Yesterday was the first full cheat day that I had in quite some time. If you have been following along, I have been on a mission to get my body fat down to 10% or less and I have a firm deadline in place. I am finally starting to train hard again, a year after my knee injury. So, what does my current diet look like? Its very simple and there are no secrets. I have as much passion for fat loss, hypertrophy and diet/nutrition as I do for training, which is one of the reason’s I have been striving to make Newell Strength known for both. They go hand in hand, like 2 wheels on a bike. ‘The bike don’t work properly when both wheels aren’t working together’.
For the majority of the week, I have been doing a protein and fiber rich diet and low to moderate fat. I consume very little carbohydrate, coming in the forms of veggies. This is very similar to what I used to do when I was competing. Am I doing this for the long term? Probably not, rather I am using it to jump-start the fat loss process. On Friday nights I have been doing a small reefed, this past Friday nights meal consisting of five rolls of Sushi. This is just to get my through Saturdays workouts, yes that is plural. I’ll address the workouts in a minute. On Sunday nights, I have been doing a 3-hour window of ‘re-feeding’ to offset some of the downturns in metabolism that we will see when in caloric deficit. These include drop in thyroid levels, testosterone levels, IGF-1, leptin to name a few. So you see, these windows do serve a purpose. Here is the problem: most people focus too much on the re-feed or cheat, making it the sole purpose of the diet. I made this mistake too at one point in my more immature dieting days and it is surely a road to nowhere. And if you are too fat, say above 15% for a male and 25% for a female, you don’t really need a cheat meal window physiologically. You may need it psychologically and I don’t believe one meal per week will do any harm in your efforts, but for sure its not needed physically.
Back to my diet. Remember, this is for fat loss and body recomposition, which means trying to maintain a relative weight or in the neighborhood of 225 but shift the balance of muscle and fat. So far, its been working. My cheat day yesterday, which was a success, looked like this:
1. I started with a 40 gram Metabolic Drive protein shake with one cup of raw milk. I did this because I was starving and I wanted to at least control myself at my in-law’s Mother’s Day breakfast. I grabbed a coffee with a shot of espresso on the way to the breakfast (normal Sunday morning routine).
2. At breakfast, I had half a loaf of chocolate chip crumb cake, 8 mini chocolate and cream cheese strudels, 3 sausage links, 4 cage free whole eggs, 4 small pancakes, 1 cup of potatoes and some rasberries.
3. When we got home, I had 2 large cinnabon rolls with 1 large bowl of fruity pebbles. I took a nap, woke up and hour later and repeated the exact same meal along with some meatballs Devon had cooked up. I used vanilla almond milk with the cereal.
4. I sipped on two glasses of Jersey Devil wine while making my family burgers and such for my side of the family. I had an 8oz grass fed beef cheeseburger on a bun, one large baked potato, 1 cup of potato salad and a few French fries.
5. For dessert, I had 1 3×3 inch piece of ‘slutty brownie’ that Devon made, along with 3 scoops of ice cream.
6. To top it off, I had one more bowl of fruity pebbles before going to bed.
How do I feel today? Absolutely great, actually very hungry. This is one of the signs I look for after a full cheat day. I also woke up sweating last night, meaning I had to ‘disrobe’ down to my boxers in the middle of the night because my clothes were soaked. Notice that my cheat day had a purpose though, I was trying to get in as many carbs as possible to refill glycogen levels for the week ahead. Based on my hunger levels after breakfast, I’d say I fell a bit short.
Notice that some of what I do is based on my intuitive knowledge and some of it is based on science. All good coaches do this. I have been reading up a bit on Metabolic Typing and it reiterates the point that every single body is different. I know what works for me and I can replicate it time and time again. I do get a kick out of prospective clients that want me to ‘fix’ them in a month so they can be jacked and ripped. A good coaching relationship takes time to cultivate and for me to learn the athletes body.
And I am in the process of hiring my own personal coach for the next year, as I do believe in the value of having your own Coach, wouldn’t I be a hypocrite if I thought otherwise? Is it a necessity? No, but it is a time saver and a learning experience. As far as training is concerned, I am very concerned with a trend I am seeing and that is: people think they can just follow a nutrition plan and train half ass and get results. NO! You must train intensely along with your diet plan. Otherwise, you may lose weight, but we can do that by chopping off an arm too. If you are trying to re-composition your body, it is going to take some serious effort, not three 40 minute workouts per week. And cutting out on things like leg day or lower body day is not the right mentality. And if you tell me that you don’t have time, then that’s fine, but you won’t get the results you are after.
