How Often Should I Work Out to Maintain My Weight?

How To Maintain Weight | BeachbodyBlog.com

You put in the hours, pumping iron, logging miles, sweating buckets, overhauling your diet, and (most important) staying consistent. And the results speak for themselves — every time you look in the mirror, a leaner, more athletic person stares back at you. You’ve even bought yourself a new wardrobe. So now what?

Some people will keep going, perhaps taking up triathlons, joining a hoops league, or training for the CrossFit Games. But others will want to take their foot off the gas and appreciate what they’ve accomplished. The key is not to leave it off for too long — 2 weeks of inactivity is all it takes to notice significant declines in strength and cardiovascular fitness, according to a recent study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine. Indeed, the body is incredibly efficient at adapting to whatever demands (or lack thereof) are placed on it.

So now that you’ve crossed the finish line, how can you keep from backpedaling and losing what you’ve built? Just follow these simple steps.

 

Cut Back Gradually
Smart training plans (like those available on Beachbody On Demand) can allow you to work out 5 or 6 days a week with no ill effects (read: overtraining). But once you reach your strength and endurance goals, you can reduce your workout frequency without losing your hard earned gains, according to a study at the University of Alabama. The researchers found that adults aged 20 to 35 who worked out just one day a week not only saw no loss of muscle, but actually continued to gain it (albeit at a greatly reduced rate). Our recommendation: Start by reducing your workout frequency by a third, then a half, and so on until you find the minimal effective dose that’s right for you.

 

Keep It Intense
Even a single set of a strength-training exercise can produce hypertrophy (i.e., muscle growth), according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. So if your goal is to hold on to what you have, one or two sets per move per workout should do the trick. The key is to keep them challenging; you should always feel like you stopped two reps short of failure. Take a similar approach with cardio. In a recent study in the journalPhysiological Reports, a team of British researchers found that a single, intense, 20-minute interval workout every five days allowed participants to maintain levels of cardiovascular fitness built through much higher frequency training programs.

 

Dial In Your Diet
Here’s the one category where you might have to be more diligent than you were before you reached your goal. As you cut back on your workouts, you’re going to start burning fewer calories. To avoid the fate of the ex-athlete who balloons 50 pounds when he hangs up his cleats, tighten up your diet as you reduce your training time. “On the days you don’t work out, cut 300 to 500 calories from your diet,” says Dr. Jade Teta, founder of The Metabolic Effect, a fitness and nutrition coaching service focused on maximizing results with minimal effort. “Ideally, those calories should come from starchy carbs and sources of empty calories [i.e., junk food] rather than from protein or veggies,” says Teta.

 

Stay Flexible
These general guidelines are just that: General guidelines. Though lower frequency, more intense workouts seem to work for most people looking to maintain their fitness gains, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. “It’s going to be different for everyone,” says Teta. So be a detective: Monitor your strength, weight, definition, and overall sense of well-being as you tweak your exercise and eating habits, and be ready to adjust everything up or down accordingly.

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Take the Beachbody Squat Challenge!

 

Take the Autumn Calabrese Squat Challenge! | BeachbodyBlog.com

Do you want to know the secret to a perfect squat? Sure you do. The squat is the king of lower body exercises for a reason: No other move hits more muscle below your waist, and no other move will help you look sexier in a pair of jeans. But here’s the thing: Most people do it wrong, and thus never realize its full muscle-building, body-slimming potential.

That ends today.

By the end of this video you’ll not only know how to perform a squat perfectly ever time, but also use be able to use the squat challenge to give yourself a total-body fitness test. So let’s go.

 

How to Do a Classic Squat
To start, stand tall with your hands by your sides and your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes should point forward.

Keeping your back flat (not rounded nor excessively arched), push your hips back and bend your knees as you lower your body. When you hear people talk about the all-important “hip hinge,” that’s it. You want to “sit” into the exercise, pushing your butt back like you’re lowering yourself into a chair or onto a bench. Never bend forward at your waist. That will only increase the stress on your spine and throw you off balance.

Lower yourself until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, keeping your weight on your heels and your gaze focused on a spot several feet ahead of you on the floor (not straight ahead). This will keep your entire spine in alignment as you do the squat. Pause, and then drive through your heels as you explode back up to the starting position. The squat hits several of your body’s biggest muscles, including your quads and glutes, and that final explosive movement will help maximize muscle fiber recruitment in them.

