Posted 29 April 2020 by Erik Neil

Top 10 Benefits of

Elliptical Machine Workouts

An elliptical machine is almost like a treadmill that you will see in the gym. In fact, the elliptical has many more benefits than the treadmill. With the elliptical machine, you can easily burn up to 400-450 calories in 30 mins. With an elliptical machine, you can easily workout at home. You can buy an elliptical under 500 dollars for home use. 

This article will show you some benefits of the elliptical machine in your daily life.

Top 10 Benefits of Elliptical Machine in your daily life

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1.  Burn the Calories

The first advantage or benefit you will get from the elliptical machine is burning calories. Most workouts we do either build muscle or burn the calories. This machine is very helpful for both. An elliptical is similar to a treadmill machine but with extra benefits.

The elliptical machine is a one of a kind cardio machine. You can burn up to 270 to 400 calories within 30 mins with this machine depending on your weight.

2.  Boost Up Energy

With the elliptical machine, you can literally boost up your energy level at a high rate. This machine has a great impact on your whole body. At first, you may feel pain or soreness but as you progress, you will get stronger and in turn, become a fitter person with boosted energy levels. 

3.  Great Workout for Upper and Lower Body

Both upper and lower body parts will get the results. This machine targets the muscle and increases the blood circulation to activate the body parts. Giving you a full-body workout which will strengthen you, muscles and ligaments in your upper and lower body.

4.   Balance improvement of the Body

If you are suffering from back pain or hip damage, you can work out with an elliptical machine. It also helps to increase the balance and mobility of the body. When we do physical exercise, we are creating a mind-muscle connection. Our brain controls all things we do including balance.

All the tissues and nerves of the body are connected. So, when you work out your nerves give a signal to your brain. The brain acts as an instructor. This way your balance remains stable and day by day because of your workout with the elliptical machine your balance becomes better.

5.  Strengthen the Leg Muscles

The elliptical machine targets your leg muscles. All parts of your leg are trained when you go through the motions.


6.  Versatile machine

You can decide how hard you work out on an elliptical so it is great for all levels of fitness from beginner to expert

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7.  Easy to Use

Very easy to use, so you don't have to be a technical wizard in order to operate the machine. So great for everyone.

8.  Impact Free

The best part of using this machine is that it is impact-free. Unlike a treadmill or other machines, it does not put stress on your joints as you work out so it is a great alternative for those with joint pain issues.


Posted 10 December 2019 by Elsie Doss

Breathing Technique: How

To Breathe Properly Running

Published: Dec 10th, 2019

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When running, the rate of absorption and breakdown of food increases in your body so as to give you enough energy for the activity. How you breathe while running is important because the oxygen that you take in is used in your body’s metabolism. You need to take in more oxygen and expel carbon dioxide rapidly.

The proper technique of breathing while running would improve your performance; it would help you to run faster and longer with relatively less effort. It would also prevent you from getting side aches and side stitches caused by poor breathing.
Pay attention to the following tips to establish a proper breathing technique when running.

Breathe in and out through your mouth

Breathing through your nose is great because your nose has an air cleaning and warming mechanism. However, it is not efficient when it comes to running. Your nostrils are obviously smaller than the opening of your mouth. You should breathe primarily through your mouth because it feeds enough oxygen into your body. It is even better to breathe through both your mouth and your nose. Do not think too hard about it, just let your mouth hang open as you run.

Breathe with your belly

Air doesn’t actually get in your belly as you breathe. The expansion and contraction of your belly just signify the amount of air you are taking in and pushing out. The more air you take in the further down your lungs pushes the diaphragm and the more air you exhale the further up your diaphragm retreats.

Most people make the mistake of breathing with the chest while running. The muscles around the chest cavity are rigid and hence do not allow for expansion of the lungs outwards. This is a shallow form of breathing. You should breathe with your belly. It allows you to take up and store more oxygen for your run. The way to do this is to watch your stomach expand and contract as your chest remains still.

You can practice this technique by:

  • Lying down on your back on any comfortable surface.
  • Keep your chest and shoulders still.
  • Focus on raising your belly as you inhale and lowering it as you exhale.
  • You may want to place a light object on your stomach so that you could easily see it rise and fall.

In time, you will learn to rely less on your chest muscles and more on your diaphragm.


Take longer breaths

Fatigue always sets in quicker when you take shorter breaths. Longer breathes take in more air and expel out almost every bit of it. More oxygen would, therefore, be available for your muscles to function for longer without getting exhausted.

You should take longer breaths when running and try to make their duration uniform throughout your run. It is important to note that longer breaths do not mean very slow ones it just means extended and deeper breathing. For effective longer, breaths try to breathe in for two to three steps that you take and breathe out for the same number.




Take calculated steps to match your breathing

When exhaling your diaphragm and chest muscles normally relax. This is the point when you could easily get hurt when your body twists or turns violently. Taking calculated steps is important in your breathing during your runs because as your foot lands on the ground your entire body absorbs the shock of the impact. Landing on the same foot all the time during your exhales burdens one side of your body, weakening it and making it vulnerable to injury. You are more likely to experience frequent side-aches above your left or right hip as a result.

You should ensure that you alternate your left and right steps for every exhale that you take. This would distribute the shock of impact equal to the left and right sides of your body throughout your run. It is of course hard to keep track of what each foot is doing and when the next exhale would find it.

Therefore you need to create a coordinated pattern of foot strikes and breathing that your body would soon get accustomed to without applying too much thought. You could do this by ensuring that your first exhale coincides with your left foot strike and the second exhale coincides with your right foot strike. If you get it right a dozen times at the beginning of your run, you can then stop keeping track; the pattern would automatically fall in place.

To minimize the effect of foot strikes on your body, you will need good running shoes. The best running shoes for sufferers of Plantar Fasciitis would do the job. They have soft spongy footpads and thick under soles that absorb the shock of impact hence reducing foot pains and side aches. A pair of knee brace should be also considered to minimize injuries.

Establish a breathing pattern

According to, most runners use a 2:2 or a 3:3 pattern of breathing. This means that they inhale for every two or three steps and exhale for the same number. The breathing gets longer with the number of steps you dedicate to every breath. The 2:2 pattern is efficient for shorter runs while the 3:3 pattern is suitable for longer runs that would require more endurance.

For experienced runners, an odd 3:2 breathing pattern is favorable. This means that you take three steps for an inhale and two steps for the exhale. This pattern ensures that most of your foot strikes land on your inhales when your core and diaphragm are on guard and your body is stable.

To practice this breathing pattern:

  • Lie down with your knees bent in a wedge and your feet flat on the ground
  • Place your hands on top of your belly and start belly breathing
  • Inhale to the count of three then exhales to the count of two. Do this several times.
  • Once you are accustomed to the 3:2 pattern add foot taps to mimic foot strikes during runs

Breathing is an essential part of running that is often overlooked. It is important that you apply the proper breathing technique to keep away exhaustion and minimize injury and strain to muscles.

Written By: Elsie Doss

Posted 11 March 2019 by

Top 10 Benefits To Training With

A Speed Resistance Parachute

Running or sprinting parachutes are popular amongst a wide range of athletes. The parachutes are usually made of nylon or polyester and are attached to a harness which you can attach to your chest or waist. As you run or sprint the parachute expands, which creates resistance and in turn forces you to work harder even when it isn’t windy. Speed parachutes are a great tool. Here are our top 10 benefits to training with a speed parachute:

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Strength. Speed parachutes enable you to build overall functional strength and power.