There is a big psychological and behavioral component to this as well but that is a different article for a different day. I will also be writing about metabolic destruction this week and why I follow the plan I am following after years of competing and chronic dieting. Stay tuned!
HEAT SEEKING MISSILE AND FAT LOSS
Luckily, I got to snap this pick while waiting at a traffic light. What the F? It is a pitiful state when people get so damn fat and out of shape that they need to roll around town in an electric scooter. I do not feel bad for them and they are a burden to the health care system. I will be writing a follow up article on this entire article, but for those that say: maybe they don’t know what to eat. To that I say, listen to your body! If you feel like sh** two hours after you ate, something is wrong and your body is telling you something. I don’t want to hear thyroid and faulty metabolism, etc. AND, think about this, have you ever eaten anything by accident? My friend on the scooter put years and years of work into that physique. But with that said, I do have people in pretty bad shape that do seek me out to help and for them, I give them an ovation. Change is hard but riding around in a scooter because you are too fat/lazy/can’t move right, should be a clear sign that your body has had enough abuse.
I am often astounded at the lack of effort you will see from an ordinary man. Many, many people are just happy to be average and ‘not stick out’. Let me ask you a question….did God or whatever you believe in not provide you with more than enough opportunity to do great things with? I pride Newell Strength on being a place where clients and athletes can be propelled on to do greater things in their life. If you don’t think kicking a workout’s ass and owning it have anything to do with the rest of your life, you are making a big mistake.
You need to take time every year, month, day, to be awesome. This means that you have to attack something with all your passion and become superior at it. That is one of the main reasons I always loved competing, because of the supreme focus it gave me and knowing I was doing something that 99% of people would be too soft to do.
As you may or may not know, right now I am in the process of getting my body fat down under 10%, nothing super compared to 5% but it’s a tangible goal and a place for me to start. I am not doing this for health reasons so much as I am for the simple idea of being awesome, doing something hard to get focused and to remind myself of what my athletes and clients are feeling. I do not mind being hungry or any of the side effects of dieting as I embrace them and when I feel them I put them back in their place.
When you are trying to achieve something out of the ordinary, you must expect balance to go out the window along with it. Don’t worry, you can regain your balanced life once you hit your goals, whatever they may be. This should add to your sense of urgency to reach your goals even faster. People have been asking me this week what I have been doing, since they can notice the change in my face and arms as I get leaner and I don’t really have a good answer for them. I simply envision myself as a heat-seeking missile and go after it. There are no options, no choices, I simply do!
Last weekend we went over to a birthday party for my niece but since it wasn’t cheat night for me, guess what? You got it, I didn’t have pizza or cake, although I would have loved to and I brought a bag of chicken to throw on the grill. You see, too many people have too many ‘wants’. You either want to be lean and lose fat or you don’t. If you want to have your cake a couple of times per week, then there is your answer. And no, don’t take it personally, it is what it is. When you make up your mind to do something you don’t also create an option B because it will only distract you.
As you may have seen in one of my other articles, I have an alter ego, some combination of Danny Trejo, Marshall Mathers and the Terminator and no I am not kidding. You have one too, even if you try to ignore it. Why is it important? Because you will be having conversations with yourself constantly when you are trying to do something hard that is going to push you outside your comfort zone. The alter ego(s) must be there to take a stand and not give in to your quibbling.
To be a heat seeking missile, you cannot let other people get in your way and more importantly you must get out of your own way. This goes for the athletes I train at Newell Strength that may have no concern for fat loss but who desire to be the best. Are you going to wake up early to practice? Are you going to take time to prepare your meals? Are you going to be that kid that leaves the party to go life (I was). If you aren’t, then there is your answer. Being awesome looks good and sounds good on paper but your actions will speak louder than your words.
Below, I am putting the first part of an article from world famous strength coach, Charles Poliquin. I had the pleasure of going out to see him this past weekend in
Arizona and it was the best seminar I’ve ever been to. I will be writing a lot more about the BigSignature method I was schooled in, but I can tell you that switching to a meat and nut breakfast is critical in anyone’s daily routine, for a variety of reasons. For example, did you know that the first 30 grams of protein you eat during the day go to detoxifying the body and the second 30 grams you eat go to aiding your immune system? So you are already 60 in the hole without taking training into account.
