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Fat Burning Secrets for Women

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Author: Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS

Maintaining an optimal body composition has eluded a majority of our nation. With diet books on the best seller lists, supplement ads displaying surreal before and after photos and infomercials touting the latest gizmo, it's likely you have tried and failed many more times than you care to count. You are most likely left feeling confused, without hope and more desperate. Hopefully you are not one of the ones to suffer acute or chronic side effects.

With gastric bypass and liposuction becoming a popular answer to over fatness, you have to stop and wonder are there real fat loss secrets that work. Secrets that not only are not harmful, but leave you in the best shape and health of your adult life. Secrets that can change your shape and allow you to live longer, stronger, vibrant, energetic years. Secrets that anyone can afford. Secrets that can be a natural part of ones lifestyle. Secrets that have had proven results time and time again with the longest lasting effects.

I'm here to share the secrets with you.

As a 19 year fitness industry leader who had transformed the bodies of thousands of people just like you, I can tell you with 100% guarantee that there is a way. It's not quick, it's not easy and it does not work like magic! It takes work, patience, dedication, and consistency, however it works every time and the results are astounding.

The formula includes first making up your mind, then working on your meals, followed by your muscle, then motion and finally recovery. I don't have room here to share all of the pieces with you; however I am including two of the components Muscle and Motion. The following is an excerpt from my program "Feminine, Firm & Fit - building a lean strong body in 12 weeks. Now men, do not stop reading here! These principles apply to both men and women and will change your body and your life - even faster than the women because you have a faster metabolism, more muscle and a greater capacity for your cardiovascular system. For the full program, go to

Cardiovascular Techniques That Optimize Fat Burning

Variety is not only the spice of life, but it's the key to Fat Burning when it comes to Cardiovascular Conditioning. The following methods will also help steer clear of plateaus and get the most return for investment of time. Change leads to progress.

Here are some key cardiovascular fat-burning secrets:

1. Vary your cardio exercises - Alternate between two or more cardiovascular activities like walking and cycling or kickboxing and step aerobics. It will help to optimally develop cardiovascular fitness, maintain the element of fun in exercise, help to avoid over training and injury and ultimately expend more calories. By varying activities, you are training your body to become efficient at several activities, which is more challenging than simply walking.

2. Incorporate several cardio techniques - The Feminine, Firm & Fit Program prescribes different cardio techniques for you. You'll find descriptions of these techniques below. Changing techniques forces your body to adapt, which makes it more efficient. Vary the intensity and modify impact styles. The underlying principle is that change is what keeps the body progressing and making improvements. By using different techniques, you are challenging your body to become efficient at varying intensities.

3. Plan your cardio workouts in phases - Organize your workouts into a cyclic structure. For example, for the first two to three weeks exercise at a lower intensity for 45 to 60 minutes and for the next two to three weeks, exercise at your highest intensity for 20 to 30 minutes. The following couple of weeks go at a moderate intensity for 30 to 45 minutes. You can also have a transition week where you perform light amounts of exercise 2 to 3 times weekly for 15 to 25 minutes. This system allows you to maintain a high level of fitness, prevent injury and avoid over training.

4. Circuit train - Perform several strengthening exercises interspersed with short cardio segments. For example, perform a leg press, a pull down and an abdominal crunch (you'll find out how to do these exercises in the next chapter) followed by 3 minutes of cycling. Then do 3 more strength exercises followed by 3 minutes of stair climbing. Circuit training is lively and less tedious than some other routines, so people tend to stick with it longer. It's also an efficient calorie burner, increases muscular strength and decreases body fat. This technique has been prescribed in Week 9 of your Companion Journal.

5. Exercise first thing in the morning - Morning exercisers tend to be more consistent with their exercise regimen. The odds that you'll skip a workout increase with the passing of time, as interruptions arise and fatigue sets in. Those who exercise later in the day are also working against their body's natural circadian rhythm, which is automatically set for heavier activity early in the day and slowing down in the evening. In addition, exercising in the evening adversely affects the natural release of hormones by your body.

6. Eat a "primer" meal before working out - Having a small balanced meal prior to exercise will help burn fat. After you eat, blood sugar rises and exercise acts like insulin to help regulate blood glucose. Eating (the right foods) will boost energy for a more intense workout, so you will burn more calories. Exercising on an empty stomach after a night of fasting induces a hyperglycemic state and ultimately limits you from giving your cardio session your best effort. You can get more information on how food affects your workouts in Chapter 6, Fuel Your Body.