2. The great outdoors.

The great outdoors. They are a great excuse to get out of the weight room change your environment and train outside.

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3. Used by pro athletes.

Used by pro athletes. Speed parachutes are often used by pro and amateur sprinters and athletes seeking to develop explosive speed and movement.

4. Will give you a psychological edge.

Will give you a psychological edge. Not only is speed parachute training a physical challenge it is also a mental challenge, training through the resistance will give you that edge when it comes to competition time in an array of sports.

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5. Inexpensive.

Inexpensive. Speed parachutes are inexpensive relative to the value they provide so are financially viable for many athletes.

6. Fast twitch muscles.

Fast twitch muscles.  Speed parachutes help build and develop fast twitch muscles which can be advantageous for sports which require short bursts of speed or strength.  Boxing, Muay Thai, football, basketball, soccer and athletics are just a few sports in this fast-twitch category.

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7.  Progressive Resistance.

Progressive Resistance.  The speed parachute applies progressive resistance, so the faster you run the more resistance is provided.  However fast or slow you are running, the parachute will adjust to your ability level.

8.  Motivation.

Motivation.  Switching up your normal routine can be key to keeping up your motivation to train.  Sprinting with a speed parachute in the park or track is a great alternative to your normal routine.

9.  You can train alone.

You can train alone. It is a great tool to train alone with, they are easy to use, light and no spotter or assistance is needed.

10. Injury recovery.

Injury recovery. Compared to training in the weight room speed parachute training lessens the impact of motion on your joints so depending on the injury it can be a great tool to utilise whilst recovering.


Posted 22 May 2013 by Nick Nilsson

HIIT: 8 Week Cardio Interval

Training Progression


8 Week Cardio Interval Training Progression Guide

Interval training is one of THE most effective ways to burn fat while preserving muscle. It's also one of the most effective ways to improve your cardiovascular capacity as well!  But the trick is where do you start? You can't just jump in and start sprinting without knowing what you're doing. That's a good way to not only to hurt yourself, but exhaust yourself as well!

So I've got an interval training progression plan that gets you started with more basic types of interval training then gradually moves you into more intense cardio training.  I'll lay out how many intervals to do, which style of interval training to do, and how long to do it for. This progression plan will also give you good variety in your cardio training, which can get dull if you keep doing it the same way over and over.

And just like with weight training, you need to constantly challenge and even shock your body in order to keep making progress. This plan will do it for you!

The overall goals with this cardio program are fat loss and improving cardio capacity. This type of training is not a plan I would recommend if you're trying to build muscle. When training to build muscle, you want to keep cardio training to a lower maintenance level and this is not a program that does that.

It's based on doing cardio 3 times per week and can be applied to pretty much any method or apparatus of cardio training, be it running, cycling, elliptical, etc. Any cardio based sports activity will work as well (e.g. swimming).

Choose whatever method works best for you, that you enjoy the most or that you'd most like to improve your performance in, e.g. if you're a runner, using running as the activity for your interval training.

Here's a summary of the types of interval training we'll be using…


1. Aerobic Interval Training

Aerobic Interval Training is very beneficial for rapidly improving your aerobic conditioning as well as burning fat. It will even help you build up your endurance faster than long-duration cardio! It is also a very good introductory format for starting interval training. If you are new to interval training, I highly recommend beginning with Aerobic Intervals.

This type of interval training involves relatively long work periods and shorter rest periods. Work periods are generally 2 to 5 minutes long in this type of training. The idea is not to take it easy for that work time but to work at a speed that challenges you to be able to make it to the end of that work interval. Your 2 minute interval pace is, therefore, going to be significantly faster than your 5 minute interval pace.

The rest interval for this type of training is between 30 seconds to a minute. Naturally, the shorter the rest period, the tougher the training will be. Too much rest will allow your body to recover too much, lessening the overall training effect of the exercise.

Here are some examples of a number of different intervals you can use in your training:

Work Rest
2 min. 30 sec.
5 min. 1 min.
3 min. 45 sec.
2 min. 1 min.
5 min. 30 sec.


When using these intervals, you can choose to stick to the same time intervals (e.g. do 2 minutes hard and 30 seconds slow for the duration of the workout) or mix it up with different time intervals as you go through your session. This type of training can generally be done for about 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Maximal High-Intensity Intervals

This type of interval training is VERY high intensity and is VERY effective for fat loss and cardio training. You essentially push yourself to the maximum on every single work interval you do! This type of training is extremely effective when training for sports that require all-out repeated efforts, such as football, soccer, hockey, etc. If you want to get faster and recover faster, this is the type of training for you.

This type of training sends very powerful signals to the body and the metabolism. In addition to dramatically ratcheting up the body's metabolism, maximal-effort training also causes large amounts of Growth Hormone, one of your body's primary fat burning hormones (the Fountain of Youth Hormone, as it's sometimes referred to) to be released into the bloodstream. This two-pronged effect is very powerful for fat-burning.

Maximal Intervals are much shorter than Aerobic Intervals. Generally, the longest you'll be able to perform a maximal effort is around 30 seconds so all the work intervals are 30 seconds or less.

Rest periods can be short or long, depending how good of shape a person is in and/or how much they want to recover in between intervals. Shorter rest periods make the work intervals more challenging but the speed of the work will also drop quickly after a few intervals. Longer rest periods will allow the body to recover a little more, allowing faster speeds on more intervals. Rest periods should always be at least as long as the work periods. This is to allow enough recovery to be able to perform well on the next work period.

Here are some examples of Maximal work and rest intervals you can use in your training. As I mentioned above, you can stick with one time period through the whole session, or vary your intervals you go through the workout.

Work Rest
30 sec. 30 sec.
30 sec. 1 min.
20 sec. 1 min.
10 sec. 30 sec.
30 sec. 2 min.


Since Maximal Intervals are so challenging, a person should not expect or try to be able to jump right in at a high level for a large number of intervals. It is very important to build yourself up gradually.

Start by performing five Maximal Intervals the first two sessions you do the training. The next two sessions, do six Maximal Intervals. Continue adding intervals in this step-up fashion until you are doing intervals for a maximum of 15 minutes straight. The exact number of intervals you do in a session will depend on the times you're using in your work and rest intervals.
Because Maximal Intervals are so challenging, you may find yourself getting too fatigued to perform at a fast pace as you get towards the end. When this happens, try doing Reverse Pyramid intervals. Instead of keeping your work interval the same, reduce it by 5 seconds every couple of intervals.

Here's a sample of how to do it:

  • Interval 1 - 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 2 - 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 3 - 25 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 4 - 25 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 5 - 20 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 6 - 20 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 7 - 15 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.
  • Interval 7 - 15 seconds hard, 30 seconds rest.

3. Sub-Maximal High Intensity Intervals

Sub-Maximal intervals are excellent for burning fat and for building up your cardiovascular conditioning. This type of training will do each of these far better than continuous-tempo, lower-intensity training.

This type of interval training is very similar in concept and execution to the Maximal interval style. The difference is, instead of pushing yourself as hard as you can on each work interval, you work at a pace that is somewhat below your max. This allows you to do more total work intervals during the session while still keeping your intensity levels high.
Most Interval programs on cardio machines follow this principle. The resistance/speed is increased to a higher level for a set period of time then reduced for a set period of time. The level is not so high that you must put your maximum effort into each work interval, but it is at a level you could not keep up for long periods.