If you find the classic squat too difficult, don’t drop as low—start with a half squat, and work your way down to a full squat as your mobility and strength improve.

Already fit and able to tackle the squat with a full range of motion and perfect form? Then kick it up a notch by adding a jump, an isometric hold, or both, as you’ll do in the killer squat challenge featured in the video below.

 

How to Do the Squat Challenge
Drop down into a classic squat, and hold the bottom position for one second, then do one explosive jump. When you land, immediately drop down into a squat position again. Hold it for two seconds, and then do two explosive jumps. Continue adding one second to your hold and one jump until your form breaks down. If your knees start to cave in, if your stability falters, or if your range of motion starts to dwindle, you’re done.

That pause at the bottom makes the challenge harder, not easier. Instead of resting your muscles, you’re increasing the time they’re under tension. You’re also eliminating any help you’d get from the “stretch reflex,” which is the momentary, rubber band-like tendency of your muscles to spring back to a shortened state when they’re stretched. The result: Your quads and glutes are going to have to do more work on the way back up. This is an incredibly tough exercise, and a true test of fitness.

How many can you do? Tell me in the comments!

How to Lose Weight, Not Muscle

 

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Losing weight and gaining muscle can often seem at odds. You’ve heard the classic advice: If you want to shed pounds, you have to eat fewer calories while burning more of them. If you want to gain muscle, you have to do just the opposite, increasing your caloric intake while working your muscles hard. So is it possible to attack the two most popular fitness goals at the same time? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Just follow these three simple rules.

 

Skip the Long Runs
If you want to lose fat, don’t go the aerobic route, say researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, in Louisiana. Their study comparing the weight-loss results of people who did aerobic workouts while dieting with those who only dieted found that steady state cardio (think: jogging, stationary cycling, rowing) added almost nothing to the weight loss equation. When it comes to shedding pounds, you want to be the hare, not the tortoise: A 2011 Australian study found that shorter, tougher workouts (e.g., sprints, intervals, high-intensity strength circuits) consistently resulted in significant fat loss. Added bonus: Working out at a high intensity specifically targets abdominal fat—the most insidious kind that wraps around your internal organs, increasing the size of your belly and your risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

 

Don’t Starve Yourself
If you want to lose fat, you have to cut your caloric intake. But if you also want to also maintain (or even build) muscle, cutting a little works better than cutting a lot, according to Norwegian scientists. Their study found that strength-training athletes who cut calories by 30 percent saw no change in muscle mass, but those who cut calories by just 19 percent were able to increase their muscle mass while also leaning out. Shoot for losing no more than 1 percent of your bodyweight—or roughly 1 to 2 pounds—per week, suggest the researchers.

 

Prioritize Protein
You need protein to build muscle. If you want to lose fat at the same time, you may need even more: A 2016 study found that overweight men on an intense fitness routine and a calorie-restricted diet were able to gain muscle over a 4-week period—but only if their protein intake was high. Protein should make up slightly more than one-third of your total caloric intake. Don’t want to do the nutritional math? Eyeball it: Meat, fish, poultry, and other protein should take up about a third of your plate at each meal.

If you’re ready to join the 14 day FREE clean eating group, click here!

If you’re ready to jump in with a Challenge Pack…go HERE!

Authors

Andrew Heffernan CSCS, GCFP

The 8-week Transition Diet

 

Will alcohol keep me from reaching my fitness goals?

 

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Ask the Expert: Will Drinking Alcohol Hurt My Results?

By Steve Edwards

When it comes to getting fit and healthy, alcohol is one of the first things you’re told to eliminate from your diet. Yet studies regularly show that those who drink live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. So, what’s the deal? Is alcohol a magic potion for a long and healthy life, or is your fitness the only thing it’s going to take the edge off?


Woman Sunning Near a pool with a Glass of Wine


The consumption of alcohol in some form or another has been around since the first caveman left some fruit in the sun too long, causing it to ferment (what a crazy night around the fire that was). Since we’ve always had it and, if history is any indication, we always will, we should have a strategy about how to use it.

What is alcohol?