7. Give it your best effort - With each session strive to work a little harder than the last one, unless you are doing a recovery session. Walking is a great exercise, but eventually, you must graduate from your starting level. If you keep walking at the same pace, the same course, the same amount of time and in the same heart rate range, the results will be diminishing. In order to change your body, push your physical limits beyond what you are accustomed to now.

Important Cardiovascular Techniques:

Warm Up and Cool Down - Always take 5 to 10 minutes to gradually warm up to your target heart rate range. At the end of your workout, cool down for 5 to 10 minutes so that your heart rate is at the low end of your range before you stop exercising. The time you spend on warming up and cooling down should be added to the recommended cardiovascular session training times.

Below are detailed descriptions of the cardiovascular training techniques suggested above for maximal fat burning? These techniques should be performed as they appear in your Feminine, Firm & Fit Companion Journal each week.

Continuous Training - This traditional form of training incorporates working within your target heart rate range and maintaining that pace for the duration of your session. This will help to build your aerobic base, improve your health and burn calories.

Interval Training - Interval training combines brief periods of high intensity exercise interspersed with periods of lower intensity exercise in the same workout. This will help increase your cardiovascular efficiency and burn more calories in the process. The lower intensity allows for recovery between the higher intensity intervals. For example, alternate between brisk walking and running, i.e., run 1 minute, then walk 2 minutes, repeat for the duration of your workout. As you become more conditioned, decrease the length of low-intensity recovery periods (walking) and increase working intervals (brisk walking or running).

Cross Training - Cross training combines a group of aerobic activities into one workout at steady or varying intensities. For example, take a 15-minute bicycle ride to the local track; walk or run for 15 minutes on the track; bicycle home for 15 minutes. Cross training can also mean choosing a different activity for that session. For example, if you typically walk, you might try swimming or a kickboxing video. If you have access to the necessary exercise equipment, you might use the rowing machine for 15 minutes, hit the stair climber for 15 minutes and then use the skier for 15 minutes. Not only will cross training help reduce your risk of injury but it will also prevent boredom, challenge your body in new ways and keep you progressing toward your goals.

Fartlek Training - Funny name but great results! Fartlek means 'speed play' in Swedish. This training method is similar to interval training (see above) but the intervals are not measured by time or distance - they are irregular. For example, race-walk until you see a car coming then walk until you reach a mailbox. Then jog while the sun is behind a cloud and walk until you reach a mailbox. Pay attention to how you are feeling so that you accelerate when you are feeling energetic and then cut back the intensity when you are feeling too exhausted.

Periodization - Although periodization will not be covered in this 12-week Program, we wanted to mention it because it's a great way to vary workouts seasonally throughout the year. During the winter months, use a treadmill indoors; in the spring move your walk outside; swim in the summer and hike in the woods during the fall. Also, if you play a particular sport like tennis or golf, you would have in-season, post-season and pre-season workouts that vary to help you maximize during your sport's season.

Strength techniques that Boost Fat Burning and Produce Results

The following are Key Fat Burning Secrets:

1. Warm up before a strength training session - Warming up increases blood flow to muscles by 55%, a better muscle contraction is attained, sweating begins earlier which helps to regulate your body temperature and there is a faster neuromuscular connection. Warming up initiates carb and fat enzymes and hormones. It also reduces perceived exertion during strength training.

2. Multi-joint exercises - Choose exercises that work compound muscle groups - meaning more than one muscle group at a time. They are the most time efficient and give most mileage per exercise. Examples include the squat, lunge, and push ups. The Feminine, Firm & Fit Program incorporates exercises that work several muscle groups simultaneously.

3. Exercise first thing in the morning - (see cardio fat burning secrets)

4. Eat a "primer" meal prior to working out - (see cardio fat burning secrets)

5. Eat 5 - 6 small meals a day - (see Chapter 6 Fueling Your Body)

6. Train with intensity - Graduate from the "pink weights." Do not be afraid to increase resistance and challenge your muscles. In order to change, push your physical limits beyond what you are accustomed to doing now.

Important Strength Training Techniques:

Just as with aerobic activity, changing strength training routines will lead to progress. The following exercise variations will be incorporated throughout the 12 weeks to challenge muscles and help you steer clear of fitness plateaus. Variety in your routines will make the difference in your outcome.

One and One Half Range of Motion - One and one half range of motion is a full range of motion followed by a half range of motion. Here's an example using a squat. Start in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart. Begin by lowering down until the knees form a 90 degree angle. Then come halfway back up, go down again to the 90 degree angle and return to the starting position. That counts as one rep. Toes should be visible throughout the entire range of motion. Use slightly less resistance when performing one and a half range of motion exercise.