This type of training is also very effective for fat loss and increasing the metabolism.
Intervals in this style can be longer, since you're not working at maximum speed, but not much longer. Work periods of 30 seconds to a minute and rest periods of 30 seconds to a minute work well for it. Here are some sample intervals you can use in your training:

Work Rest
30 sec. 30 sec.
30 sec. 1 min.
1 min. 1 min.
1 min. 30 sec.
45 sec. 45 sec.

This type of training can be done for about 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the intensity level of the work.

4. Near-Maximal Aerobic Intervals

This is a unique form of interval training that I've been working with that basically combines Aerobic Interval Training with Maximal Interval Training to allow you to work at near-peak levels for long periods of time. This has the benefit of burning a tremendous amount of calories for longer periods of work time than is possible with normal intervals.
The work intervals themselves are short but the rest periods are much shorter! Instead of pushing yourself to the max on every interval, you work at a pace somewhat short of your max. This type of training allows you to perform near your max for longer periods of time. It is a very challenging and unique form of interval training.

Here's how it works:

Start with a work interval of 20 seconds and a rest interval of 5 seconds. Your pace should be one that you would only be able to keep up steady for about 1 to 2 minutes before having to stop. Do that pace for 20 seconds then go very slow for 5 seconds. Jump right back in and do that same pace for another 20 seconds then very slow for 5 seconds. Keep this cycle repeating for a designated period of time, e.g. 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes.

Here are some sample intervals you can use with this training style:

Work Rest
20 sec. 5 sec.
25 sec. 5 sec.
30 sec. 10 sec.
15 sec. 7 sec.
40 sec. 10 sec.


This type of training works very well with cardio machines that allow you to switch resistance instantly or very quickly (stationary bikes, stair machines or elliptical trainers often allow this). Machines that must cycle slowly through their speeds as they change do not work well for this (treadmills fall into this category). It can also be done with running then walking, cycling then pedalling slowly, or even swimming hard then stroking lazily. You'll find it very challenging to be having to constantly restart your momentum from almost scratch on every interval!

Please note: it's very important that you don't stop completely when you take your short rest period. Keep yourself moving during this time even if you're just moving very slowly!

8 Week Interval Training Progression

  • This basically assumes you're starting from scratch without interval training experience but with cardio and weight training experience. So it's not a total beginner program but it gives you a good place to start if you've not done intervals before.
  • The three training days per week can be done at any day of the week, e.g. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I like to include at least one day off in between cardio days.
  • Cardio can also be done on the same days as weight training. I would recommend doing cardio AFTER doing weights as doing cardio before will affect your strength levels when doing weights.
  • With this program, we'll gradually be increasing the workload, the intensity and decreasing rest periods. We'll also be changing up the different styles of cardio being done.
  • Start each cardio training session with 2-3 minutes of slow to moderate-pace warm-up of the specific activity you'll be using.
  • When the program calls for slow-pace or rest intervals, this basically means dropping back to a very minimal and easy pace or simply walking around - nothing challenging at all.
  • After 8 weeks on this program, take at least a week off cardio training. When you go back to it, feel free to experiment with other combinations of interval training - you're going to be in great cardio shape!
  • Note - These progressions aren't based on any scientific studies, only my own experience with interval training with how to best progress as you do it so that you get the most out of it.

Week 1 - Aerobic Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

2 minutes of faster-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 7 faster-pace intervals

2 minutes of faster-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 7 faster-pace interval

1 1/2 minutes of faster-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 9 faster-pace intervals

• Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for about 5 minutes or so, if you had to. • Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for about 5 minutes or so, if you had to. • Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for about 3 minutes or so, if you had to - basically faster than you did the previous two days.

Week 2 - Aerobic Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

1 1/2 minutes of faster-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 9 faster-pace interval

2 minutes of fast-pace activity then

30 seconds slow pace activity

Perform 9 faster-pace intervals

2 minutes of fast-pace activity then

30 seconds slow pace activity

Perform 9 faster-pace intervals

• Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for about 3 minutes or so, if you had to. • Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for about 2 to 3 minutes or so, if you had to - again, a bit faster than you did the previous two days. • Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for about 2 to 3 minutes or so, if you had to.

Week 3 - Sub-Maximal Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

1 minute of fast-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 6 faster-pace intervals

1 minute of fast-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 8 faster-pace intervals

1 minute of fast-pace activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 10 faster-pace intervals

• Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for not a whole lot longer than a minute to a minute and a half.

• Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for not a whole lot longer than a minute to a minute and a half.

• Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for not a whole lot longer than a minute to a minute and a half.

Week 4 - Sub-Maximal Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

30 seconds of fast-pace activity then

30 seconds slow pace activity

Perform 10 faster-pace intervals

30 seconds of fast-pace activity then

30 seconds slow pace activity

Perform 14 faster-pace intervals

30 seconds of fast-pace activity then

30 seconds slow pace activity

Perform 18 faster-pace intervals

• Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for not a whole lot longer than 45 seconds or so. • Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for not a whole lot longer than 45 seconds or so. • Faster pace in this case means a speed which you could only sustain for not a whole lot longer than 45 seconds or so.

Week 5 - Maximal Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

15 seconds of full-out activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 8 full-out intervals

15 seconds of full-out activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 10 full-out intervals

20 seconds of full-out activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 10 full-out intervals

• Full out here means as fast as you can go for the full 15 seconds! • Full out here means as fast as you can go for the full 15 seconds! • Full out here means as fast as you can go for the full 20 seconds!

Week 6 - Maximal Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

20 seconds of full-out activity then

1 minute slow pace activity

Perform 12 full-out intervals

30 seconds of full-out activity then

1 1/2 minutes slow pace activity

Perform 8 full-out intervals

30 seconds of full-out activity then

1 1/2 minutes slow pace activity

Perform 10 full-out intervals

• Full out here means as fast as you can go for the full 20 seconds! • Full out here means as fast as you can go for the full 30 seconds! • Full out here means as fast as you can go for the full 30 seconds!

Week 7 - Near-Maximal Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

30 seconds of fast pace then

10 seconds slow pace activity

Do this for a total of 15 minutes training time - basically keep alternating these work and rest intervals until you've done 15 minutes.

30 seconds of fast pace then

10 seconds slow pace activity

Do this for a total of 18 minutes training time - basically keep alternating these work and rest intervals until you've done 18 minutes

15 seconds of fast pace then

5 seconds slow pace activity

Do this for a total of 15 minutes training time - basically keep alternating these work and rest intervals until you've done 15 minutes.

• Fast pace here means a pace you could only normally keep for about 1 to 2 minutes. • Fast pace here means a pace you could only normally keep for about 1 to 2 minutes. • Fast pace here means a pace you could only normally keep for about 1 minute or so.

Week 8 - Near-Maximal Interval Training

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

15 seconds of fast pace then

5 seconds slow pace activity

Do this for a total of 18 minutes training time - basically keep alternating these work and rest intervals until you've done 18 minutes.

25 seconds of fast pace then

5 seconds slow pace activity

Do this for a total of 15 minutes training time - basically keep alternating these work and rest intervals until you've done 15 minutes.

25 seconds of fast pace then

5 seconds slow pace activity

Do this for a total of 20 minutes training time - basically keep alternating these work and rest intervals until you've done 20 minutes.

