handle heavier loads early in the workout. The idea is to do as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) without going to failure during each set.

Reverse Training Pyramid Example

Here are a few examples of what an upper and lower body RPT would look like following an efficient warm-up. This would be an example for an intermediate lifter who is looking to build strength and hypertrophy. Rest between sets is approximately 2-3 minutes using a tempo of about 4-seconds/repetition, 2-seconds each for concentric and eccentric phase. Decrease the weight between subsequent sets by approximately 10-15 percent.

1A – BENCH PRESS

(*Perform 2-3 warm-up sets for each exercise*)

225 x 6

185 x 10

160 x 12

1B – INCLINE BENCH PRESS

155 x 8

125 x 10

105 x 12

2A – SQUAT

(*Perform 3 warm-up sets for each exercise*)

315 x 3

275 x 6

235 x 8

2B – DEADLIFT

345 x 4

295 x 6

250 x 8

Research Review on Reverse Pyramid Training

There are few studies in the research literature that look at the benefits of RPT. But in that same breath, know that RPT is not better than traditional training. It offers you another training option but with a nice caveat – it can be used to help break through training plateaus. According to research published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, training with repetitions around the 8-12 range allows for gains in muscle size compared to training with less repetitions, such as 2-4 repetitions, will elicit more of a strength gain. The outcome, as it relates to RPT, is the lifter receives both benefits (size and strength).

Changing Training Stimulus is Important in Reverse Pyramid Training

One way to bust through a training plateau is to change the training stimulus. This could be done by switching in/out exercises, changing repetitions, sets, or adjusting volume or rest between sets to name a few. This could also be a good time to add in RPT. Every few months, think about how changing things up a bit could benefit your overall program. Remember, the body continually adapts to the training stimulus provided. Your goal is to periodically measure how you are doing on the program, adjust, pivot if necessary, and continue to push through.

Stay Strong with Jefit

Jefit was recently named best online strength training workout for 2021 in an article published by Healthline. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit

Download the Free Strength Program on Jefit App

Please visit the Jefit app to download the free, beginner Reverse Pyramid Training program that is mentioned in this article. You can find it here.

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Is Cardio Better than Strength Training for Stress Management?

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When considering the benefits of regular exercise, most people immediately think of things like improved strength, stamina, and overall physical health. An additional, often under appreciated use of exercise is its role in stress management. Exercise as stress relief is a well-known concept, but if you want to maximize the benefits of exercise for stress management, is cardio better than weight training or vice versa? This article will look at the topic in more detail.

How does exercise help with stress?

It helps first to understand how exercise aids with stress management. There is a whole field of sports science dedicated to understanding the intricacies of how the body’s systems are linked. On a general level, exercise increases blood flow, optimizes your body’s use of oxygen, and releases endorphins. These endorphins are sometimes called ‘feel-good’ hormones and are the source of what’s known as the ‘runner’s high’ among cardio enthusiasts. This routine makes people feel good and provides a sense of stress relief that is much less common among weightlifters. So is cardio better than weight training for stress management?

Benefits of weight training

The benefits of strength training are well-documented and extend beyond what you’d likely expect. For example, regular weight training can improve strength and build bigger muscles. Still, it also helps lower your cholesterol, reduce the symptoms of anxiety, and can help you maintain an improved posture.

Weight training is anaerobic exercise, which is based on shorter but more intense movements than cardio. ‘Anaerobic’ literally means ‘without oxygen’ and refers to the fact that anaerobic exercises break down glucose in the body without using oxygen. It is different from aerobic activities like running and swimming, which use oxygen, and explains why you don’t hear about a ‘weightlifter’s high.’

Weightlifters may still find stress-relieving, as it is an excellent medium to channel frustration and aggression into pushing yourself to lift heavier weights and for additional repetitions. However, it doesn’t offer the same kind of endorphin-rush that cardio can. The stress relief provided by weight training is mainly dependent on an individual’s ability to channel stress into lifting more, which will work for some people but not for others.

Benefits of cardio

The sense of euphoria from a runner’s high can make you feel like your stress is melting away. However, experiencing runner’s high appears to be relatively rare, with most athletes reporting never experiencing it. So what is actually behind the stress relief experienced by those who undertake regular cardiovascular exercise?

