Complexes: Painful, Efficient & Badass

5 06 2013

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I recently created a fat loss training program for a friend of mine and suggested that he finish his workouts with some interval work of his choice: either cardio intervals or weight training intervals, otherwise known as complexes. Although he is already proficient with bike intervals, earlier today he brought to my attention that I had failed to thoroughly explain how to perform complexes, which prompted me to find an article to explain this for him. The article I found was so solid that I decided I needed to share it with my readers. The article was published back in 2009, so this really isn’t breakthrough stuff, but if your goal is fat loss, you should pay close attention and read Screw Cardio! Four Complexes for a Shredded Physique. And yes, I’m a big fan of the title.

Complexes in a nutshell?

A complex is where you pick up a barbell (or a set of dumbbells, or a plate, or any kind of weight at all really), perform several reps of an exercise with it, then move right into another exercise, then another, and another, and maybe one or two more. Then you see black spots, get all ripped ‘n shit, and bang swimsuit models.

What are the benefits of complexes?

  • Increase training volume
  • Boost strength endurance
  • Increase caloric expenditure and melt body fat
  • Take advantage of the EPOC effect (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption)
  • Increase work capacity and overall conditioning
  • Not risk losing any muscle
  • Not be bored out of you skull like the giggling guinea pigs over in the cardio area

When do you use complexes?

  • As a replacement for boring-ass cardio during fat loss phases
  • As a conditioning tool for sports
  • As an off-day “bonus” workout if you just feel like going to the gym when you’re not scheduled to (OCD, anyone?)

    Actually, you should finish your set after you puke.

    Actually, you should finish your set after you puke.

  • As part of an unloading/deloading week.

What exercises can be used in complexes?

The idea is to stick to compound movements (ie, avoid isolation movements). The list includes (but isn’t limited to): Squat, front squat, overhead squat, deadlift, straight-leg deadlift, bentover row, power clean, hang clean, good morning, lunge, reverse lunge, push press, military press, floor press. So pick 5 to 8 of these, rock out 6ish reps of each consecutively, take 60-90 seconds rest, and do it another 3 times.

How much weight should you use for a complex?

For beginners, doing these without weight could be a challenge. Start slow- you should use a weight that you can handle- but the idea is to use a weight that makes it VERY difficult to perform 4 straight, painfully-gruelling sets- by the last set, you probably shouldn’t be able to walk.  It’s a game of trial and error, but be ambitious.

These sound awful, why would anyone do these?

Because some people actually want results.

For more detailed information, and for a structured outline of 4 different complexes accompanied by video, check out the article.

That’s all for today! Do some complexes, curse my name, and then thank me later.

DW





The Dangers of Excessive Cardio

29 05 2013

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I’m sure many of you are already thinking it, so let’s get it out of the way: Here Dain goes again, ripping on cardio. Indeed, I’m not a cardio guy, but my bias has nothing to do with this post; even if I’m not a fan, a reasonable amount of cardio has nothing but positive health benefits. Let’s recap a few things:

  1. Almost any kind and any duration of exercise is better than no exercise at all
  2. Weight training is simply more efficient than cardio for burning fat, has very similar (if not equal) cardiovascular health benefits, additional functional strength gains, and more desirable body composition results
  3. Regardless of the activity, excessive habits can lead to problems

In general, I’m never going to advise anyone against good habits like exercising and drinking a lot of water, but even though these are examples of healthy activities, if done in excess they can lead to serious health issues.  A friend brought this Wall Street Journal article to my attention the other day, The Exercise Equivalent of a Cheeseburger?, and it inspired me to write this post. The Coles Notes:

