Everything Works but Nothing Works Forever
There you go again, walking in a straight line for hours on that treadmill. Dancing around on and off that step in your “power” aerobics class? How about that person riding that bike while talking on your cell phone? I can’t leave out those people pumping away with endless amounts of repetitions with those ever so popular pink dumbbells… Why is it that you see the same people with the same bodies year after year? It’s because people have been doing the same old thing for far too long and nothing works forever! How many more crunches and aerobic classes do you have to do to finally get some results?
Let me ask you a question. Do you remember your first cup of coffee? Remember how it got you all wired? Over time that first cup just didn’t give you the same type of effect that the first one did, so what did you have to do? You needed to drink 2 cups, right? So in order for you to get the same affect that you used to, one of two things must occur, either you increase the total amount of coffee or you increase the strength. What about the first alcoholic beverage you had back in college? Remember how it didn’t take much to get you that “buzz” that you might have been seeking? Fast forward to your senior year or even right now and you’ll see that your tolerance for alcohol has some what improved… In order to get the same effect one of two things must occur, either you increase the total amount of alcohol or you pick a stronger drink.
The S.A.I.D Principle Exposed
You might be asking how the above examples have anything to do with your fitness program or fat loss endeavors? Allow me explain. The S.A.I.D Principle defined is Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. In a nut shell this means that your body will ALWAYS get better at exactly whatever ever it does no matter what it is. Let’s use the S.A.I.D Principle with an example toward fat loss… If you run 1 mile 3 days a week I can guarantee that by the next week that one mile will feel easier. Well according to S.A.I.D Principle it should. The next week or two you should be able to increase your mileage. You are now progressing nicely because now those 2 miles are feeling like your old one mile. Why not go for 4 miles the next week, how about 5 mi? You will eventually get to the point where 10mi or even 15 miles will not be a difficult accomplishment.
If you remember the two examples at the top I used with Alcohol and Coffee you will remember that your body will become desensitized to any stimulus that it’s exposed to too often… This even includes long-distance running. This means in order for you to burn the same amount of calories that you used to get at mile 5; you will now need to run 10 miles! You have effectively adapted to the implied demand of running at the same intensity. From a caloric expenditure stand-point this is catastrophic. So what is the solution? If we look at the above scenario’s using the Coffee and Alcohol there are only two choices… Run further, or increase the intensity of the run and shorten the distance. This actually proves that long-distance/low-intensity steady state cardio isn’t a smart modality for fat loss. Why? Because you must do more work to get the same effect!
Do you want a Cadillac or a Honda? Chunky Aerobic Teacher Syndrome Revealed
If I told you that my Honda got good gas mileage than that would mean that my car was fuel efficient. This would mean that my car can go long distances on very little gas. This is actually a good thing, for a car. What if I told you that running long distances or performing low intensity, long duration cardio made your body efficient at using fat for energy? This type of exercise not only wrecks your joints creating pain and dysfunction but it also makes your body extremely FUEL or FAT EFFICIENT! This is great for your car but extremely frustrating for someone engaging in a fat loss program. You want you’re body to mimic a Cadillac when engaging in a fat loss program… You want a car (body) with a big engine (a lot of muscle)! The goal should be to use as much fuel as possible but that fuel should be coming from Glycogen, not fat! Too much long distance long duration types of activities will make your engine (muscle) smaller thus creating less of a calorie burning machine at rest… By increasing the intensity and shortening the duration you will use glycogen as your primary fuel source and fat for energy while RECOVERING from you’re training session. By increasing the intensity you will also be able to maintain lean muscle (engine) which will increase your resting metabolic rate or the amount of calories you can use while doing nothing. Could this be the reason we see fat long distance runners? What about Fat spinning/aerobics instructors? Could this be the reason so many people hit plateaus and quit there exercise programs come February and March?
Don’t get me wrong – Are there people not of Kenyan descent that receive great benefit from long duration low intensity steady-state aerobics? Of course! What about that one guy who lost 50 pounds and the only thing he did was spinning 3 days a week? Oh, and there is that woman in step class that looks awesome! She swears by it, it must work. You’re exactly right, it did work. For them! This is exactly my point… Just because it works for one doesn’t mean it will work for everyone. This goes the same for the Adkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Fat Flush Diet, The Peanut Butter Diet, The Cookie Diet, Vegetarian Diets, Vegan Diets, Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers. These diets all work for some and more often that not fail for others. We are all unique and each person’s diet, cardio regimen and weight training protocol are truly unique to each individual. It is a mistake to blindly follow in the foot steps of whatever is popular on TV, the magazine in your grocery check out line or what the body-builder at your local gym told you. You will most likely just be setting yourself up for failure.
What are you Insane?
Let me remind you of the definition of insanity; to continue to do the same things and expect different results. A great quote puts it all in perspective,” The best training routine you can be on is the one that you’re not on.”
Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Fat Loss Simplified series where I go in depth on how to stop the insanity… Learn what the best trainers in the world are using to achieve extreme fat loss in 20 min or less!
Matt Pack, NASM-CPT, Nutrition Lifestyle Coach