By: Anthony Campo
In gyms across the nation, cardio equipment seems to be the most popular form of exercise. It follows the whole “eat less, move more” rhetoric that continues to be one of the main factors attributing to our rising obesity and diabetes statistics. As soon as the weather gets nice you will also see many individuals head out jogging trying to shed excess winter poundage. Moderate pace cardio on a machine or jogging outside is an extremely inefficient way to try and lose weight and improve your body composition over the long haul. If this type of exercise is your primary source of exercise over time your body will actually become more efficient at storing fat and burning muscle. This is the exact opposite of what most people want, and lack of proper education in this matter is just adding to the problem. Even if you do experience some weight loss initially by running or doing a lot of “cardio”, understand that you are most likely losing a high percentage of muscle, and training to be a fat storage machine. If medium pace “cardio” such as jogging is your primary source of exercise, weight loss success will be short lived, and your body is highly likely to put the weight right back on as soon as there is some off time. Even advanced endurance athletes must work extensively to try and slow down the damage the body and metabolism incurs from participating in endurance sports such as biking, running, or cross-country skiing.
Resistance training on the other hand is superior for building muscle and turning the body into a fat burning machine. Individuals who prioritize resistance training along with higher intensity training methods will continue to improve their body composition for both the short and the long term, and are far less likely to put the fat back on even during time off.
Dan John – “My issue is this, the cardiovascular system is, well, a system. So, when people ask me about doing cardio, I tend to answer, “No, I trained my lymphatic system earlier and I don’t want to overdo it.”
***Everything you do involves the cardiovascular system. Utilizing high intensity training methods with resistance exercise is the most effective way to lose fat, build muscle, and improve function and overall health.
– Resistance Training is the number one thing you can do short term to improve blood sugar immediately.
– The word “moderate” as in moderate intensity exercise is often the verbiage used when recommendations are made for physical activity for improving health. The problem is that the term “moderate” is subjective, and differs from person the person.
– The most important thing when it comes to training or exercise is to challenge yourself, and have a plan in order to make progressions both short and long term.
3 ways to increase intensity while training
– Maximal Effort (Increasing load or weight)
– Rep Effort (Increasing total amount of reps modifying volume, frequency and duration)
– Dynamic Effort (Increasing rate of force production)
*** The key to success for any individuals is to modify these intensities in a way that stimulates positive body adaptions and causes progression over time.
Your Basic Road Map to Training
If your goal is to make progress in your fitness, then follow this basic outline for putting together a program:
Start with an all-inclusive warm-up consisting of soft tissue work, stretching, mobility work, and activation exercises. This will take different amounts of time depending on your limitations. Limitations can be anything from being sore and tight from your last session or trying to rehab an injury. In warming up you should gain a better understanding of your body, and reach a level of preparedness that will allow you to get the best out of yourself each training session.
Your first exercise should be a major compound movement such as any variation of squatting, deadlifting, or pressing. Depending on your level this can be anything from a modified pushup to a max effort deadlift. No matter the movement, the whole idea of doing this first is to get stronger at that exercise. This is an instance where you are training mostly the movement. The sole purpose for this movement is to hit a record for yourself on the exercise (meaning doing something that you’ve never done before.) Don’t worry about muscle fatigue, or trying to get a pump, just make sure you get stronger each week by lifting more weight, lifting a weight for more reps, or lifting a weight faster.
After you main lift you should pick accessory work that hits your weaknesses. Between your warm up and doing your main lift you should gain a pretty good understanding of where your weaknesses are. Choose exercises that will hit these weaknesses. Doing this will help your progress, and lower your risk of injury. Focus on activating specific muscle complexes that will improve your primary movements.
Once you have completed your warm-up, main lift, and accessory work, then you can get into your specializations. If your goal is weight loss, then do some conditioning and finishers. If you are trying to pack on muscle, do some bodybuilding and really finish the muscles off. If your goal is to be as healthy as possible, then make sure you stretch and do soft tissue work post workout as well. If your goal is all of these things, find out a way to combine them (such as complexes) that will fit your time schedule.
Follow this simple outline consistently, and you will be well on your way to success!