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Best Ways To Lose Weight

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Best Ways To Lose Weight
« on: May 27, 2015, 07:06:07 AM »

Sometimes in the gym, I overhear guys saying stuff that makes me shudder like I heard a high-pitched Nicki Minaj. One of the worst offenders is this little broscience piece:

“I want to lose weight — I’ll just do less weights and more cardio.”

Damn, son. That’s about as accurate as a broken compass.

To effectively lose fat and transform the way you look, you can’t just ditch weights and do more running. Sure, you might lose a few pounds due to the sheer volume of exercise, but it’s an inefficient approach that risks pushing you further away from the body you want.

How? And what should you do instead?

I asked Mehdi Hadim, founder of StrongLifts, for his thoughts. “Many people try to lose fat by doing multiple long, steady-state runs every week, but unless they also do something to build muscle, the end-result won’t look great,” he says. “Running isn’t useless for fat loss, but it’s not effective to build a great physique.”

A great physique. Think about it: dudes don’t just want to “lose fat” — they want to look great and get all the head-turning, confidence-building benefits that come from it. Sure, they say they want to drop 10 or so pounds, but they also want to add slabs of lean muscle and feel confident when they take off their shirt.

And although running can help you burn calories and lose some weight, it does little to build the muscle underneath the fat that you’re trying to reveal in the first place. Over time, doing “less weights and more cardio” will give you that skinny-fat look — thin with a potbelly — and frustrate the hell out of you.

“Many people who lose fat by running switch to StrongLifts 5x5 because they’re unhappy going from fat and overweight to skinny, weak, and emasculated,” explains Mehdi.

That’s a huge lesson for the guys who are afraid of “getting bulky” and thus avoid weights like the bubonic plague. Muscle isn’t something to be feared. It won’t turn you into a “meathead” overnight. The fact is muscle doesn’t just make you look bigger; it maintains a healthy hormone level, increases your force production and absorption for fewer injuries, and boosts your endurance for those times you do run.

Mehdi also says about running: “Even if you manage to lose fat, those long steady-state runs will beat up your knees.” If I was overweight and decided to start a running program, my knees would stage a mutiny. It’s kind of like running while wearing a 40lb weight vest — every time I land on the ground, my knees would absorb a tremendous amount of impact. “You only get one pair in a lifetime,” he adds.

Okay, so running isn’t the best way to lose fat nor is ditching the weights. Then what is?

“Nutrition and lifting should always be number one to burn fat and look better,” says Mehdi. “Most people get fat because they eat terrible foods. Start eating real food — stuff your great-great-grandpa ate.”

Our great-great-grandpa didn’t eat processed grains, snack on potato chips, or drink a metric ton of soda. They ate simple things like lean meats, fish, veggies, fruit, animal fats, and whole grains, and made sure to cook at home. (Mehdi adds that the hour you spend running would be better spent cooking all your meals.) Once you revamp your diet, the fat will automatically melt; then, all you have to do is simply increase your muscle mass.

As for your workout, the bread-and-butter is building strength. Mehdi offers the StrongLifts 5x5 Program, a simple program with just three strength exercises, three times a week, for 45 minutes per workout. The program also includes apps to coach you through each workout so you can get maximum results. (It even shows you how to count the plates so you don’t get confused.)

“Once you have nutrition and lifting dialed in, you can add cardio on top to speed things up,” adds Mehdi. He suggests high-intensity interval training (HIIT) one or two times a week after your StrongLifts 5x5 workout or on rest days. Examples include:

    Swinging a kettlebell for 10 minutes and trying to get 200 reps
    Or, for something less intense, walking for 30 minutes every morning or for an hour at noon

“There are better ways to lose fat than doing a ton of running,” says Mehdi. “You’ll lose fat, but you won’t look better with running — it doesn’t build muscle.” Instead, focus on your diet and lift heavy. That way, you’ll not only drop the extra weight, but also build a better-looking physique.

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a regular contributor featured in Golf Digest and Men's Fitness and the founder of GroomBuilder, the 8-week fitness program to transform the way you look for your wedding.
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