Saturday, January 17, 2009

And the winner is ...

hypermetabolic (sorry, Wendy!) training a la Christian Thibaudeau, assuming I don't have a better idea any time soon.

The basic premise is to boost BMR while also increasing energy expenditure from the workout itself. To that end, four types of activities are included:

1. heavy strength training (in the 4-8 rep range)
2. lighter strength training performed with maximum acceleration
3. high speed metabolic work in the anaerobic lactic zone
4. low intensity "fat burning" cardio

(If you're curious, here's a link to Thibaudeau's article on Figure Athlete where he explains why each type of activity is important:

What interests me about the program isn't so much the "science" of it, because, well, whatever. Not that I'm cynical or anything, but the bottom line is that if you're consistently working hard, watching your calories, getting enough protein, and (mostly) avoiding sugar and starch, you will lose fat no matter whose program you're on, although Wendy's is the best of course :)

Nope, what interests me is simply that it's kinda different from what I've been doing, and incorporates some endurance training, I'm still not sold on the effectiveness of same for fat loss, but there's no question but that endurance is important for many sports and leisure activities and also for everyday life.

Anyway, the program is an upper lower split, with two upper body and two lower body workouts each week, each incorporating heavy weight training, high acceleration training, high speed metabolic training, and low intensity cardio. Today, for instance. I did the following:

superset with full 90 sec. rest: RDL, 8x90, 8x100, 6x100, 8x100; Bulgarian ss with dumbbells, 8x20, 8x25, 2x6x25 (this is the heavy lifting, in case you couldn't tell :))

superset with full 60 sec. rest: KB swing, 4x8x14 kg; jump lunge with dumbells, 4x8x10 (this is the maximum-acceleration lifting)

tri-set: lying leg curl, 3x10x50; leg extension, 1x10x70, 2x10x80; bodyweight speed squat, 60 sec., no rest between exercises, 60 sec. rest following the speed squats.

Supposedly the speed squats are meant to bring me to my lactate threshhold, thereby triggering the release of free fatty acids as well as growth hormone. Therefore, I optimally would've done 30-35 minutes of low intensity cardio following the tri-set. But ... I didn't. I did about 10 minutes of various bodyweight exercises: jumping jacks, squats, pushups, stepups, mountain climbers, 1-leg glute bridges, running in place, etc. Then I got bored, thought for two seconds about doing an exercise video, realized I would have to clear a space in my workout area, and gave up on the idea. If I'd been at the gym I'd have hopped on the elliptical. (Taste it, CB!)

As I said, I'm pretty skeptical about the efficacy of low intensity cardio for fat loss. I certainly don't think it hurts, but I don't think it helps all that much either and I certainly don't think it matters when you do it. I mean, maybe it matters if you're competing and need to lose as much body fat as you possibly can, but if all you're looking to do is get "real world" lean ... not so much.