Alcohol starts out healthy enough, as a plant, where it’s the byproduct of the decaying process (fermentation). Although it’s technically a depressant, its effect on the human body manifests as making you feel giddy, powerful, and awesome on the dance floor. And because it’s natural, you know, like tobacco and opium, it’s got to be good, right? Oh, wait. Maybe not.

And just like other natural things, the food industry has found unnatural ways to create alcohol that tend to be cheaper and even less healthy. But, I’m nitpicking because ultimately alcohol is alcohol. You’re going to get hammered whether you drink Night Train or single-malt Scotch—although all the chemicals in the rotgut might give you a worse hangover.

Glass of LiquidAnd for you out there who think you’re beating the system with your Diet Coke® and rum, alcohol has calories. A lot of them. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol has more calories by volume than both carbs and proteins and slightly less than fats. (Plus, according to a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine,1 drinking diet soda with alcohol could get you drunk faster.)

More importantly, these calories have no food value. That’s right. Nada. Zilch. You’re adding calories to your diet, the only performance enhancing quality of which is to help you brag about yourself down at the pub.

The big question people usually ask me is whether or not they should drink alcohol while doing P90X®, INSANITY®, or one of our other boot camp–style programs. When you’re trying to change your body, the crux is making the nutritional switch from high-calorie/low-nutrient foods to low-calorie/high-nutrient foods. Since alcohol is a very high-calorie/no-nutrient food, you can see why it never ranks very high onMichi’s Ladder.

Keep in mind that we’re not telling you to abstain from alcohol forever. We’re advising you cut down on it—or completely cut it out—while you’re trying to transform your body.

What about all the studies showing alcohol is good for you?

The lifestyle studies that show up on the wires almost ubiquitously champion alcohol consumption because moderate drinkers always outlive everyone else. In fact, one major study showed that even excessive drinkers lived longer than teetotalers. There is no scientific surface explanation as to why this would be the case, so most experts chalk it up to lifestyle. Those who drink tend to be less stressed about life, in general, and stress is intricately linked to shorter life spans.

This is why our nutrition guides also generally give parameters for moderate drinking. If it makes you happy then, by all means, don’t quit. Just learn to be a healthy drinker.

But as I said above, when you’re doing one of our programs, the rules of nutrition shift slightly. You’re pushing your body harder, so it behooves you to keep nutrition tiptop. Furthermore, if you can’t go 90 days without a drink, you might want to consider your relationship with alcohol. It is, after all, an addictive substance.

The Dark Side of Drinking

And on that topic, alcohol has a dark side beyond calories. It can easily lead to an excessive path. If you’re a clever writer, you might make a nefarious career out of being a boozer, but it wreaks havoc on most of us.

Behavioral issues aside, let’s take a quick look at how alcohol can add up from a dietary perspective. A 12-ounce beer is about 150 or so calories. Ditto a 5-ounce glass of wine. One shot (1.5 oz) of the straight stuff has between 85 and 115 calories, depending on what proof it is.

Man Lying on the Floor next to a Glass of LiquidUnfortunately we tend to have more than that one serving. Often a lot more. Those longevity studies give the best numbers to folk who have 1–2 drinks a day, not those taking the Silver Bullet Express to every sporting event on TV.

When you pound a twelver during a weekend double-header, you’ve done serious dietary damage. Factor in that in our tendency to offset a drunken state-of-grace with greasy indulgences and it’s easy to see how Monday Night Football® at Cheers might result in unnecessary roughness. And despite the advice you’ll get on Good Morning America®, a quick jog the next day is not going to fight the beer belly you’ll get from those binges.

So the short answer here to whether it’s okay to drink when you’re working out is, “Sure. In moderation.” If you don’t already drink, I don’t think you need to start, but if you’re already a drinker, limit your intake and take the occasional time off, especially if you’re into a serious training cycle.

Do that, and I’ll raise a glass to you!

 

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Nine foods that aren’t as healthy as you think!

 

Beachbody-Blog-9-Healthy-Foods-Dont-Eat

Are you ready to get your veggies and fruits in one healthy, whole-food shake? Get your servings HERE!

If you have a cheat meal or eat unhealthily every so often, that isn’t so bad (we try and follow the rule of eating an 80% clean diet). But, what if you’re eating badly and don’t know it? Sure, you stay away from deep-fried Oreos, but is your favorite “health food” snack keeping you from reaching your goals?

