Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Special Report: Part 3


We see it every day: women who spend 4 days a week, 40 minutes at a time, on the stair-stepper, treadmill or bicycle who don’t lose weight and sometimes even gain! We know men who run 6 miles a day who have no muscle tone and rolls of fat aroundtheir waists. They come to us and ask how in the world can they be gaining weight?! Or, why can’t I get rid of this pudge?! You’ve been led to believe that if you want to lose fat, all you have to do is regular aerobic exercise. There’s more to it than that.

It’s all about intensity, nutrition, and balancing your hormones. If aerobic exercise is not supplemented with strength training to at least maintain muscle mass, you cannot effectively accelerate the fat loss process. Each pound of lean muscle tissue burns 35-50 calories a day while your body is at REST. Whereas body fat is not metabolically active, so little to no fat is burned for each pound of body fat. We are not the kind of trainers who are going to get on your case about doing your hours upon hours of cardio per week, because we know that a regimen like that will most likely have the opposite of the desired effect.

Here is the average scenario: You work 8-12 hours a day. You eat what is convenient (i.e. poorly). You don’t sleep enough. If you have time you might get to the gym to do 45 minutes of cardio and maybe a little strength training if you have the energy (which you usually don’t). You burn x number of calories on the elliptical (which is probably creating some sort of overuse injury since you are doing the same motion over and over and over again), so how the hell are you still so soft around the middle? And why won’t these saddle-bags just go away?! The answer to this mystery is most likely because your hormones are all out of whack. Remember that stress hormone called cortisol? When you don’t sleep enough, spend all day working, are overexposed to light, eat poorly, and then race to the gym to run on the treadmill for an hour, your body thinks you are being chased by a lion and you are seriously screwing with yourself. In our modern and very well-lit societies, we constantly have high cortisol; doing long bouts of cardiovascular exercise will kick that stress hormone into high gear and your body will do anything it needs to in order to survive. This includes storing energy, which is why you can’t seem to get rid of that soft belly no matter how many stairs you climb.

So, what should you do? Well, first of all- if you don’t have a healthy handle on your sleeping and eating habits, start there. If you are ready to train and do it the right way, we believe whole- heartedly in high intensity, interval training that uses more than one metabolic system at once (meaning, you are doing strength training and “cardio” at the same time). Fitness is not just looking like you work out. Fitness is being prepared for any physical challenge that might cross your path, whether you are a professional athlete or a grandmother (Note: we like to think that part of fitness is being prepared for mental and emotional challenges as well). Being fit means you possess a wide range of skills and abilities that don’t come from 3 sets of 10 bicep curls or 45 minutes on the elliptical. Building strength and muscle mass is IMPERATIVE to boosting your
metabolism and having a strong and prepared body that is ready and able to do anything.

We recognize the importance of using your own body as your main tool. We use very little equipment so that you can truly connect with yourself and move in ways that we, as humans, are meant to move. Never mind sitting in weight machines and working one muscle group at a time- we focus on functional movements like running, jumping, swinging, and climbing that will develop your body and mind into one integrated and coordinated being. We teach you how to lift heavy things properly, we teach you how to harness your power and use it in the right way, we teach you how to BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING.

*Special Note: We hear the following statements time and time again: (from men),“I run a lot so I don’t really need to strength train my legs.” And (from women), “I know I should exercise more, but I don’t want to get too bulky.” NEWS FLASH: Guys, running does not equate to strengthening your legs, for true fitness you’re going to have to do more than chest, back, biceps, and shoulders. Ladies, you do not have the physiological capacity to get huge unless you try REALLY, REALLY hard with a very specialized body building program and diet. The “bulk” you notice from time to time? It’s all the carbs you eat and the subsequent water you are holding on to.

Remember: muscle is metabolically active tissue. Fat is not. Fat is an energy source for the body but most people have much more than they need. Fat does not use energy – it is used as energy. Muscle uses energy. Lots of it. The more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn. And here’s the biggest benefit, and why everyone needs to incorporate strength training in their exercise program: the more lean muscle you have, the more fat you burn – WHILE YOU ARE AT REST!

You see, that’s really the ultimate weight loss and fitness secret. Looking and feeling great is not just a function of how much fat you burn when you’re working out, because you can only exercise so much in a given week. The real secret is how metabolically active your body is the other 95% of the time. People with more lean muscle burn fat at a much greater rate than do those with less lean muscle. That doesn’t mean you have to look like Arnold or Madonna to be an efficient fat-burning machine. But you do have to at least maintain – and preferably increase – your lean muscle tissue. It’s easy with the proper strength training program.

1 comment:

  1. Agreed!! It is a fact that until you don't take some time out from your busy schedule for your body to keep it fit till then you won't be able to stay fit or you will not be able to achieve your personal fitness goals. Fitness requires proper concentration towards your body requirements. Thanks for this informative post.

    Personal fitness training