30 Days to Melt Your Waist In Winter

Despite what you’ve probably been led to believe, churning away like a rat on a treadmill during the holiday season (or any other time of year for that matter) is really not the best way to burn fat. In fact, it can actually backfire and lead to the common cortisol and catabolic hormone release that accompanies excessive aerobic exercise – which winds up making you fatter!.

This can result in hormonal imbalances, fluid retention, overtraining, and injury. It’s why the folks who approach New Year’s fat loss by simply trying to stay on a mind-numbingly boring cardio machine for as long as possible are usually the folks who fail (and the ones you probably stop seeing at the gym by mid February).

But the good news is that you can embark on a 30-day rapid fat loss journey without sacrificing your health, body, or performance for the rest of the holiday season. And with the safe, healthy, and effective guide in this episode, you can melt your holiday belly in a fraction of the time it takes your over-exercising friends. Feel free to start this workout now, or save it for your official New Year’s routine!

30 Days to Rapid Fat Loss

The 30-day rapid fat loss guide below is split into three separate 10-day cycles – the first 10 days involve easy fasted fat burning sessions; the next 10 days will add slightly more difficult body weight training; and the final 10 days will round out the routine by adding high intensity intervals and weight training.

Ready? Roll up your sleeves, tighten your belt, and let’s jump right in:

Days 1-10: Burn

For the first 10 days, exercise is simple. There will be no hard or long exercise sessions. For many, this will be a practice in self-control and moderation, since most holiday exercisers are notorious for eating whatever they want, then trying to burn it off with excessive exercise. But days 1-10 of this plan are the exact opposite: limited exercise combined with sane, responsible, calorie control. The side benefit of this approach is that it will also give your body and gut a chance to rest, recover, and reboot.

For each of these 10 days, you will simply do a morning fasted fat burning session of 20-60 minutes. There’s no need to exceed an hour, but if you can get a little longer than 20 minutes, you’ll definitely get an added benefit. You get to choose the activity: light jogging, cycling, elliptical trainer, brisk walking or hiking, or any other type of easy exercise will suffice.

For intensity, you’ll want to be in your fat-burning zone, which occurs at 45-65% of your maximum heart rate, or about 20 beats below your lactate threshold heart rate. If you’ve had anaerobic or lactic acid threshold testing done in a lab or field, simply take that heart rate, subtract 20 beats, and you’re set. If not, simply do the following:

  • Warm up on a bike for 10 minutes.
  • Pedal at your maximum sustainable pace for 20 minutes. You should be breathing hard and your legs should be burning, but you should be able to maintain the same intensity for the full 20 minutes.
  • Record your average heart rate during those 20 minutes.
  • Subtract 20 beats from that heart rate. Add and subtract 3 beats from the resulting number to get a range, and that is your peak fat burning zone.

For example, if your average heart rate was 160, 160-20 is 140, 140+3 is 143, 140-3 is 147, and so your peak fat burning zone is when you have a heart rate of 137-143 beats per minute.

Ideally, you should do these sessions in a fasted state. This means that you do not eat within 2 hours of bedtime the night before, and you do these exercises sometime before breakfast in the morning. It is fine to drink a cup of coffee or green tea 15-30 minutes before this session (as the caffeine and green tea catechins may actually help accelerate fat loss).

You’ll see better results if you can stay as active as possible the rest of the day after the fasted fat burning session. This can include standing, walking as much as possible, stretching or yoga and light physical activity. But no extra workouts.

Days 11-20: Build

For this next phase, you’ll continue with the morning fasted fat burning sessions exactly as you have done for days 1-10, but every other day, you’re going to include a second afternoon or early evening exercise session consisting of body weight exercises and calisthenics. You should do this second routine as a circuit, consisting of:

  • Push-up variations: 15-20 reps
  • 30-60 seconds calisthenics (jumping jacks, jump rope, running in place, side-to-side hops, etc.)
  • Squat variations: 15-20 reps
  • Repeat 30-60-second calisthenics effort
  • Pull-up or row variations: 15-20 reps
  • Repeat 30-60-second calisthenics effort
  • Lunge variations: 15-20 reps per leg
  • Repeat 30-60-second calisthenics effort

Complete this circuit 4-6 times through with minimal rest. A circuit like this should take you about 20-40 minutes.

Days 21-30: Ultimate Burn

In the final 10 days, you’ll begin to add higher intensity cardio intervals (HIIT). You’re going to continue with the morning fasted fat burning sessions (trust me, they work like a charm – you can make it just 10 more days!), but now you’re going to replace those afternoon or evening body weight sessions you were doing on days 11-20 with a full body, functional weight training session combined high intensity cardiovascular intervals.

For the weight training, choose four, full body weight training exercises (which will elicit a higher hormonal fat-burning response than single joint exercises such as bicep curls or leg extensions), and perform them back-to-back as a circuit, combined with 2 minutes of high intensity cardio at the end of each circuit. For example:

  • Exercise 1: Woodchopper – 10 reps per side
  • Exercise 2: Turkish Get-Up –  5 reps per side
  • Exercise 3: Single Leg Deadlift – 10 reps per side
  • Exercise 4: Cleans – 10 reps
  • Cardio: 2 minutes maximum bicycling effort

If you combine the program above with the type of nutritional protocol I describe in Mighty Mommy’s Belly Burn Project, you can expect an initial weight loss of 4-8 pounds of fat in the first 10 days, followed by 2-4 pounds of fat in each of the next two phases – along with the addition of tight, toned, lean muscle.