There are two types of benefits to consider, the short-term and the long-term. In the short term, cardio requires a lot of movement over long distances. For many, this involves jogging outside. The benefits of being outside and soaking up the sun in the fresh air are well-documented. Still, cardio also requires you to focus on maintaining a consistent rhythm, pace, and breathing pattern, as well as awareness of your surroundings and the path ahead of you. It provides a natural distraction from the things in our minds that are causing us stress.

In the longer term, cardio promotes the growth of new blood vessels that help transport oxygen to the brain. It’s also thought that regular exercise encourages adult neurogenesis, which creates new brain cells. These brain cells may form in particular areas of the brain and are linked to the overall mood and well-being increases. They also help improve working memory, enable better task-switching, and have a significant anti-depressive effect. It makes the brain better able to cope with physical and mental stress, which is key to effective stress management.

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Healthy body, healthy mind

Whether you choose aerobic or anaerobic exercises, there is one consistent conclusion to be drawn from all available scientific evidence. Voluntary movement is one of the best things you can do to help reduce the effects of aging, improve your physical and cognitive abilities and improve your overall health and well-being. 

In terms of stress management, both cardio and weight training can have stress-reducing effects. However, cardio does have some additional benefits over weight training that makes it a slightly better choice for stress management. The use of oxygen that comes with aerobic exercise provides some other benefits for stress management that give it a slight edge over weight training. 

That is not to say that people must choose one type of exercise and only do that. The best course of action may be to incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic exercises into your routine. That way, you get the benefits of both types of exercise.

Run your problems away

Cardio has the edge when it comes to stress management, so when I say run away from your problems, I mean that for the sake of your health. It may help to go running or jogging outside, as opposed to on a treadmill at the gym. The extra awareness you need when running out can help distract you from your problems, and the time away from your desk and other distractions allows you to think about your situation in a calm and meditative manner. The additional health benefits you’ll get from regular cardio exercise are the cherry on top.

Use Jefit App

Jefit was recently named best online strength training workout for 2021 in an article published by Healthline. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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10 Reasons to Do More Strength Training and Cardio

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Each bout of exercise has the power to improve our body both physically and psychologically. We have a tendency with exercise, however, to judge if it’s actually working by what the bathroom scale reads. Weight loss only tells half of the story. There are many areas that regular exercise improves when it comes to our body. Many of which are not visible to the naked eye. Here are just a few of those strength training and cardio benefits.

Strength Training Benefits

  • Building muscle mass can increase metabolism by 15 percent. So, if you’re looking to rev up a slow metabolism and stay functional as you age, you need to be strength training at least a few times each week.
  • It will prevent sarcopenia – which is the loss of muscle mass as you age – you can lose up to 10 percent or more of your muscle per decade after age 50.
  • Resistance training plays a role in disease prevention, as with type 2 diabetes.
  • Improves the way the body moves, resulting in better balance and less falls as you age (you can reduce your risk for falling by 40 percent).
  • Preserves the loss of muscle mass during weight loss (Donnelly et al., 2003).
  • Will offset bone loss as you age. Women can expect to lose one percent of their bone mass after age 35 (and this increases following menopause). Read Strong Women, Strong Bones for more information on the bone loss.

Cardiovascular Exercise Benefits

  • Aerobic exercise improves your mood by decreasing stress and anxiety levels. Read The Inner Runner by Jason Karp, Phd and Exercise for Mood and Anxiety by Michael Otto, Phd and Jasper Smits, PhD for more on this topic.
  • Regular cardio exercise, like jogging, hiking, jump roping, “loads” the bones of the lower extremity, in turn, making them stronger.
  • Makes your heart stronger. Reduces your resting heart rate enabling your body to deliver oxygen more efficiently to your working muscles.
  • The American College of Sports Medicine states that higher levels of cardiovascular fitness is associated with approximately a 50 percent reduction in risk of disease.

There are many reasons to continue strength training and doing cardio exercise on a regular basis. We looked at just the tip of the iceberg here today.

