Healthy Weight Loss Equals Losing Fat and Gaining Muscle


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You can resort to the latest fad for a weight loss program, but they always result in a loss of muscle and other critically important lean body tissues along with the fat. The loss of lean body tissues (muscle, bone, internal organs, etc.) damages your metabolism and long term health. Long term, healthy weight loss programs focus on maintaining or building lean body tissue while managing a healthy, sustainable fat loss program. IFPA Certified Personal Fitness Trainers always begin an exercise prescription and program design by analyzing the safe and effective use of the IFPA 10 Components of Fitness. Personal fitness trainers know all 10 components are important, but each component must be prioritized based on the needs of the client. The IFPA 10 Components of Fitness are: Strength, Speed, Power, Anaerobic and Aerobic Endurance, Agility, Balance, Coordination, Flexibility and Body Composition. In order to prioritize which of the 10 components are most critical to accomplish the fat loss goal, the personal fitness trainer must know all the current research. According to the current and reliable studies on the subject, the most important components of fitness for fat loss and body composition changes are: strength, anaerobic and aerobic endurance, and flexibility. These 4 components have the greatest positive impact on fat loss, muscle gain and the underlying physiological systems. Understanding the nature of the positive impacts from each underlying component of fitness makes it easy for the personal fitness trainer to develop safe and effective fitness programming and teach and motivate the clients the efficacy of the exercise prescription. Strength training or resistance training (without going into great detail for those of you who love to battle ‘semantics’) means the same thing. Ideally, the personal training session would be conducted on modern resistance training machines. Resistance machines provide the highest level of stability, making this mode of personal training the safest for beginners and the most effective for fat loss. It is intuitively obvious why resistance training machines are the safest, but misinformation on the efficacy of functional training or core training may confuse some personal trainers. Resistance machines provide complete stabilization for the exercise and this focuses the resistance on the primary muscles used of the specific exercise machine. Since the exercise is completely stabilized by the machine, the body’s stabilizers do very little work, while the primary movers can maximally contract with no concern for lack of balance or stability. This maximal contraction creates maximal stress on the targeted muscle which leads to maximal adaptation. The misinformation on functional training or core training stems from the argument that resistance training machines only target 35 primary muscles and place little stress on the other 606 muscles in the body. While it is true that resistance training machines maximally train only 35 of 606 muscles, these 35 muscles represent over 95% of all the muscle fiber in your body. While functional training and core training can stress virtually all 606 muscles in the body and are critically important in athletic training to increase agility, balance and coordination, it is an inappropriate mode for fat loss exercise prescription. Research clearly demonstrates that functional training and core training provide as little as 30% of muscle activation to the primary movers as stabilized resistance training. 30% muscle activation results in only 30% of the stress to the large muscles. 30% of the stress leads to only 30% of the hypertrophy in the large muscles resulting in only 30% of the benefit the client needs to increase resting metabolic rate (RMR) so they can burn more fat throughout the day and night, even while sleeping. Just small increases in muscle mass increases RMR and therefore, the caloric expenditure is critically important for fat metabolism. Functional training and core training, though it initially seems new, exciting and sexy, results in increased client drop-out because the client does not see results. Resistance training machines will enable the safest, most effective and quickest mode of training to accomplish the personal training client’s goals. Circuit training programs and high volume training programs incorporate anaerobic endurance, especially in the 15 RM intensity range. Any time the personal training client reports “a burning sensation” in a particular targeted muscle or muscle group, you know you are in the Lactic Acid Energy System and therefore training the anaerobic endurance component of fitness. Higher intensity training 1 RM – 8 RM is used to train the ATP-CP system. Recent research shows that high intensity training, 4-6 RM, actually burns more calories than lower intensity training (15RM). It is also known that higher intensity training increases metabolism for hours, post-exercise, with the highest intensities showing increased metabolism for over 24 hours post-exercise. Research also shows that high intensity training stimulates the production of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), testosterone and virtually every other hormone necessary for fat metabolism, health and longevity! Once your personal training client completes the first Meso-phase of the exercise prescription listed above, you can incorporate higher intensities into their 2nd Meso-phase. Micro-phases in the example above are each individual 3-week exercise prescriptions. Meso-phase is the entire 14 weeks depicted above. Macro-phase would be a series of Meso-phases typically lasting one year. The industry standard program design for the strength training exercise prescription listed above is to pick a resistance training machine for each of the major muscle groups: The next FitBit will address anaerobic and aerobic endurance and the flexibility exercise prescription and program design. If you need some guidance before the next FitBit publication: Flexibility should be conducted as part of the COOL DOWN at the end of the session and only when the muscles are thoroughly warm. Aerobic endurance and be walking, jogging, running, etc. or Bell Protocols. Bell Protocols are high-rep, multi-exercise system: Bell Protocol One: Perform Squat with Dumbbell Curl and Heel Raise with Overhead Press together for one rep. To begin: Stand with light dumbbells held at shoulder level. Start down slowly on the negative, eccentric, downward movement in the Squat and Dumbbell Curl simultaneously. Pause at the bottom. At the bottom of the Squat, the arms should be fully extended with the dumbbells down, close to the ground. Begin upward, positive, concentric movement with the Squat and Dumbbell Curl simultaneously. Pause at the top. Now begin a Heel Raise and Shoulder Press simultaneously. You should reach the top of the Heel Raise and Shoulder Press simultaneously. Pause at the top. Lower Heel Raise and Dumbbell Shoulder Press simultaneously. You are now back to starting position, standing with the dumbbells held at your shoulders. Now repeat for 30-100 reps. Bell Protocol Two: Perform Stiff-Legged Dumbbell Deadlift (dumbbells held at sides of leg and knees bent 10-15 degrees) with Reverse Wrist Curl on the downward, negative, eccentric contraction of the Stiff-Legged Deadlift. Perform Regular Wrist curl on the upward movement and perform Shoulder Shrugs as you approach the top. Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA

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