That’s exactly where METs help us: by definition, the Metabolic Equivalent of Task measure the number of calories burnt per kilogram and per hour. You can then easily compare sports and other physical activities.
Example: “Yoga, Hatha” is 2,5 METs. It means that you will burn 2,5 calories per kg per hour. Yes, it’s not a lot 🙂
If you want to burn twice more fat in the same time, turn to “Elliptical trainer, moderate effort” which is 5 METs. Easy, isn’t it?
The key point is to choose the right activity for you. Hopefully the next section will help you 🙂
6 Takeaways from Comparing Fat Burning Exercises
1) You will notice that METs are heavily correlated to muscle mass. In other words, sports that use more muscles burn more calories. Well, it’s seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating it 🙂 A good goal is to target sports that mobilize 2/3 of your muscle mass.
2) This one may be less obvious: sports where your weight is supported by your legs burn more calories. That’s why running burns more fat in the same time than bicycling.
3) Another less known aspect: mobility is very important. It’s the case for “segments” only (legs, arms) or for the whole body but all in all, you will burn more with a higher mobility.
4) Intensity and high METs are linked but not in a linear way: a small increase at high intensity will result in a higher increase of burnt calories.
5) The problem is that we can’t sustain high intensity for a long period. That’s why High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is so effective: you maximize the time spent at very high intensity, thanks to short breaks. But it’s very demanding, especially if you have some pounds to lose. The alternative is to find cardio exercises that have good MET scores and that you can practice for one hour (typically at 60-70 percent of your max heart rate). See all my posts about running for more information.
6) Finally, weather conditions play a big role. We already knew the fat burn effects of cold (see my post about brown fat). It’s also the case for heat: your body works harder to maintain a constant temperature. Be careful though: no ephedra or ephedrine if you plan to exercise in warm places (inside or outside).
With that in mind, it’s up to you now 🙂
Any comment or question, just get in touch, I’d be glad to help.
Let me know how it goes for you.
Choosing the right physical activity is probably an interesting topic, but why a specific post on that, and why now, after the summer break??
In fact, I got this idea because every year at this period, I see many people coming back from vacation with good resolutions regarding their physical activity.
Many of them would like to keep their summer activities (usually running or swimming) after the Back to School period. For instance, I see many joggers that I never saw before — and believe me, I know the regular guys on my permanent running route 🙂
OK, good for them, we all know that a regular physical activity has many health benefits:
improved physical fitness
delayed aging effects
protection against many serious diseases
better mood coming with weight loss
The problem is that these good resolutions don’t survive the first rainy days 🙁
After a few weeks, most people go back to their routine.
Back to School
Because I’ve been there too, I fully understand:
The summer effect is over, your beach-ready body can chill for some time now
Your to-do-list becomes impressive especially if you are a woman and you have kids…
The workload in most businesses is heavy in Q4 (end of year targets..)
All in all, you would need a serious motivation to keep your good resolutions.
The main problem is to find time to allocate to your new physical activity, which would mean giving up something else. I know exactly how hard it is to choose between the last episode of your preferred TV shows and running at night: I did it some years ago.
More Results in Less Time
Here is where I can help, hopefully: time management is important if you want to increase your physical activity, but not only. It took me years to figure it out, so please be smarter 😉
One thing is sure: we all have the same number of hours per day and that won’t change. Finding ways to free up time in your day is hard, for you and for me. My Aha moment has been to accept the idea that more is not better. Instead I have focused on ways to get more results in less time.
As usual, a little research showed me that everything has already been thought, studied and measured by other people in the past!
In that case, it’s called MET, for Metabolic Equivalent of Task. Can you believe that researchers have thoroughly compared all physical activities in terms of burnt calories?
I have started a post on this MET topic to help you get more of your time. When writing it, I had new ideas and at one moment, I thought it would be better to publish it as a page linked to the main menu, just as the pillars of weight loss, Eat Less and Move More. In that way, it won’t be buried in archives within months.
My plan is to show you new angles, especially what would have helped me years ago. Not the general information you can find elsewhere online, but my own point of view and recommendation.
OK, the teasing is done, so stay tuned for more! 🙂
What is it exactly with thermogenesis weight loss?
You see these words together on many sites that promote fat burning supplements. What’s the difference with metabolism? I have also noticed a new trend about “cold thermogenesis” which seems confusing: thermogenesis is all about heat production, so, “cold thermogenesis”, hmm, really??
Do you know what Seth Meyers would say? It’s time for a closer look 🙂
In my last two posts, “Metabolism and Weight Loss” and “Fast Metabolism with Ephedrine“, we have seen that it was possible to raise your metabolism in order to burn more calories. Next to that, I have been asked about the difference between metabolism and thermogenesis: what is thermogenesis weight loss exactly? How does it work? Is it effective? And if so, how to increase your thermogenesis?