• Fast pace here means a pace you could only normally keep for about 1 minute or so. • Fast pace here means a pace you could only normally keep for about 1 minute or so. • Fast pace here means a pace you could only normally keep for about 1 minute or so.


Once you’re done this progression, take at least a week off cardio training completely!

Written by:  Nick Nilsson

Posted 18 March 2013 by Kwesi Keller

10 Common Fitness And

Nutrition Questions Answered


1) How long should my workout last?

The length of a workout is dependent on multiple factors. To build muscle a workout may last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. When lifting to grow muscle, the attempt is not to Uncommon_kwesi_path_q1.pngexhaust the cardiac muscle, but to strategically break down muscle tissue through moving objects against gravity. The average rest time between sets may be anywhere from 1 -2 minutes; allowing the muscles to re-oxygenate and allowing for maximal effort in every set. If the attempt is to burn fat and increase muscular and cardiovascular endurance, effective techniques are supersets, tri –sets, and shorter rest duration; between 30-45 seconds.

2) Can I do abs every day?

Working the core every day is a bad idea. The abdominal muscles are a thin layer of muscle that needs recovery time like any other muscle. The core is used during every movement of the body, so to continually break down the muscle is counterproductive. To maximize each workout, train the abdominals intensely like any other muscle group.

3) How often should I cardio?

It is important to understand the difference between cardio and burning fat; many people confuse the two. Cardio is strengthening the cardiac muscle (heart). The body burns fat in two ways: 1) Long and slow bouts of energy expenditure or 2) high intensity/short in duration interval training (sprints, sled pulls, and running stairs). To answer the question posed, cardio every other day is appropriate. Cardio is a workout, and just like lifting weights, muscle is broken down and the body produces cortisol (hormone use to convert muscle into energy source); so it is important to allow the legs to recover before breaking them down again.

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4) What do you consider a rest day?
Is it a day without weights, cardio, or both?

A rest day is just that, a day to do nothing but eat and allow your mind and body to rest. The mind controls hormone regulation in the body; therefore, it is essential to allow the body time to recover and regain balance. When the body is constantly worked with no rest it can fall into a state of over training. Over training is easily identifiable:

• Prolonged muscle soreness
• Strength loss
• Muscle strain/pains
• No muscle gain

5) Is it better to do cardio before
or after lifting weights?

If cardio as discussed earlier is being completed, it should be done on its own as a workout. If a person is attempting to complement their nutrition by burning a few extra calories, then anytime of the day is good. However, if it is done in the morning a person must understand Uncommon_kwesi_path_q2.pngthey have to combat the hormone cortisol that is being produced due to the fast of the night. The ways a person can offset this hormone is to take BCAA or hydrolyzed whey protein to blunt the effects of the hormone. If done after a workout (not recommended) it’s important to understand the body is producing cortisol; therefore a hydrolyzed whey (protein peptides broken down to allow for faster absorption) should be used. This blunts cortisol but does not interfere with the bodies GH (growth hormone) production.

6) Is diet or working out more important?

Neither is more important than the other, rather they complement one another. Diet without exercise will leave the body absent of shape and tone. Exercise without proper nutrition is counterproductive because for the body to repair itself, the nutrients and elements used have to be replaced. When these elements or nutrients aren’t replaced the body will use muscle tissue and bone minerals as a substitute.

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7) How do I get a flat stomach?

Bottom line, a flat stomach or washboard abs are both made in the kitchen. Everyone has abs but what separates a flat stomach from a fat stomach is adipose tissue (belly fat). A proper nutrition plan is the only way to a flat stomach.

8) What should I eat after a workout and why?

This is a two part answer so let’s start with what to eat if you are doing weight training. A common myth is that after a workout a simple carbohydrate should be consumed. This is a myth because the scientific studies conducted that led to this conclusion were inappropriately evaluated and applied; all of these studies where comprised of runners. For a weight lifter hydrolyzed or micronized whey protein should be consumed to allow the body’s growth hormone to stay elevated. For an endurance athlete a simple carbohydrate is appropriate to replenish glycogen stores depleted during the event.

9) Why do I never see results after months of training?

There are so many possible reasons that it would be impossible to determine without proper evaluation, but here is a list of possible reasons:
• Lack of a plan
• Lack of sleep
• Poor nutrition
• Poor training form
• Over training

10) Why do athletes take sports enhancement drugs?

I can’t answer for every athlete, but I can explain what sports enhancement drugs do and then I’m sure everyone can form their own opinion. These drugs are not miracles; these athletes still have to eat clean, train hard, and recover.
Sports enhancement drugs are synthetic hormones that speed up the body’s natural abilities to repair muscle fibers, metabolize food, and suppress other hormones that are counterproductive to muscle growth. They are not legal nor are they advised, but they do not take away from the hard work, discipline, and desire of an athlete who is willing to put it all on the line for their dream of being the greatest at their craft.

Written by: Kwesi Keller, interview with Kwesi Keller

Posted 08 October 2012 by Adam Bisek

Train P.H.A.T.

To Get Lean

Train P.H.A.T. to get Lean

Peripheral Heart Action Training that is. When it comes to ramping up your heart rate in a short amount of time to shred off the fat, PHAT training takes the cake. PHAT training utilizes a combination of upper body and lower body resistance training exercises that force your heart to pump blood back and forth between your upper and lower limbs. Of course your heart beats faster to meet the increasing demand for oxygen throughout your body. More calories are burned in a shorter duration and you're walking out of the gym in record time.

There are plenty of ways to go about PHAT training in the weight room. All forms of equipment from kettlebells, bands, battling ropes, and medicine balls can be used in addition to your traditional weight stacks, cables, and dumbbells. The typical way to perform PHAT training is to combine exercises in "superset" fashion, pairing up two exercises and going back and forth between them. It is best to utilize this form of training in a full body routine, but it can also be split up into the front and back of the body. If done in full-body fashion give at least 48 - 72 hours of rest between each session.

So if you're looking to burn fat, train PHAT! If anything else it will add variety to your training routine.

Here is an example of a full-body routine using free weights and cable machines:

Full-Body PHAT Training

*A and B signifies a superset, which entails going back and forth between the two exercises until all sets and repetitions are completed, then you move onto the next set of two exercises.

1A) Dumbbell Bench Press 3 sets x 10 - 15 repetitions.

1B) Romanian or Straight Legged Deadlift 3 sets x 10 - 15 repetitions.

2A) Seated Row 3 sets x 12 - 15 repetitions.

2B) Walking Dumbbell Lunges 3 sets of 20 - 24 steps.

3A) Dips (weight, bodyweight, or assistance as needed) 3 sets x 8 - 12 repetitions.

3B) Leg Curl Machine 3 sets x 12 - 15 repetitions.

4A) Pull Up (weighted, bodyweight, or assistance as needed) 3 sets x 8 - 12 repetitions.

4B) Squat (Barbell, Dumbbell, or Bodyweight based on ability and availability) 3 sets x 12 - 15 repetitions.

Written by Adam Bisek

Posted 29 August 2012 by Grant Lofthouse

5 Alternative Methods

To The Treadmill

6 Alternative Methods To The Treadmill

We all want to get cut and jacked; after all, that’s why we’re here! In reality, the thought of performing cardio in order to achieve that hard, lean, ripped look turns many of us off completely, and we never reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
In this article, I’m going to give you 5 alternative methods that you can use instead of traditional cardio to get yourself ripped, cut and jacked…

# 1 Cut Rest Periods

I’m not a big advocate of cutting rest periods if it means your strength is affected. Strength training should always be your number one priority, regardless of what your goal is. However, most people will benefit from cutting their rest periods down to 60 seconds between sets.
Unless you’re a power lifter, I don’t see any reason for you to rest any longer.