  • Although cardio is healthy (improved blood pressure, cholesterol, longevity, etc.), endurance athletes (or anyone running more than 30 miles/48 kilometers a week) are at an increased risk of atrial fibrillation and developing coronary-artery plaque.
  • Anecdotal concerns about endurance athletics have been building for years and cardiac conditions that required surgery have forced into retirement two winners of the Ironman Triathlon World Championship.
  • Research shows an association between endurance athletics and enlarged aortic roots.Cardiotoxicity-Cycle-Chart
  • Heart disease comes from inflammation and excessive exercise causes inflammation. Why wouldn’t there be a link?
  • Doctors are afraid to say that any kind of exercise may have a negative effect, for fear of giving people an excuse to stay sedentary.
  • Long-term excessive endurance exercise may induce pathological structural remodeling of the heart and large arteries.
  • Parallels can be drawn to the dangers of over-hydration, which was once seen as impossible- the more water the better. Long after evidence emerged that over-hydrating could prove fatal to marathoners, experts continued encouraging runners to drink as much as possible, and the dangers were not fully believed until deaths had occurred.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m super guilty for living life in extremes- for example, I’ve got a strongman competition coming up in a few days, which is pretty much the definition of excessive. I completely understand the desire to push the human body as far as possible, but common sense should still reign supreme; Along with my penchant for lifting heavy things, I’m diligent with prehab and rehab exercises, I eat extremely well, I sleep plenty, and I supplement my lifting with lots of brisk walking and recreational sports. I schedule annual physical check-ups with my family physician to make sure my health is where it should be (my blood work couldn’t look better, in spite of my “extremely dangerous” dietary habits of eating half a dozen eggs daily and embracing saturated fats) and I’ve been living this lifestyle now for almost a decade, so I feel pretty strongly that my exercise habits, although sometimes excessive, aren’t harmful.

Research like this only serves to enhance my personal opinion that competitions like marathons are of the most detrimental activities to human health. We all have our own individual reasons to push our bodies, but I’ll never understand the desire to run excessive distances when the end result will surely be skeletal overuse injuries and damage to my cardiovascular system; not to mention the muscle-wasting that will reduce my strength and wilt my physique.

If you haven’t already seen it, there is also a pretty good TEDxTalk on this subject. Cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe’s conclusion? Balance and moderation; shocking, I know. If you have 18 spare minutes, give it a watch:

If you are a marathoner, or someone who engages in any sort of excessive activity, I implore you to consult your physician to ensure that you don’t have any underlying cardiovascular health issues. The jury is still out on exactly how much cardio is detrimental to human health (we are still likely years away from truly understanding the line between beneficial and detrimental amounts of cardio)  but it is without argument that a pre-existing health condition can easily be life-threatening if undiagnosed prior to excessive exercise.

In the end we’re all going to do what makes us happy in this life, so I just want to make sure that we’re all aware of the pros and cons of excessive exercise, and that these activities are done in the most responsible way possible.

DW





Cardio and Calorie Restriction: The Facts

13 05 2013

I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about why I “hate” cardio and why I say that people need to lift weights in order to avoid being fat. Let me clarify some things:

  • Personally, yes, I do hate steady-state cardio. I get bored running long distances, and find bike seats uncomfortable. It’s just not my thing.
  • Scientifically, however, steady-state cardio is inefficient for fat-loss. Can it be an effective strategy for losing weight? Absolutely it can- I never said otherwise. But don’t confuse fat loss with weight loss.
  • There are many ways to avoid being fat. Physical activity (of any kind) and a healthy diet will prevent you from being fat. Unfortunately, most people fail to incorporate both (and oftentimes neither) into their lifestyle. As weights are the most efficient way burn fat, I recommend weights over cardio.
  • My bottom line is always health. In order to be healthy, you should be physically active and eat a full, well-balanced diet. Lifting weights enables you to eat more and therefore gives you the best opportunity to consume the most nutrients.

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But I have this skinny friend who does nothing but cardio!

First of all, there are exceptions to every rule. We all know people who stay thin without paying much attention to their diet and/or activity level. These people are outliers. For the other 99% of us who are either overweight or who are striving for a lean body type, we have to weigh our dietary and exercise options.

As I mentioned above, cardio can be an effective tool for weight loss. However, cardio cannot be deployed alone in an effort to lose weight. In order to capitalize on this type of exercise, one must also employ a calorie-restricted diet. If you’re not going to be challenging your muscles or metabolism, you’re going to have to be very careful with your caloric intake. Remember, cardio has very little afterburn effect (EPOC), and therefore does not help you burn calories after the exercise is finished (your resting metabolic rate returns to normal very quickly after steady-state cardio). Therefore, in order to lose weight or maintain a lower body weight, you have to make sure you don’t eat too many calories. The body will soon adapt to a certain level of cardio as well, so eventually you will have to eat fewer calories or increase your activity level. If you skip a day of cardio, you’ll also have to decrease your calories accordingly. It’s a very tough balancing act and often leads to large weight fluctuations (ie, it’s easy to regain any lost weight).

