1-Benefits of Fat Loss
Fat loss is almost always associated with appearance just look at magazines, books, and TV infomercials for proof of that. It’s no surprise, because a lean, athletic-looking body is something almost everybody wants. It helps us look better both in and out of our clothes. But, what about the improved health and performance benefits of losing fat and having a lean body? In this chapter I’m going to share the multitude of health and perfor- mance benefits that a fat-loss plan such as the one provided in this book can offer athletes, weekend warriors, and exercise enthusiasts.
Better Sport performance
Two of the main performance criteria for athletes are how fast they can run and how high they can jump. That’s why most coaches and scouts use some sort of jump test and sprint test for sports such as basketball and football. Now, most of us aren’t making a living playing a sport, but we do enjoy playing sports with our buddies and family. Plus, it’s nice to know you can move your body in the way you want to perform whatever activity you want.
Well, an effective fat-loss plan can help you run faster and jump higher! Imagine if you put on a backpack filled with 20 pounds of rocks and then sprinted 40 yards as fast as you could. Then you removed the backpack and ran the
40-yard sprint again. Do you think you’d run faster with or without the backpack? Of course you’d be faster without the backpack slowing you down because it’s simply more weight for you to move. The same applies to jumping Nit’s obvious that you’d be able to jump much higher without the additional weight of the backpack.
That imaginary backpack represents the real-life performance limitations of carrying around an extra 5, 10, 20, or more pounds on your body. In other words, if you lose 5, 10, 20, or more pounds of body fat, it’s like taking off a weighted backpack. When you lose the fat, you automatically become more athletic (run faster and jump higher). So, if you want to improve your sport performance, regardless of whether you’re a weekend warrior or an elite athlete, an effective fat-loss program like the one in this book could be just the edge you need to outperform the competition.
I just explained how losing fat can improve your hustle (i.e., athletic performance). Now, let’s talk about how it can also improve your muscle.
One of the most important aspects of physical strength is what’s commonly known as relative strength, which is how strong you are in relation to your own body weight. For instance, the person who can perform the most chin-ups possesses superior levels of relative strength because he can lift his own body weight for more reps than others can.
When performing strength training exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and step-ups, you’re not only lifting any free weights you may be holding, you’re also lifting your own body weight. The more extra body weight you’re carrying (i.e., body fat), the weaker you’ll feel and the less work you’ll be able to complete. Let’s go back to our weighted-backpack analogy. Put on that weighted backpack and try to do squats, push-ups, lunges, and pull-ups. You’ll do a lot fewer reps with the weighted pack on than without it. As another example, some people can’t even do a single pull-up because they can’t overcome their own body weight. Their training options in the gym become more limited, which can make their workouts less interesting and less effective. In short, the less excess body weight you’re carrying around, the more weight and reps you can hammer out in the gym to continue to build muscle and increase strength.
Better Cardio Conditioning
Extra weight won’t only hold you back in the sport performance arena and in the weight room, it can also hinder your ability to play an entire game or go on a long hike with your friends and family. Cardiorespiratory conditioning is also known as work capacity, which is your ability to keep going before fatigue sets in. Regardless of whether you are playing a sport or going for a hike, you must have the energy to be able to go the distance. It’s glaringly obvious that you’ll get tired and quit faster when you’re carrying around extra weight than you would if you had less addi- tional body fat using up energy.
We live in a world where we are inundated with energy drinks, most of which sell very well. It’s beyond the scope of this book to get into the pros and cons of specific supplements such as energy drinks, but I can tell you that we all only have so much energy to spend each day before we feel fatigued.
As we’ve discussed, carrying around more body fat makes you work harder both in life and in sport. Therefore, the more extra body fat you’ve got, the quicker you’ll get tired and feel the need for an energy boost. Carrying around that weighted backpack at your office or around your house will drag you down just as much as it does in the sporting arena or in the gym. Following a fat-loss plan will help you drop fat, which in turn will help you to become more energy efficient. This will not only make you feel better throughout the day, but you’ll also save money because you won’t have to keep buying those expensive energy drinks to get you through the day.
