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Fat Loss - The Point of Diminishing Returns

Can you do so much cardio for 6 packs of abs that you reach a reduced return point?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. If you are in or around health clubs for any occasion, you will see both men and women doing minute after minute, hour after hour for cardio for weeks and even months ending in their efforts to burn fat and get 6 packs of abs. The point at which benefits start to diminish with each additional minute of cardio is a thin line and many variables determine whether you are making progress or actually spending extra energy with little or no return.

If you feel like you've hit the wall on the fat loss side, don't increase your cardio efforts until you're sure these 5 variables are being monitored:

1. Check Your Nutrition at the Door - Many people think eating less is the same as losing weight and looking better. It's only partially true. Most likely you need to eat less to lose weight, but if your goal is to have a flat stomach, then dramatically reducing your food intake while increasing your energy expenditure is a recipe for disaster.

2. Weight Training Frequency - When you are trying to reach 6 pack abs, weight training is all but important. Before you adjust your cardio, make sure you train at least 3 days a week. If you only train 1-2 days a week, you only need to increase the frequency of 1-2 days to kick your fat loss to higher gear.

3. Sleep patterns - Do you get enough sleep? To ensure your cortisol levels do not rise and kill your gym routine, make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep at night.

4. Drink More Water - Water is not a fat supplement, but if you are not getting enough, it can "hide" your weight loss progress. Drinking plenty of water controls the amount of water your body stores in your muscles, organs, and fat cells. The more water you drink the more it will be released from your system that prevents the "smoke screen" leaving you feeling confident you are not losing weight.

5. Watch Your Alcohol Use - Yes, you can lose fat and still drink alcohol, but it can be detrimental to your mental state. Alcohol use causes dehydration, so you can retain more water than normal the next few days after a night out. It usually takes 2-3 days for the effects to subside. So if you drink often, try cutting it a little. If you don't want to give up together, incorporate it into your overall nutrition program to reduce its impact.


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