A Proactive Approach to Fitness Training
My father has always told me the same thing when it comes to money. He always said (in French), “Don’t spend less, make more”. My dad has always had a simple way to express how he feels about a subject – which is important. If you can’t sum it up in a few words, you’ve probably gotten too far away from the basics. His words are just another way of saying the old adage that we all know – the best defense is a good offense.
When it comes to fitness, the timid, worn out, reactive approach is exactly the wrong approach to take. Disagree? Tell me if this sounds familiar. You get some new workout clothes, you shovel out a few hundred bucks to join a gym (initiation, first and last month, towel upgrade, etc.), you get on a treadmill, you repeat the “get on a treadmill” part for another couple of weeks and then you never step foot in the gym again – that is until January rolls around again. You're problem isn’t that you're weak (mentally anyway), just ill-informed.
Without getting into all the things that make for an effective workout routine that you’ll stick to, I’ll get to the point of this article/blog. If what I described above is you, you’re training DEFENSIVLEY when you should be attacking the problem as AGGRESIVELY as you can - at your current capacity anyway.
The vast majority of people join gyms to accomplish one thing – “lose weight”. This phrase drives me nuts. What everyone is actually trying to do is lose FAT. Think about it, when you get on that treadmill, do you put the setting on “bone and organ loss – level 5”? No. You put it on a setting that claims to be effective at burning fat specifically. Here’s the dirty little secret the treadmill sales people and manufacturers don’t want you to know – you're going about it ALL wrong.
First thing you have to realize is that fat is fuel and, far as you're concerned, nothing else. Next thing you have to realize is that bigger engines that run harder and faster burn more fuel than smaller engines that run at a lower intensity/RPM. Now, everything you eat goes to three places – your digestion (10%), your physical activity (aka – PA, ~15-30%) and your metabolism (~60-75%). Your best bet is to take advantage of the last two of these outlets as best you can. Theres not alot you can do about the first one so don’t worry about it.
You can dramatically increase the latter two (over time) - and get great results - IF you harness their collective powers. Your PA calorie output can be increased very nicely by attending a gym and training 3 times a week, an hour at a time, while getting some cardio on the side. The metabolism, my favorite calorie outlet, is where you can really start doing some damage to your fat deposits… There’s only two approaches that will increase your metabolism - increases in lean mass (chronic) and EPOC (acute).
Think treadmills increase lean mass? Negative. They most often DECREASE lean mass - so that the body has less weight to move and because it doesn’t need all that heavy type-2 muscle fiber to do low intensity work. Your answer lies in (drum role……) full body strength training. Strength training? You mean the chest press machine and Smith machine squats? No. Hell no. I mean squats, deadlifts, presses (all of them), upper back work, etc. ALL FREE WIEGHT – no exceptions. In order to gain significant amounts of lean mass, you have to target the biggest muscle groups on your body and do so intensely. This and only this will increase your body's lean mass levels and create a significant EPOC effect.
Want to burn fat and keep it off while developing a more athletic looking body that is pain free and more effective at resisting disease and injury? Train for whole body strength.