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Lets just be honest here, we want results. Yes, we want to be healthy and strong both inside and out, but bottom line; we want to look good in a bathing suite. Am I right? So whats taking so damn long? How many of you out there find yourself slaving away at the gym for an hour plus everyday but still can’t seem to drop that last 10, 15, 20 + lbs? You’re not alone. It’s no wonder why so many people are convinced that setting out for that 10k jog or putting on your favorite movie while you churn away on the elliptical machine is the key to weight loss given the amount of misinformation out there. “But the machine said I burned 1,000 calories!” You might be saying at this point. Well, In the case of burning calories it’s not the “what”, it’s the “how”.
Theres an old adage in nutrition that says “not all calories are created equal”. Meaning that if your goal is to restrict your caloric intake to 1,800 a day but all your calories come from french fries and candy bars, don’t be surprised if your “diet” doesn’t yield the results you were hoping for. Whereas if you were to consume 2,400 calories a day that came from meat, veggies and nuts, you could count on your body responding positively even given the higher amount of calories. The point is, I think the same goes for burning calories too, or ” not all exercises burn calories equally (especially if you keep doing the same thing!)”. Something to that nature.
Now, am I saying that the occasional hour-long “low and slow” session is all bad?… Not at all, But if that tends to be your default workout, or if you find yourself running through the same old routine with your trainer (who I’m sure is great) and your body just isn’t changing the way you want it to, then it is with great pleasure that I introduce to you…
Variation & Intensity! – The key to getting results.
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That’s right folks. It’s all about variation and intensity. Here’s why: Your body is an adaptive creature. As soon as we introduce any new stimulus our body’s immediate response is to physiologically acclimate to it in order to maintain homeostasis. Why would it do this? Because although food may be anything but scarce in this day and age, evolutionarily speaking we’re still wired the same way as our hunter-gatherer ancestors were in a time when a meal may only come once every couple of days. Hence the reason we store body fat (energy) to be utilized at a later date. The problem is now a’ day that “later date” never happens, but that doesn’t stop our body from storing more fat… I know, awesome right? So if you’ve done the same workout routine more than 3 or 4 times then chances are your body has already adapted to it and does not need to sacrifice any further body fat (stored energy), or build any more muscle in order to perform that level of intensity in that particular way.
What’s one to do? Step it up a notch. Intensity and variation go to work for us by waking up our central nervous system (CNS). This is the secret. This is Holy Grail of results. However, this does not happen without effort, and at first it maybe very uncomfortable. Put another way: if your workout is comfy, you’re not working hard enough. The reason for this is by firing up your CNS you’re demanding adaptation from your body by demonstrating that your current body composition, strength and stamina is not adequate for what is now being demanded of it. Physical results then follow when after constantly varied and intense training confuses your body into burning up stored energy and building up extra muscle to handle the stresses of not knowing whats coming next! In short; keep your body guessing.
So, now that we’re constantly changing up our routine and making our 4-5 workouts a week more intense, cutting our hour-long “low and slow” cardio sessions to a 20-30 minute heart pounding, lung expanding, muscle burning, all-out interval run/sprint, taking our hour-long set-rest weight lifting session down to lean mean 20-40 minute full body circuit of dynamic, functional movements that leave us gasping for breath in a sweat angle on the floor. We KNOW our CNS is fired up and results are inevitable as long as we do not succumb to the temptation of conventional wisdom telling us to take it easy. Because in addition to wanting to look good naked we want to use our bodies the way they were meant to be used. NOT by isolated single joint exercises followed by an hour on the elliptical machine, BUT by dynamic, functional, multi-joint, full-body exercises that will express each of our unique genetic predispositions to its fullest potential!
Try it for a month and see what happens…
To your health,