Monday, December 8, 2008

Metabolic Resistance Training for Fat Loss

Metabolic resistance training for fat loss is all the rage right now, and I'm fully on board with it. The principles of metabolic resistance training for fat loss are as follows:

1. Use Compound Exercises, Hybrid Exercises & Complexes

A compound exercise is simply one which involves multiple muscle groups and joint movements simultaneously. A barbell squat is a prime example of a compound exercise because it works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back, and other core muscles all at the same time and acts on both the hip and knee joints.

A hybrid exercise is simply 2 compound exercises performed simultaneously. The dumbbell front squat to overhead press is a prime example of a hybrid exercise, as is the split squat to low cable row.

Finally, a complex is simply a series of either compound or hybrid exercises performed one right after the other with a very short transition between each exercise (usually none at all). Complexes usually call for the use of the same training load for each exercise within the complex to reduce rest time and ensure a smooth transition between exercises. The number of reps performed for each exercise within a complex can vary: there is usually a rep volume of 50-100 when performing a complex, so one would be advised to divide the total # of reps up evenly between the # of exercises within the complex.

2. Use Short Rest Periods

The whole idea behind metabolic resistance training is, as the name implies, to create a metabolic disturbance both during and after the training session. The best way to do this is to utilize short rest periods between sets and exercises within a metabolic resistance training for fat loss session. This ensures incomplete recovery, keeps the oxygen consumption high, and paves the way for optimal fat loss.

30-60 seconds between sets and exercises is a good general guideline to follow, although in some metabolic programs, the rest periods are much shorter. If you are de-conditioned, and need to start out with longer rest periods, that's ok. Just try to reduce your rest each week or from workout to workout.

3. Use Light to Moderate Training Loads

A big mistake many people make when engaging in a metabolic resistance training program is using loads/weights which are entirely too heavy. Remember, this is NOT strength training and the goal is not to (directly anyway) increase maximal strength. The goal is FAT LOSS and work capacity enhancement. You should be more concerned with increasing the volume of work than the actual training loads you are using. If you are failing to hit the repetition targets you set out for yourself on any given exercise, at any point during your workout, you are going too heavy. Again, if you feel like something is way too light, I'd rather see you increase the volume of reps or sets before you go heavier.

Now, I'm not saying you should use ultra light weights but you definitely need a resistance which your muscles recognize as being somewhat challenging. There really is no hard and fast rule about how much or how little to use in terms of a percentage of your maximal strength on a given exercise, etc. Put it this way, the load you choose for each exercise should be "annoying hard", just enough to keep you breathing heavy.

4. Perform a High Volume and Density of Work

It is not uncommon during a metabolic resistance training workout to perform 20+ sets and several hundred repetitions in a half hour or under. Now, you may not start out with at this volume, but you should try to progress to this level. Once again, performing a high volume and density of work ensures you are really stoking your metabolism and keeping it stoked for many many hours post workout. Increasing post workout metabolism is the whole goal of metabolic resistance training: THIS IS SOMETHING TRADITIONAL "CARDIO" DOESN'T DO VERY EFFECTIVELY.

Now that we understand the principles and rationale behind metabolic resistance training for fat loss, let's look at a sample workout:

1. Stability Ball Push-up to Jackknife - 10-15 reps

2. Split Squat to Low Cable Row - 10-15 reps each side

3. Dumbbell Front Squat to Press (aka "Thruster") - 10-15 reps

4. Trap Bar Deadlift to Carry (4 lengths): 5 deadlifts, walk 10 yds, turn around and repeat 4 times without stopping)

5. 10 pushups, 10 cross body mountain climbers, 10 burpees, 10 jump squats, 10 recline rows (barbell in rack, TRX, etc): perform all of these one right after the other.

Rest: 30-45 seconds between each exercise. Rest 90-120 seconds after the fifth movement and repeat for 4 circuits. Collapse on the ground and wonder why in the world you just did this to yourself. Feel your body turning into a human inferno!

There you have it, a metabolic resistance training for fat loss workout which is sure to challenge even the most hardcore fitness enthusiast. If you are a beginner, don't worry: just adjust the rest periods and number of circuits initially to allow yourself to get through it. You can adjust from there. If you combine this type of program 3-4 days/week with a sound nutrition program, you'll give yourself the best chance for success in meeting your fat loss goals. Remember, you can't out train a poor diet!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fat Burning Zone vs. Cardio Training Zone

A common misconception that I often have to explain and clarify relates to the aspect of cardiovascular training - “fat burning” (low-intensity) workouts result in better fat loss results than “cardio training” (high-intensity) workouts. Nothing could be further (or misleading for that matter) from the truth. Let's take a closer look at some of the important aspects of fat loss that you may already be implementing, and some that you are most likely not using. These could make all the difference in burning off those final pounds and giving you the lean, defined physique and six pack abs that you've been working so hard to get.

