It’s fascinating to see how hard people try to defend their beliefs. Even the closest family and friends often refuse to consider some new cutting edge or simply nontraditional information. Just a few days ago I was trying to share some new ideas with my wife and I feel like couldn’t get through with my message because of her pre-existing beliefs…
How do you get “the truth” in the never-ending stream of information that floats around us every single day? Well, I personally try to take an analytical approach. What that means is that I try to find multiple sources describing the same topic and look for patterns and similarities.
Today I ask you to be as open-minded as possible. I’m not trying to sell anything, just delivering my observations.
Agreed? Ok, let’s move on then.
A few days ago I finished pretty interesting book called Body by Science. I don’t remember why I started reading it in the first place, quite possible it was mentioned in the Head Strong book by Dave Asprey.
It’s not the easiest read for sure, especially in the beginning, when the author goes deep into describing body chemical processes that happen in our bodies, but there are a lot of golden nuggets that I’d like to share with you.
For example, did you know that genetics plays a critical role when it comes to body types? If you want to have a body type of champion swimmer, for example, the best way is to start by having the same parents as that champion swimmer, not so much his training methods.
Don’t be upset though, you might not be the next Michael Phelps (man, I still remember those moments from #olympics2016!), but the main goal here is to understand the limitations and focus on achieving the maximum for your particular body type.
A physical activity, in general, does not necessarily mean health. If it’s highly repetitive (like running for example), it will eventually lead to wear-and-tear consequences.
According to author and the studies that he mentions in the book, there is no additional advantage in devoting hours per week to the pursuit of health and fitness improvement. That was especially important for me, as I’m consistently looking for ways to optimize my pretty busy schedule.
If you go to the gym 3 times a week and spend a few hours there, that’s about 6 hours of lost time (maybe even more if you need to commute). The time that you can spend on something much more useful, like your kids and family.
What is recommended instead? High-intensity muscular exercises.
The idea is pretty simple, you go to the gym once every 7-10 days for 20 minutes and you work really hard, loading all 3 types of muscles (turns out we have three types of muscles – slow, medium and fast twitching).
The “usual” exercise, like running on the treadmill for an hour or working out with light weights will only activate slow twitching muscles which require the least amount of energy. Remember, our body requires A LOT of energy to function properly (especially brain and heart), so it tries to do as much as possible to optimize the energy expenditure. Plus over time, the body adapts to the specific activity and requires even fewer calories to perform it.
All of it makes it hard to lose weight (if that’s what you are trying to do) and you start wondering how come you go to gym multiple times a week and don’t lose any pounds…
To give you a perspective, an hour of running on the treadmill will burn about 280 calories on average. About 70 calories will be burned by the body just to perform its normal functions (body temperature maintenance and stuff like that), so that leaves us with about 210 burned calories after an hour.
Then, with the sense of accomplishment, you proudly go home and on the way back decide to swing by Starbucks and treat yourself with a cup of Caffè Mocha. Boom, you just loaded about 290 calories and essentially undid the hour of running (plus loaded about 20 more calories on top).
When you exercise with heavy weights, you force the body to utilize all muscle types and rapidly release its glycogen storage. In contrast, low-intensity exercises will lower glycogen capacity of the muscles which in turn will lower glucose intake (causing more work for the liver and potentially increasing fat storage).
How am I doing with explanation? ) Ok, moving on.
The other point that I find interesting is that, according to the author, muscles burns calories even when at rest (1 pound of muscle burns about 50 calories). That means if we can grow muscle mass with high-itensity exercises we will be able to burn calories much more efficiently (and eat more delicious carbs in the future 🙂 ).
If high-intensity training is so good, why do it only once a week (sometimes even once in 10-14 days!)? So your muscles can restore the damage and grow (adapt to the new increased load). Simple as that.
I’m not going to go over the whole book here, as it will bore the hell out of you guys and will consume weeks and or even month of my time. If you want to learn all the details and read the studies yourself, then you should pick up the book and give it a read. I promise, once you’ll get through the initial (sometimes too technical and dry) chapters, it will get better.
One important point before I go. Remember this saying “The devil is in the details”? Great. It applies here as well! Don’t just rush to gym and start lifting crazy weights. Try to find some good HIIT instructor (at least initially). It’s very important to set up the proper routine and progress tracking.
That’s my plan as well. Curious to know what u guys think? Did you try HIIT before, did it work? Will it work for skinny people like me? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and don’t forget to subscribe to get more useful stuff from me. Se ya.