# 2 Skipping

Skipping is every boxer’s number one ‘go to’ method when they want to skyrocket their conditioning levels, cut body fat and improve their athleticism.
Gray Cook states that it also improves one’s posture, simply because it is impossible to skip hunched over. This is one of the many reasons why running causes so many injuries as it is possible to run with poor posture.

So, if you’re a trainer and you want to improve someone’s posture, hand them a skipping rope and watch them magically transform their posture in front of your very eyes.
30 seconds on, 30 seconds off for 10 minutes at the end of a strength workout will get anyone blowing.

#3 Hill sprints

Yes, I am well aware that sprinting is a form of running! The reason why most people hate cardio is due to the fact that it’s about as fun as watching grass grow.
With hill sprints, you will be done and dusted in 20 minutes…max! You’re probably wondering why the hill, right?

Well, there are two good reasons:

  1. It’s harder.
  2. It’s safer – the hill slows you down and doesn’t allow you to reach top speed, which is where you are at greatest risk of injury.


  • 10 x 50 - 80 metre sprints will do the trick.

# 4 BB Complex

Try this barbell complex at the end of your strength training program; this will act as your cardio. A bb complex is when you do all the reps of one exercise before moving onto the next exercise and you don’t put the bar down until all the reps are complete; that counts as one set. You’ll briefly rest and repeat for the recommended number of sets. Use a weight you can shoulder press 10 times.

  • High pull from hang x 5
  • Clean from hang x 5
  • Shoulder press x 5
  • Front Squat x 5
  • Shoulder Press x 5
  • Rest for 60 - 90 seconds.
  • Complete 4 sets in total.

# 5 Play/Sport

Remember back in the day when you were a kid and video games, computers and Facebook weren’t popular? What did you do?
You probably grabbed a bunch of friends and went outside and played soccer, tiggy, raced around on your roller blades, or played some form of ball game until your mum called you in for dinner.
Notice how people were in much better shape back then?
That’s because they played themselves into shape.

You can also do this on your off or rest days. Just grab a bunch of friends and go shoot some hoops or do something physically active and get away from the stuffy gym for a day or two.
It will act as a great incidental form of cardio.

Written by: Grant Lofthouse

Posted 07 August 2012 by Josh Englehart

CrossFit Guide: Think

Inside The Box

Unless you have been living under a rock or haven’t stepped foot in a gym in the past few years, I am sure you have heard of CrossFit. CrossFit has skyrocketed to a nationwide fitness epidemic. This is due to its original, yet very intense, approach to getting in shape.

So what is CrossFit and and who is it for?

“CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience.” (

So in simple terms, CrossFit is for anybody and everybody. It is designed to get you into shape quick and provide you with a fitness level that you can utilize in everyday life. So regardless of sex, occupation, build, or even age, CrossFit can benefit you when in it comes to living a healthier lifestyle.

So you know in general what CrossFit is, but why the craze? It is more of what the CrossFit lifestyle involves that makes it addictive to all different kinds of people. Everything from the names of the workout of the day or “W.O.D”, name of the exercises, to the style of dress. You do not step into a CrossFit gym, you step into a CrossFit “box”. Do not expect to dress flashy and leave with little sweat stains, you dress in light, loose clothing and look forward to a sweat shower and maybe even get visited by Pukey the Clown. (A figurative character created by CrossFitters due to the high possibility of throwing up because of the intense workouts) And even though you are battling the clock and not weight, you are not necessarily competing against your fellow CrossFitters. There is more support in the box than there is competition. With each day brings a different workout, a different challenge. CrossFitters can go to the CrossFit website ( and view the days W.O.D for themselves. And do not feel dumb if you do not know an exercise or even of heard of it, you can view demonstrations of how each exercise is performed in the exercise archive ( ).

Examples of a CrossFit W.O.D:

*The Murph: Run 1 mile, perform 100 kip pullups , 200 pushups, 300 body squats, run one more mile. You do this for time. (This was actually my first ever CrossFit W.O.D and I did it in the “Body Armor” mode in which I wore a 20lb vest. It took me 59 minutes to do. I am in great shape but this hit me on a different level of fitness. I left knowing I can do better. That is how you get hooked!)

*The Fran: Three rounds of 95lb thrusters and kip pull-ups for time.
Rd one: 21 thrusters, 21 kips. Rd two: 15 thrusters, 15 kips. Rd three: 9 thrusters, 9 kips.

*G.I. Jane: 100 burpee pull-ups for time (see why you might throw up?)
So the workouts are very intense as you can see, but what about the other key factors in living a healthier lifestyle and reaching your fitness goals? Where does supplementation and diet fit into the CrossFit lifestyle?


For the average CrossFitter, a high protein, high carb, low fat diet is suffice. But for the serious CrossFitter who is looking to take their lifestyle to the next level, the Paleo diet is the diet of choice.

A Paleo diet, also known as Paleolithic diet or caveman diet, is all about natural foods to help achieve great health and a perfect physique. The human body evolved for more than 2 million years with the food found in nature: game meat, fish, vegetables, wild fruits, eggs and nuts. The human race was thriving on this diet high in animal fat and proteins and low in carbohydrates, but things changed when we introduced unnatural foods to our bodies.
This diet has been seen as controversial by some experts due to people trying to consume only certain foods while our bodies have evolved, which in return requires to consume other foods as well. People have known to become sick or malnourished while on the diet. Some people see it as a way for CrossFit to hold on to that reputation of intensity and originality by having such a strict diet plan.

Below is a sample Paleo Diet Meal plan:

Breakfast: Omelet with Spinach and Mushroom
There are many different kinds of omelets, but this one gets rid of anything fatty or high in cholesterol. Hence, only the egg white is used. For stuffing, there are only two ingredients recommended: mushroom and spinach.
Alternative: Try Otie’s apple breakfast. Grab one large apple of any type. Cut it in very small pieces. Combine with a grated medium-sized carrot and raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon. The recipe is a good way to perk the morning up.

Morning Snacks: Banana Pear Ambrosia
Take a bite on the certified food for the gods. There are many different kinds of ambrosia, but in the Paleolithic diet, the one recommended is a combination of banana, pear, and avocado. Add some lemon or pineapple juice. Mix them all together in a blender until they transform into a very smooth sherbet.

Alternative: If there is no time for a nice-and-slow snack, just choose the fruits in season and mix them all together in one bowl. Make sure there is no mayonnaise or cream added.

Lunch: Stir Fried Beef with Veggies
Stir-fry 12-ounces of sirloin steak (beef with the least amount of fat) in canola oil. Even if beef contains fat, one does not introduce more cholesterol in the body, and stir frying does not make use of too much cooking oil.

To achieve exquisite taste and add more texture, use a clove of pressed garlic, burgundy wine, yellow onion, red pepper, celery stalks, mushrooms, carrots, and lemon juice. Serve in chinaware for a complete Oriental feel.