Losing fat may help to minimize the risk of putting undue stress on your joints. You see, joints are avascular, which means they require regular movement (compression and distraction) to bring in nutrients and allow waste to leave our bodies. Put simply, our bodies respond to stress, and exercise and an active lifestyle can help us keep our joints healthy by giving them the movement they need. How- ever, if you’re carrying around extra weight, it can make you less comfortable with being active and, therefore, lead to a more sedentary lifestyle that isn’t conducive to giving your joints the regular movement they need to stay healthy. Additionally, too much stress on our joints can cause them to break down and become less healthy. Considering the design and function of our joints, it is clear that carry- ing around excess body fat can turn otherwise- healthy activity and exercise into activity that overloads the joints beyond their capacity and place one at a higher risk of injury.
Furthermore, carrying around additional body fat can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and joint disease.
In this day and age you don’t have to be a cardiologist to know that carrying extra body fat (i.e., being overweight) can place more stress on your heart and put you at greater risk of dealing with health concerns such as diabetes, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol, and increased risk of heart attack. Maintaining a healthier weight by following the nutrition strategies and workout programs provided in this book can obviously lead to improved heart health, lower blood pressure, lower cho- lesterol, and lower risk of heart attack.
In other words, losing excess fat results in not just a body that looks good on the outside but one that is also healthier on the inside. Of course, certain genetic factors play a role in health concerns such as heart disease, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do every- thing we can to minimize that risk.
Let’s face it, we all want to look good, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We have enough things to worry about in our lives, from work to finances to time management, that worrying about the way we look can be an additional stressor.
The good news is that not only can the workout and nutrition strategies in this book help you look better and feel more confident, they can also help you reduce stress in two other ways. One, they give you a user-friendly, easy-to-follow system that’s based on sensible eating and fitness principles, not fads that will go out of style in a few years. This way you don’t have to worry about the confusion created by conflicting information and constantly changing fitness and diet trends. This book gives you the simple, sensible, and scientifically-based direction you’ve been looking for. You just have to put in the work, which brings us to the second benefit:
The workout strategies in this book can help reduce stress because exercise is a great way to relieve stress. As you’ll see as you get into the exercise chapters, this book provides more than enough exercises and workouts to keep you interested.
Less Anxiety and Depression
Studies dating back to 1981 have concluded that not only can regular exercise improve mood in people with mild to moderate depression, but it also may play a supporting role in treating severe depression. Other research has even found that exercise’s effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants.
In regard to anxiety, research has shown that physical exercise reduces anxiety in humans by causing remodeling to takes place in the brains of people who work out. This evidence suggests that active people might be less susceptible to certain undesirable aspects of stress and anxiety than those of sedentary people.
Sleep is the way our bodies rest and recover. And, in addition to elevating mood and reduc- ing stress, research has documented the benefits of exercise to improving sleep patterns, which can help you become more alert in the daytime and also help promote more sleepiness at night. Let’s face it, if you’re regularly exercising, especially using the programs in this book, your body will need to rest and recover, therefore making it more likely that your sleep will improve.
Now you can see why the value of a great fat-loss program goes far beyond just helping you look great in a swimsuit. It’s one of the most valuable things you can do to improve the way you move in life, in the gym, and in sport and to keep you feeling healthy and reduce the risk of developing joint problems.
2-Strength Training and Fat Loss
Health and fitness can be viewed in three aspects: the mental, the physical, and the chemical. For any physical fitness program to be completely successful, especially one geared toward fat loss, it must be complemented by good nutrition (i.e., the chemical), and it must be something that you can get excited about and want to keep doing (i.e., the mental), because no program will work without consistency no matter how good it is.
This chapter covers the mental and the physical aspects. We’re going to discuss not only why the workout concepts and techniques described in this can improve your physical appearance and functional ability but also why they are more exciting than many traditional methods (such as cardio and bodybuilding training) and therefore may be just what you need to stay mentally engaged and look forward to every workout. Put simply, you’re about to discover why the Strength Training for Fat Loss training concepts and workouts are safe, super effective, and designed to be enjoyable enough to keep you coming back for more!
