Tag Archives: workout tips

Learn how to burn fat quicker at the gym

Typically, when I go to the gym, I like to start my workouts with a 20-30-minute cardio session, move on to abs, then finish the workout with weights. But lately, I feel like my usual routine hasn’t been doing much for me, so I figured I’d switch it up… or pump it up.

In the past few weeks I’ve started doing cardio for an extra 20 minutes along with my typical weightlifting, and damn do I sweat! You know what they say, when the body’s sweating, the fat is crying :). But even though I was a human version of the Niagara Falls, I found out that my extra cardio wasn’t actually burning the fat like I thought it was doing. These tears meant nothing!

A friend of mine and a 24 Hour Fitness trainer who works at the gym I go to in Orange, Brady McManus,  stopped  me while I was ahead and gave me a helpful tip. Boosting up my cardio was the right idea, but he told me to keep doing what I was doing. It turns out, I didn’t need to add any minutes on the treadmill at all.

His tip: Just flip the routine.

Start off weightlifting AND THEN do your cardio session. (He recommends to stretch and do warm up cardio for 10 minutes before lifting though to warm up the body).

Here’s why according Brady:

“The best way for the body to burn fat while doing cardio is to have your body depicted of carbohydrates. As you intake carbs, your body stores the glycogen in the liver, then your body waits to use that as fuel. When you are walking or running or doing any form of cardio, your body can use either the stored glycogen or fat stored. The only problem is your body won’t use any fat store until glycogen is all burned up. But when your body does weight lifting first, you burn the glycogen, then when you do cardio or anabolic exercise, there is no glycogen to continue the burn and you will burn fat.”


Let me translate this science lecture for you.

Basically in order to burn fat stored in the body, you have to burn glycogen first. If you start your workout with cardio, you will start burning glycogen NOT fat.

I know what you’re thinking… “Wouldn’t weightlifting burn the fat then since I just burned the glycogen running?” Well, it doesn’t quite work that way.

“It takes longer to burn glycogen during running,” so you won’t burn enough doing that. Then when you lift weights, you’ll continue to burn glycogen, not fat, he says. “Glycogen burns faster during weightlifting. It [allows] to burn the fat when doing cardio after.”

Glycogen come from carbs – pasta, bread, potatoes, cookies… you know all the good stuff. So the first thing I thought when Brady told me all this was, “Great I’ll eat no carbs  so I don’t have any glycogen! Then I can cut right to the chase and burn the fat!”

But nope. It doesn’t work that way either.

“Glycogen you can think as fuel to your tank. If you don’t eat carbs you aren’t fueling your tank. You can do low carbs but no carbs isn’t the answer.”

So there ya go. If you’re anything like me and your sick of seeing no results, burn fat quicker by doing this. I just started and you should too!

One is the loneliest number… Work out with a friend!

The first time I met Dens she was wearing running shoes, Nike workout shorts, a sweaty baggy T, and a bun on top of her head. We were in the Northeastern gift shop and like typical freshman, Maggie (my best friend from high school and college roommate) and I were lost and had no idea where our classes were. Frustrated that I was missing the first half of class, I spotted Dens  with a map in hand and I frantically jumped out in front of her, “Hey can I borrow that map?” She thought I was ridiculous. Here she was in her workout clothes, and I was of course wearing something high maintenance because it was my first day of classes, YET I was sweating more than her because I was so flustered. At that point, I was late, whatever, so I made small talk with her while checking out the map. “Oh so what sports do you play here?” I mean obviously she’s an athlete and just got done with practice… who would be walking around in that outfit on their first day!? “I don’t play anything… I just worked out at the Marino Center [school fitness center]. You should try it sometime.”  Before parting ways, we took down Dens’ number and started off our friendship with a trip to the gym that week.

Thank God we were lost that day because little did we know that we were about to meet one of our new best friends and personal trainer.

Maggie, me, and Dens our first weekend in college together. Look how in shape we were 😉 Oh and if you guys were wondering, Dens is short for Danielle!

