I hope the first three weeks of this series have been phenomenal for you and that you are seeing across-the-board changes with your body composition.
In the final installment of this series, I want to talk exclusively about exercise and what it can do to help reshape your body.
Exercise is arguably the most controversial topic in the health and fitness field. There are so many fads coming at us..all…the..time. Can anyone remember step aerobics? What about hula-hooping (which has made a recent return)? And the new fads like crossfit, zumba, body pump and others.
But there is one thing that has stood the test of time, and that is resistance training. It will continue to stand the test of time because it is based on science. Our bodies are predominantly “type 2” muscle fibers or fast-twitch. That means they function best with short, hard bouts of activity. Jogging is out. Aerobics is out. Sweating to the oldies actually makes you older! It increases the oxidative stress in the cells which is the reason we age! If you want to get lean and stay young, you need apply resistance that will cause the muscles to physiologically adapt.
I want to help you take the guesswork out of weight training. Instead of spending 90 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical watching the (mostly) guys in the weight area do their thing, I want you to be right there next to them lifting weights and doing it better!
Having said that, I left this topic for the fourth week because I feel it is fourth in terms of importance when it comes to reshaping your body. Sleep, what and when you eat, your water intake, and base supplementation need to be in order if you want to create major change in your body.
Since your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is key to burning more calories throughout the day, you need to train so as to increase your RMR. In studies that have taken anaerobic exercise groups versus aerobic exercise groups, the anaerobic groups, who would do a short 15-60 second sprint protocol, would burn up to nine times more fat than the aerobic groups, who basically jogged.
This happened even though the aerobic group burned more calories during the actual exercise portion. But because aerobic exercise does not affect RMR like anaerobic exercise does, those exercisers burned more calories overall and, in turn, burned more fat. They also exercised about half as much.
It’s a win-win.
So when you go to the gym, walk right past the treadmills and go directly to the weights.
- Choose big-bang exercises that will work multiple joints and multiple muscle groups. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows, chin-ups & push-ups (bench presses) for example.
- You want to pick loads that are moderate to heavy in weight. This will put your rep ranges in the 8-12 range.
- Pick 2 exercises and alternate between them (super-set) with short rest periods in between
- Doing 3-4 sets will create a training stimulus that will affect that RMR of yours. You’ll burn more calories throughout the day and burn through the fat like never before.
Don’t get upset when it doesn’t happen right away. It probably won’t. I know summer is getting close. But stay committed to the plan. Don’t go back to that aerobics class. This will far better and much sooner cut fat off your body than any of those classes you are doing.
You’ll be able to tell right away that you are creating change as you should be pretty sore for a few days. Keep going. As your body adapts, simply add more weight and/or shorten the rest period. That’s another reason why weight training is so superior to aerobic – you can progress the exercise or swap it out and create a totally new training stimulus.
Now that you got in your 45-60 minute weight session you can perform your sprints (check out Week 2’s article). Doing your exercise in this order is also superior to what many people like to do – jogging first, then weights.
Train smart. Get lean. I’m always here to help if anyone ever has any questions or is in the Orange County/Los Angeles area and wants to come in for an evaluation or train. But be ready to train hard. That’s the only way to go.
Fat-burning Exercise Tip Of The Week: The next time you walk in the gym, pick two exercises you have never done before and super-set them. My favorites are chin-ups and deadlifts. Look up a how-to or ask a trainer to assist you for the first set or two if you need. Do the first set at 60% of your intended intensity as a warm-up then get after it for 3-4 sets. Don’t do the same old thing you do every time you go to the gym. Change it up and break out of your rut!
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Like this article? Check out more from this series:
Check out Phil Gephart's website which is full of great workout tips HERE
About Phil Gephart:
Phil Gephart is a certified personal trainer with a Master's Degree (MS) in Exercise Science with a focus in Coaching & Athletic Administration, received in 2009 from Concordia University in beautiful Irvine, California. Phil’s passion for fitness is reflected in his involvement in sports throughout his life—in high school, he played basketball, baseball and soccer, in college he continued playing basketball and soccer. Phil also played basketball professionally for five years.
Phil Gephart is currently a professor in the exercise science department at Concordia University, where he teaches an Advanced Personal Training course to undergraduate students.