The day before the day before

By: Quinton de Bruin

We can all think back to an event that we prepared for with vigour. Whether it was reading up on the birth of a child, training for a sporting event, meditating or learning for an exam at school or uni – when you get closer you start feeling confident that you have done what it takes or as much as you can. We can also have a little LOL when you think back to when that event happened – I'm thinking about the birth of my son – man I could have read every book on having a child and it would not have prepared me for what happens when the time rolls around! I'm confident you can relate, especially if you have had children.

Right so we are in the final prep stages and true to the "body composition percentage split" (80% diet and 20% exercise – abs are built in the kitchen and all that, remember)? To this point we have not spoken about the training or exercise piece. . It goes without saying that I will share what I do on a daily basis once we kick into it but today I will talk in brief about the concepts Abel goes into.

Words that will be music to Jim's ears – "if you're not having fun, you're doing something wrong."

The Fat Burning Man is having a dig at traditional wisdom from the fitness industry this time, saying that great results can be achieved by training effectively rather than longer. He does make a great point in saying "burning off" calories through cardio is not the best way to burn fat because the actual caloric burn of aerobic exercise is minimal. To put it into perspective, an hour on the treadmill burns off approximately one muffin. Brutal. He says exercise is not about "burning off" calories or punishing yourself – it's about achieving hormonal and metabolic changes within the body that maximize fat burning and muscle toning with the minimum amount of stress on the body as possible.

High Intensity Interval sessions versus cardio:

Here's an experiment quoted from the book, it depicts the philosophy of the exercise recommended:

"In one of my many experiments guinea-pigging on myself, I wanted to see how my body responded to different levels and types of training. After finishing in the top 3% of runners in my second marathon in 2 months, I decided to switch to shorter distances and prioritize sprints (and finished in the top 4% of the 10k a few weeks later). Since I was exercising more (running 50 miles a week versus less than 10) with a very solid finish time, many assumed that my body would be optimized when I was in tip‐top marathon shape.

The results are far more interesting.

By switching from cardio to sprints, I shed body fat and increased lean muscle by 10 pounds. My body regained healthy colour and a more masculine shape. I felt tonnes better. Even my face changed… from being Sam‐the‐Eagle-from-Sesame‐Street‐skinny to a healthy "normal." All from exercising much less".

This almost seems counterintuitive, doesn't it? Think, though, of the build sprinters have and those of endurance athletes. Sprinters have muscle mass whereas endurance athletes look far leaner. Fascinating!

That is all fine but what does it take to get those results huh!? Recommended exercise regimen:

1. Walk or engage in other low intensity activity for at least 45 minutes on most days.

2. Engage in full‐body, high-intensity exercise (resistance or interval training) 2 to 3 times a week for no longer than 45 minutes at a time.

We'll flesh those out as we make our way through the days and weeks – hold me to it if you feel like you are not getting enough information okay?

I will touch on a very important point. Close on all the females I have spoken to and who go to the gym hesitate to include weight training into their programmed for the fear that they will become too bulky and masculine. Hormonally due to far less testosterone, women would find it near impossible to grow to bodybuilder size. Shape and tone is achieved through muscle mass gain. No amount of cardio is going to tone your body – think marathon runners. Then there is the fact that if you want to increase your metabolism, tone your muscles, and retain bones mass, then you'll need to lift some weights (or something else that is heavy). So, if your preferred body composition is muscular, emphasis resistance training sessions. If you are more inclined to want to be lean, focus on the high intensity interval sessions (notice I wrote emphasis/focus on as opposed to do exclusively. A healthy combination of both will help you gain the results you want.

Here are some common exercise mistakes worth putting out there:
  • Not exercising because you're not in shape – everybody starts somewhere and as long as you start slowly, the progress you make will in itself be a fantastic source of motivation to push on
  • Using exercise as an excuse to eat poorly – this used to be my favourite one (I say it in the past tense because I will leave that one behind now)
  • Being lazy because you exercised that day – it is reasonable to rest after exercise but "sitting is the new smoking" we do so much of it and it is important to remain active
  • Not enough variety in your workouts – our bodies are so smart (and lazy!) and adjust super-fast to the exercise you do so keep it guessing to maximise the benefits – get in touch with the trainers at the gym for some help here
  • Over training – exercise is only effective up to a point, after this, you are starting to literally waste way the muscle
  • Isolated exercises and fat loss – remember the "Ab King Pro" yes, the infomercial that stated you would get a six pack by burning the fat on your belly through using the product. Not true, ab specific exercise will increase the muscles but you need to get rid of the fat blanket first!
The small print: now is probably a good time to encourage you to have a discussion about your personal situation with your doctor, a nutritionist and the Body and Motion trainers to work out how best to achieve any challenges you have in mind. The thoughts in these blogs are my own personal opinion and shouldn't be taken as direct advice. Some of the choices around what I consume or what activity I partake in may not be endorsed by Body and Motion. However, the team will always be keen enablers of your fitness goals! Talk to us today.


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