Resting State
At rest, the body burns a mix of fuels that come in the form of stored body fat (fatty acids) and stored sugar found in the muscles (glucose). Since our bodies don’t like to burn proteins for energy, we are left with carbohydrates (another fancy name for ‘sugar’) and fat. Given that we’re in the resting state, the “average” person will burn about 70% fat and 30% of carbs for energy.

Progression from Rest to Exercise (Physical Activity)
As a person moves from rest to activity, the percentage of fuel coming from fat will decrease and the percentage from carbs will increase. What this means is that as we move faster and harder, we are using less body fat for energy and more stored sugar. The more intense the exercise, the more carbs and less fat in the mix. What if my goal is to lose fat? Why would I want to move faster & harder knowing that I’m burning less fat? Here’s your answer.

Fat Burn Zone Myth Debunked
Many people assume that in order to “burn fat” they need to exercise at lower intensities, also known as the “fat burning zone”. However, this is where most people “miss the boat”, so to say. Going back to the resting state as mentioned earlier, although a greater percentage of calories from fat are burned as a person exercises at low intensity levels, you’re ultimately burning a lower total amount of calories from fat. On the flip side, at higher intensity exercise, the percentage of calories from fat goes down but the overall total calories burned from fat are greater. The ultimate goal for fat loss should rely on the total calories burned, not the percentage burned.

Still confused? Let me give you an example of how this works:


Let’s say two friends, Adam & Bill, decide to go for a cardio workout. Adam is exercising at a fairly low intensity (fat burning zone) that burns about 100 calories/hour. Let’s assume that 70% of those calories are coming from fat.

Bill, on the other hand, is exercising at a higher intensity (cardio training zone) that burns about 300 calories/hour. Only 50% of those calories are coming from fat.

Let’s do the math and get the results for Adam & Bill.
Adam is burning a higher percentage of fat, but 70% of 100 calories results in 70 fat calories burned.

Bill is burning a lower percentage of fat, but 50% of 300 calories results in 150 fat calories burned.

Bill burned twice as much fat calories than Adam did by working at a higher intensity at the same time period. This why the cardio training zone burns more fat overall than the so-called 'fat burning zone'.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Workout of the Day

Here's a workout that I just finished doing with my morning circuit class. Who needs coffee when you have this workout to look forward to? Check it out:

Dynamic Warm-Up
- Jogging, Butt Kicks, Seal Jacks, Cariocas, Line Shuffles, Gate Swings

* All circuits - 20 sec./exercise; 10 sec. recovery between exercises

Circuit #1
1) Push-Ups
2) Prisoner Squats
3) Staggered Push-Ups
4) Cross Crunches
5) Judo or Dive Bomber Push-Ups
6) Cross Crunches
7) Push-Ups (Choice of Regular, Judo/Dive Bomber or Spiderman's)
8) Cross Crunches

Circuit #2
1) DB Swing
2) Iron Cross w/ Squat
3) DB Swing
4) DB Quick Press
5) DB Swing
6) Iron Cross w/ Squat
7) DB Swing
8) DB Quick Press

Circuit #3
1) 2 DB Rows to Deadlifts (x10)
2) Push-Up to Plank Bridge
3) 180 degree Squat Jumps (BOSU)
4) "Over the Top" Lateral Shuffles (BOSU)
5) Asymmetrical Push-Ups (BOSU)
6) BOSU "Around the World" Toe Taps
7) Ball Floor-to-Wall Touch
8) 180 degree Squat Jumps or "Over the Top" Lateral Shuffles (BOSU)

Cool Down

We managed to finish this workout in less than 30 minutes. Get creative and add in your favorite exercises to the circuit above. There's no excuse for not having any time to exercise! It's time to step it up and throw the excuses list in the trash!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Tale of Two People

Here is a great story as told by Alwyn Cosgrove that I heard in person at the Perform Better Functional Training Summit in Long Beach, CA this past summer. The story really impacted me and made me think about those people in my life who have affected me in a positive way and those who affected me negatively. Either way as Alwyn asks at the end, "What kind of person are you?"

Check it out:

When I was in high school in Livingston I was in an advanced mathematics class. I have no idea how I got there as I was clearly the dumbest kid in the class. Sat next to me in the class was a guy (Keith Wilson) who spent his spare time (at 14 years old) working for a company converting the program code for an arcade computer game to a home version. He used to hand in his homework on a floppy disk. Me? I was drawing sharks on the back of my notebook.

