The answer might surprise you.
It’s not running, hitting the treadmill or the elliptical. It’s not about walking an hour and a half a day or increasing the amount of housework or yard work you are doing. You don’t have to increase the amount of time you are exercising, 2 hours at the gym is completely unnecessary!
In fact running, the elliptical trainer, yard work and housework, biking, swimming, and all those other things people jump into doing may actually do the opposite of what you expect! They are teaching your body to keep all the fat you currently have and store as much as it can whenever it gets your opportunity!
Now, let’s clarify something. I am not saying any of these activities are bad for you, I am not saying they each do not have their benefits, and I am not saying you shouldn’t do them. But I am saying that we need to look at them in the context of what your goals are.
And if your goal is to lose body fat, well, traditional cardio exercise performed3 or 5 hours a week at a low to moderate intensity is NOT an appropriate training protocol. Remember that the longer you can do something the more efficient your body must become and an efficient body is one with a metabolism that can slow down as much as possible while still accomplishing the activity.
Some of you will be shocked. I will most likely get a few emails and phone calls saying how wrong I am. I might even have more fellow fitness practitioners in town expose to everyone they can that I do not know what I am talking about. All of this is fine with me. But if you listen, look at the research, and follow what the top practitioners in the field are practicing I will help you drop the fat off.
Also to note, I am not talking about WEIGHT loss here. I am talking about the most effective way to lose body fat. So I will only use the term fat loss. And what is this miracle cure?
HIT training. No, we are not going to lace up the old boxing gloves and punch you in the face. HIT refers to High Intensity Training. And what, you ask, is that?
It is increasing the intensity of what you are doing and shortening the duration. So instead of plodding along on that elliptical chatting to your neighbour you are going to make it a little tougher. Instead of spending two hours lifting weights and chatting more than you lift you are going to take out most breaks and crank up the weight. Essentially, you can make any program fit into the HIT protocol.
Research dating back as far as the early 1990’s has shown time and again that higher intensity training is more effective at burning off body fat than lower intensity exercise. So why do so many purported fitness professionals keep telling you to do your cardio for fat loss? Simple, they don’t know what they are talking about.
Well, they might have known what they were talking about years ago, but they have obviously not been keeping up on their research and practice! They are just spewing out the same old same old they learned from the people before them.
Here are links to blog posts I made well over a year ago concerning HIT training. See, it’s not even that new! Some of the first books I read when I lost over 65 pounds in University espoused the benefits of this style of training.
But does it work? You bet! This is the style of training you see on the Biggest Loser reality show and look at the weight that drops of them! This is the style of training our own Kingston’s Biggest Loser contestants are going through right now. In five weeks we have an average weight loss of 12 pounds and an average of 10 inches lost per participant. Not to mention how much stronger they are and how much better they feel. Oh, and they are not starving! Weird concept eh?
Don’t believe me? Check out my wife Whitney’s blog for some links to this and other fitness myths that abound out there!
Is it for everybody? Absolutely. Maybe not yet. If you have not exercised for a long time, or maybe you have never been very physically active you shouldn’t jump into crazy HIT training. If you don’t start a little slower you will end up being one of the injured P90x or Crossfit followers. You need to start a little slower but know that the goal is to get into HIT training.
Yeah, it hurts a little, its tough, you will sweat, hurt, and cry. But you will be stronger for sure! Not to mention leaner and stronger!
So get off you elliptical and find a set of stairs. Sprint up them, do 10 pushups, walk down and jump rope for 30 seconds. Should take about a minute and a half. Do a 5 minute warm-up, perform 5 sets of the set I just described, then a 5 minute cool down period. Should take under 20 minutes. I promise if you can get through it all you will not doubt the information I am giving you!
And don’t be afraid to seek out help. Best to get help at the beginning than spin your wheels blindly for weeks and have to go and get the help then. There are lots of resources online and lots of gyms and fitness facilities in our area that can teach you this fat burning style of working out!
Questions and comments are always welcome!