Muscle: Metabolically Active Tissue
Muscle is metabolically active tissue. In other words, muscle is the physical location in your body where stored body fat is burned (i.e., used as energy). More muscle requires more energy, so the more muscle you have, the more calories and fat you’ll burn over a 24- hour period of time, even while you sleep! Although the exact number of calories burned for 1 pound (0.45 kg) of muscle is debated to be between 30-50 calories per pound, we can safely go on the low end of this: 30 calories burned per pound of muscle. That means that adding just 5 pounds (2.3kg) of lean tissue would result in losing one pound of fat every month—without any changes to your diet. And, a 10- pound (4.5kg) muscle gain would effectively double the metabolic
effect. While a gain of 10 pounds of muscle seems like a huge deal to some people, the truth is that it’s actually a trivial amount of muscle when spread over an entire body.
Put simply, humans are just like cars. If you put a bigger motor in your car (i.e., add muscle mass), you’ll burn more fuel (i.e., calories) while driving (i.e., doing activities) than you did before. You want to be opposite of your car in that you want to become fuel inefficient, because the more fuel you can burn to perform a given activity, the better!
This is why strength training and maintaining muscle mass through proper training and eating strategies is critical for fat loss.
Put simply, you’re about to discover why the Strength Training for Fat Loss training concepts and workouts are safe, super effective, and designed to be enjoyable enough to keep you coming back for more!
Muscle Gains Through Strength Training
Now that you understand why you need muscle to effectively burn fat, the questions then become “How do I gain muscle?” and “How do I keep (building) muscle while losing body fat?” It’s no secret that the most effective method for gaining muscle is strength training. However, even fitness professionals seem to misunderstand the set and rep schemes that have been shown in the research to work best for increasing muscle (hypertrophy). You’ll often hear people around the gym spouting off advice like, “Do low reps to bulk up and higher reps to get lean and toned.” Unfortunately, that common advice is false. Here’s why.
First, being “cut” as men often say and “toned” as women often say just means that you are lean which comes from fat loss. Second, most of the men seem to be comfortable with training to gain at least some muscle mass, but many women unfortunately think they’ll get “bulky.” This is just plain silly, since women have significantly less testosterone than men. So allow me to speak specifically to women for a moment.
When you talk about “toning,” “enhanc- ing,” or “shaping” certain areas of your body, what you’re really talking about is muscle. Put simply, muscle creates the shape of your body, and therefore more muscle equals more muscle tone. You can’t build a perkier, rounder, or sexier anything without building muscle.
And, ladies: To build that muscle, you need to stimulate muscle tissue, and tiny dumb- bells just aren’t the tools for the job. Instead, women often benefit from the type of heavier lifting that they’re more accustomed to seeing men do. Not to mention that, as I also stated earlier: Muscle is a metabolically active tissue, meaning it burns fat. Put simply, more muscle means a faster metabolism!
Third, your muscles don’t become leaner by doing any kind of rep scheme, because muscles only have one way to develop: They either get bigger and stronger (hypertrophy) from strength training, or they get smaller and weaker (atrophy) from a lack of activity. Or, they stay the same. In other words, your muscles form the shape of your body, and being lean (having low body fat) simply allows you to better show off that shape.
Developing Your Muscle Base: The Foundation of success
Building muscle is like building a house: They both begin with laying the foundation. For the metabolic strength training concepts and workouts in this book to be maximally effective and as safe as possible, you must first possess a strength training base. Developing a training base is the foundation that you build on, and the better your foundation, the more you can build on it. You wouldn’t put on your shoes before you put on your socks. So follow the correct process don’t just skip ahead to the stuff that looks the most fun and you’ll get the best results possible. Spending 3 to 5 weeks developing a strength training base has several benefits:
• Strengthens your muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, bones, and so on.
• Helps you become familiar with performing basic strength exercises using optimal form to prevent training related injury.
• Improves your body awareness and the ability of your brain to better utilize your muscles. This is known as increasing neuromuscular coordination.
• Increases your metabolic engine by adding muscle. (Remember, muscle is metabolically active tissue, and more muscle means you burn more energy both while you train and while you sleep.)
