Someone had a couple of questions for Trainer Rob – submitted through the “Ask me Anything” box to the right of the blog. Here are his answers:
1) Trainer Rob mentioned at one point toward the end of the “Motivation” video that some people go to the gym and end up lowering their metabolism. I was wondering if he/you could elaborate on that.
Trainer Rob: First we must have a clear understanding of “metabolism.” Dictionary.com defines metabolism as 1. Biology, Physiology. the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained, and destroyed, and by which energy is made available.
Most people think of metabolism only in the sense of destruction…or in gym terms we ask: “How fast is our ability to burn calories?” But that is truly only one side of the equation. What we produce and maintain is probably a larger issue in weight loss and success at the gym.
Your typical gym member working out with weights or cardio does next to nothing to burn the right type of calories and increase their EPOC (or ability to continue burning calories after a workout). If you do not properly increase your EPOC levels via stage interval training or circuit based metabolic weight training there is potential to create a HUGE problem: INCREASED HUNGER!
Let's use examples here. Jim, a male who is 40 years old, 6 feet tall and weighs 250lbs goes to the gym 6 days per week and runs at a steady pace for 30 minutes and then does bench press for 4 sets and leg extensions for 4 sets in 30 minutes (stopping for 2-3 minutes at a time between sets to chat with friends). His “steady state” cardio puts his heart rate at an avg of 85% of his maximum for most of his run. It is tough for him so he gets a good sweat and feels like he has worked pretty hard. He burns an estimated 500 calories during this 60 minute workout.
Joe, also a 40 yr old male at 6 ft and 250lbs, practices high intensity interval training (high, medium and low) for 30 minutes 6 days a week and lifts weights in a fast paced circuit fashion 4 days per week. He rests only as needed during lifting and his cardio is heart rate specific. He burns a similar 500 calories in his hour workouts.
So, both men should have the same metabolism right? Wrong! Joe, our second example, works out specifically to build his EPOC and allow his body to increase its ability to produce energy, maintain energy and destroy toxins. He is increasing his metabolism all while supressing his appetite. His workouts are so hard, the thought of eating bad foods or overeating makes him cringe. All the while, an hour after Jim's workouts he wouldn't mind eating McDonald's because truth be told it won't affect his ability to condcut his “easy” workouts.
The moral of this story is make sure you are performing workouts that raise your EPOC. Don't just say… “hey, i am going to the gym and that is good.” The gym is dangerous…it can make you hungrier and fatter!
My preferred methods of gut busting, EPOC raising workouts: cardio (HIIT stage training performed with a heart rate monitor). Weights: circuit based full body workouts with high rep ranges.
If you don't have a coach, go get one! But make sure they know what EPOC is 😉
2) I've been thinking about doing some interval work myself; the one thing that's been stopping me is things I've read in a couple of books I purchased (one is for the Sprint8 workout, if Rob is familiar with it) that caution against attempting sprint workouts before building up an aerobic base. I wondered if you/Trainer Rob would be willing to address that on the blog as well.
Trainer Rob: I am familiar with the Sprint8 program and it is a nice tool in the toolbox. Like anything at the gym, it has its place and will run its course in due time. The reason these programs will warn about increasing your aerobic endurance prior to “sprint training” is that during “rests” your heart rate needs to come down and that by definition is aerobic endurance. So if you cannot get your heart rate down after a sprint, the next sprint is rendered useless because you won't tap into an atp_glycolysis energy to conduct the sprint and you will use the wrong energy sources.
The best way to increase your aerobic endurance is HIIT training. If you cannot conduct HIIT training, make sure you spend half of your cardio in a steady state fashiom for 60 minutes…keeping your heart rate at 65-75% of max. And the other half in endurce interval fashion at 3-5 minutes at 80-85% max with 1 minute recoveries at 65-75% max.
Get out there and work hard!