Instead of the tagline “Stay Fit and Strong,” it should read “Stay Skinny and Weak.”
(In the last part of this series on training for the aesthetics with mental toughness training, I discussed the flaws on individual body part training. A better method to changing your body’s composition is with full-body workouts. When you train your whole body during a workout, you release muscle building hormones throughout your blood system. Single body part training does not have this hormonal effect. Athletes, bodybuilders, strongmen have been doing full-body workouts since the beginning of the century. Single body part training only become popular in the 1970’s when bodybuilders on steroids promoted this new way of training. In today’s post, I will discuss the second biggest fitness myth – long distance running is a good protocol for fat lost).
If you asked person on the street what do you think is the best workout protocol to lose weight, a majority of them will say long distance running. It has been assumed for nearly 50 years, that jogging is the most effective method to shed fat. Like individual body part training, the jogging craze evolved during the 70’s. It was pushed heavily by the shoe companies, particular the fledgling “Nike” which was one the early pioneers of the running trend. Running took the nation by storm. It was believed to prevent heart disease and was fun to do. Plus, the runner’s high was very addictive. Although, there were not many peer-reviewed scientific studies to prove the positive benefits, everybody assumes that running helped you lose weight. After all, steady-state running is an aerobic exercise which you use oxygen to burn stored fat in your body to produce energy. Logically, it seems to make sense – the farther you run the more excess fat you’ll ignite. In order to lose weight, your body must be in constant motion. Who would argue against this reasoning? It all sounded right. Most people just didn’t need the people in white coats to empirically prove to them what they already knew was healthy for them. How many people didn’t need scientific prove? Millions of them. Every day, runners ran for hours assuming all the miles that they logged in was good for their health.
Although the jury wasn’t out on slow steady running, what was concrete and clear to the medical community was that endurance running was causing a lot pain. Many doctors even warned the public of the dangers of LSD (long, steady, distance) running. LSD joggers had all sorts of knee and foot injuries. However, that didn’t stop them from running. The sense of accomplishment from running was too rewarding and running was still thought to be the best way to stay healthy and lost weight.
Without much data to back up the positive benefits of LSD running, the fitness world did its best to prevent the chronic pain and injuries associated with outdoor running. The treadmill machine was developed, modified and constantly improved. And yes, it was less painful that the pounding on concrete. Soon cardio machines like stair masters, elliptical machines, and other high tech cardio equipment started to dominate your commercial gyms. During peak hours, the cardio room is packed with people waiting in line do to their steady-state cardio work. Studies have suggested that the average time most people spend on these cardio machines is an hour, during which they stroll at a very low intensity level. This arbitrary time of one “hour” to do cardio is a mystery. It seems that the choice of 60 minutes seems to go with the old long distance running theory that “longer runs” were better for fat burning. So a slow steady run for 45 minutes on the treadmill was good, but 60 minutes will make you lose more fat. This “longer the better” concept is based on what seems like common sense and not scientific research, after all, slow and long cardio is what all the fitness experts and magazines were all preaching about.
After decades of blind faith and assumptions, the science is out about slow, steady cardio, and the news isn’t very good. Long steady cardio may not be optimal for burning overall fat in your body, and also may be counterproductive because it can cause muscle to wasting away.
How could this be? How could long cardio sessions on the treadmill not help burn fat? Isn’t fat the primary source of energy being burned during long distance running? It is – your body is mostly burning fat and not sugar during aerobic workouts. And this is the major problem and where all the confusion begins. By ignoring the need for scientific explanation to fat lose, the masses don’t understand the science behind effective weight lost solutions. In fact, the fitness experts pretty much got it all backwards when it comes to teaching people how to shed fat.
To lose weight, you don’t want to burn fat during a workout, but after a workout is done.
(To be continued)
Today’s strength day WOD –
5 sets of 5 reps
1. Back squat
2. Incline dumbbell bench press
3. Bent over rows
4. Seated dumbbell military press
5. Romanian dead lifts
Like with individual body part training, we have been misled about the positive rewards with long steady running as well. For nearly 20 years, I listened to the so-called bodybuilding experts and running coaches in telling me how to train. I did exactly what they told me. One day I would focus on pumping up my chest and the next day on I would concentrate of getting rid of my love handles by going out and doing a 8 mile run. Just more bullshit and bad advice after the other. No wonder I stalled at trying to gain significant muscle and failed to get rid of the soft flabbily stuff around my belly.
What isn’t a bunch of crap is how strength development is correlated to muscle growth. This is one of the oldest adage and truths to packing on muscle mass before all the false information came out in the 1970’s. Strength training works because it recruits your fast twitch muscles, the fibers that grow the most and largest ones in your system. Single body part training, on the other hand, usually focuses on only one muscle group or your slow twitch muscle groups. These are your smallest muscles and less likely to get bigger.
According to the scientific studies, the most effective way to add muscle to your frame, is to do heavy movements like squats, thrusters, rows, and presses because they will get your body an optimal hormonal response which you will release testosterone and HGH in your body. Concentration curls may give your bicep a “pump,” but won’t stimulate much anabolic hormones in your system. Besides proper nutrition, building a better body is about stimulating the right hormones, particularly when you get older. This is not based on hearsay or blind assumption, but on sound scientific research.
Furthermore, what most people don’t realize is that strength training also puts your body in a fat burning mode because it has a cardio effect on your body. Heavy lifting usually equates with heavy breathing. However, must people don’t makes this connection because they are lifting with a load that’s too light which does very little in raising their heart rate. Picking up easy stuff and voiding challenges is a good strategy to have if you wish to remain physically weak and mentally unfulfilled.
To get physically and mentally strong, you must confront your lack of strength. It will not be comfortable, but doing a heavy deadlift in a explosive and fast manner will leave you gasping for air and will raise your metabolism. On the other hand, slow tricep kickbacks with tiny weights will do very little in taxing your cardio vascular system and won’t make a dent in your resting metabolism rate. In an upcoming post, I will pull out my geek card and explain in simplest, scientific terms why an elevated metabolism is the key to getting rid of your annoying adipose fat tissues.
After being deceived so many time by the fitness business for nearly 25 years, I just had to put my foot down and say I’ve had it with all the lies. Now instead of reading the popular health magazines at the market, I read scientific peer-review studies on fitness. I’ve learn to be skeptical of everything, especially the studies that seem too good to be true. I question everything and so should you do. You shouldn’t just take my word for it as blind faith has led you to current troubles of being mentally weak in the first place. Learn to think for yourself and do your own research. Having the ability to seek out the truth is a sign that your perseverance skills are strong as you have the ability to not let the bullshit get to you along the way. In terms of mental toughness development, the skill of ignoring the small stuff in life is very admirable.
In sum, there’s just isn’t need to separate muscle building workouts on one training day and focus on fat burning WODs the next training day. This protocol is so outdated and has set millions of people back in their pursuit of reaching their aesthetic goals. The new scientific data overwhelmingly supports that you can build a more muscular physique and annihilate fat cells in the same training session by going heavy and using your whole body.
So put down the light loads and throw away your running shoes. Pick up some heavy shit instead.
You’ll get stronger and have a more muscular body to show for it.
Scaled back version of this WOD –
1. Doing 3 sets of 3 reps for each compound movement.
Acceptable substitutions –
1. You can use a barbell for the bench press and if you prefer a flat bench, go for it.
2. If you are craving some variety, do cable rows instead of the bent over barbell ones.
3. You can use a barbell for the seated presses instead of dumbbells.