everyone who starts training (at least 90% of the people)
say they want to lose weight. Especially at this time of year.
What they really mean is they want to lose body FAT. In this
issue of the Your Best Self newsletter, I’d like to
share a great article written by one of the top fat-loss specialists
in the world. Happy reading!
Ivanic, MSc, CSCS
Hierarchy of Fat Loss
By Alwyn Cosgrove, www.alwyncosgrove.com
time being our limiting factor, how do we maximize fat loss?
Is there a hierarchy of fat loss techniques? Yes, there is….
Correct nutrition. There's pretty much nothing that
can be done to out-train a crappy diet. You quite simply have
to create a caloric deficit while eating enough protein and
essential fats. There's no way around this.
See #1. Yep. It really is that important. Several
trainers have espoused that the only difference between training
for muscle gain and training for fat loss is your diet. I
think that's a massive oversimplification, but it does reinforce
how important and effective correct nutrition is toward your
Activities that burn calories, maintain/promote muscle mass
and elevate metabolism. I think it's fairly obvious
that the bulk of calories burned are determined by our resting
metabolic rate (RMR). The amount of calories burned outside
of our resting metabolism (through exercise, thermic effect
of feeding, etc.) is a smaller contributor to overall calories
burned per day. We can also accept that RMR is largely a function
of how much muscle you have on your body... and how hard it
works. Therefore, adding activities that promote or maintain
muscle mass will make that muscle mass work harder and elevate
the metabolic rate. This will become our number one training
priority when developing fat loss programs.
Activities that burn calories and elevate metabolism.
The next level of fat loss programming would be a similar
activity. We're still looking at activities that eat up calories
and increase Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). EPOC
is defined scientifically as the "recovery of metabolic
rate back to pre-exercise levels." It can require several
minutes for light exercise and several hours for hard intervals.
Essentially, we're looking for activities that keep us burning
more calories after the exercise session.
Activities that burn calories but don't necessarily maintain
muscle or elevate metabolism. This is the icing on
the cake, adding in activities that'll burn up additional
calories but don't necessarily contribute to increasing metabolism.
This is the least effective tool in your arsenal as it doesn't
burn much outside of the primary exercise session. Let's put
this fat loss continuum together in terms of our progressive
Factors for Fat Loss Training
Metabolic Resistance Training - Basically we're using
resistance training as the cornerstone of our fat loss programming.
Our goal is to work every muscle group hard, frequently and
with an intensity that creates a massive "metabolic disturbance"
or "afterburn" that leaves the metabolism elevated
for several hours post workout. A couple of studies to support
this include the following:
2. High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training
- The second key "ingredient" in fat loss programming
is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Interval work
burns more calories than steady state and elevates metabolism
significantly more than other forms of cardio. The downside
is that it flat-out sucks to do it!
High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training - The next
tool we'll pull out is essentially a lower intensity interval
method where we use aerobic intervals.
4. Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training Tool
- This one is just hard cardio work. We're burning calories,
but we aren't working hard enough to increase EPOC significantly
or to do anything beyond the session itself. But calories
do count. Burning another 300 or so calories per day will
Steady State Low Intensity Aerobic Training - This
is just activity, going for a walk in the park, etc. It won't
burn a lot of calories. It won't increase muscle or EPOC.
There isn't very much research showing that low intensity
aerobic training actually results in very much additional
fat loss, but you're going to have to really work to convince
me that moving more is going to hurt you when you're in fat
the rest of the article here.
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