How many times have you gone to the gym, and 1 – Didn’t know what to do or what to work on or 2 – You did the same routine using the same machines you’ve been doing for weeks? It is all too common. But you don’t become the strongest, fastest, healthiest version of yourself by simply going through the motions.
What makes a good workout program? The answer may differ depending on who you ask but the fundamentals are the same. A program is a plan that progresses you toward a predetermined goal or objective. Whether that’s weight loss, greater strength, endurance or sports specific improvement everything you choose to do should progress you toward reaching your goal(s).
I’m not necessarily impatient. I’m not the guy cursing under his breath in the grocery line at the woman who can’t find her reading glasses to sign the Visa slip. I’m not that guy. However, I am the guy that likes to get the things I need to get done quickly so I can do more of the things I want to do. I recognize that with so many demands on the average person’s time such as work, family, and friends, fitness, especially getting rid of unwanted fat, goes to the backburner. So you live with it. You might not remember your 10 pound friend hanging around from day to day, but you certainly remember when it’s time to shop for new clothes, when you run into old friends, or in the middle of the day when your energy is low. I had a client whose wakeup call came when her 6-year-old caught her in her skivvies and asked, “Mommy, why is everything jiggly?” She wasn’t what you would have considered overweight at the time but given her “all cardio” approach to weight loss, muscle tone was nonexistent. Even worse was that by adopting an all cardio approach she was actually lowering her metabolism and increasing her chances of gaining the weight back plus more!
One of the top reasons motivated people fail at permanent fat loss is because they take a majority cardio approach and half-ass the weight training.
Prioritize your fat burning activities to elicit maximum results in the least amount of time. Strength coach and world renowned fat loss expert Alwyn Cosgrove talks about the hierarchy of fat loss. He lays out the activities you should be focusing on in order to achieve the best fat loss results for your time. You’ll notice that resistance training ranks at the top of the list and aerobic training falls toward the bottom of the list. For those allergic to change, you can stop reading now and continue on in mediocrity. If you want to lose fat fast, read it, know it, apply it!
Before I go on you must know one thing: Fat loss will not happen if you take in more calories than you burn. It just won’t. A diet that contains a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrates and fats is a must. You must burn more calories than you take in. Oh, and just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean that the calories don’t count against you. If you overeat 800 calories of veggies it elicits the same results as overeating 800 calories worth of cheese burger and waffle fries at your local greasy spoon. The excess calories will be stored as fat. Buying organic won’t save you from this fact, too.
Cosgrove breaks down hierarchy like this:
1) “If you have 3 hours – high-intensity resistance train only.” This type of training kills calories on three fronts: calories burned during exercise, calories burned during recovery (up to 31 hours) and calories burned by adding muscle. You can do it in three 60 minute sessions or 4 forty-five minutes sessions. Focus on full body circuits using compound exercises that combine multiple muscles within the same movement, for maximum muscle stimulation.
2) If you have 3-5 hours – high-intensity resistance training and high-intensity anaerobic interval training. This type of cardio training burns more calories than steady state cardio and it also maximizes post exercise calorie burn. An example of this would be interval sprints at close to maximum effort on land or on a bike for 30-60 seconds followed by a rest interval. Note: this is a difficult interval. Beginners should build up to this gradually under supervision of a certified personal trainer.
3) “5-6 hours – add aerobic interval training.” This burns a bit more than steady state aerobic interval training. An example of this would be moderate intensity and low intensity intervals (2:1, 1:1) on an elliptical or treadmill that are continuous for 25-45 minutes.
4) “7-8 hours – add steady state high intensity aerobic training.” For those cardio junkies, steady state has its place; it just falls lower in the pecking order. Prioritize this activity and you’ll be cheating yourself out of post exercise calorie burn and metabolism increase from increase in lean muscle. Under this umbrella would be any cardio activity done at a constant pace for 25 minutes or more.
5) “8+ steady state low intensity cardio activity.” These are just the little activities that come under the umbrella of moving more. It doesn’t make a huge impact on fat loss but it doesn’t hurt either.
There is no magic here. Do the harder stuff before the easy stuff and you will get to your fat loss goal faster and maintain results.
I am currently putting together a program called Quiktrain 3x that integrates the hierarchy of fat loss along with principals of good eating and lifestyle in an 8 week package. I’ll be posting the details on the blog in the next couple weeks.
In the meantime, stay healthy and strong,
I love this. I definitely understand that the girl on the right is gifted genetically and potentially digitally enhanced however I have seen this many times in real life. The body on the left is typical of working out to “lose weight” and the body on the right is indicative of someone who trains with weights. This comparison illustrates the point that “losing weight” will not necessarily make you look better.
Resistance training has the ability to sculpt the body so you not only lose weight but also look better naked! P.S. The girl on the right probably weighs a lot more too!
So go hard in the gym and don’t be afraid to lift weights that challenge your muscles and push you outside your comfort zone. This approach will make sure you metabolism revs hot enough to shred the fat and build the strong defined body you can be proud of.