By far, the biggest requests I get from my members and consulting clients is for fat loss and I prided myself in being the most knowledgeable in the area for quite sometime. I haven’t been this excited about something in this field in a long time both personally and because of how I am going to be able to help people.
Check this article out and then implement it!
When people ask me for the best single dietary tip for optimal leanness, energy and sustained mental focus, I invariably tell them to try the rotating meat and nuts breakfast. Clients ranging from NHL & NFL stars to corporate executives rave about the increased mental acuity and focused energy they derive from this food combination. The meat allows for a slow and steady rise in blood sugar. The nuts provide a great source of healthy smart fats that allows the blood sugar to remain stable for an extended period of time. To continue with this article go here.
I find it funny when people tell me that the workout wasn’t hard enough or they need more. The simplest thing I can say is that exercise is like a prescription. You prescribe it in the lowest dose possible to get the desired effect.
If you had to take medicine, would you take 5X the recommended dose just because more is better, even though one pill would get the job done just fine? People come to Newell Strength in all different phases of their ‘training career’. Some have been training longer than others, some need to gain muscle, some need to lose fat and so on.
The goal will always dictate the training program. So what tools do I have at my disposal when designing programs? The different variables include sets, reps, rest periods, frequency of exposure, tempo and exercise selection. When I get out my pad to write down the ‘prescription’, there is interplay between all these variables.
If sets go up, reps go down. There is an inverse relationship between the two. A rep is really a measure of time, how long is the muscle system under tension? A rep is work and power. Work is force times distance and power output it work divided by time.
Rest periods will be dictated by training level and if you are after maximal strength, muscle growth or fat loss. Rest periods seem to be the most overlooked aspect of most trainees as they will rest one minute here, two minutes the next time and 20 seconds on the final set. How are we supposed to track progress or manipulate that variable if its all over the board. We have now started giving all the athletes and trainees stop watches to keep during their workouts so they are more conscious of the rest periods we prescribe.
Another overlooked aspect is frequency of training. Are you training by body part split still? Are you only training a body part once a week? If so, you are robbing yourself. A muscle is ready to go within 48 hours and similar movements can be trained daily, just look at blue-collar workers, for example, lumber jacks. They don’t seem to over train the muscles they work day in and day out, do they?
Tempo is the rep speed. Are 8 reps performed in 8 seconds going the same effect as 8 reps performed in 24 seconds? Definitely not! But most people or trainers I should say never pay this any mind. If you are after fat loss, time under tension should be longer as we will get a greater boost in lactic acid, causing a rise in growth hormone. So in that case, more time under tension is also critical in gaining muscle mass. Rest periods and nutrition will dictate which effect you get.
And lastly, exercise selection. You would probably be shocked to learn that your body adapts to the actual exercise selection the last. You could stick with the same basic exercises all year and manipulate that other variables and get phenomenal results. Pareto’s principle states that we get 80% of our results from 20% of the things we do. Exercise selection definitely fits this principle. Hoepfully this clarifies some of the aspects of what goes into your program as you shouldn’t be just wining it. A workout is not the same as a program…prescribe and let the effects happen.
***First, the links on the right side of the page for the basketball prep camp and the Fall Seminar are now working***
When I design nutrition programs for my clients, about 50% of the time I get a response such as, “What?! That’s too many carbs and calories before bed!”. I then go on to explain my theories and what I have found to be true regarding nutrition.
The last time I competed in a bodybuilding show, I started placing my carbs, around 100-150 grams in my last meal before bed. I would sleep like a baby and feel fully charged in the morning. And I continually got lean, lean enough for a bodybuilding stage and to do pretty damn well.
The media has been saying no carbs before bed for years, but they were wrong. If we wake up and train or wake up and start our day, then hold off on breakfast until we are hungry, then we will be in a constant fat burning state. I am even examining how to make some superior coffee with raw butter and coconut oil to keep me going and satisfied for the first few hours of the day.