Reference

Donnelly, J.E., Jakicic, J.M., Pronk, N., Smith, B.K., Kirk, E.P., Jacobsen, D.J., Washburn, R. (2003). “Is Resistance Training Effective for Weight Management?” Evidence-Based Preventive Medicine. 1(1): 21-29.

Try Jefit: Just Named Best Online Strength Training Workout

Jefit was recently named best online strength training workout for 2021 in an article published by Healthline. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit.

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Why Repetitions are an Important Training Variable

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There are four training variables that require manipulation during a workout in order to make significant gains in the gym. An easy way to remember them is with an acronym known as FITT. The FITT Principle, as it is referred to, stands for training frequency, intensity, timing and type (specificity). These variables are controlled for during each training session and over the length of the training program. Frequency is the number of sessions per week, intensity is the load expressed as resistance, time is simply duration of a workout and finally type is the activity.

With that said, to reach any fitness goal, the rules of overload and progression should be followed in a given workout. Each of these are key training principles that refers to the amount of load or resistance and the way that load should be increased respectively.

The Importance of a Repetition

You can perform hundreds of repetitions in a given workout. The speed of a repetition, total number of repetitions and the volume, all play an important role in muscular development. Variations in either will have a direct correlation on the nervous and muscular systems via the corresponding training stimulus. Let’s break down each one of these.

Repetition Speed or Tempo and TUT

A repetition has three distinct phases, an upward, isometric and lowering phase. As a result, we have the ability to increase or decrease time under tension (TUT) by manipulating the tempo (speed) for a given repetition. For example, a workout with a prescribed tempo of 1/1/2 would mean, a 1-second upward (concentric), 1-second isometric and a 2-second lowering (eccentric) phase. Therefore, in this case, each one takes 4-seconds to complete. In other words, 4-seconds x total repetitions = TUT. If we use 8 repetitions as an example, we would have 32-seconds of TUT. A good range to shoot for is about 30-50 seconds of TUT/set. Research has demonstrated the importance of TUT and the key may be in the cumulative effect of TUT for an entire workout (all sets) versus to a single set.

Repetition Tempo x Total # Repetitions = TUT

Quantity of Repetitions

One of the first things you learn when strength training is a higher number of repetitions stimulates muscle endurance while a lower number builds strength. Here is nice graph, showing the importance of a repetition scheme on a specific training goal, as seen in the NSCA manual.

TRAINING GOALREPETITIONSINTENSITY (% 1-RM)
Strength Endurance>12<67%
Hypertrophy6-1267-85%
Maximum Strength<6>85%
Power
-Single-repetition event
-Multiple-repetition event

1-2
3-5

80-90%
75-85%
Source: NSCA Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning (3rd ed.) 2008.

Exercise Volume (sets x repetitions x load)

The volume is the quantity of work that someone does in a training session. In regard to strength training, this is the number of repetitions multiplied by the number of sets and weight lifted. For example, performing four sets x 8 using 40-lbs. dumbbells equates to a volume of 32 x 40 or 1280. In addition, volume can also be expressed in terms of distance, time, number of throws, or even number of jumps, etc. For example, when performing medicine ball throws for 35-seconds, volume can be quantified by time. Volume can also be expressed in terms of distance, such as sprinting for 100-meters or running a certain number of miles, like a 5k. An inverse relationship exists between the intensity of an exercise and its volume.

The Value of this Information Moving Forward

During your next workout pay attention to how you execute each repetition in each set you perform. Be more aware of the tempo for each repetition; have an idea of the cumulative TUT post workout. Are you less than 30-seconds/TUT/set like many who train? Is your total TUT changing from one workout to the next based on your training goals? If you know you move through your repetitions quickly, that fine (especially training for power), maybe slow down that final phase of each repetition. The lowering or eccentric phase is important because you can typically handle more weight, so slow things down to challenging your muscles more often, keeping the concept of TUT in the back of your mind.

Try Jefit App

Jefit app was named best app for 2020 and 2021 by PC Magazine, Men’s Health, The Manual and the Greatist. The app comes equipped with a customizable workout planner and training log. The app has ability to track data, offer audio cues, and features to share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Try one of the new interval-based workouts and add it to your weekly training schedule. Stay strong with Jefit!

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