Two Weeks and my Abs Are Back
Why is this? The power of metabolic interval training is still something of a mystery to me. One theory of why it works so well is that by using relatively brief periods of effort and recovery we become willing to work more intensely in the work periods. If I know I can rest in 60 or even better, 30 seconds, I become willing to seek the edge of my ability, for example by doing more push ups or burpees. Believe me, if I know I have to do a physical exercise for more than 10 minutes straight I’m going to hold back and pace myself.
Years ago, when I used to hit the gym for a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio before hitting the weight machines, I remember what a drag it was to slog along and push myself on the treadmill. I remember the guilt and regret I would feel whenever I got off before 40 minutes was up. I used to think that if I could just build up the stamina to run or at least jog for an hour straight, that the fat would magically melt off of my thighs for good.
Then I would head over to the weight machines to do bunches of hamstring curls, chest presses, and endless reps on the adductor machine- when there wasn’t a long line for the machine!
The visible effect on my body or the scale? Zero. It simply did not work.
Why does TT work- especially the 30 minute thermogenic training sessions I’m teaching now? Maybe it has to do with the big band of sweat around the torso and down the back we all get in class. Let’s face it, sweat comes from intensity, and when class is only 30 minutes long… you bring it. It’s also effective because we alternate working the major muscle groups. One paradox of effective fitness is that you have to know how to use rest and recovery as well as you use work and progression in order to see results. Surprisingly enough, rest and recovery have to be built into the training session itself- even if it’s for no more that 30 seconds at a time.
On a side note, back in 2001-2002 I took a lot of spinning classes. I lost a few pounds at the beginning, I got stronger, and I had more stamina, but I didn’t release any fat after the first few weeks, even though I stuck with it for a year and I worked really really hard. Now I strongly believe it didn’t work because although it was billed as an interval class, we never fully recovered between work intervals, and the work intervals were so long I had to pace myself.
What gets me so excited about short TT classes is that they are effective for someone like me: someone who has struggled with excess fat storage for a lifetime, and someone with very little natural endurance or strength. I couldn’t do a single full body push up until I was 44 years old, and here I am banging out push up burpees in front of my classes. (Showing off? Maybe a little.) What’s more gratifying is seeing my clients acquire new skills, and keep improving every week.
I know I have to give some credit to the fact that I’ve been eating clean, and sticking to a moderate amount of caloric restriction by doing the Lipman Cleanse, and stopping before I’m stuffed at all meals. More on that later, as I’m kind of conflicted about the plan I’m following. Deep down I’m convinced that moderate, satisfying meals made up of real food are the best way to go, but I paid for this thing so I’m going to stick it out.
Check back here to see how it goes.
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