Fat Loss Workouts, provides a workout plan for developing your training base if you don’t already have one. Unless you’re currently performing strength training a few times week, use the base training workout plan before starting the rest of the metabolic strength training workouts.
adjusting sets and reps for Muscle Gains
One of the keys to building muscle—to develop your base—is creating the stimulus to elicit muscle growth via the sets and reps you use. Different set and rep schemes have been shown to elicit different physiological and neurological responses. Here’s an overview of the stimulus that each rep scheme creates.
One to 6 Reps
One to 6 reps per set are great for increas- ing muscle strength (i.e., force production) through primarily neurological factors such as increased motor unit recruitment. Additionally, this rep range serves as a nice middle ground for improvements in muscle strength and size. These rep ranges help your body bring more muscle into the game every time you use your muscles to lift a heavy load or explode in a sport event. If you think of your body as a computer, training in this rep range would be like upgrading your software so your computer runs programs (i.e., movements) faster and more efficiently.
Eight to 15 or More Reps
Eight to 15 or more reps per set have been shown to primarily stimulate increased muscle size (hypertrophy) through primarily physiological changes in muscles and connec- tive tissues. Because this range uses a higher number of reps and lower loads, it creates more metabolic stress as well as an increased muscle pump, both of which have been shown to help increase muscle cross-sectional area (i.e., help you gain muscle). So, it’s the higher rep ranges above 6 reps (8-15 reps) that are generally most effective at helping you gain muscle because it creates more of a physiological response. To go back to thinking of your body as a computer, this rep range helps to more so upgrade your hardware.
The two set rep schemes just described are not mutually exclusive. Mixing both schemes can have a positive effect if you have strong connective tissues and bigger muscles, you can lift heavier loads (in the 1-6 rep range), and if you’ve become stronger and better able to use the muscle power you have, each rep you perform (in the 8-15 rep range) will be more effective than if you didn’t have that improved neurological ability to recruit your muscles. Furthermore, although both rep ranges can facilitate positive improvements, you can certainly emphasize the rep range that best fits your goal. Additionally, a range of 6-8 reps can serve as a nice middle ground between the two rep ranges for improvements in muscle strength and size.
What Is Metabolic Strength Training?
The basis of this book is metabolic strength training, which means using innovative strength training concepts to accelerate metab- olism in order to help you lose body fat while building and keeping muscle. In addition, the programs are designed to give you a great workout that you actually enjoy. Let’s check out what the concepts of metabolic strength training are, how they work, and why they may be safer and more effective than other fat-loss training methods.
This book uses three metabolic strength training concepts, which I call the three Cs of strength training for fat loss:
- Strength training circuits
- Strength training complexes
- Strength training combinations
Chapters 4 through 6 are each dedicated to one of the three Cs. In these chapters you’ll learn what each of these metabolic protocols is and how to perform a multitude of practical exercise applications from basic to advanced levels using everything from barbells to dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, stability balls, resistance bands, and cables. Additionally, chapter 7 covers body-weight training
techniques using the three Cs, and chapter 9 explains the Fat-Loss Five circuit training formula. With all of the metabolic strength training concepts available in this book, you’ll be able to immediately apply a large variety of techniques to help you incinerate body fat and dramatically improve your fitness and conditioning without losing muscle mass, regardless of your fitness level, space, or equipment limitations.
how the Three cs Work
There are three reasons why the three Cs of metabolic strength training are extremely effective at burning fat.
- They’re high intensity.
These workouts use challenging loads or lighter loads moved fast, both of which force you to work hard each time you move the weight. The higher the intensity, the greater the metabolic impact!
- They involve the entire body.
Each of the three Cs of metabolic strength training uses the entire body, involving your upper body, lower body, and core muscles. And, as stated before, muscle is metabolically active tissue, so the more muscles you work, the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn, the more productive your workouts will be and the faster you will lose body fat.
- They demand extended repetitive effort.
Research consistently reports that a direct relationship exists between the duration of exercise and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which is the number of calories expended (above resting values) after an exercise bout. The metabolic strength training protocols in this book take more time to complete than a tra- ditional strength training set. So, not only do they require you to perform high-intensity, total body efforts, but you’ll be performing them for extended bursts.