Thermogenesis Medical Definition
So what is thermogenesis from a medical point of view? It is literally the « creation of heat » by the body, in fact a complex biochemical process that we will simplify here. Depending on what is triggering this heat production we will classify it as
Exercise Associated Thermogenesis when linked to intentional movement,
Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis when heat is produced by uncontrolled activation of muscles, typically shivering,
and finally DIT for Diet-Induced Thermogenesis, which is the production of heat during all processes which follow food intake, or to be specific it is the increase in energy expenditure above the Basal Metabolic Rate divided by the energy of the food intake.
Metabolism and Thermogenesis
Here is how thermogenesis and metabolism relate: your daily energy expenditure depends on your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), the energy cost of your physical activity plus your Diet-Induced Thermogenesis.
In these three functions, energy is used and heat is produced, thus thermogenesis is involved.
When you sleep, you still need energy to maintain your vital organs (BMR) thus thermogenesis.
When you have eaten, you need energy to deal with this food intake and calories will be converted to heat instead of fat thus thermogenesis.
Finally, when you move all day long, of course your muscle need energy and produce heat, again thermogenesis.Thermogenesis is an important component of your metabolic rate as it will determine your energy expenditure.
I really want to make it clear for you, because I see so many people confusing thermogenesis and metabolism. I have tried to explain it in easy words in my last post, so I will quote myself here 🙂
Thermogenesis is the consequence and metabolism is the cause.
Here is the best picture that comes to my mind when explaining it: if your body was a house with a nice fireplace inside, metabolism would be the number of wood logs required to keep your house warm, and thermogenesis would be the fire burning the logs and producing heat.
I hope I made it clear and that you see the difference between metabolism and thermogenesis weight loss now. If not, let’s try with a video! This one is really cool because it explains a lot with analogies (glucose and money), maybe a bit long, but if you have the patience you won’t regret it:
Brown Fat or Cold Thermogenesis
I will not detail how thermogenesis works at cellular level, you would be bored 🙂 But still I would like to take this opportunity to explain the following biological processes because they are very important to life:
Brown adipose tissue: it’s where thermogenesis usually occurs, babies have a lot of this brown fat and then it reduces. Bad luck 🙁 That’s why so many sites speak of “cold thermogenesis weight loss” currently. I have explained it in this post, but I didn’t expect these funny reactions here. Don’t miss this one 🙂
In a nutshell: some substances such as free fatty acids go through the mitochondrial energy process but for chemical reasons, heat is produced instead of ATP, which would have resulted in energy storage. To simplify: through thermogenesis, energy (heat) has been dissipated instead of being stocked (fat).
Thermogenesis Weight Loss
You can now easily deduct how thermogenesis can help weight loss: increasing thermogenesis would mean more energy expenditure and less fat storage.
Nice, but how could you achieve that?
There are several ways to increase thermogenesis:
Stimulation of some regulating hormones like norepinephrine (noradrenaline, a neurotransmitter described in our page about ephedrine) and leptin (see our article about appetite and prescription drugs for weight loss)
Intake of thermogenic products, such as caffeine, capsaicin found in red hot peppers, green tea (catechins), garcinia cambogia (hydroxycitric acid HCA), dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam), bitter orange (synephrine), guarana (guaranine)
Increase of Diet-Induced Thermogenesis through low-protein diets, emphasizing celery, garlic, parsley, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, hot peppers, fishes like salmon or tuna, and green tea of course. Other diets insist on low glycemic foods: seeds, nuts, brown rice, eggs, chicken breast, cheese, fruits and vegetables.
Thermogenesis and Ephedrine
Let’s sum it up. More thermogenesis means less fat storage, for sure. Thermogenesis and metabolism walk hand in hand, raising them will help your weight loss. But if you want serious results, don’t put your hopes on pills that focus on thermogenesis only. Except if you’re ready to wait for years to see some effects 🙂
I have started this blog more than 5 years ago and the best way and quickest to lose weight is still the same: ephedra alkaloids or ephedrine, either alone or stacked with caffeine. You know, this famous combination called EC stack (E for Ephedrine and C for Caffeine) which has synergistic effects, meaning that the effects of both products taken together is higher than the effects of each products taken separately). Ephedrine is by far the best way to boost your metabolism and your thermogenesis. Add a smart diet and some exercise to an EC stack and you will lose weight as humanly possible.
So don’t be distracted by the new “magic pill”, I understand that these marketing people try regularly new angles to sell you weight loss pills, but again, nothing, not even prescription pills can beat ephedrine plus caffeine if you do it right, in all legality and safety, as explained everywhere in this site.
As you know, metabolism and weight loss are deeply intertwined.
My last post was all about how to raise your metabolism but in fact I realize it just raised more questions 🙂
“OK, metabolism can cause overweight, but again, what is it exactly?”
“How do I know if I have a slow metabolism?”
OK, let’s step back and answer these questions.
What is the Medical Definition of Metabolism?
Said in easy words, metabolism is the minimal energy required daily by your body to survive.
Now the medical definition :
The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the energy required by your vital organs when your sympathetic nervous system is not stimulated. It is the minimal energy expended by your lungs, heart, liver, kidneys, skin, muscles etc. when sleeping.
The Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is just the same measure but at rest, not when sleeping.
How Do You Measure Metabolism?
The unit of measure is calories, as Basal and Resting Metabolic Rates measure energy.
