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Why is it that so many committed exercisers just can’t shake those last 10 pounds?
There are several possible answers. One scenario is the overuse of aerobic exercise. People don’t generally think to lift weights when they are trying to lose weight. They assume that to lose weight you need to do more cardio. The problem with that thinking is, due to evolutionary demands, our bodies have become very efficient at adapting to any activity for the purpose of sparing energy. This occurs to an even greater degree in females because a woman’s body is genetically programmed to keep enough energy stored to nourish a fetus, even in times of limited dietary intake, which was a reality a few thousand years ago.
Each time you perform the same exercise, particularly a cardio exercise, you are becoming more fuel-efficient, burning less and less fat per mile. This is the opposite of what you want. To keep that unwanted fat off your body, you need to be fuel inefficient. You can achieve this by eating more frequent meals, which will keep your metabolic rate elevated and your enzyme profile optimal for fat burning.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to keep the body from adapting to any exercise stimulus is to not over-expose yourself to it. This simply means, do not use the same piece of cardio equipment twice in a row. If you have been mixing cardio equipment and still haven’t achieved the shape you desire, chances are good your body has plateaued. This commonly happens when anyone stays on any program too long. It doesn’t matter if you are using circuit training, machines (which I heavily frown upon), or free-weight training; your body will adapt to the stress of any given training stimulus and it usually does so within as few as four weeks on any given program.
If you have reached a plateau with your training, Circuits will give your body the shock it needs to up-regulate your metabolism. Circuits consist of a series of exercises (ideally between two & five) performed back to back without rest followed by 90 seconds of rest. You should use compound movements to use as many muscles as possible. For best results, alternate movement patterns so that antagonistic muscle groups will be worked, or alternate upper and lower body exercises.
You will find that when performing the circuits, your body temperature will rise very quickly and it is likely that you will sweat a lot. This is the response that triggers an increase in metabolic rate and leads to on-going calorie consumption hours after your training session has ended. This type of training can be extremely fun and I am confident it will help you get rid of those last ten pounds and you will enjoy it!
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Image courtesy of Usodesita.