Carbs before bed will allow an influx of seratonin and satiety which will enable you to sleep better and more restfully. Also, think about it, by the end of the day, after training and expending energy, your muscles are like vacuums, wanting to refill on glycogen (carb energy). I am a big advocate of intra workout nutrition and I do feel that carbs can be placed in and around the workout, particularly if the workout is at night. If you workout in the morning, then I would normally forgo the carbs. I have always been able to workout on an empty stomach with no ill side effects. And that ‘anabolic window’ you’ve heard so much about is more of a myth. That windown doesn’t close until you ingest the proper nutrients. Again, if you workout, then go all day on lower carbs, the muscles will be primed to for the intake before bed.
I am half way through the carb loading book by Kiefer and I will report back more on what he says. But the carb before bed myth is more of a calorie equation, doctors figuring that most people eat the most at night and most people eat predominantly carbs…so cut them out, cut cals out…
But there is more to the story guys, especially if you are hard training. I will be talking more about peri-workout nutrition later this week. In the mean-time, check out the 5 minute video about salt below..told ya so.
I will update you about the ‘state of Kyle’ at the end of this blog, but first, I wanted to start with a few of the things we do at the gym with our athletes and members.
The only difference between the athletes programs and the other members programs is the pace of the workouts. Because strength is more of a focus of us with the athletes, they are allowed a little more rest between sets.
For core, we always use a ton of ‘anti’ movements such as stabilization, anti-extension, anti-rotation and anti-flexion. There is a ton of new research showing that these anti-movements are the way to go when training core. They have a direct carry over to the field: as much of sport is bracing and ‘anti’, allowing the body to transfer force from the ground out to the extremities. The great thing about training this way is that bracing can and will make a person instantly stronger when using these techniques on ‘global’ exercises such as the dead lift, squat, bench and overhead press (we always want to stabilize the spine).
For the main part of the workouts, we usually follow Louie and perform some variation of one of the big lifts first. This could be a variation of the bench, squat or dead lift and it will either be a max effort, dynamic effort or repeated effort. This is followed up by chaotic and assisting movements (ala Smitty) which are designed to get the athlete faster, bigger and stronger while at the same time having more of a direct carry over to their sport. Remember above when I was saying that the ‘anti’ movements directly correlated to performance? Well, we normally place an exercise such as chaotic pull-ups, un-even split squats, multi-force lunges, etc.
Forces in sport don’t really care that the athletes would have an easier time with nice linear movements, it just isn’t reality. So we train our athletes to be able to handle all sorts of movements and situations on the field.
We always have a touch of power training thrown in as well. This will usually take the form of ‘contrast’ training near the beginning of the workout. This complex will usually involve either a jump of some sort, a sprint or a combo of either with med ball work. One of the main overlooked factors when training for power is the ability to sustain that power throughout the course of a game.
This is where I stole some of my older methods from when I was competing (even using them on myself now) and I will place a combination such as jumps with one arm snatches, the goal being able to maintain the power and speed throughout the set or complex. It is impossible to perform either of these two exercises in a slow manner (this is an example). If speed diminishes to much, we shut that complex down and it is a clear sign that the athlete must become better with their ‘power-endurance’. The athlete that is stronger and able to maintain their speed and power longer will normally come out on top.
Those power endurance complexes are great for inducing oxygen debt as well. Meaning, they are great if you are aiming to drop so major body-fat and recruit some highly anabolic, ‘fast-twitch’ fibers.
Obviously, it would be impossible to go over every-thing we do at Newell Strength in one blog post, but hopefully this gives you some ideas and things to implement in your own programs.
Now, onto my own progress….
THE JOURNEY TOWARDS BEING THE HEALTHIEST EVER!!!
I have been disciplined and driven this past week towards my goal. My energy is way up, getting out of bed in the morning is easier and hunger is constant. I am heading out to IHOP in a bit for my once weekly cheat meal (which serves a purpose by the way-spiking leptin and preventing a downshifting of the thyroid hormones). Urination is through the roof and thirst is way up. I got all of my workouts in this week and another nice side-effect was the sharper memory and recall. Food is a drug in every sense of the word and the effects can show it.
My body fat has gone from 22.8% last week to 15.4% this week. Although it would be near impossible to lose this much in one week, I did go down in my skin folds significantly. My weight dropped from 238.6 to 234.4!
