Unless your sport is running – as in 5K’s, cross country, triathlons, 1/2 or full marathons – then traditional “cardio” as a means of fat loss is a waste of your time. Yep, I said it. Read on to hear more.
Even if you run for the previously mentioned sports, you need to hear this. Traditional “cardio”, the kind associated with headbands, Richard Simmons, and endless monotony on the treadmill is the worst thing you can do for fat loss or general fitness goals.
Here’s the problem: Long duration, endurance training actually causes muscle wasting, promotes fat storage through fuel efficiency, and worse it’s boring, takes up time, and fails to deliver results.
Let’s look a little closer at the fuel efficiency issue. The more you run, the efficient you become at running. You’re teaching your body to be a Toyota Prius. It learns to coast and conserve fuel. Not a bad thing if we’re talking about gasoline that costs $4 per gallon. But it’s very bad when the “fuel” for your body is the food you eat – and your body’s storage tanks are called fat cells.
Unlike your car, you want your body to burn through fuel like a muscle car gunning the engine at every stoplight. You know what I mean. Imagine driving in a manner than is the most fuel inefficient way possible. It’s the exact opposite of a long, controlled, highway cruise isn’t it? Stop, start, floor it, stop, take short trips, turn the engine on and off…that’s exactly how you should do “cardio” for fat loss!
Short duration, high intensity physical activity. The more muscle used, the better. Sometimes referred to as HIIT, MetCons, or Finishers, this type of training is a very powerful way to elicit the results you want very quickly!
- Strips fat
- Boosts metabolism
- Builds lean muscle (which further increases metabolic rate, give you shape & burns more fat)
- Builds mental toughness
- Unlike spinning on the hamster wheel, it’s fun & challenging.
Switching from boring, monotonous, sad “cardio” to Finishers as we call them at House Of Strength will help you save time, end frustration, finally get results, and have fun – enjoy not only your workouts, but you get to enjoy your new body also!
How To Do Finishers
Finishers should last between 4-10 minutes. Go hard – just like the car trying to ruin the environment by burning gasoline as quickly as possible. The harder you push, the better your results. (Of course, rep quality and weight used should never be sacrificed for more reps or faster time.) Here are some examples you can try:
Tabata is a method named for the Japanese researcher who invented it. It lasts 4 minutes and is made up of 8 rounds of 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest. It’s short, but incredibly effective.
The Original: Tabata Front Squats
My first exposure to Tabata was through Dan John, and he suggested using front squats. Use anywhere from 45-95 pounds for this – making sure to choose a weight that allows you to get 8-12 reps per interval. According to John, only use the full 95 pounds if your front squat max is over 300 pounds. (Remember you’ll be doing 64+ reps in 4 minutes!)
At-home bodyweight, no equipment Tabata
- Squat Jumps
- Bodyweight Squats
- Reverse Lunges
- Wall Sit
- Repeat for rounds 5-8
Your options are limitless with Tabata. Try alternating pushups with pull-ups for an upper body finisher that will leave you pumped to the max!
Kettlebell (Or Dumbbell) Circuit
- Push Press
- Do 3 rounds of this pairing. Complete 20-16-10 reps in rounds 1, 2, and 3 respectively. (That’s 10-8-5 per arm in each round)
Here’s a seemingly simple Finisher used by Strongman competitors to slash fat faster than you lose your breathe AND build muscle that moves mountains.
60 seconds Stone-Over-Bar for max reps. Use any heavy object – sandbag, keg, heavy medicine ball, etc. Put 60 seconds and lift the object over the bar as many times as possible in 60 seconds. Do 2-3 rounds.
With Finishers, variety is only limited by your imagination!
This happens to be how we do “cardio” at House Of Strength. It’s one of the secrets behind the amazing results our members see on a daily basis.
HERE are 50 More Finishers to help you get ripped, lean, muscular and have fun doing it!