Additionally, this strategy will not build muscle (as a matter of fact, it will likely cause a decrease in muscle mass over time) and eventually your body will start to hold on to fat cells in response to cardio; this is where you hear the term “skinny fat”- people who don’t appear overweight, but who have a much higher body fat percentage than normal because of their decreased muscle mass. To boot, these people are more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies and decreased immune function due to their decreased caloric intake.

With all of this in mind, exercise of any kind is always good thing, but cardio-driven/calorically-restricted diets are difficult to follow and hard to sustain.

Weight training, on the other hand, builds muscle, burns fat and allows you to eat more food. Who doesn’t want to be able to eat more food? Not only can you eat more food, but you can get away with “cheating” from time to time without immediately ballooning back up to a previous weight.

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In conclusion, pros and cons of cardio/calorie restriction vs. weight training/eating real food:

Cardio/calorie restriction

Pros: You can do cardio anywhere without equipment. You can lose weight. Cardiovascular health will improve.

Cons: You have to limit calories in order to lose weight. You lose weight, but maintain fat, not muscle. You look “soft”. You are prone to large weight fluctuations. You cannot eat what you want, nor as much of what you want. Health many suffer due to lack of nutrients from a restricted diet. Long-term results are difficult to achieve.

Weight training/eating real food

Pros: You lose fat weight but maintain and gain muscle. You look “toned”. You can eat more. You don’t have to count calories. You can spend less time exercising. You get results quicker. Your results are sustainable. Your overall health will improve.

Cons: You have to have access to weights. You will spend more money because you are eating like a normal person.

In the end, I want to encourage everyone to engage in physical activity and eat a healthy diet. However, for more sustainable, efficient, and health-improving results, I will always first encourage people to lift weights, eat a balanced diet and do more general activity on a daily basis (walk more, take the stairs, etc.)

For more information on how to incorporate weight lifting into your life, you know how to find me!

DW





Weight Training: The Safest Physical Activity Out There?

1 04 2013

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I really enjoy taking conventional wisdom and proving it completely wrong. Saturated fat is the devil, they say- nope; sugar and processed foods are the real problem. Eggs give you heart disease, they say- false; being overweight and sedentary is responsible for this. Lifting weights is dangerous and unsafe, they say; again, wrong. Let me explain…

Recreationally, weightlifters, powerlifters and people who engage in regular weight training at the gym report lower injury rates than most sports, including running. Traumatic injury especially, is extremely rare. Many people assume that weight training will lead to knee and back problems (which is why the squat and deadlift have gotten a bad name). This is simply not true. Can you injure yourself performing these exercises? Of course you can! You can also injure yourself stepping of a curb or slipping in the shower. Many studies have been done proving the safety and benefits of weight training. One such study was performed comparing the injury rates per 100 hours of several sports. The results? Weightlifting proved to be one of the safest activities around, safer than other sports such as football, basketball, soccer, running, etc. [Hamill, B.P. (1994)]. Another such study assessed the simple back pain of a weightlifting group vs. a control group of typical active men; 23% of the weightlifters experienced back pain compared to 31% of the control group [Granhed (1988)].

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About 1 weightlifting participant in 1000 will get injured

A good friend of mine and I were actually  discussing the safety of squats the other day. We’ve both been lifting weights seriously for over a decade, have both competed in Strongman and powerlifting, and he himself is a professional strength and conditioning coach. Neither of us have ever been hurt while squatting, nor have we ever even seen anyone get hurt while performing squats. Compare that to the long-distance runners that the two of us know and almost all of them have had issues like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, stress fractures or other overuse injuries. In fact, one study [Lopez AD (2012)] systematically reviewed studies on the incidence and prevalence of the main specific RRMIs (running-related musculoskeletal injuries) over the past few decades and found the following:

RESULTS:

A total of 28 RRMIs were found and the main general RRMIs were medial tibial stress syndrome (incidence ranging from 13.6% to 20.0%; prevalence of 9.5%), Achilles tendinopathy (incidence ranging from 9.1% to 10.9%; prevalence ranging from 6.2% to 9.5%) and plantar fasciitis (incidence ranging from 4.5% to 10.0%; prevalence ranging from 5.2% to 17.5%). The main ultra-marathon RRMIs were Achilles tendinopathy (prevalence ranging from 2.0% to 18.5%) and patellofemoral syndrome (prevalence ranging from 7.4% to 15.6%).

CONCLUSION:

This systematic review provides evidence that medial tibia stress syndrome, Achilles tendinopathy and plantar fasciitis were the main general RRMIs, while Achilles tendinopathy and patellofemoral syndrome were the most common RRMIs for runners who participated in ultra-marathon races.”

