For about a year and a half, I have been working with personal trainer Brigit Beltram of Body you Love in her small group strength training and cardio classes. In this post, I interview Brigit and share with you her secrets for super charging your metabolism, blasting body-fat, and building lean muscle. Yes! You can do it!
Here is my Q&A: The goal of Brigit’s clients is fat loss and increased muscle, so her answers are based on that formula.
What do you recommend eating before and after a workout?
I find that eating every 3-4 hours throughout the day is for keeping blood sugar stable, and energy high, as well as your body and brain working most efficiently. So, if you plan a snack or light meal an hour before your workout this will allow you to have plenty of fuel to drive your workout.
Pre-workout, it’s important to hydrate with 16 oz. of water 30 minutes before exercise. I would recommend eating a protein and a fibrous carb before a workout. Protein choices include eggs, chicken, turkey, tuna, whey protein, greek yogurt, fish, cottage cheese. Fibrous carbs include fruits and veggies. For fat loss, it’s best to save the complex carbs for after the workout. Complex carbs include brown rice, oatmeal, millet, quinoa, sweet potatoes and beans. A whey protein or fruit shake is also a great post-workout snack.
Key notes: Remember to hydrate with 16 oz. of water 30 minutes before exercise and a post-workout meal or shake is essential within 1 hour of working out.
Try Sage Recipe’s post-workout smoothie!
Banana and Blackberry Whey Protein Shake
- 1 banana, peeled
- 1/4 cup yogurt
- 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon agave syrup
- 1 scoop whey protein powder (measuring scoop included in whey protein powder containers)
- 4 ice cubes
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Serve immediately.
* Try using other fruits as well like raspberries, blueberries, peaches etc. I also love swapping out the berries for peanut butter to go with the banana.
How often should you workout and what should you focus on?
It all depends on your goals and desired time-frame to reach your goals, but at least 3 times a week is most effective. If your goal is maximum results in minimal time, employ alternating sets of non-competitive exercises each and every time you workout. Most of my clients want to lose some fat and gain some muscle and what I have found is circuit training is by far the most time-efficient approach.
High intensity circuit training can consist of intense work periods lasting 30-60 seconds and 15-30 seconds rest working on different regions of the body with every exercise. If we focus on multi-joint, compound exercises that involve functional movement patterns that occur in everyday life, this results in greater total muscle activation and subsequently greater calorie burning, fat loss, and increased muscle. I found that focusing on intensity along with constantly changing up your workouts so your body is shocked and confused (“the muscle confusion principle”) is of the best ways that truly make your body change.
If you have a busy schedule, what can you do?
Circuit training as explained above if done correctly, can be completed in as little as 20 minutes. This type of training has been proven to burn up to 9 times more body fat than ordinary exercise per unit of effort. The harder you exercise, the more carbs you burn for fuel, and this allows you to burn more fat during rest periods.
Why is cardio and strength training important, how can you incorporate both into your workout?
Cardio training refers to exercise that specifically targets your cardiovascular system, which is necessary for good heart health and overall fitness level. Aside from all the health benefits, cardio plays a big role in burning calories, which will help to accelerate fat loss.
I feel that strength training is one of the most important components of a fat loss plan. It will help you build lean muscle, thereby raising your metabolism, which in turn increases fat burning. Muscles burn energy (calories), so the more muscles you have, the more fat you will burn for the next 24-48 hours..
In my opinion, a total body workout that employs high intensity work periods with short rest periods in an alternating set or circuit format, that combines the muscle building benefits of resistance training with the cardiovascular benefits of cardio training will supercharge your metabolism, blast body-fat, and build lean muscle.
What are some motivational tips you have to stay with a workout plan?
- Set goals – keep small and obtainable – weekly, monthly …
- Believe in yourself
- Be prepared and make it easy! – (pack workout bag at night / plan meals ahead of time)
- Avoid boredom – Especially at night
- Never lose sight of your goals – If you slip, get right back on!
- Find a workout buddy for support and hold you accountable
- Reward yourself every time you reach a goal (a massage, pedicure, new pair shoes)
- Treat day once a week
- Switch up your fitness routine each and every month to prevent weight loss plateaus
What advice do you have to get started with a workout routine?
- Get in the right mindset about your goals
- Set aside small blocks of time to devote to an exercise plan – If you can commit yourself to sticking to working out consistently for 2 weeks, you will start to feel how great it actually feels and you will be more likely to stick to a plan.
- Start with committing to 20 minutes a day for 3x a week
- Find a Program – and/or friend-partner that would like to get started with you.
If you don’t have a trainer or don’t belong to a gym can you still workout?
Absolutely!! You can take cardio and conditioning classes around town. Also, high intensity training using your own body weight can be one of best forms of exercise and can be done just about anywhere.
Thank you Brigit for the great workout information and tips! If you live in Santa Barbara, be sure to check out one of her classes! You can also work with Brigit to set individual fitness and nutritional goals. She offers both private training as well as group fitness classes. First class is free, come join us!
I hope you are now inspired and informed on how to hit the gym and start working towards your goals! Believe in yourself!