Alternative: Increase omega-3 fatty acid intake by having grilled salmon for lunch.
Afternoon Snacks: Colorado Spinach Salad
There is a good reason why Popeye loves spinach so much. It is packed with plenty of mega nutrients. Rather than eating plain spinach, spice the dish up by making a salad out of it. Drizzle the salad with a special dressing composed of lemon juice, honey, ground pepper, tarragon, and olive and flax seed oil.
Alternative: There is no spinach? Opt for a mixture of raw carrots and celery. Chop them in smaller pieces and eat.

Dinner: Grilled Chicken and Steamed Broccoli
The grilled chicken is an excellent dish for a little barbecue party in the backyard. Choose those with no bones and skin to make sure there is no consumption of bad fats. Pair the grilled chicken with steamed broccoli.


From what I have researched and learned from CrossFitters I spoke with at my gym, keeping things as simple and natural as possible is preferred, but supplements are a part of the CrossFit lifestyle

BCAA’s and EAA’s, the backbone of all muscular performance growth. The science behind BCAA’s and EAA’s has been well established for decades. In short, you should be consuming them both before, during and in some form after.

  • Research evidence suggests that orally consuming BCAA’s reduces muscle breakdown (catabolism) during exercise while simultaneously increasing protein synthesis! That’s good new for everyone but especially for extreme athletes such as CrossFitter’s.
  • BCAA’s have been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, aid in fat loss and have been studied for their potential role in delaying central nervous system (CNS) fatigue, especially in athletes.
  • Clinically, it is not just people who are healthy and exercise who benefit on BCAAs. Branched Chain Amino Acids have been used to treat depression, diabetes, anorexia, irritability headaches and other physical issues that stem from a bodies deficiency in protein. The point is simple, every athlete needs BCAA’s.
  • BCAA’s combined with Glutamine have been shown to increase lean muscle mass and reduce muscle wasting while promoting recovery.
  • Products that are cost effective and high in quality that I recommend for any serious CrossFitter would be Betancourt Nutrition’s BCAA 2:1:1 Ratio and Englutarade Reinforcer.
  • *Betancourt Nutrition’s BCAA’s: Helps promote growth, protein synthesis, performance, and strength.

*Betancourt Nutrition’s Englutarade Reinforcer: Anaplerotic drink mix (helps maintain and stabilize ATP levels in muscles-ATP is the ultimate energy currency in every cell in your body, especially muscle cells). Contains essential electrolytes that help reduce muscle fatigue.  Sugar free and great for recovery after a prolonged and exhausting workout.


Since hearing about and even experiencing CrossFit, I would have to say the intensity, environment, and overall experience a person gets from it is addicting. A lot of things have come and gone in the fitness world, but it seems CrossFit is here to stay, atleast for a while. They have their own games dubbed “The CrossFit Games” where the elite CrossFit athletes perform in front of a personal and now televised crowd. And now Reebok and Crossfit have formed a relationship where you can now buy your favorite CrossFit gear! Everything from shirts, pants, shorts, and even the now popular, striped, knee-high socks. I love bodybuilding. I love weights. That is my thing. But the fact that CrossFit has gotten a lot of people off their butts and into a gym says a lot to anyone who loves health and fitness.

Written By Josh Englehart,

Photos by: ,


Posted 28 February 2012 by Phil Learney

The Ultimate

Cutting Guide

Ultimate cutting guide

Cut, shredded, lean, ripped, whatever you want to call it most people if not all want to get leaner to some degree. Doesn’t change the fact I still hear the terms ‘I don’t want to get too lean’ or ‘I don’t want to get too big’ in many consultations I have.
Following on from my ultimate bulking guide I am now going to  put together a pretty comprehensive guide to stripping down that bulk and get that physique out and ready for hitting the beach.

Some basic ground rules before you think this is the solution to all your problems.
The effectiveness of any nutritional plan is more often than not dictated by the person undertaking it and both their perseverance and willingness to change.

You must change your lifestyle, habits, addictions and approach to life if this is to work.

To cut subcutaneous (body) fat effectively with minimal muscle loss we must:

  1. Create a deficit of total calories through either a reduction in dietary calories or an increase in fuel (calorie) usage.
  2. Increase or stabilise anabolic hormones and decrease catabolic hormones.
  3. Increase or maintain protein and nutrient turnover.
  4. Increase the overall metabolic output of the body.
  5. Strategically and periodically increase leptin levels and thyroid output.

To put a similar approach to cutting

‘Cutting up’ is different in many respects to bulking in that the detail is now what counts and being pretty analytical with your food is what will safely get you to where you want without a notable trade off.  As I’ve said before when it comes to most things, there is always some form of trade off. When it comes to cutting often the trade off is a loss in muscle tissue brought about by a notable caloric deficit and the elevation of catabolic/stress hormones. The key to effective fat loss is to manage the two hormonal states effectively whilst changing fuel usage and maintaining or creating a deficit.
Can fat loss be achieved whilst maintaining or even gaining mass? In my opinion yes and I have seen it happen on many occasion. It requires educated and strategic management of nutrition and fuel usage.

My approach for myself and my clients is different to that of most and I guess the reason for me writing this is to express that approach. I also wished to title this 'the death of the diet' but maybe it’s a little early for that kind of speculation.
Little bit of plagiarising of my own articles here, as some of this info is relevant and in my opinion good.


Insulin manages our hormonal state and part of our natural fluctuation between a state of regeneration and degeneration. Our hormonal and genetic makeup define for us how well insulin is managed at a base level and dietary habits influence it from then on in. Managing insulin is all about stabilising blood sugar and maintaining it through selective ingestion of predominantly carbohydrates.

To understand the more complex roles of carbohydrates besides the storage and transport of energy we must first understand that the bodies’ hormones are largely governed by this 'master' hormone, insulin. Following the consumption of carbohydrates of any type there is a concurrent and specific rise in our blood sugar or blood glucose levels. In response to this rise, insulin is secreted into the body. The excessive or insufficient ingestion of carbohydrates that is common in todays society cause lows and highs in blood sugar levels. The repeated fluctuation of these levels can impact the bodies’ ability to produce insulin and in some cases cause the whole system to shut down. Not only does this have a major impact on the regulation of sex hormones but in the pursuit of 'getting cut' there is a common and drastic trend to exclude or minimise carbohydrates from the diet below the bodies normal requirements. We start messing with sex hormones and we fall deeply into a catabolic (degenerative).

The three bodytypes endomorphs, ectomorphs and mesomorphs are what we will be starting with at our hormonal and genetic makeup level. What we have done with it from then on in is always tricky to define.

To summarise with this:
The suggested base dietary ratios (carbohydrates:proteins:fats) for the various body types are.


In essence this is telling us if we take an ectomorph and they consume 55% of their total caloric intake from carbohydrates they will metabolise it effectively and without gaining excessive fat. Is this 100% accurate, no but it gives a great start point. If we want a steady flow of energy this 55% ratio should be spread evenly throughout the day with a spike in levels only post workout.  In the case of cutting assuming coming from a bulking cycle you will know what those ratios and levels are. If not I would take your current diet, log it accurately and see what level you are at right now. You will see why shortly. Whatever happens you need to honestly know where you start at otherwise you cannot adapt anything.

Point 1. Create a deficit of total calories through either a reduction in dietary calories or an increase in fuel (calorie) usage.

This is the point at which people will dispute the information I am about to give you now for various reasons. Answer me this, are you looking at maximal fat loss whilst preserving muscle tissue? If the answer is yes read on. If you don't care about losing some muscle just keep doing what you're doing.

