By Dan Trink, C.S.C.S Men’s Fitness
For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Twitter and Facebook Page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Dan Trink, C.S.C.S, Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance NYC and founder of TrinkFitness, answers your questions about tackling excess fat.
1) Losing the Love Handles— asked by Jeremy Warner:
I’ve lost about 20 pounds and feel as if I’m pretty lean. But I still seem to carry fat on my lower abs and love handles. Is there anything I can do to target fat loss there?
“It is very common for the love handle/lower ab area to be ‘the last frontier’ when it comes to fat loss, especially in men. There are two hormones that you can target to help you trim down your mid-section. That love handle (technically known as your suprailliac) fat can be a result of poor insulin sensitivity (how your cells react to the hormone insulin) or a high dietary intake of carbohydrates. If you have not already, try eliminating all processed carbohydrates and sugars from your diet and reduce your quality carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, squashes, oatmeal) to 100 grams or less per day for 2 weeks.
As far as the lower abdominal fat is concerned, it reacts to the hormone cortisol. Cortisol can be spiked from stress, lack of sleep or an over abundance of cardio or metabolic-style training. Eliminate as much stress as possible from your day, get 7-9 hours of sleep per night and if you’ve been crushing the cardio or circuit training, try moving to more of a strength or mass building phase.”
2) Post-Workout Diet Alternatives— asked by Greg Silverman:
I’m on a low carb diet to help me lose fat but everything I read says I should be taking in carbs and protein after my workout. What should I do? Is there an alternative to carbs post workout?
“Even during a low carb diet, ingesting a protein/carb drink post-workout can be beneficial. Strength training depletes your muscles of glycogen which helps in fueling and repairing your muscle cells. So think of the first hour after your workout as a “golden window” in which carbs can actually help you reach your goals by helping you gain or maintain metabolism-increasing muscle mass. A 2:1 carb to protein shake (2 grams of carbs for every one gram of protein) is a great recommendation. However, if you are super sensitive to carbs or on a ketogenic diet you can go with BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and whey protein as a post-workout shake alternative.”
3) Cardio for Weight Loss— asked by Logan Brewster:
How much cardio should I do each week to lose weight?
“First off, I would argue that losing weight is not a great goal. Losing fat, however is another story. And on the hierarchy of fat loss I would place solid nutrition as the most critical component. Next would be strength training followed by proper amounts of quality sleep. Unless you have your nutrition, training and sleep schedule in place, I wouldn’t even worry about cardio. But, assuming you have those factors dialed in, I would then go with 2 to 3 high intensity interval cardio sessions per week. Start with 10 intervals of 30 seconds of work to 90 seconds of rest.”
4) Fat Loss Exercises— asked by Brandon Jergenson:
What are the best exercises for fat loss?
“The best exercises for fat loss are the one’s that are going to use the most muscle mass as those compound movements have the most metabolic and caloric demand. Squats (front, back, overhead), deadlifts, military presses, lunges, pull ups, push ups and farmer’s walks are all great choices.”
5) Summer Abs— asked by Lawrence Day:
It’s summer. I want abs. What are the best exercises to make them pop out?
“I have the perfect exercise for you. It’s called the ‘push away’. Perform it by pushing yourself away from the dinner table before you stuff yourself with pizza. Kidding aside, all the ab exercises in the world aren’t going to give you visible abs if your diet isn’t in check. Assuming your nutrition is rock solid, try training your abs from a variety of angles to make sure they are strong. Planks and Pallof Presses will help your abs resist rotation and keep you rock solid during exercises like squats, deadlifts and presses. Reverse crunches and hanging leg raises will help you train your abs from ‘the bottom up’. And Swiss Ball Crunches and V-Sits train your abs to bring your rib cage down to your pelvis. Try using an equal amount of anti-rotation, lifting and crunching movements in your routine and you’ll be sure to maintain a strong and functional mid-section.”