If you have not read parts 1 – 3 do so now. Now that we understand that the three keys to losing bodyfat are: Regular Resistance Training; High Intensity Interval Training, and Managing food and beverage intake let’s talk about how you really get a handle on doing all three! First, you need to establish a baseline to measure progress against which means assessing your current weight and percentage of body fat. There are many effective ways to assess body composition (how much of you is fat and how much is lean tissue) but one of the simplest ways is to take photos in form fitting clothing or underwear from the front, side and rear AND doing circumference measurements with a basic tape measure in the following areas:
Around your neck
Around your shoulders at the widest point
Chest at largest point
Abdomen at largest point
Abdomen at smallest point
Hips at largest point
Thigh at largest point
Calf at largest point
Bicep (arm flexed but not pumped at largest point)
Forearm at largest point
Between the photos and measurements you can regularly (once per month is good) retake photos and measurements and you will know right away if you are on the right track. You know where your body stores fat and several of the measurements are key for judging if you are losing fat depending on your individual pattern of fat storage (males tend to store more in abdomen and woman in hips but it is pretty obvious if you just look at your pictures!).
The next key is adopting some method to get a handle on your food and beverage intake and there are several free apps that can help you track food intake including MyFitnessPal.
Third you need to be able to measure your progress on the activity side of the equation by using a device to monitor exercise intensity and calorie expenditure and there are several good options. My favorite devices are ones that include heart rate monitoring and not just movement tracking because during your workouts your heart rate response tells the whole story! During your HIIT training sessions you want to elevate your heart rate between 85 – 100% of your maximum heart rate for 10 – 15 minutes of a half hour sessions. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220, but stay tuned for another blog article describing how to perform an easy test to get a really accurate estimate of your maximum heart rate.
Fourth you need to keep a record of your resistance training exercises so that you can see whether you are making progress. If you are not familiar with proper resistance training technique and exercises we highly suggest you find a trainer and invest in some personal training to learn proper form and resistance levels so you get the most from your resistance training. If you follow these guidelines and record your exercise sessions and food and beverage intake you will find that becoming a lean, mean fighting machine is not as hard as you think!