Let me remind you of the two basic hormonal states. This diagram shows it in relation to blood sugar and its physiological response should it drop below a given level.

If we want to manage composition we cannot drop below the black line and into the red.
For the purpose of explaining this I’m going to use a hypothetical case study. John is an ectomorph who has been consuming a strategic eating plan to build bulk. He is now ready to cut the fat and maintain mass, being an ectomorph if he gets this wrong he will lose what took him a long time to gain. He consumes 3000k/cal per day and guess what he is going to cut without dropping calories. As a reference for those of you that ask the question, John uses no performance enhancing drugs, the relevance of this will become clear later.

He is going to diet for 15 weeks and we have ascertained that his basal metabolic rate simply to survive is a measly 1200k/cal per day. Remember he cannot drop in the red. The second he does all of his goals become compromised.

Firstly I want to give you a little insight into fuels and how they are used.

The essential nutrients (our body can't create but we have constant jobs for them) proteins and fats can be utilised as carbohydrates should our body need them. This is a pathway that your body needs to adapt to in order to become efficient at it. If we don't have enough protein our body steals from itself (lean tissue), if we don't have enough dietary fats our body shuts certain systems down. If we plan to protect muscle tissue whilst giving the option for the body to use another form of fuel (stored fat) we must maintain an anabolic state and consume above maintenance levels of protein. We can stick with our total caloric requirement whilst adapting fuel sources and protecting tissue. How do we burn fat, we burn fat because we not only tell the body to stop storing it, we create a metabolic impact through our training. At this point I must also tell you that when it comes to training more isn't always better. I will explain more later. This article is about the dietary aspect of cutting, why? Ask anyone in shape what’s more important. Diet or training?

Stage 1. Change fuel sources.

This is straight away under the assumption that you will eat only clean foods during this time and stick to the plan.

The best way I have found to do this is by switching fuel sources over a given period. An undulating drop in carbohydrate switching calories to proteins and fats. Here is an example taking my case study down from 413 grams of carbs to 188 over a course of 15 weeks. He is an ectomorph and has a high carbohydrate tolerance so going much lower wouldn't probably be required. A large amount of this 188 grams will be ingested post workout, the rest of it evenly distributed throughout the day.

Stage 2. Creating a metabolic output.

So this is the point where it becomes the argument of calories in vs calories out.
Take calories out of your diet you run the risk of the red zone. Burn more you don't provided you utilise a post workout drink.

I have speculated a very low basal metabolic rate in my case study, 1200 k/cals. Basal metabolic rate is basically what our body needs just to survive. We don't want the body switching into a survival mechanism (red) therefore you can deduct 1200k/cals from the intake straight away and know you will never drop below that. That leaves with a 3000k/cal total intake 1800k/cal to play with and utilise as fuel before we drop into the red.

How does the body burn fat?

By creating this optimal hormonal state (anabolic) we can prime the body to burn fuel that isn't required (body fat). We preserve the metabolically active tissue (muscle) whilst providing an alternative and protective fuel source (protein and fats). This minimises the risk of a surplus of carbohydrates (our raw fuel) and it's conversion to stored energy. As we still ingest the same amount of calories our ability to sustain metabolically demanding workouts still remains possible. We create a calorie deficit with minimal risk and by only increasing output not reducing food intake. Overweight people diet and eat diet and low calorie foods.....need I say more.

Let me show you an example of when more is not always better and a reason I only add cardio into a fat loss program as a last resort and way to burn energy (literally moving, not running, nothing overly strenuous) high intensity cardio is low intensity weights before anyone starts.
John (case study 1) is on a weekly basis going to add a brisk 15 minute walk extra a day to his fat loss regime, that’s all. By week 15 he will be doing 3 hours and 45 minutes of cardio per day!!!! Effective? Read on.

Up until week 7 his body is primed for fat loss, at week 8 it fails and will start to catabolise valuable and metabolically active tissue. This would look something like this:

If this wasn’t a simple enough reason to understand why conventional dieting (dropping calories) doesn’t work I don't know what is.

Also when nutrition has been consistently manipulated for 10-15 weeks and your metabolism is topping out what have you got left? Nothing. You haven’t any more time or energy to do more cardio and your receptors are so fried from all the fat burners you've taken what tricks do you have left?? None. Save the cardio and thermogenics for when you're looking for the details.

When metabolism stalls?

I have a very successful fat loss client who has lost over 45kg of weight and an amazing amount of bodyfat whilst also adding a decent amount of lean tissue. Weight loss if done successfully as in fat will always wave up and down much like the carb cycling I showed above. Infact here is his weight loss chart.....well some of it (ps. I don't log clients weights, he did this using his iphone):

The peaks you see weren't because he went off plan they're because of what I like to call metabolic shifts, his body is adapting to new tissue and making adjustments to compositional changes and his ability to use fuel more effectively.
At one point his weight stalled for about 5 days so the question posed to me was:
'should I reduce my calories and do some more training, maybe some cardio?'

My answer:

'Lets drop out one of your gym sessions this week and I want you to increase your overall calories everyday' very puzzled he went ahead and did it, guess what, he lost more fat and got his metabolism going again. He had stalled because he had waved into the red so I pulled him out of it. My point here is that metabolism and fuel usage in immeasurable to a large extend so at times it needs a push in the right direction.

Strategic metabolic ramping

I wrote about this a while ago when discussing cheat meals. Let me draw your attention to this and will simply cut and paste some of my previous piece as it now ties in nicely.


Leptin is a hormone that basically signifies if we are starving or satiated. In the grey or in the red. Its a bit more complex than this but a whole other article but fundamentally. Someone creating a deficit or on a restrictive diet will lower leptin levels, which therefore sends the signal we are starving (red zone). At this point cortisol goes through the roof, thyroid hormones plummet and a bunch of appetite stimulating hormones fire up to tell you to get your arse back in the grey. Science tells us that after 7 days of restrictive dieting or creating a negative deficit through training (my favourable method) leptin levels drop by about 50%. To raise this back to its normal level will generally take us less than 24 hrs.

Ok, now before you all start getting excited and think that because you’ve spent 7 days dieting or creating a calorie deficit its time to pig out, think again. The higher someones bodyfat is the higher their leptin levels are, the lower someones bodyfat therefore is the lower someones leptin levels will be. The 50% drop is relative to the amount you begin with. If you’re overweight the leptin is there but much like the issue we have with insulin you cannot release and utilise it, the leptin receptors have been de-sensitised. The 50% drop will not be sufficient in someone overweight to warrant a carb/caloric refeed as it’s only relative to the amount they began with. Leptin management is only really of major concern to those that are lean but if utilised correctly can push the boundaries of leanness and ramp metabolic rate significantly.
In a hierarchy of what someone overweight needs to be concerned with it isn’t leptin. As diet improves and insulin efficiency improves leptin receptors will in hand be re-sensitised and it now becomes a useful tool in the quest for fat loss and getting cut.

Thyroid hormone

The thyroid hormones are responsible again in this conversation for basal metabolic rate. It will increase this basal metabolic rate and also impact the metabolism of protein, carbohydrate and fat. This becomes a burnout issue in most cases. Our body has a certain amount of fuel it can process and utilise in one go.

