Raw Fitness is a unique place where we have streamlined our efforts to do one thing better than anyone else I know. That one thing is fat loss. When it comes to helping people to look and feel their absolute best, I don’t want to be throwing Hail Mary’s hoping that something works. In order to do that, we rely heavily on science to take people to the next level.
Invariably, a large percentage of people with whom I discuss this topic will have the opinion that in order to lose fat, one must do cardio. Buy a membership to any standard big box gym and you will see myriads of people using bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills to burn excess fat. I understand their logic because at one point in time I used to think the same exact thing. What I have found after much research and practical application is that this is an inferior model and there are many better choices if you want results in a timely manner.
I’m sure I am not giving you any new news by telling you that to lose fat one must take in fewer calories than burned. The key is to find the best way to create this deficit, and more importantly, make sure the body uses excess fat stores to do so. Here’s the key: 60-70% of your metabolism is accounted for by what is referred to as your resting metabolic rate. Increasing resting metabolic rate has been proven to be the fastest way to help lose weight. There are two main ways to do so.
#1 Resistance training. If you build muscle, your metabolism will speed up.
#2 Interval based cardiovascular training, or what we would call metabolic conditioning. This is where I will place the remainder of the focus of this article.
The typical steady state cardio training elevates the heart rate to a certain level, stays pretty consistent, and the session usually lasts 20-30 minutes. During the course of the session the person will burn a certain amount of calories. However, once the person stops jogging and gets off the treadmill or whatever vehicle they are using, the ramping of calorie consumption reverts back to normal.
During an interval based model, the heart rate will spike and fall multiple times. The high heart rate can obviously not be maintained for 30 minutes, so intermittent recovery is a necessity here. One cannot sprint, slam ropes, push a sled, slam a med ball (insert any exercise one can do with significant intensity) all out for 30 straight minutes. It’s just not possible. This incites a few key factors. First off, the average heart rate over 30 minutes is higher than our steady state model, so there are more total calories burned. Second, and most importantly, the body was challenged in such a way that it feels the need to adapt significantly in order to make such a workout easier the next time around. It’s kind of like the muscular system; if you lift a heavy weight multiple times it can make you sore. The body adapts to build new muscle fibers so it becomes easier. With our interval model, the body will build more mitochondria in the cells as well as other ways of enhancing itself to be able to handle the workout better. THIS ADAPTATION PROCESS COSTS A LOT OF CALORIES AND JACKS UP THE RESTING METABOLIC RATE!
It is becoming a very popular thing to have timed intervals during workouts in order to burn fat. We have taken things to another level by leveraging the Myzone heart rate monitor system. Our members wear the monitor and we have a projector reflect their heart rates on the wall. Instead of setting a timer to guess how long one needs to work and rest (it is different for everyone), we have them work to a certain percentage of max heart rate and MAKE SURE THEY REST AS LONG AS THEY NEED TO IN ORDER TO RECEIVE THE NEEDED RECOVERY TO CREATE THE ADAPTATION I SPOKE ABOUT EARLIER. Letting the heart rate fall sufficiently between bouts is critical to getting the best results in the shortest amount of time. They will repeat this process multiple times during the course of the workout.
If you are a member and do not yet have your own Myzone belt, please see the part of this newsletter outlining our exciting new Holiday Hold ‘Em challenge!