From two different sides of the country, Southern California and Connecticut, Dens and Maggie and I were completely different species people but we all had one common interest… getting skinny. Looking back it’s funny because we were freshman, probably weighing in at 115 pounds and obviously didn’t need to lose weight. It was more the idea of staying in shape and not gaining the “Freshman 15” that bonded us three. Dens grew up playing all different kinds of sports and always went to the gym in high school. Maggie and I weren’t really gym-goers back in the day- I played volleyball and she played basketball  (her position was the bench). Now that we were in college and were no longer in sports, we needed workout tips pronoto, especially after spending an entire summer laying out and eating crap all the time. We were as dumb as the dumbbells we were using (Workout joke! Dun Dun Che!)

That’s where Dens came through. She taught us all we know when it comes to working out. She taught us what weights to use and how to use them, cardio routines, stretches, everything! She even tried being our nutritionist but I was too picky to eat anything she’d suggest. It was us three against Marino Center, 4 times a week, every week, all throughout college. Anyway, we stuck with the Dens Workout Plan and ‘til this day we still use them, and I use them even when I’m not with my best friends. Now that we’re working in different parts of the country, I may be doing my workouts alone, but it was the friendship that got me started.

Here are my reasons why you should work out with a friend:

  1. You’ll be more motivated to actually go to the gym
    1. Let’s face it, if we don’t absolutely have to go to the gym, we won’t. Excuses are everywhere. I slept in too late, I had a long day of work, I have to be somewhere soon… yeah yeah yada yada. Having a gym partner can eliminate your temptation to come up with an excuse to skip the gym. Why? Because someone is relying on you to go with them and cancelling plans on other people is annoying and embarrassing.
  2. Workouts are more fun
    1. Workouts become more fun when you’re with a friend. In my case, none of us had classes together. Dens was in

      Walking to the gym with a friend was always part of the fun too. One time on the way to Marino, my umbrella completely went inside out and the wind was literally blowing us away. We were traumatized when we got into the gym but it was hilarious at the time.

      physical therapy, Maggie was in psychology, and I was a journalist, so the gym was our social hour – a time to share stories from our day. I hate to say it but the gym was our number one spot for us to catch up on the latest gossip and drama. But don’t think we were those girls just laying on the yoga mats not really working out and just socializing… no no, we always broke a sweat. We never spoke during cardio, that was quality time with the iPod, but in between lifting, crunches, and stretching, we’d always share a laugh or two. Plus the time goes by quicker when you’re having fun.

  3. Competitiveness
    1. If Dens bumps up the weight five more pounds, I’m going to bump up the weight. If Maggie is going to run an extra ten minutes, I’m going to run more too. Working out with a friend can push you to work harder and not slack off. You don’t want to look like a weakling or fatty next to your fit friend do you? That’s what I thought.
  4. You’ll have a spotter
    1. If you’re one to bench press and use bars for weightlifting, a regular partner at the gym is a necessity to spot your workout and to keep you safe. Your’re friend will always get your back! For me, I needed a spotter in a different way. I always felt uncomfortable in the weight room mainly because it’s just sweaty guys making weird noises. Plus they’re pigs (ok not all guys are pigs). So when I’d do squats in there, I always had Maggie or Dens stand right behind so no pig can check this thing out.
  5. You’ll get a more efficient workout
    1. Unless your friend is just as lazy as you, you won’t slack at the gym when it comes to technique. You always have a friend to correct what you’re doing and you’ll also have a friend to remind you to keep running for five more minutes instead of jumping off the treadmill early.

That’s Courtney! 

Not everyone is a good workout partner and sometimes your best friends aren’t the best ones. One time I went to the gym with another good friend of mine, Courtney, and we couldn’t agree on what workout to do because we had different opinions. We settled on biking together and we were only there for 20 minutes and left to go eat. Love her, but we don’t work out good together.

Here’s what to look for in a workout friend:

  1. Similar schedules
    1. Make sure you find a friend that can work out at the same times as you. It’s also good to find someone who is flexible too.
  2. Someone with similar goals
    1. For me and my friends, it’s just staying in shape and getting toned, but I know for my boyfriend, his goals are to bulk up. Working out with him as a gym partner is miserable. We don’t do the same workouts, he doesn’t take as long as me, and he doesn’t even like cardio! Make sure you’re friend can do the same workouts as you too.
  3. Positivity
    1. You want a friend who has a positive attitude at the gym. None of that ugh-I-wish-we-weren’t-here crap. You want someone who wants to workout and most importantly, wants to workout with you!

So save a few calories and go to the gym with a friend instead of catching up over coffee or cocktails. It’s fun!