It’s great to use scientifically proven workouts that have been evaluated in a study, but it’s unrealistic to ask that of every workout, especially when we’re changing workouts every few weeks to keep things fresh and interesting. Specific workout strategies don’t have to be scientifically proven as long as they are scientifically founded, meaning they are founded on the general principles that have been repeatedly shown to elicit the results you’re after. In this case, the three principles described in this chapter not only make scientific sense but also common sense. In other words, you don’t have to be an exercise scientist to see how the combination of these three factors will burn a ton of calories and be super effective for losing fat and building metabolic muscle, something that a morning stroll on the treadmill simply can’t match.
Furthermore, you’ll find that the workout programs provided in chapter 9 don’t just use one of three Cs for the entire workout. Instead, each program provides a comprehensive blend of the three to ensure each workout is more diverse and more effective. This is because, although founded on the same metabolic training principles, each of the three Cs offers unique benefits, and using all three more likely yields better results than exclusively using one.
Three cs Versus Traditional exercise Methods
We can’t talk about new methods of fat loss like the three Cs without addressing traditional methods like cardio training, which is commonly thought of as the go-to exercise option for losing body fat. The first thing we’re going to do in this section is give you the naked truth about cardio training by debunking some all too common, uninformed training myths. Then I’m going to provide a solid, common- sense rationale for why the metabolic strength training concepts in this book are a safer, more enjoyable, and much more effective training option for building the lean and muscular body you want.
Although any type of physical activity can have positive health benefits, the benefits of steady-state cardio training from a fat-loss (without muscle loss) perspective are often misunderstood and overstated. Especially because research has shown aerobic activity (cardio) to be the optimal mode of exercise over resistance training for reducing body fat in a timely fashion. Now, these results are only half of the training puzzle because you don’t just want a “lean” physique; you want a lean, strong and athletic looking physique. And, in order to achieve the “strong and muscular” part, you’ve got to do resistance training, which is why the researchers of these types of studies also commonly state that a program including resistance training is needed for increasing lean muscle.
To understand why common statements such as “If you want to burn fat, do cardio” aren’t very accurate, you must first have a clear understanding of what steady-state cardio training is and what it isn’t. Once you understand what it is, you can better under- stand what it does and doesn’t do for you.You’ve probably heard the terms aerobic training, which means “with oxygen,” and anaerobic training, which means “without oxygen.”
Cardio = aerobic training
Metabolic strength training = anaerobic training
The main thing that separates aerobic from anaerobic training is intensity. Here’s a real-world example to help illustrate this concept: Let’s say you and a friend are jog- ging together. While you are jogging, you are carrying on a conversation. If you’re able to speak in normal sentences without any huffing and puffing between words, you’re in an aerobic state. However, if you both decide to pick up the pace and speed up to a fast run or sprint, you’ll still be able to talk to one another, but you’ll be unable to get out full sentences without taking a breath, which means you’re now in an anaerobic state. This example is called the talk test. It’s a simple but legitimate method of telling whether you’re in an aerobic or anaerobic state.
When you’re in an anaerobic state, your body exclusively burns glycogen, which is what your body turns carbohydrate into after consumption. Glycogen is synthesized and stored mainly in the liver and the muscles. And, it’s your body’s preferred energy source. However, when you’re in an aerobic state, your body has many options available to use as energy, including energy from glycogen, fat, and muscle tissue.
All of this information brings us back to the question, does aerobic training (i.e., steady- state cardio) exclusively use energy from fat? The answer is, no! Sure, steady-state cardio training can burn fat, but it’ll likely use its preferred energy source: glycogen. And, it can burn from muscle tissue as well, which is why few endurance athletes have much muscle mass. Now, with physiology in mind, it’s easy to see how cardio training sessions burn more overall calories than resistance training ses- sions. But, that fact is: it still doesn’t mean that cardio is the long-term fat loss answer.