As a 1%, I know it is never wise to coach yourself, so this upcoming week I am bringing John Meadows on board to be my coach. He is the guy that inspired me to start with being much more conscious of what the food ate that I am eating (raw milk,etc.). I will keep you posted. Win the day!
Over at the gym, Randee Staats has been turning into one of the more dedicated members that I have. Randee has a reality show that is starting filming in January (it will be on MTV by the way) and he came to me looking to get into better shape for the show. On top of that, he was also coming off knee surgery last year in which they had to fix the ACL amongst other ligaments.
Randee has followed everything I have given him to a T. The funny thing, he and Ripped Van Winkle work out a lot together and it seems they are going down similar paths.
Check it out so far:
My assessment: Randee has currently been following a version of the cycle diet. This means extreme dedication during the week and then a re-feed on Saturdays. I am going to be stepping up his conditioning starting this week. Randee has steadily improved his strength to the point that he is benching 275 at a bodyweight of 168. So, I would like him to drop some more body fat while at the same time focusing on putting on a little more muscle. This can be a tricky balancing act, but it can be done. Keep it up Randee!
It seems that some of my posts last week including the steroid video and the cardio article got some of you guys all worked up:). I am going to run with it. You guys tell me what you want and you will get it. In the post from last week, I hit on a lot of topics surrounding cardio. It has been ‘globe gym’s personal trainer’ method since the 70′s. They would warm you up with 10 minutes of cardio, stretch, hit every machine once in the gym, then finish you off with 30 minutes of more cardio-ahhh, what a workout. Didn’t you feel like you got your money’s worth?
I need you to understand that there are different energy systems in the body and if you try to train them with equal intensity at the same time, you will get no where. Typical cardio that I am talking about is working your ‘aerobic’ energy system. Not every intense and not needed by most. It falls at the bottom of my hierarchy of fat loss, somewhere around #5, behind: metabolic lifting, sprinting, interval training, and then heavy weight training. What works the cardio system? Does the cardio system work the muscles? No, the muscles work the cardiovascular system, which means that the more intensely and the more muscle you work, the more you will stress the cardiovascular system. I would think more cardiologists would be talking about this, but they don’t seem to be. The more muscle worked, the more oxygen debt you are going to get=more fat loss. This only works though if we are in some kind of calorie deficit.
Slow, long distance exercise makes you more efficient at utilizing fat stores, you don’t want to be efficient! You want to create a metabolic disturbance! You want to be a tank! Got it? Now, when is cardio appropriate? Some people are shocked when they find out that I do condone ‘cardio’ some of the time. If you like it, all power to you, do it. If you are extremely overweight, then you will start with this mode of exercise simply because you won’t be able to handle anything else. If you are an endurance athlete (they are the most injured btw), then you must train this way at least some of the time, although I believe I could get superior results with a marathon runner without them on a typical distance program. And finally, for recovery or when you are simply too drained and lack the recovery means. This last method would apply to bodybuilders that don’t have the energy to do sprints or interval training and athletes that are simply tapped out. The Russians used to take their athletes and drop them off on the beach, barefoot and tell them to walk for 3 or 4 hours. This would help to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Anyway, hope this sheds some more light on the topic.
P.S-If you like what I am putting out, please feel free to put your info below and you will get exclusive content via email from me. Trust me, I hold nothing back. Spread the word gang!
So this blog today is going to be dedicated to Randy, Carl and Frank from Newell Strength. They were prodding me last night about why I am not a big fan of ‘cardio’ and then I realized that many of you may have never read my article from 4 years ago on the topic. At the very least, give it some thought and at the end I will have a few pics of what can be done in a very short period of time without any ‘cardio’. Enjoy.
THE AEROBIC FALLACY
I believe that it is part of my job as a fitness expert to bring the science to you. Much of what is currently out there is based in nothing but tradition and acceptance. I know that this weeks newsletter will come as a great surprise to the majority of you and you can do what you would like with the information that I am going to present in this edition. All I ask is that you at least give it some thought.