My conclusion? Most other sports, especially long-distance running, seem to have a much higher prevalence of injuries (~1/10) than weightlifting (~1/1000).

But I’ve always heard that squats are bad for my knees!

About that…

In the 1960’s, a man named K.K. Klein (interesting initials…) published a paper called “The deep squat exercise as utilized in weight training for athletes and its effect on the ligaments of the knee” which hypothesized that the deep squat exercise would stretch ligaments of the knee and cause knee instability. Using a device that Klein created, they compared the lateral and medial ligaments of experienced weightlifters (immediately after doing squats) vs. people who had never performed squats. The results found that weightlifters had more unstable ligaments than sedentary individuals and Klein concluded that deep squats caused knee instability and that squats should never be done below parallel. This study was published in numerous journals, and the squat was vilified; the myth exploded from this one study.

What was the problem with the study?

75138_525791467448098_598412664_n– They had no controls

– They used subjective testing

– The study was not reliable (countless studies have been done since the 1960s proving that squats do not cause injuries; no study could reproduce these same results)

– There was experimental bias (Klein’s device used a physical force to manipulate strain, which had no control over load; he was also not blinded during the study)

– The weightlifters had just performed squats and were warmed-up, while the control group was cold; of course the weightlifters ligaments had more laxity! They were warm!

Long story short, Klein’s study was the first published and gave people a reason to eliminate a challenging exercise from their workout recommendations. Once his findings were in print, rumour spread rapidly and people accepted that squats were unsafe. Despite this, hundreds of studies since have shown:

– Ligament injuries are extremely rare with squatting

– Retired weightlifters have less symptomatic arthritis than the general population

– No degenerative diseases or issues have been found in the knees of aging weightlifters when compared to controls

– There is a low incidence of arthritis in those who load the knee through full range of motion (ie, deep squats)

– Squats may prevent injury and are an effective rehabilitation tool for people with knee problems

– Squats can strengthen connective tissue, bones, ligaments and tendons, increasing quality of life as we age

– Patellar tendonitis is the biggest concern with squatting. This comes from overuse, and is annoying, but not debilitating. Take time off, work on mobility, problem solved.

In conclusion, squats are a low-risk, high-reward exercise. Incidence of injury is extremely low and significant health and performance benefits can be gained. Weight training is far from dangerous, and across-sport injury rates support this claim.

Nope. He squats below parallel. Like a champion.

Nope. He squats below parallel. Like a champion.

For additional information on the safety of weight training, I’d like to refer you to the Exercise Prescription webpage detailing this wild truth, with references to several other studies and sources.

As I’ve said before, almost everyone should be doing squats and deadlifts, and squats especially should be a large focus of most weight training programs.

For more information on weight training and how to work it into your life, you know how to find me!

DW





Precision Nutrition: Backing Up My Exercise Hierarchy

15 03 2013

So, about 4 hours after posting my piece on Weight Training vs. Cardio, Precision Nutrition came out with a piece on the exact same topic. It’s a far more detailed article and contains more mathy and sciencey things in it, so here are the Coles Notes:

obama-victory– Dain Wallis’ article on weight training vs. cardio was eloquent and completely correct. This is the most important take home point. You can stop reading now if you’d like.

– Studies that compare weight training and cardio are usually poorly executed for a few reasons:

  1. The weight training programs used in these studies (and sometimes the aerobic programs as well) are usually far from optimal (not intense, not even variations, no progressions, etc.)
  2. There is usually very little nutritional intervention used in these studies (which is a huge factor in achieving desirable results)
  3. The difference between fat loss and weight loss is rarely addressed. Fat loss is what people want, not lean mass loss. Muscle preservation and growth is imperative to document in these studies and it is often overlooked.

– Here’s a great passage from the article:

On a more serious note: For a while, I researched treatments for muscular dystrophy, a disease that causes severe muscle loss. Do that kind of research for a day or two, or talk to people with muscular dystrophy, and you’ll quickly recognize the vital importance of maintaining muscle, even if your goal is to lose weight.

My biggest peeve in the weight loss industry is that weight loss is the measurement for success. For example, here are some other ways to lose weight:

  1. Amputation.
  2. Osteoporosis.
  3. Stomach flu (though intestinal parasites will do in a pinch).
  4. Coma.
  5. Chemotherapy.
  6. Shaving all your hair off.
  7. Lobotomy.