Sure, if you’re looking for quick fat loss, I’d certainly say doing a few 20- to 30-minute cardio sessions per week is a good idea to get you quick gratification. And, it’s unrealistic to think that doing some cardio for 4-6 weeks will turn you into a skinny endurance athlete with low muscle mass, especially if you’re using them to complement a workout program that emphasizes strength-training exercise concepts such as the ones provided in this book. How ever, it does mean there’s no need to go nuts and fall into the false belief that more cardio exercise means more fat loss especially on a regular, long-term exercise basis. In fact, more cardio (with less or no strength training) will most likely lead to less muscle, which is not a good place to be in terms of strength, perfor- mance, or physical appearance.
Strength training is considered anaerobic training because it’s high in intensity and burns energy exclusively from glycogen. That said, remember the previous illustration about talking while running together, and the faster you run, the more anaerobic you become? Well, the cool thing about anaerobic training is that it also gives you the benefits of aerobic training.
Think of a ladder: The higher you climb, the more intense the exercise becomes. In other words, the bottom rungs of the ladder represent aerobic activity, whereas the higher rungs of the ladder represent more intense, anaerobic activity.
When climbing up the ladder, you can’t get to the higher rungs (i.e., anaerobic activity) until you’ve first climbed the lower ones (i.e., gone through aerobic activity). Additionally, when you climb down (i.e., recover) from the higher steps of the ladder, you return to an aerobic state. So, on both ends of anaerobic train- ing intervals (i.e., sets of metabolic strength training) you also get an aerobic training effect. But, if you only do aerobic training (i.e., stay at the bottom of the ladder), you’ll never get the unique metabolic and health benefits offered by anaerobic training.
The time between anaerobic bursts such as sprints or heavy lifting creates an aerobic effect while you allow your body to come down (i.e., rest) between sets. Again, high- intensity activities such as the three Cs of metabolic strength training have been shown to accelerate metabolism for up to 72 hours after the workout due to the effects of excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).
Steady-state cardio training, on the other hand, has not been shown to create nearly the same EPOC (exercise after-burn) effect.
Each of the three Cs of the metabolic strength training featured in this book take anywhere from 60 seconds to several minutes of constant strength-based activity to complete. That’s several minutes of high-intensity, total body effort. Essentially, based on the scientifically-founded principles of fat loss, the metabolic strength training workouts get you better fat-loss results for your training time compared with traditional training methods.
What Makes Metabolic Strength Training
The human body has the amazing ability to adapt to the demands we place on it. As Aristotle said, you are what you repeatedly do. Earlier we talked about how becoming fuel inefficient (the opposite of your car) will help you burn body fat faster. What do think you’re teaching your body to become better at when you train using lots of long, slow, distance cardio training? You’re teaching it to become more fuel efficient because it knows it’s got to keep as much fuel as possible to last for the long haul. In other words, due to the adaptive properties of the human body, doing lots of steady state cardio training, on a regular basis for increasing distances, forces your body to become better at conserving energy (i.e., glycogen), which means you’ll gradually burn less and less energy (i.e., calories and fat) as you become better trained. This is great if you’re training to become a distance runner, but it’s a problem when your goal is to maxi- mize fat loss.
Metabolic strength Training Versus Traditional strength Training
If you’re an athlete looking to improve your conditioning, which is the ability to resist fatigue during physical anaerobic activity, the training concepts and workouts in this book, especially the circuits and complexes, are just what the doctor ordered to help you outlast the competition. You see, traditional strength and power training methods are great for improving your peak strength and explosive power, but they’re not so great for improving your power endurance, which is the capacity to produce the same level of power for a longer time the length of competition. In other words, many of the low-rep, high- load training methods help you to peak your power in short bursts, but they don’t prepare you to go five rounds or beat your opponent to the ball at the end of the fourth quarter.
However, training methods such as the complexes and circuits featured in this book do help increase your power endurance because they require you to perform a high amount of effort for extended periods of time, which is exactly what power endurance is. And, the principle of training specificity tells us that the adaptations to training will be specific to the demands the training puts on the body.
