Two weekends ago I attended a great seminar on Cardio Strength Training with renowned strength and conditioning coach, Robert Dos Remedios. The concept of cardio strength training is not new for many fitness professionals, but Dos was nice enough to share his own spin on things, which has proven to be an excellent way to boost work capacity and cut fat. If you still think traditional cardio is the most effective tool for boosting VO2 capacity, and maintaining or cutting weight, you are ignoring the research and science. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption(EPOC) is elevated for several hours, if not days, after a high intensity interval or conditioning circuit. As your body works to return back to resting oxygen levels, you metabolism is on fire, burning pounds of stored energy (fat cells). Below is one of many circuits I like to use as a litmus test for my clients endurance. Try 1 round of this at the end of your strength training session to finish off any lingering glycogen stores, or use this circuit for several rounds in between strength training days as a conditioning workout. Enjoy!
15R kettlebell swings
15R unilateral kettlebell snatch
15R kettlbell goblet squat
15R kettlbell renegade rows
Have you hit a plateau with your current diet and exercise lifestyle, or lack of? Try these 10 simple lifestyle and training modifications to boost your metabolism and start burning more calories at rest!
1. Get 7 hours of sleep - Sleep boosts immunity, decreases stress, and stimulates the release of human growth hormone, which helps rejuvenate the daily toll of activity and stress. It keeps your cells young, helping you feel and look younger, longer. A sure fire way of accelerating the aging process, increasing the stress hormone cortisol, and decreasing your productivity, is cutting rest short. Add a nap mid day, if you are lucky enough to afford one.
2. Start your day off with breakfast - Research shows those who start there day off with a balanced meal, eat fewer calories the rest of the day. The act of eating, alone boosts your metabolism. It takes energy to digest and metabolize food. Not eating sends your metabolism into a dormant mode, setting you up for over-eating later, when your blood sugar is on the floor, and more prone to storing that over consumption as fat. Start your day with a balanced meal of healthy fats, high fiber carbs, and lean, heavy metal free :) proteins. Failing to combine all three macronutrients can have a negative impact on insulin release, fat utilization, and satisfaction before your mid morning snack.
3. Eat 4 - 6 smaller meals per day, every 3-5 hours - Stoke your metabolic fire by eating regularly. Burn calories, while consuming them, by maintaining a steady blood sugar level. Your muscles are metabolically active tissue. They burn calories at rest, but they need to be fed. Starve them, and they will atrophy, killing your metabolism and increasing your fat stores.
4. Drink plenty of non alcoholic, low calorie beverages - We drink far too many of our daily calories. Liquid calories are deceiving and often unsatisfying. Fruit juice is one the biggest offenders. A seemingly natural and healthy beverage loaded with way too much SUGAR. Eat an orange, grapefruit, or apple instead of that glass of juice in the morning, and add some fiber to your diet. Soda is by far the worst, and that includes diet sodas. There is nothing in soda that sustains life. A 12oz can of regular soda contains 10 packets of SUGAR! And diet soda is loaded with artificial sweetener, which has been linked to metabolic problems, cancer, and an increased sweet tooth. In fact the only beverages anyone really needs is water. To mix things up, add tea or coffee to the list. Studies have shown they have little impact on dehydration, despite common thinking, and they aid in fat utilization.
5. 30 mins of activity EVERY day - The American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) recommends 30 mins of accumulated activity each day for health and weight maintenance. They recommend 60 mins or more for weight loss. A combination of both resistance training and aerobics are best. How much are you getting?
6. Get out of your chair - More and more healthy problems are being linked to excessive amounts of sitting. So much so we now refer to specific problems as the Sitting Disease. Many of us go from our beds, to the breakfast table, to the car, the desk, and then the couch at night. Get up and out of your chair as much as possible. Simply standing burns more calories than sitting. Small caloric changes day to day add up over time. The average adult gains 2 pounds a year.
7. Walk and take the stairs - Walk or bike to your destination when appropriate. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. You would not have to spend extra time working out, if you added simple light activity throughout the day. Technology and modern conveniences are allowing us to be lazier.
8. Mix up your workout routine - Breakout of your routine. You become increasingly efficient doing the same mode of activity each time. Burning calories requires inefficiency. Get your hands off the treadmill or stepper, use an upright bike instead of a recumbent. Take a new running/walking route. Train your weaknesses. Mix it up!
9. Hit the weights - Many of us accumulate enough light aerobic activity, walking, climbing a flight of stairs, etc, to maintain heart and lung health. High volume aerobic activity compromises metabolically active muscle tissue. Skip your 3 mile steady state cardio routine, and add some fat scorching muscle to your body with resistance training.
10. Manage your stress - At this point, if you are managing 1-9, your stress is in check. If its not, return to number 1 and start over. Stress releases cortisol, cortisol stimulates fat storage. Stress effects your sleep, disrupts your diet, gets in the way of your workouts and absolutely has an impact on your waistline.