Ben Greenfield, AKA the Get-Fit Guy, is recognized as a leading fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert. He’s also one of the most popular fitness authorities online.
In his upcoming book, The Get-Fit Guy’s Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body: A Workout Plan for Your Unique Shape, Ben identifies different body types and gives step-by-step, easy to follow diet and exercise plans. He has something for everyone.
Ben agreed to answer some of our most often asked questions about weight loss and exercise.
DD: Is it possible to reset your metabolism, and if so how?
BG: The only way to "mess up" your metabolism (specifically, significantly lower it) is through long-term calorie restriction – meaning going longer than four weeks eating a very low 500-1,000 calorie diet. Otherwise, there is no need to reset your metabolism! However, if you have been on a "crash diet" with severe calorie restriction for longer periods of time, the best way to get your metabolism up is to find out your metabolic rate and then eat at least as many calories as are in your metabolic rate, so that you can sustain a normal, healthy metabolism. Of course, there can be other issues at play in a low metabolism, such as low thyroid, and that would simply be something you'd need to have tested with a physician.
DD: What is best workout to burn fat?
BG: Simply this: do a full body workout, with a resistance training exercise for each body part. After every set of weight training, do a 30-60 second intense cardio burst, such as jumping jacks, jump rope, etc. That's how to do it! Find more details at www.getfitguy.com.
DD: Why do some women have such a hard time losing weight?
BG: Women, and especially the endomorph and meso-endomorph women I discuss in my book, tend to have naturally higher levels of storage body fat – primarily for reproductive reasons. However, this naturally higher body fat can also cause high production of estrogens (a "pro-growth" hormone") and can also tend to accumulate higher amounts of toxins and synthetic estrogens, which can create a vicious cycle of resistance to weight gain. The best fix for this is a double-whammy: go after the storage body fat, while at the same time reducing exposure to environmental estrogens found in things like plastic bottles, chemical cleaners, and high fragrance household items, such as fabric softeners.
DD: Can you work out to build a better butt or bustline?
BG: Yes,absolutely. But this can be a catch-22 – the wrong kind of exercise, specifically too much cardio, can actually reduce or flatten the butt and bustling. For most female body types, exercise should be skewed towards weight training and away from cardio if the goal is to improve the butt and bustline.
DD: What is more for losing weight, diet or exercise?
BG: I've seen many, many women achieve impressive figures by simply staying relatively active and eating healthy. But I've seen very few women achieve nice bodies and truly lasting weight loss by eating whatever they want and exercising in enormous quantities. So the answer is: diet.
DD: Is it important to vary your workouts, and why?
BG: There is a principle in exercise science called "SAID". This stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands, and means that the body will eventually adapt to the demands that you place upon it. For this reason, it is important to vary workouts at least every four weeks, and preferably more often than that. The one caveat to this is that if your goal is to be a bodybuilder, or to build a specific muscle to impressive proportions, you often must hit that muscle over and over again from the same angle, which does mean repetition and lack of variety. But this would only be a goal for someone who wanted to, say, get very big biceps.
DD: How do professional athletes stay motivated as they train day after day?
BG: Professional athletes, for the most part, are not driven by vague goals such as "look better" or "get healthy". Instead, unlike most of the rest of us, they have specific dates on the calendar by which they must be in peak condition – or risk embarrassment! You can replicate this same type of motivation by doing something like signing up for a 5K, triathlon, or marathon, and then telling all your friends about it. This way, you have a specific date on the calendar for a goal that you plan on achieving and the risk of social awkwardness if you're not ready to complete it when the time rolls around.