If we take a typical western diet that has 3 meals in it with traditionally the biggest meal being in the evening it would mean at some point this person will overeat in order to meet caloric requirements. If they don’t remember all that happens is leptin decreases and appetite stimulating hormones ghrelin, neuropeptide-y and anandamine increase. So you’re going to be hungry irritable, losing no bodyfat and on a low calorie diet. …..Sound familiar (just incase you really don’t get it muscle will be used as fuel so weight will come down to a point).

So everytime someone overeats thyroid hormones elevate metabolic rate and this leads to heat generation. In someone who regulates metabolic rate successfully overeating will lead to a notable increase in body temp. If this isn’t you maybe the timing of a cheat meal isn’t appropriate. Continuous bouts of overeating or binging will lead to the burnout of the thyroid hormones and once again an indication of underactivity within them. Overeating is not total calories, it is a ‘per meal’ scenario. Therefore 3000 k/cal is not just 3000, it's how it's dispersed and often the reason most of my clients end up eating more calories than they started with.

So…..when to cheat

There is no exact science here but I would quite simply start with some markers.
If bodyfat is in excess of 25% there are no cheat meals as in the onset, someone at this level will make conscious and unconscious mistakes.

  • 15 - 25% bodyfat I would look at implementing a cheat meal every 4-5 weeks.
  • 10 - 15% bodyfat I would apply a cheat meal at least every 14 days without fail.
  • 4 - 10% I would use a ‘re-feed’ or cheat meal every 7-10 days.

What constitutes a cheat meal?

A cheat meal simply has to be an excess of calories and a substantial elevation in carbohydrates if we want to spark up and make use of the above three systems. This does not have to be junk. It can simply be a re-feed. I occasionally just eat my normal structure and throw a 1kg bag of sweet potatoes on every meal in that day. Other times I’ll pick one meal and have a pizza or something like. At present my bodyfat is about 8 - 9% so I use one every 7-10 days and may choose either option. What I can say for sure is that 1 - 2 days post re-feed my metabolic rate is still racing and I am visually leaner. The way this works is that the elevation in calories ramps everything up and for a period of 24 - 48 hours later your body is working harder than ever. Therefore you burn fuel fast!
Pretty neat huh…..but this is an earned right!

Cheat meals need to have a high percentage of carbohydrates in them to be effective and also a hefty hit of calories, double normal intake is a good bet. This ramps metabolic rate, which remember you have primed and will carry over momentum for 48 or so hours later.
There is no definitive way to cut or get lean!! There are stupid approaches and intelligent approaches. I am throwing down my gauntlet as to how I approach people (and myself) when trying to get lean. I keep calories high and burn fuel. I know in the course of a year I can burn 30 - 40kg of bodyfat easily with someone, I can't develop that amount of metabolically active muscle tissue in anyone. I choose to protect muscle tissue and use it to my own and others advantage. I haven’t gained more muscle personally than most other people that have weight trained for the past 15 years, I’ve just lost less and my profit is more!


Written by Phil Learney - Phils Facebook Fan page

Posted 27 December 2011 by Gavin Saiz

Why You Should Be Doing

High Intensity Cardio

Have you ever met someone who exercises on a regular basis (approx. 3-5 times a week) but really hasn't made any progress, especially with all their time and effort for many years? Did you ever take note of the type of cardiovascular training that person was doing? More than likely it was some form of low-intensity cardio, i.e. walking, jogging, running, etc. The problem with this type of cardio is that it doesn't take long for your body and metabolism to get accustomed to the low-intensity training. Your metabolism will adjust and soon enough it will only burn calories for the duration of your workout.

Another issue with low-intensity cardio is that over time it will take you a longer duration to burn the same amount of calories. For example, what took you 30 minutes to burn 200 calories might take you 40 minutes to burn 200 calories over time. I'm sure you can agree with me on this one but I prefer to the burn the most amounts of calories in the shortest period of time and continue to burn calories long after I have completed a cardio session. Low-intensity cardio will only burn calories during the duration of your training. On top of that it will take up much of your precious time only to receive minimal results, which is not the goal for anyone.

The King of Cardio

High-intensity cardio is effective cardiovascular training that is going to shoot your fatloss and muscle gains through the roof. Studies have shown that subjects on a high protein and moderate carbohydrate diet who completed high-intensity cardio were able to gain extra lean muscle mass and lose more body fat compared to those subjects completing low-intensity cardio. What is so unique about high-intensity cardio is that it increases your muscle oxidative capacity (your muscles ability to produce mitochondria), which in turn will allow your muscles to increase in size. Mitochondria are the energy producing units in your muscles; this is where ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is made and fats are burned. The more mitochondria you can produce the more fat you burn and increase lean muscle mass. Sounds amazing, right?

What separates those who get maximum results and those who don't...maximum intensity! High-intensity cardio increases the amount of mitochondria in the muscle and will continue to increase the more intense you push yourself during each cardio session. When doing high-intensity cardio it is an all-out-effort that should be challenging for you from start to finish. You will need to prepare your self mentally and physically before every session because it is intended to push you over the edge. This is a big reason why people choose not to do it or come up with an excuse as to why they shouldn't do it.

Cardiovascular Recommendations

I prefer to use the stair stepping machine mainly because it takes a lot of pressure off my knees.

High-intensity cardio is meant to be conducted in short duration, I would say anywhere between 15 to 20 minutes would be a sufficient amount of time to get you started. This may not seem fancy on paper but believe me, more time doing cardio does not necessarily mean it is better for you. If you can do more than 20 minutes then I guarantee you are not pushing yourself hard enough during the 20 minutes. As I said earlier, high-intensity cardio is an all-out-effort from start to finish and it should never be easy. You should be huffing and puffing the entire time and basically living from second to second, minute to minute, until you finish your session. This is going to require that you use every last bit of mental and physical toughness to get you through.

You must also not forget to keep asking more from yourself. Once you have reached your goal then set a higher goal and go for that, once that goal is reached and you are comfortable, set another one. This is a never-ending process and you have to keep progressing or you will keep getting the same results. If 20 minutes is not enough time then increase the level of resistance on the machine you’re using or try using no hands. Do not increase the time without raising the resistance level first.

How Energy Works

Your body has three different pathways it uses for energy. The first pathway is the ATP-PCr pathway which is used for short burst of energy, usually under 10 seconds. An example of the ATP-PCr pathway would be when you first take off running in a dead sprint or lifting your maximum weight on a deadlift. The second pathway is what keeps you going beyond 10 seconds, which would be the glycolytic pathway. This is when your ATP-PCr stores are completely depleted and this is why you begin to slow down while in a sprint. The last energy pathway, which kicks in after 80 seconds of exercise is the oxidative phosphorylative pathway. This is how long distance runners are able to maintain energy; through the oxidative phosphorylative pathway.

Maximize Your Results With Creatine

Creatine increases muscular performance and is the ultimate secret weapon when used in conjunction with high-intensity cardio. As I stated above when you're doing high-intensity cardio such as sprints, your body will use the ATP-PCr pathway to give you the energy for an all-out-effort. After about 10 seconds of an all-out-sprint you naturally begin to slow down because you are depleting your PCr (phosphocreatine) stores. You may know exactly what I'm talking about because this is when you feel the "burn" in your legs. This burning is caused from your body finding other energy stores to keep you going. Taking a creatine supplement will increase your PCr stores to allow for better performance during high-intensity activity and short-burst muscle contractions.

Written by Gavin Saiz



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