by Dr. Kareem F. Samhouri, CSCS, HFS
Neuro Metabolic Fat Loss & Fitness Expert
Workout Technology has advanced so much in the last several years:
- At-home aerobics (outdated)
- Power walking (outdated)
- Machine-based circuits (outdated)
- Cardio, cardio, cardio (outdated)
- Interval-based weight training (Alive & Well)
But the principles remain the same…
- Build cardiovascular endurance
- Burn as much fat as possible from every workout
- Improve your strength, relative to your body shape/size
- Improve exercise efficiency – more results, less time
- Balance your body for best results
Build Cardiovascular Endurance:
Building cardiovascular endurance is an important aspect to your exercise program. This is because you need to improve your heart’s ability to expel blood to the rest of your body (and receive it in return) in order to ensure a healthy state in your body. Essentially, improving heart function increases chances of survival and decreases risk of diseases like diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
Cardiovascular fitness also helps to improve lung function and expel more oxygen to the rest of the body. The elasticity of your lungs improve when you improve your cardiovascular fitness level, and breathing becomes easier. By requiring less breaths and having a lower resting heart rate, your body undergoes less stress with daily living, and it’s thought that this results in an increased lifespan by several years.
Improved Quality of Life + Improved Quantity of Life = Better Life
We used to think that you had do long, boring cardio in order to improve cardiovascular fitness. Thanks to the Jabali studies, amongst others, we now understand that you can do about 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise and reap up to 2 hours of moderate-high intensity cardio benefit to your cardiovascular system.
Workout Technology advanced and exercise got easier. Burn As Much Fat As Possible:
We’ve always wanted to burn as much fat as possible with every workout. Whether we were counting calories on a treadmill or doing aerobics, the goal was to ‘get a great burn’ and then reap the benefit of our efforts.
Over time, we learned that alternating high and low intensity exercise, combined with resistance training to momentary muscular failure, yielded far better caloric expenditure. The logic was simple, but the argument was hard to comprehend for awhile…
We learned about EPOC – Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption.
Basically, for up to 48-72 hours after an intense exercise bout, our bodies undergo a repair process. This repair process removes lactic acid from our systems and repair mini muscle tears that take place from heavy sets to failure. Any body process consumes energy. In this case, the energy consumed by EPOC, as our body consumes oxygen for days after an exercise bout to self-repair, is worth 2-3x the number of calories you can burn during a bout of ‘cardio’ on the treadmill.
Workout Technology advanced and exercise got easier.
Improve Your Strength, Relative To Your Body’s Shape or Size:
How many different products have we seen, relative to a specific body size or shape on the market to date? Whether it’s a product for abs, buns, thighs, women, or men, we’ve seen it all.
One point remains true:Our bodies are unique, and each one responds differently to exercise.
That’s why we’ve had to come up with so many programs. But I believe one major component is missing… self-assessment. No one understands your body as well as you do. With the proper education related to your body, you’ll become immediately aware of what needs to be done in order to succeed.
When trying to improve fitness levels as a whole, assessing your body for fat storage patterns is important, but not because you need to exercise those areas. Instead, this is important because it is indicative of increased levels of certain hormones in your body.
For example, fat storage in your lower abdomen is indicative of increased levels of cortisol, meaning that your body is too stressed, not that you should do more sit ups and stress it further.
However, it is also important to assess where you are weak or strong, left to right, side to side, or top to bottom. Your body craves symmetry, and this is dependent upon both strength and length.
In the case of flexibility (or length), this is the closest thing to having a great manual therapist assess every muscle in your entire body for restriction or limitation. Your body has ‘pain sensors’ where you have restriction, so you can easily find them on yourself. In fact, it stands to argue that you’ll find your own restrictions more easily than the best manual physical therapist in the world will find them on you.
Once you find your restrictions and learn to release them, your flexibility will finally improve… Rapidly!
Workout Technology advanced and exercise got easier.
Exercise Efficiently – More Done In Less Time:
Everyone wants more for less. It’s human nature. By learning how to exercise in the most efficient way possible, one of two things are true:
- You get more results in the same amount of time.
- You get to exercise for less time and get the same results.
Both seem like rather appealing options, right?
It used to be that exercising for increased efficiency meant regulating your heart rate to be in the ‘fat-burning zone’ of 40-60% max heart rate, or in the ‘cardiovascular zone’ of 60-85% max heart rate. Now, we know better. We know that increased efficiency means improving the demand on all 3 energy systems:
- ATP-PC – 0 to 2 second energy system
- Anaerobic – 2 to 60 second energy system
- Aerobic – 60 seconds and beyond energy system
By depleting and replenishing all three energy systems, we are maximizing caloric expenditure, muscular strength, as well as muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
Effectively, we are not multiplying our results by three, but we are exponentially allowing ourselves to burn up to 9x more calories with this approach.
You Can Burn Up To 9x More Calories When You Exercise Efficiently
Imagine what you could do with your flexibility… your body could finally move freely, and your posture could improve in a very short period of time. Standing up straighter means better oxygen to our bodies, and therefore, more endurance.
More endurance = More Results Workout Technology advanced and exercise got easier.
Balance Your Body For Best Results: This is where the importance of strength and length really come in. Your body is composed of a system of checks and balances:
- When your heart rate increases (outside of exercise), your blood pressure decreases to prevent too much blood flow at once.
- When your breathing increases in rate, you exhale more forcefully than you inhale, in order to blow off carbon dioxide and allow room for oxygen.
- When you build muscle, your body limits your ability to grow if you do not have enough mobility in the group of related muscles, in order to prevent injury to your joints or fracture to your bones.
Your body will literally turn muscle off if it believes it is too short for more growth; and it will build restrictions in muscles that have been over-shortened for a time period, either due to injury, posture, or position.
You should be grateful for the smart body that you have. But it’s important that you understand how to make use of this process and see it for the advantage it brings you with your workouts. By learning to properly understand and assess where your body is limiting growth, you are able to restore function to these areas and take control of your future progress.