As a beginner, a calorie-controlled diet and moderately intense training plan can help you lose weight, get fitter, build muscle or help you obtain your health-related goal. As time goes on, however, your body becomes accustomed to your routine and progress slows down. At this point, it's time to step your eating and training up a gear and engage in advanced exercise and nutrition tactics.
Beginners are often advised to stick to steady-state, low- to moderate-intensity exercise performed for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. This does burn calories, but isn't particularly advanced. However, HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is an effective way to boost your training results. HIIT comprises one minute of all-out effort, followed by two to three minutes at a lower intensity, according to the American Council on Exercise. HIIT is not only more demanding, but superior for burning fat and retaining muscle mass, added nutritional scientist Dr. Layne Norton. You can perform HIIT on any piece of gym cardio equipment, or to take things a step further, try hill sprints or stair sprints.
At the most basic level, weight training consists of resistance machines and perhaps some body-weight moves such as lunges, pushups and squats. Advancing this slightly, you have standard free-weight moves, like bench presses, back squats and rows. However, advanced weight training is considered to be powerlifting -- the squat, bench press and deadlift, difficult body-weight moves such as muscle-ups and human flags, or Olympic lifting -- the snatch and the clean and jerk. Olympic weightlifting is so complex that you will need a qualified coach to teach you the techniques, said trainer Sally Moss. Advanced weight training could also include adding intensity techniques into your routine, such as drop sets, where you perform a set to failure, lower the weight and immediately go to failure again, or supersets, where you group two or more exercises back to back.
The definition of advanced nutrition will vary depending on who's explaining it. Some might consider advanced nutrition to include counting calories and macronutrients -- protein, carbohydrate and fat -- rather than just generally eating healthfully. You could also consider meal timings, meal frequency, your macronutrient ratios, diets that restrict certain types of food, or diets that are designed for your body shape and blood type as methods of advanced nutrition.
While advanced methods certainly have their place and can be highly beneficial, don't be too eager to move on from the basics. If you're still making progress, there's no need to change what you're doing. Some advanced tactics, such as weightlifting and HIIT cardio are perfectly acceptable for beginners and intermediates, whereas some advanced nutrition methods may not be. Always consult your health care provider before starting a new routine or drastically changing your diet.