|Bruce Krahn(Supplied) |
Bruce Krahn knows that the time he spends pumping iron is time well spent. But he also recognizes that what he does when he’s away from the gym ultimately determines his fitness level.
“You might exercise five hours a week,” the celebrity trainer from Mississauga, Ont., tells Keeping Fit over dinner at a downtown Edmonton restaurant. “But it’s those other hours — the other 100-plus hours — where you can do so much damage.”
“Nutrition is the main thing and it’s the thing that people struggle with the most,” he explains. “It’s so easy to eat a massive amount of calories and it’s so difficult to burn them off.”
The 45-year-old Canadian fitness guru — whose list of high-profile clients includes Nelly Furtado, Criss Angel, Tom Cochrane and Trish Stratus — notes that exercise doesn’t burn as many calories as people might think.
“You may burn off 300 calories in a really good workout,” he explains. “But then you can eat pizza and that’s negated pretty quickly.” And, of course, not all calories are created equal.
“Every action has an opposite and equal reaction,” says the bestselling author of The Fat Fighter Diet. “The action of eating foods imparts the reaction of hormonal response. Some calories are much better for losing body fat than other calories.”
But Krahn, a trainer since 1995, is of the belief that calorie balance reigns supreme.
“You can’t outrun the laws of thermodynamics — the law of calorie balance,” he notes. “But underneath that umbrella, there’s other things that matter, too. As long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you should be losing weight. But if you’re eating crappy foods that elicit a high blood-sugar response, you may not. Or it will stall out very quickly.”
That’s where working out comes in. “Exercise improves insulin sensitivity,” he explains. “Exercise — when you lift weights, in particular — improves the way your body utilizes the hormone insulin. This is really important. One of the most overlooked factors of fat loss is blood-sugar management. When you lift weights, you manage your blood sugar better.”
Krahn points out that he makes all of his clients lift weights, no matter what their age or gender. The only difference between his male and female clients is that the men train to failure (the point of momentary muscular failure during an exercise).
“That makes a big difference in terms of whether or not you’ll gain more muscle,” he advises. “For a guy that wants to get bigger, he has to train to failure.”
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