Metabolic strength Training Versus Traditional cardio Training
One pitfall of the false belief that steady-state cardio is the long-term answer to fat loss is the negative side effects of the two most common cardio training methods, jogging and cycling. Both of these training modalities are effec- tive forms of exercise, and they’re nice ways to get outside and do something active, but there are a few major drawbacks to doing them regularly. For example, both jogging and running (jogging is a slower run with a shorter stride) can be tough on your joints because for each step you take when running there is an impact force of about two to three times your body-weight. The impact force results from an abrupt decrease in velocity of the foot as it contracts the ground. And, in a 30-minute run, a typical runner will have about 5,000 impacts. So the accumulation of all those impacts that are likely the root of the injury problem. The impact force and the ensuing impulse wave have been identi- fied as potential factors resulting in injuries, such as stress fractures, shin splints, cartilage breakdown, low back pain, and osteoarthritis, have been associated with these large forces and subsequent impulse wave.
Also, most of us sit too much during the day. At work many of us sit at a desk, and at home we sit while using the computer and watching TV. It’s no secret that sitting (i.e. being seden- tary) isn’t the best thing for functional capacity (i.e., our movement ability and athleticism), but physical activity is great for helping us to get lean and increase our strength and perfor- mance. Although cycling is physical activity, it is done from a prolonged sitting position where you’re hunched over the bike. So, you’re not only sitting all day at work and at home, but when you work out, you’re sitting again! Plus, the cycling gets your body better at cycling, but it doesn’t do much for strengthening your muscles for day-to-day activities.
This information is not intended to convince you to quit running or cycling, especially if you enjoy these activities. It’s simply to inform you of their limitations and risks. That said, the workout programs in this book, which use the three Cs of metabolic strength training, provide a tremendous metabolic training effect without nearly the impact on your joints that comes from running or jogging. Additionally, the workout protocols are designed to fight the negative effects of sitting by training your muscles in more athletic postures and more dynamic movements.
If you do want to use traditional cardio activities, I recommend performing them at another time of day than the metabolic strength training program. For instance, you can do one type of workout in the morning and do the other in the afternoon. This strategy is especially helpful if you’re using cardio on a short-term basis to get some quick fat loss, or for recreational activity. If you can’t work out twice in the same day or prefer to get everything done in one workout, you can add cardio to the end of your strength training workouts because the cardio activity is less intense and less complex than the metabolic strength training. But do not do cardio first because going into intense metabolic strength training in a semi-fatigued state will interfere with your performance.
The metabolic strength training concepts you’re going to learn about in the chapters to follow are safer and more effective than traditional cardio training. Plus, they’re more interesting and less monotonous than just doing the same activity at the same pace for an extended length of time.
As stated in the beginning of this chapter, for any physical fitness program to be suc- cessful, it must be complemented by good nutrition. As you know, the higher-quality fuel you put in your car, the healthier it stays and the better it performs. Unfortunately, the constantly changing diet fads and complex, often restrictive diet plans we are constantly bombarded with have left many frustrated and confused about a process that should not be much more complicated than putting quality fuel in your car.
Workout Intensity Is More Important Than
As I stated previously, workout duration is heavily linked to increased metabolic effects. However, doing longer workouts doesn’t always mean that you’re getting better results; in fact, it’s likely that if you’re just going longer, you’re only able to do so because your overall workout intensity is less, therefore giving you the ability to last
longer. Even in endurance sports such as triathlons and marathons, it’s not about who goes the longest, it’s about who finishes the fastest. In other words, it’s about who has the most power endurance. With this reality in mind, you should progress in your training by continually trying to perform your workouts better, not just longer for the sake of going longer.
When you add sets or reps to your workouts, they will become longer, and that’s okay. However, you can’t always keep adding on. You can also progress (make your workouts more challenging) by try to complete the same workout in less time than before, which boosts
your working intensity. Or, you can try to get more work done (sets and reps or weight lifted in a given workout) in the same time frame that you did in the previous workout, which also increases intensity. As stated, there’s nothing wrong with increasing your reps and working a little longer than you did previously, but solely relying on that method to progress is unrealistic and could lead to overuse injury.
Remember, you only have so much time in the day to work out. The goal is to get as much quality work done in that amount of time in order to maximize your results.