21s - The range of motion for 21s is split into 3 parts. Seven repetitions are performed at the top part of the motion, 7 reps at the bottom part of the motion and finally 7 reps throughout the full range of motion. Example: Biceps Curl - first curl at the top of the range from the mid range toward the shoulder for 7 reps, then the bottom of the range from the hip level to the mid range for 7 reps, and then the full range of motion from the hip level toward the shoulders for the final 7 reps.

Super Slow - Super slow exercises are performed using very slow and smooth movements. While some proponents take "slow" to extreme, lifting for 4 seconds and lowering for 6 seconds is enough of a change from your typical speed to take away any momentum so the muscles are doing all the work. Use about 10% less weight with Super Slow training compared with a typical 2 and 4 count. Example: Biceps Curl - curl up for 4 seconds and lower for 6 seconds. Repeat each repetition without resting until you reach momentary muscle failure.

Breakdowns - Breakdowns consist of completing one set to momentary muscular failure. When another repetition cannot be completed with good form, reduce the resistance by 10 - 20% and perform additional repetitions to failure. Expect to get another 4 - 6 repetitions.

High Reps / Lighter Weights - Working at the higher end of the repetition range is a variation worth incorporating. This involves using a resistance that will allow you to complete repetitions for up to 90 seconds before reaching failure. You should choose a resistance that will allow you to perform the exercise for 90 seconds at which point you should be fatigued.

The Workouts

Each of the workouts includes exercises for all of the major muscle groups. Do not skip exercises. You should perform the exercises in the order they are listed in your Companion Journal. Every 3 weeks the exercises will change and within each of the three week periods a variety of the techniques as described above are incorporated and prescribed in your Companion Journal.

Be sure to schedule strength training workouts for 3 non-consecutive days in your 12-week Planner located in the beginning of the Companion Journal. Stick to that commitment the same way you would any other.

Summary of Key Points:

- The resistance chosen should be challenging, but do not lift too much too soon.

- Taking a day in between workouts is important for recovery.

- Increase the resistance or slow down the speed when you reach 90 seconds for any exercise.

- Incorporate the advanced techniques listed in the Dynamic Coaching CD and in the Companion Journal.

A few more tips on strength training:

1. Breathe! Exhale on the working phase, which is typically but not always the lifting motion. Inhale while returning to the starting position. Never hold your breath. An easy way to remember how to breathe is to exhale on the exertion. Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.

2. Occasionally change equipment by incorporating a combination of machines, free weights, fitness tubing and body weight exercises. They each have advantages and the variety will help steer clear of a plateau.

3. Move at a minimum rate of 2 seconds on the lifting phase and 4 seconds on the lowering phase. You can always go slower, but shouldn't go faster.

5. Beginners should start out with light weight and work on form for the first few sessions. Then gradually add resistance to your workout.

6. Learn the names of the muscles to become more aware of where they are and how to create a balanced exercise program. We have included pictures indicating the major muscle groups to help you.

7. Stretch immediately after each strength exercise to help increase strength and flexibility.

8. Stimulate each major muscle group 3 times weekly taking at least 48 hours for recovery.

Here's one more reason to strength train - if you gain 5 pounds of muscle over time, you can expect to burn up to an additional 250 calories a day. That translates into 17 - 25 pounds of fat lost at the end of the year - without cutting a single calorie. In 12 weeks of progressive strength training, 3 times weekly, expect to increase your lean body mass by 3 - 5%.

If you apply the techniques shared above you will be on your way to a fitter, leaner more energetic body. It's NEVER too late and there is no time like the present. Make a resolution to live every day like you are going to be your physical best. The effects of beginning an exercise program and sustain it are so far reaching on your life. For the complete Feminine, Firm & Fit program including the important Chapter 6 (Fueling Your Body for Fat Burning) can be purchased at

About the author

Kelli Calabrese MS, CSCS, 2004 Personal Trainer of the Year, Editor Personal Fitness Professional Magazine, Editor of Wellness and Fitness Entrepreneur Magazine, Board of Directors for the Personal Trainer Business Alliance, Lead Exercise Physiologist National Exercise Sports Trainers Association, Former Lead Fitness Expert for eDiets and eFitness. Kelli has 3 science degrees in the areas of Cardiac Rehabilitation, Exercise Physiology and Biology. She has attained over 20 Fitness and Nutrition Certifications. She is the author of Feminine, Firm & Fit and co-author of The Power of Champions. Kelli is available for seminars, personal training, online training, phone coaching, grocery shopping tours, seminars and more. For more information about Kelli please visit or call toll free 888-871-5900.

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