Ask a Fitness Bro – What Is The Best Exercise to Lose Fat, And Other Common Fitness Questions
Welcome to a new column here on BroBible – Ask a Fitness Bro. Each week I’ll be taking your most common fitness questions and providing you with straight forward, no B.S. answers to help you lose fat, build muscle, and get in the best shape of your life.
Let’s get to this week’s questions…
“I really enjoy running, but is cardio the best exercise to lose fat?”
Ahhh, the great cardio debate; one of the oldest and often most heated discussions in health and fitness.
First off, the best way to lose fat is by creating a caloric deficit. Diet is 80% of the battle, bros.
But exercise does play a role as well. First off, the “best” exercise is one that you enjoy and can stick with week in and week out. But there are certainly modes of exercise that are more effective and efficient than others.
Cardio is great for heart health and improving the cardiovascular system. And it does burn a decent amount of calories. However, when it comes to fat loss, traditional cardio may not be the most efficient use of your time.
The biggest key to effective fat loss is the retention of lean muscle mass and maintaining, or even increasing strength levels. Cardio doesn’t do much to help either of these. But strength training does.
If your goal is fat loss, I have no problems with you doing cardio if that’s what you enjoy. But if you want to maximize results while making the most of your time in the gym, you should be resistance training at minimum twice per week, with a focus on heavy compound movements like squatting, deadlifting, pressing, and rowing.
“Is a low-carb diet the quickest way to lose weight?”
Carbophobia continues to run rampant among the general population. And with all the books, articles, and “professionals” demonizing carbs as the dietary scapegoat it’s no wonder.
As I’ve talked about before here on BroBible, caloric intake is the biggest and most important driver of weight loss. But low-carb diets have shown to be an effective way to lose weight. But not for the simplistic reasoning of “carbs cause fat gain”.
One of the reasons low-carb diets work for weight loss is that they normally end up being high in protein. And as I discussed here, high-protein diets work for weight loss because they help curb appetite by slowing digestion, and help maintain muscle mass, which keeps your metabolic rate elevated.
Low-carb also works because it’s simply easier for most people to cut carbs from their diet than anything else. Carbs are pretty easy to identify, and unlike fat, aren’t usually found naturally combined with protein.
Carbs aren’t the cause of fat gain however. Too many calories are. It just so happens that the things people usually eat too much of are highly processed carbs. But a well-rounded diet has plenty of room for whole, minimally processed carbohydrates. Especially if you’re resistance training.
Carbs are stored in the muscles as glycogen. Glycogen is the body’s preferred source of energy for high intensity workouts like strength and resistance training. Your brain also runs off glycogen. This is why many people on a low-carb diet report feeling tired, lethargic, and in a constant mental fog.
TL;DR: If you’re in a caloric deficit, and counting your macros, there is no reason you can’t include carbs in your diet if you want.
“There’s a lot of different information out there about workout nutrition…should I workout on an empty stomach if I feel hungry or tired?”
You’re right, there’s a lot of different information out there about workout nutrition. And as I talked about in this article, a lot of it comes down to personal preference.
Me for example, if I eat anything of substance within a few hours before I workout, I feel sluggish and often get sick to my stomach. However many people report feeling the same way if they don’t eat anything.
With my clients, I usually leave it up to what they feel works best for them. If eating before you workout hurts your performance, then don’t do it. However if you feel not eating is hurting your performance, then I encourage you to try eating something. Ultimately, it comes down to trail and error and what you find feels best.
If you’re going to eat before a workout, I would suggest limiting it to a few hundred calories of mostly protein and carbs. Something not too heavy, like a protein shake and/or banana. Play around a bit and see what works the best for you.
Do you have any questions relating to diet, training, health, or another fitness topic? Shoot me an email and I’ll answer your question in a future edition of Ask a Fitness Bro.