So while studying quadratic equations, (something that has been oh-so-useful in my life) it was clear that I didn't understand it. I asked the teacher to go over it again. He sighed an exasperated sigh - but he went over it again. I still didn't get it. So I asked again. The teacher sighed loudly and said "Okay - the rest of you take a five minute break while I go over this again for Alwyn's benefit ....." and then mumbled "for whatever good that will do".

Obviously I felt pretty small at that point. And of course the whole class heard him and laughed. And I still didn't get it.
And I never asked a question to this teacher again.
And I failed the exam for the class.

This teacher was a man who had a chance to make a kid feel better and help him, or put him down and make him feel worthless. He chose the latter. Why? Just because he could. That's the kind of person he was.

Another person in my life was my Tae Kwon Do instructor - Derek Campbell. My Dad was made unemployed and we could no longer afford lessons. I went to my instructor and told him that we just couldn't afford lessons anymore and I'd be back when my Dad got a job. He told me to show up early for the next class and become his assistant - teaching beginners. He would pay me with free lessons. I went on to become a fourth degree black belt, and seven time UK national champion as a result. This teacher was also a man who had a chance to make a kid feel better and help him, or put him down and make him feel worthless. He chose the former. Why? Just because he could. That's the kind of person he was.

One person changed a kids life and made it worse. One person changed a kid's life and made it better. I remember both of them.

We have all had, and remember these people in our lives - the only question to ask is ...What kind of person are you?


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Long Beach, CA - Peform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit 2008

Here we are.....getting the party started in Long Beach! As you may know, personal trainers train & work hard and they also play hard!


I'm Back!

Gosh! It's been almost a month since I last posted any comments on my blog. What's been happening since my last post? Well, I traveled down to Long Beach, CA on June 11th thru the 15th to attend the Perform Better 3-Day Functional Training Summit. This was my 3rd year in a row attending this event and it was great! Lots of awesome presenters were there - JC Santana, Alwyn Cosgrove, Gray Cook, Mike Boyle, Don Chu, Thomas Plummer, Bill Parisi, Martin Rooney, Dwayne Carlisle and a good buddy of mine, Todd Durkin and many more. I was given the opportunity to re-connect with another friend/personal trainer from San Diego that I met 2 years ago at this event and also met 2 other trainers - one from NY and the other from Marburg, Germany. Mike, Terrence and Sascha, if you're reading this, thanks for a great time and I look forward to seeing you all very soon! By the way Mike, San Diego State still kicks a** and puts out great trainers in fitness industry - me, you, Todd, you,Todd! HA!

I hope you all have a happy & safe 4th of July!


Saturday, June 7, 2008

BodyBot - Results in Just 4 Minutes

May sound too good to be true, right? Workout in just 4-minutes and lose unwanted body fat? Sounds too skeptical? BodyBot creator, Ryan Lee says, "You should be skeptical." I know I did, until I tried his BodyBot workout circuits. Now I'm a believer! Ryan Lee, also known as the trainer's trainer, delivers high-velocity weight-loss results in as few as 4 minutes a day. I've been training for over 18 years and Ryan's BodyBot workout is something unique, motivating and it works! Check out the link below and you be the judge!


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Thought of the Day

"Science is nothing but organized common sense."
- Alwyn Cosgrove, MS, CSCS, Co-Owner of Results Fitness in Newhall, CA


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Einstein Once Said....

Albert Einstein once said:
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

Einstein also had this to say:
“Computers, working together, may one day generate facts out of thin air.”

It's pretty amazing how one can create or fabricate, for that matter, a myth or fact simply by attributing it to Einstein, right? The bee quote I mentioned above is making its rounds out in the world is a perfect example of this.

Well, I call this BS! Einstein knew a lot about the universe, after, this dude was a physics guru. He rightfully & definitely earned his place in science with his theories of relativity and a bunch of other stuff that 'brainiacs' get involved in. However, Einstein didn't know jackcrap about bees, and I’ve got a crisp twenty to anyone who can prove otherwise.

If you do a Google search on “einstein bees,” one gets 893,000+ results as of today. It’s true that things on the Internet sometimes take on a life of their own. In this case, the myth apparently first took shape & form in the so-called “mainstream media,” and from there was echoed everywhere the news could get spread like wildfire - both in print and online.

Nothing can take the place of having the ability to think for yourself. It's still your personal responsibility to judge whether or not information is accurate, no matter which source it came from! Period! Do your research before thinking it's fact!

Don’t be seduced by the buzz!


Fitness Tip of the Day

Need to lose some weight? I have the answer to your problems. Eat less and move more! And please, get rid of the list of excuses as to why you don't exercise.