Thanks, but I’ll pass on all of those. Muscle helps you walk up and down stairs and pick up a soup can. And, of course, keeping you moving is muscle’s most important function. But muscle can also help you lose fat and stay lean.

Not a perfect example, but gets the point across

Not a perfect example, but gets the point across

– In terms of how muscle helps you lose weight:

A 5 kg (11lb) weight gain in muscle works out to 250 kcal burned per day, or 2.4 kg (5.3 lb) of fat lost per year – and over 12 kg (25 lb) in 5 years. Just from resting muscle. This doesn’t include extra calories used for exercise or walking to your car or rocking in that chair or whatever else you do.

– MORE evidence for you ladies out there on why why women should gain muscle; because adding muscle is the easiest way to lose fat!:

Let’s compare two women. Jane and Mary both have the same amount of fat, but Mary has an extra 7 kg (15 lb) of muscle.

If, for one year, Jane did exactly what Mary did to maintain her weight– snowboarding, sleeping, swearing in six languages, whatever – Jane would actually gain 8.5 kg (18.7 lb) of fat, increasing her body fat percentage to 35.8%. Just because of the differences in their resting muscle mass.

The other thing you might notice is that since Mary has more muscle and weighs more overall, despite having the same amount of fat, she actually has a lower percentage of body fat.

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– In a straight-up weight loss challenge, it’s very possible that cardio will outdo any kind of weight training. However, this is because the cardio group will lose significantly more muscle mass (which weighs more than fat mass) whereas the weight training group will gain muscle mass. If you are using a weight scale to measure your progress, PLEASE STOP. This is nothing but misleading. Use a mirror/photos or girth measurements if you want to track your results. Just remember: Cardio = muscle loss and fat loss whereas Weight Training = muscle gain and fat loss (and a far greater rate of fat loss in a resting state, which is the majority of your life).

– In the study they examined in this article, the cardio group had a significantly higher drop-out rate (35%) than the weight training group (23%). This is funny for a of couple reasons:

  1. 50% of the cardio drop-outs were due to “not having enough time”. Funny because the weight training group spent TWICE as much time in the gym as the cardio group (314 mins/week compared to 134 mins/week), yet the cardio group felt like they were the ones spending too much time on exercise.
  2. Weight training is much harder to do from a technical point of view; it’s far easier to stand up and run than it is to properly perform squats. Yet the weight training group persevered while the cardio group had more drop-outs. Seems to me like weight training is a far more enjoyable activity than cardio…

– Finally, weight training has proven to increase cardiovascular fitness, even in the complete absence of performing cardio. So with a weight training program you get stronger, gain muscle, lose fat and increase your cardiovascular fitness and health, whereas with a cardio program you lose fat and improve your cardiovascular fitness and health, but alongside muscle loss. Due to all these factors, an added bonus for people on weight training programs is that they can clearly consume more calories than people doing only cardio, and who doesn’t like to eat!?!

Much like I concluded in my piece this morning, Precision Nutrition concluded the same: a combination of aerobic and resistance training is the best for fat loss and cardiovascular fitness. With that being said, if you only have time for one activity, get your butt to the gym and lift weights with all the intensity you can muster!

If you have any questions on this topic or would like to ask me a question, post your comment below or send me a personal message!

DW





Weight Training vs. Cardio: The Exercise Hierarchy

15 03 2013

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I write a lot about nutrition and the benefits of lifting weights, but rarely touch on the subject of cardio. There are reasons for this:

  1. I do not find cardio to be enjoyable
  2. Weight training has provided me with far superior results, both physically and aesthetically
  3. Weight training allows me to eat like a madman in the hours following a session at the gym

As I wrote in my recent HuffPost entry, in my opinion, there are only three reasons to do cardio:

  1. You LOVE it
  2. You are trying to burn excess calories
  3. You are training for a race/sport

During the winter, the only cardio I get is when I play sports, which equates to roughly once a week, sometimes maybe twice. I also walk in the city a lot, and I walk as vigorously as some people jog, so I guess that counts as well. When the snow is gone, I make an effort to get out and do sprints/hills once or twice a week (always first thing in the morning). My reason is number 2 listed above- to burn off a few extra calories in hopes of improving my body composition. I tend to drink more beer and eat more crappy food in the summer than in the winter, so in the end I think it all evens out.

