Last week, I asked you to think ahead to January 2. The Holidays are officially over. No more parties. You wake up and step on the scale. Are you the same weight as you were on Thanksgiving morning or leaner? Or are you saying, “Holy SH%$!!! I am 5 pounds heavier!!! WTF!!”?
I gave you a number of solid nutritional tips and strategies to incorporate during the Holiday season, which are proven to work well. Of course, you need to actually incorporate these strategies and stop making excuses to eat the cute little donuts with red and green sprinkles on them, “just because it’s the holidays.” What about training, though?
What’s Necessary for Weight Loss from a Training Perspective
- Strength Training
- Metabolic Resistance Training
- Minimal long, slow aerobic training
- Lower stress and sleep better
Just like with nutrition, my suggestion is to take steps NOW to incorporate intelligent training into your weekly regimen that will produce meaningful results.
Strength Training – Pick up Something Heavy
Everybody should be strength training twice per week, at a minimum. In my opinion, 3 times is better, but twice will do. And the key is to challenge your muscles, to build lean muscle mass and strength. I know that sort of freaks out the ladies….I can hear it now, “I don’t want muscle mass, I don’t want to get bulky.” Trust me, you won’t. It’s nearly impossible unless you are a freak of nature, and to be blunt, you are not.
Do you want to know what lifting heavy means for women? It means losing body fat and emphasizing your curves in all the right places. There is a mountain of scientific data to support this. So follow this advice, will you?
And guys, you know you want to look a bit jacked, right? Admit it. Maybe not like Arnold or Sylvester (showing my age here), but all guys would love to look a little more muscular. So, take my advice, please.
Remember the hormone discussion from last week. The key to improving your insulin sensitivity is to make the receptors on your cell walls more sensitive, and this is strongly affected by lifting heavy things. Excessive cardio has absolutely no impact on insulin receptors. And if you lift heavy and truly challenge yourself (again, stop making excuses to only lift the 5lb pink dumbbells), you will get an aerobic affect. If your heart doesn’t pound, then you are not trying hard enough.
Plan 2 days per week (minimally) and focus on the big, compound movements that target the largest muscles. Think squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups and barbell rows. As you gain strength and lean muscle mass, your metabolism will increase, which means that you will burn more fat at rest. Who doesn’t want that?
Finally, if you are new to lifting or haven’t trained in a while, get some expert advice. Don’t just walk into the local gym and start pounding on the iron – you’ll get hurt. Find a trainer to make sure that your technique is solid and who can create a good program that works. And these workouts should not last more than 30-40 minutes.
Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT)
For weight loss/fat loss purposes, you should program MRT workouts 2 – 3 times per week. This type of training will really jack up your heart rate and facilitate massive fat burning, which will last far beyond the actual workout itself. This is called the “Afterburn” effect and typically lasts for up to 24-36 hours. By the way, there is NO afterburn affect from long, slow cardio.
So what exactly is MRT? There are a number of ways to program it, but here is how I like to use it with my clients, and myself.
- Warm-up for 3-5 minutes.
- Set your watch for 10 minutes.
- Perform an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) within the 10 minutes of the following circuit (defined as 3-4 or more exercises done in a row). Remember to keep cycling through the circuit with as little rest as possible, until the 10 minutes are done.
- Goblet Squats – 10x
- Push-ups – 10x
- Mountain Climbers – 12x/leg
- Rest 5 minutes.
- Set your watch for 10 minutes.
- Perform a different AMRAP within the 10 minutes of the following circuit.
- Kettlebell Swings – 15x
- 1 Arm Rows – 10x/arm
- Lying Leg Raises – 10x
- Cool-down and/or foam roll for 3-5 minutes.
By the way, this is only 1 example of literally hundreds of types of AMRAPs. Get creative, but make sure to include movements involving the lower body, upper body and core. Also, make sure to incorporate a combination of bodyweight movements and weighted movements with DB’s or KB’s.
One more point, the total workout time, including warm-up and cool-down is only 35 minutes. Pretty time efficient, aye?
Traditional Long, Slow Aerobic Training
For weight loss/fat loss, you want to minimize this type of training. One time per week is sufficient. But wait, this goes against everything that you have ever heard or read about? It’s sacrilege, right? No, I am speaking from the basis of science. What you have read about and likely believe is mostly wrong. It’s not your fault – you have been deceived, and I want you to know the facts.
Long, Slow, Steady (LSS) Aerobic Training
- There is NO afterburn effect at all. Once you stop running, the fat-burning drops off the cliff and stops.
- LSS does nothing to improve insulin sensitivity.
- LSS does a lot to increase cortisol, and this is NOT good at all from a fat-burning, weight loss perspective.
- Too much LSS has the potential to be very detrimental to your joints.
Let’s set the record straight. I am not totally hating on your cardio. In fact, I absolutely include it my own training and the programs that I write up for my clients. But you need to understand that too much is sub-optimal for your health, and particularly for your fat loss goals. Minimize it to 1x per week.
Instead of pounding your joints into submission 3-6 times per week, do more walking instead.
If you adopt these strategies today, along with last week’s nutrition strategies, rather than wait for January, you will change your health status dramatically. You will likely lose weight along the way, or even better, you won’t lose any weight, but rather you’ll lose fat and replace it with lean muscle, which is the best possible scenario for optimal health. Don’t wait until the new year to take control of your health.
Start today by Eating and Training SMART During the Holidays!!