This may come as a shock to you, but to sculpt a lean, muscular, athletic and toned body, aerobic exercise is one of the worst ways to achieve this desired look. Aerobics means “with oxygen” and in terms of exercise, much of what is seen in the gym on the “cardio” equipment is aerobic. The reason I am quoting cardio is because cardio is not the same thing as aerobics, yet the two are used interchangeably everyday. All aerobic exercise is cardiovascular in nature, but not all cardiovascular exercise is aerobic. Cardio simply means any mode of exercise that stresses the cardiovascular system, so weight training is cardio too. Some other forms of aerobic athletics would include bicycling and marathons. Before I get into the science of this topic, just realize that aerobics did not become hugely popular until the late 70’s/early 80’s and the studies that were coming out regarding the benefits of aerobic exercise were funded and put out to the public by the companies that were making “cardio” equipment to put in all the gyms going up around the country. Think about the timing of everything, gyms did not start to become popular until this time when fitness was brought to the main stream by non other than one of my heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hmm, so all of the sudden, when gyms started exploding in this country, aerobics became great for us and studies just “happened” to coincide with this time period? I have no problem with aerobics if the person truly enjoys it. It can be a very stimulating experience. My problem is with the misapplication of aerobics to sculpt the lean physique that so may of us are after.
For those of you that have seen Pumping Iron, notice that Arnold was in the best shape of his career, yet he performs no aerobics, just intense weight training and dieting. When Arnold made his comeback to the bodybuilding stage in 1980, he too had bought into the aerobics revolution and the physique he brought to the stage was the smallest, softest and out of shape of his entire career. Aerobics train the nervous system and musculature system to become slow, it stresses our type I muscle fibers (slow twitch and red ones, remember this for later on). These are not the fibers that we want to stress if our goal were to gain some muscle and lose body fat, those fibers would be the type II fibers (fast twitch and white). So already, you can see that if you are performing intense resistance training and performing hours a week of aerobics, you are stressing two different systems, not a good thing. Lets examine the chicken and the duck. Now, you know that dark meat has a lot more fat than white meat. The chicken is predominantly white meat and the duck is predominantly dark meat. What makes the meat dark is myoglobin, which carries oxygen molecules to the muscle for work. The duck can fly for thousands of miles and the chicken cannot even get off the ground for more than a few seconds, yet the chicken is much more muscular and lean. Ducks are aerobic and they store fat for use very effectively. Aerobics trains the body to become very efficient at using fat and storing fat, because the predominant fuel source in aerobic exercise is fat. Did you ever hear of the “fat burning zone”? Throw it out the window; it is quite possibly one of the most misleading pieces of fitness information ever! If your car is more efficient at using fuel, is it going to use more or less of it? The correct answer is less of it, great for your wallet, but not your body if we are talking about efficiency of fat use for exercise. We want the hummer engine, the big gas-guzzler, the most fuel inefficient car we can find to burn body fat. To equate this to exercise, we want high intensity exercise with rest interspersed. We want a very large oxygen deficit. In a study by Tremblay et al, it was demonstrated that high-intensity exercise, specifically intermittent, supramaximal exercise, is the most optimal for fat loss. There were two groups, the long slow distance aerobic endurance group (LSD) that was on their program for 20 weeks and the high intensity interval training (HIIT) group that was on a program for 15 weeks. The amount of energy utilized (calories) by the LSD group was DOUBLE that of the HIIT group: however, six skin fold measurements demonstrated greater loss in the HIIT group than the LSD group. When this was expressed on a per energy basis, the HIIT group’s reduction in skin folds was 9X greater than the LSD group! That is what you call more bang for your buck (Willey, 2007). The HIIT group created large post-exercise oxygen consumptions (EPOC), which can take up to 48 hours to your body to fully recover from. This is where fat loss occurs. Not during the hours spent on the treadmill. In another published study by R. Bahr, performed at the department of physiology at the National Institute of Occupational Health in Oslo, Norway, it was demonstrated that low-intensity (defined as 65% of maximum heart rate for less than 1 hour) led to a total EPOC of only 5 calories. On the other hand, intensive exercise-where heart rate was above 85% of maximum, led to EPOC values up to 180 calories (Staley, 2005). As I have said in the past, the body is incredibly adaptive. What used to take 30 minutes on the cardio equipment to burn 300 calories, will soon take 40 minutes, then 45, then 50 etc. What you are doing is creating the body to be a fat storing super efficient fat burning machine! Think about it, do all those people at the gym that slave on those machines ever seem to change? Maybe when they first start, but it has been shown that with this type of exercise, the body becomes almost completely adapted after the first eight weeks. Go to any 5K, marathon or bike race and 60-70% of the people that cross the finish line are fat.