In my opinion, based on research and personal experience, the most effective ways to improve body composition (read: lose fat, appear leaner) are as follows:

  1. High-intensity weight training (read: lifting heavy things)
  2. Weight training intervals
  3. High-intensity cardio intervals
  4. Steady-state cardio
  5. Low-intensity weight training (otherwise known as sitting around at the gym and accomplishing next to nothing)

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As with anything else in life, the harder you work, the better your results will be (shocking, I know). High-intensity cardio intervals (followed by extended steady-state cardio) almost surely burns the most calories/fat during the exercise- although it’s possible that weight training intervals, if done hard and long enough, can match or exceed the results of cardio. However, the body will continue to burn calories after any workout, and it is the type and intensity of the workout will determine the length and strength of this extra calorie-burn. After cardio, the body tends to burn calories at an elevated rate for 30-60 minutes; maybe up to 2 hours if you really overdid it with intervals. After weight training, the body can burn calories at an elevated rate for days. Additionally, weight training builds muscle whereas cardio builds very little. More muscle equates to a higher metabolism. A higher metabolism equates to more calories burned in a resting state.  I was never a great math student, but it’s not difficult to see why weight training trumps cardio in the realm of fat burning.

In case you’d like a more scientific explanation: Growth hormone (GH) and testosterone (T) are the two primary anabolic (muscle-building) hormones in the human body. When the levels of these hormones rise, muscular size and strength will increase. These hormones are also lipolytic, meaning they stimulate the body to burn stored fat for fuel, so a rise in these hormones actually leads to a reduction in overall body fat as well. GH and T are difficult to manipulate, but weight training can elicit a small rise in both hormones; cardio does not. As a matter of fact, it is likely that you must specifically perform heavy, compound weight-training exercises to really benefit from any kind of hormonal response (read: you must perform exercises like the squat, deadlift, push-press, etc. at a high intensity to elicit any hormonal change). Strength training also increases the body’s insulin sensitivity, which means that post-weight training, the body will selectively shuttle carbohydrates and other nutrients to the damaged muscle cells instead of fat cells for storage. This is not the case (at least not to the same degree) with cardio.

This does not count as high-intensity weight training.

This does not count as high-intensity weight training.

The “perfect” exercise plan would likely include both weight training and cardio. Cardiovascular exercise in itself is very beneficial- aside from burning fat it also helps to improve glucose metabolism, lower resting heart rate, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol. You can also do cardio every day, as it is much easier to recover from than an intense weight-lifting workout. If you are doing cardio and weights on the same day, I would highly recommend doing your weights first- this will ensure that you have the most energy possible for weights, which should encourage good form and reduce the risk of injury, not to mention put you in a better position hormonally (if you do cardio first, your catabolic cortisol levels will be elevated when you begin weight training, which is the opposite effect that you want).  The only exception would be if you are training specifically for strength. In this scenario, either do your cardio first, or better yet, do it on another day. Cardio after heavy lifting will not have any benefits to those looking to get stronger; if anything, it will wipe out the progress you just made. If you are going for strength, smash your weights, and immediately eat some food.

A few other cardio tips:

– Do your cardio on an empty stomach. If you do cardio after eating carbs, you will burn those instead of stored fat.

– If you are a big believer in caffeine like I am, or if you take fat-burners, take these supplements roughly 30 minutes prior to your cardio to enhance your work capacity and increase your pain threshold. It will increase you metabolism and enable you to push yourself harder; both of which should result in more fat burned.

– Cardio that lasts less than 20 minutes is almost useless- it essentially takes this long to get the body warmed up and into fat-burning mode. Aim for 30-45 minutes; after 45 minutes your cortisol will be at or near the point where you’ll start wasting muscle and protecting fat. More is not always better.

– Ideal cardio? 40 minutes, first thing in the morning, after a coffee. You’ll be in fat-burning mode and will kick-start your metabolism for the day!

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As always, doing any sort of physical activity is better than nothing, so find something you love to do and do it to the best of your ability; but keep the hierarchy above in mind, and try to pick the most efficient activity for your personal goals. The key, no matter what the exercise, is to push yourself as hard as possible. Make yourself sweat. Lose your breath. And try to introduce your body to a new kind of stimulus on a regular basis- only then will the body be challenged to make adaptations and in turn work a bit harder than before.

That’s all for now! For more questions on cardio or weight training, you know how to find me!

Happy Friday!

DW