What is the first thing people think of when they need to lose weight?
Diet and exercise.
What is tricky about this is exactly what we need to know about diet and exercise to be effective.
Firstly, it is crucial to understand that weight loss is 90% diet and 10% exercise.
We know what you're thinking: How could that be?! There's so much anecdotal evidence everywhere of people who exercise 5 days a week, eat whatever they want and are thin as a rail!
Let's examine this for a moment. Three things are typically at play with folks who exercise daily, eat like crap and stay thing. #1 They may have a genetic disposition toward leanness #2 They may never have allowed themselves to become overweight to the point where the imbalance is so substantial they cannot return from it #3 They may be losing muscle in addition to fat, depending on their exercise program
Most people who choose an exercise program specifically to lose weight have not been successful doing it on their own and like the commitment that a personal trainer provides. Commitment is one of the primary considerations when losing weight. However, more importantly than commitment is the type of exercise you choose to engage in.
The type of exercise is important because if you're overweight, that means your body has become out of balance to the point where your body has developed a habit of creating adipose tissue (aka FAT). Once this happens, the exercise stimulus provided to your body must be intense enough to get your metabolism off its butt to use your extra fat stores.
Consider these questions:
How long did it take you to gain all of the extra weight that you now carry?
How is carrying the extra weight affecting you physically? (weak ankles, painful knees, high blood pressure, etc.)
How is carrying the extra weight affecting you mentally?
How would you feel if you knew your body was at its optimal weight and health?
What is your specific weight goal and by when do you hope to achieve it?
What is your level of commitment to reaching your weight goal? Are you willing to break the eating habits that got you here in the first place?
With this in mind, now think about your exercise program. Is it realistic for you to go from little to no exercise, to highly intense exercise 5 days a week? If so, how long do you think you could sustain such a program? Even if you build up to 5 days gradually, think about the shift if your lifestyle that would need to occur to accommodate this? Sustainability goes down when too much is required. And this is the biggest point: What is the purpose of doing so many days a week of exercise?
If you stimulate your body to a high level of intensity, that means your body will also require a longer recovery time between workouts.
Now consider the type of exercise. If the purpose of exercise is to stimulate a response in the body, what is it exactly that we are trying to stimulate?
Answer: the muscles.
You may have thought the answer was "the heart." Although it is true that we want the heart to pump faster, we want to achieve this through muscle stimulation. Why? Because we can trigger a faster heart rate through drinking caffeine, sitting in a hot tub or stressing over our lives. It's not the higher heart rate we need to be concerned about. We can't think of the heart as a separate entity. True exercise stimulates the muscles which puts a higher demand on your cardiovascular system which causes your heart to beat faster in order to deliver more blood and therefore oxygen supply to the muscles demanding it.
Now let's consider some typical "exercises" people do.
Imagine you're walking. What muscles are involved? What joints are required to perform the movement? How intense is it?
If you're trying to lose weight, the exercise must be truly intense otherwise you will not get the response you seek from the body.
Think of those questions again (What muscles are involved? What joints are required to perform the movement? How intense is it?) in terms of yoga, running, swimming, biking, Crossfit and of course, SuperSlow strength training.
To stimulate the muscles, you need a level of significant resistance that increases over time. Although yoga, running, swimming and biking can be challenging to your muscles initially, they only allow you to increase in strength through the amount of resistance provided by your own body weight. At the point at which you become strong enough to match that resistance, the only way to increase the intensity is to increase the force (running with a weighted vest, for example) or increase the duration of the exercise. But what does this do to the body, specifically to the joints?
More people than you may realize who engage in these activities for the purpose of exercise or for the purpose of competitive sport develop heart irregularities and/or require hip or knee replacements or suffer from chronic joint pain.
Now let's look at something specific like Crossfit. A good way to get a full body workout and because it involves weights, you can increase your resistance and therefore intensity over time without spending more time in your workout. But now the downside: the body is only designed to safely perform movements within its natural range of motion. Many of the movements required in Crossfit require the individual to sustain a high level of force on joints that are out of their natural body alignment (think of dead lifts). So although Crossfit is appealing for the team aspect, the variety and the high level of intensity achieved, it does not follow the body's natural muscle and joint function, meaning that it is a high force, high intensity workout which increases the risk of injury.
Finally, let's look at SuperSlow or Power of 10 exercise. Both of these protocols are low force, high intensity strength training programs that only require the individual to work out for 30 minutes, once or twice a week. During those thirty minutes, every muscle in the body becomes engaged until momentary failure of that muscle group is achieved (meaning that you can no longer contract the muscle). This is all performed on medical grade equipment that tracks natural muscle and joint function and engineered to fit a wide variety of body types through the multiple settings available on each machine.
The reason this exercise is low force is because we take away the velocity and have clients move at a snail's pace in order to put the weight load directly onto the muscles so that they do all the work. Because we get to such a high level of intensity in each workout, we only allow clients to work under the supervision of a certified Exercise Specialist. Our Exercise Specialists are deeply knowledgeable in the body, exercise, carefully track their clients progress and help guide them safely to muscle failure in every workout. We also highly emphasize rest as a key component in gaining strength and forcing the body to use its fat stores to support muscle growth. At the level of intensity most clients achieve, a minimum of 3 days of rest is required. We encourage clients to avoid any other intense activity and focus on using their spare time to engage in activity they love that will provide them the mental rejuvenation needed.
When you think about it what components of exercise are required to lose weight, the safest, most effective way to achieve this is through low force, high intensity training performed under the supervision of a qualified individual. If you can get this part right and provide your body with meals that nourish the body (avoiding processed foods) then you can lose that extra weight you've been carrying all these years.