If the body is more efficient at burning and storing fat, this will also equate to a lowered metabolism, again, not a good thing. We are looking for exercise that takes the body hours to recover from (large EPOC). You will not even be aware of this recovery, but if you were put in a lab, oxygen debt would still be elevated for a few hours to 48 hours! Did you ever notice that even after running a few miles, you could hold a conversation during it or immediately following it? The human body recovers very quickly from aerobic exercise. This is not optimal for fat loss. For those of you aerobic athletes, there was another study done by Tabata in Japan that showed anaerobic interval training actually caused greater increases in AEROBIC capacity, more so than the group that actually performed aerobic running! That is just a piece of information to use when you want to switch up your training and do some shorter duration type of stuff.
Which is leaner and more muscular, the marathon runner or sprinter?
Sprinters such as Ben Johnson of Olympic infamy were known to go to McDonalds and see how many Big Macs they could eat, often downing 5-6 without a problem and staying shredded. These athletes have created those big gas-guzzling machines I was talking about earlier. Look at gymnasts; they never do aerobics, yet it can be argued that they have the best physiques of any group of athletes out there. Their training consists of explosive high intensity bouts of exercise, often with nothing more than their body weight.
In a different capacity, aerobic athletes, most notably marathon runners, are the most injured group of athletes in the world. Every time the foot strikes the ground, 3-5X the body weight is applied in force up through the skeletal system, OUCH! The stress hormone cortisol is also produced in very large amounts when the body is constantly performing aerobics. Despite what you see on those silly commercials, cortisol is essential to the human body, but high amounts will cause the accumulation of body fat, most visibly around the mid-section. High cortisol will also negatively impact your adrenal glands over time. Distance runners who train upward of 100 miles per week do not expend more than 800 to 1300 “extra” calories each day above their normal energy requirements (McArdle, 2001). Does that sound it was like their time of investment?
How do you make sure your exercise is intense enough? If you can hold a conversation once a set or interval is completed, you are more than ready to go again. Remember, you are trying to create a deficit. What about the really heavy person that lost massive amounts of weight from their aerobics program? They would have lost weight doing any form of activity that took them out of their sedentary state. The composition of weight lost also needs to be looked at. If you are just performing cardio, your precious muscle is being used as a fuel source, thus it is completely common for people to lose tons of weight, yet be a fatter, smaller version of their former self. This will happen because the composition of weight lost will come from muscle and fat, not predominantly fat. Some of you might say, but Kyle, “I have seen you doing cardio and you told me to do it in the past.” That is correct, but I also used to have a tail and bangs for my haircut, times changes, so does knowledge.
To wrap this up, you might be wondering why I seem so passionate about this topic. Well, I am getting ready for another bodybuilding show and in years past, I too would spend hours on cardio equipment trying to get “ripped”. Needless to say, I didn’t like my return on investment and the muscle that was becoming smaller do to being trained in a slow manner. What would often happen to me from such extreme dieting and hours upon hours of aerobics is that I would gain 30-35 pounds the next week when the competition was over because I had succeeded in creating the perfect “Fat Storing Machine”. I went through every book I could get my hands on to find a better way. What I found was simple, through diet and high intensity resistance exercise with incomplete recovery (beginning the next set before oxygen is fully restored) has led to my best and biggest shape ever! I perform sprints a couple of days per week, but that usually only takes about 10 minutes. Now here is the interesting part, my back has been acting up going into spasm. On those days, you can still find me on the stair-master. Why? Because emotionally and mentally I felt that I needed it. I just said the key words; gym goers have become emotionally dependent on their “cardio” equipment, feeling that if they miss a session, they will get fat. Again, think about the results you have been getting and really think if they are worth it. Most aerobic training is dependent upon an emotional attachment to it.
I know that many of you will be resistant to this idea and this concept may not even catch on in my lifetime. But I did enjoy making you aware of this information!
If you like to run and jog and ride bikes, great go for it, I am all for it. As I said before, I am. Activity is awesome, any kind. Just realize what benefits you are trying to get from it. I have been studying and trying systems of resistance training that allow me to get as “shredded” as I need to, without stepping foot on any more cardio equipment. I hope that this issue was enlightening to you or at least interesting.