Here are nine foods that have successfully disguised themselves as “diet-friendly” foods. Don’t let them fool you.

Granola
Shocked? Granola is often touted as an outdoorsy health snack. Yet, it’s super high in calories and many variations are loaded with sugar and saturated fat.
Solution: Go raw. Muesli is basically just raw granola and it tends to have less sugars and oils—but just in case, always read the label. If you are trying to lose weight, make sure to measure to keep your portion size reasonable.

Frozen Diet Meals
Frozen dinners are not as healthy as they advertise. Though many are low in calories (most range from around 240–400 calories), they are highly processed, lacking in nutrients, and brimming with sodium. Although they may seem convenient, you give up a lot in exchange for the convenience of a three-minute microwaved meal.
Solution: Prepare healthy meals in bulk at the beginning of the week to deter you from having to choose these unhealthy convenient options. Or, if you absolutely must, read the labels. Some brands are better than others. Amy’s Kitchen, for example, does a better job than most.

Sports Drinks
Note the word “sports” in the title. These drinks are specifically designed to replenish carbs, electrolytes and other nutrients during long, hard efforts. In any other situation, they’re just sugar water. You might as well drink soda.
Solution: Generally, sports drinks are only useful for hard exercise going longer than an hour. Otherwise, you’re probably better off with water. However, if you’re eating at a calorie deficit and you’re having a hard time making it through your 30–60 minute workout, a little extra blood sugar might help, so experiment with a diluted sports drink. And again, read labels. High fructose corn syrup or artificial dyes won’t give you the fitness boost you’re looking for.

“Fat Free” Products
“Fat Free” might look good on paper, but your body actually needs fat! Plus, as Nutrition Expert Denis Faye explains, in most of these products “they just replace the fat with carbs and salt, so you’ve basically gone from pouring a little unsaturated fat on your salad to dumping on a pile of sugar.”
Solution: Stick with simple homemade dressings, like balsamic vinaigrette, and, if you’re out, ask for them on the side to control how much you’re using.

Muffins
American-style muffins first came into popularity at the end of the 18th century…and never went out of fashion again. But, this sweet quickbread is hardly healthy. Take those tempting blueberry muffins you see at some classic coffee chains. They’ll pack on about 460 calories and 15 grams of fat. Not to mention they’re usually made with refined flour, tons of sugar, and goodness knows what preservatives.
Solution: Almost all store-bought muffins should really just be avoided. If you’re really craving a muffin, try this flourless chocolate muffin that’s lower in calories and higher in fiber and other good-for-you components. Or, this plum bran muffin if you’re looking for a real fruit and fiber boost.

Sushi
As far as proteins go, fish deserves a high place in your diet and sushi can be a great way to enjoy it. However, most sushi is more rice than fish, and sometimes, it’s been deep fried (we’re looking at you, spider roll) or coated with mayonnaise (cue the dynamite roll and almost any sushi that has “spicy” in the name). While it’s never a complete junk food, like many items here, you can’t chow down without restraint and expect to see nothing but benefits.
Solution: If you do rolls, try to choose rolls made with brown rice or those that are low-carb (in other words, rice free). Or, stick with sashimi.

Pretzels
Don’t confuse these travel-friendly little bites that are low in fat, for a “healthy” snack. This carb-heavy, calorie-laden treat is almost completely devoid of nutrients and is often high in sodium. For instance, you’ll get an entire day’s worth of sodium in one cup of Rold Gold pretzels.
Solution: Stick to nutrient-dense snacks like almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds. Just keep an eye on the serving size if you’re watching your weight.

Veggie Chips
Just because something contains the word “veggie” in the name doesn’t mean it’s healthy. High in fat and sodium, Veggie Chips are often extraordinarily high in fat and sodium and, honestly, not much better for you than potato chips.
Solution: When snacking, eat your veggies raw—and dip them in hummus if you want to add flavor.

Tea
What’s the problem with tea today? It’s mainly not tea! Most mass-produced teas come bottled with preservatives and designer drinks like chai lattes pump the sugar and additive content through the roof.
Solution: Try Tejava (which is all-natural and just contains brewed tea), stick to unsweetened teas from your local coffee shop, or brew your own. It’s easy!

Authors

 

Are you ready to get your veggies and fruits in one healthy, whole-food shake? Get your servings HERE!