In common words, they represent the minimum number of calories burnt per day to cover your vital functions. Your basal metabolic rate represents approximately 70% of the total number of calories burnt daily.
What is the Link between Metabolism and Thermogenesis?
Thermogenesis is the consequence and metabolism is the cause.
Your body requires energy for its basic functions and consuming this energy produces heat: this process of heat creation is called thermogenesis.
Let’s picture this: if your body was a house with a nice fireplace inside, metabolism would be the number of wood logs required to keep your house warm, and thermogenesis would be the fire burning the logs and producing heat.
Any Idea of Your Own Metabolic Rate?
We have several medical surveys that measure metabolic rates based on weight, height, age and sex. Based on that, you have many online tools that will do the guess work for you. You just have to enter these values (your weight, age etc) and you get a fair approximation of your BMR. Careful though: some sites don’t mention if they estimate your Basal Metabolic Rate or your Resting Metabolic Rate, in that case run and try other ones 🙂
Metabolism and Weight Loss: Why Should You Care?
It’s important since it will give you an idea of your minimum energy needs per day. Thus, you can compare to your calories taken in food and beverages and realize what is burnt and what is stocked as fat for future usage (in theory).
Is Metabolism Linked to Fat?
There are several aspects in this question:
Your fat mass plays a role in your metabolic rate, but fat cells (adipocytes) require very few calories to keep alive, compared to your lean body mass which is much more active and which burns many more calories.
That’s why you always hear that it is important to keep your muscle mass, because it will burn many calories even at rest, where fat cells could be stocked for years at very low cost of energy.
As a consequence, your fat mass will increase you metabolic rate, but in a low proportion.
In other words, you will need more calories to stay fat! Your food intake will be used to cover higher energy needs (your metabolic rate plus your daily activity) and as usual, the surplus will be stocked as fat in your adipocytes.The only way to break this vicious circle is to destock fat.
This brings me finally back to my previous post: how to raise your metabolism in order to lose weight. I hope that these explanations gave you a better understanding of this key physiological process, metabolism. From my experience, knowing how your body works is a crucial step to your overall health.
If you have a fast metabolism, you burn more energy and you lose weight, or at least you stock less fat if your calorie input is too high.
In previous posts, I have already touched these topics: lipolysis, energy expenditure, metabolism and weight loss. Now I would like to first clarify some popular beliefs and then see how you can raise your metabolism to burn more calories or even better, to burn fat.
1) How Metabolism Works
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is probably worth multi-millions 🙂
No doubt for this one: honestly, it’s a must if you want to understand how your body works, by balancing anabolism and catabolism (metabolism being the result of this balance).
Look at these comments on Youtube:
“This was seriously so much more helpful then half a semester of university lectures!?”
“This is great! Thanks for teaching me more in 11 min than my university professor could in 4 weeks…so far.?”
Please, take these 11 minutes and watch til the end: the final words explain what happens to excess carbs or protein and how ATP determines your level of adipose tissue. If you watch this video, you will have a better knowledge about weight issues than 99% of the population 🙂
Is metabolism different for men and women?
Contrary to popular belief, studies have proved that if you exclude the fat mass in the metabolic rate estimation (using formulas based on lean body mass), the results will be essentially the same for men and women.
Can 2 persons of the same age, weight, fat, have different metabolic rates?
Of course, the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) will vary from one person to the other if their bodies and ages are different.
One study in Scotland showed a variation from 1027 kcal per day (very low) to 2499 kcal!
The explanation factors found by the researchers were the differences in fat free mass (62%) then the fat mass (7%) and then the age (2%).
The amazing part of these results is that the remaining 27% are unexplained: neither by sex nor by body composition, which proves that metabolism can be highly different for persons having the same lean body mass, and that their food intake will have a different effect on their weight.
Other studies measured also a difference of 30% between the highest and lowest metabolic rates for persons having the same characteristics. This is probably why many people blame their slow metabolism, and we all know around us some persons who can eat much more than us and remain skinny.
Genetics probably play a role, but there is no real scientific explanation yet (we know how it works but we don’t know why it works at a higher rate by some lucky persons).
Does your metabolism vary, can you raise it?
Yes, it varies, for instance it will decrease with age and with reduction of your lean body mass. There are several ways to increase your metabolic rate: first by your physical activity (see exercising below) but also by increasing thermogenesis with so-called thermogenics: some foods and drinks but essentially ephedrine.
2) How to Increase Your Metabolism?
Best exercises for a fast metabolism
You know that I love running and I’m a big fan of cardio training, but frankly here I must admit that anaerobic workouts are a much better choice for a fast metabolism.
Low intensity exercises over a long period, like running, swimming, biking or even walking, will have great benefits for your overall health, so don’t neglect them! However, if raising your metabolism is your first goal, jump to the next point 🙂
You should be familiar with HIIT now (High Intensity Interval Training, typically weightlifting for bodybuilders). If not, have a look at this post and this one.
Studies have shown that anaerobic exercises have more effect on your metabolic rate, due to the muscle mass development and to a longer lasting effect after exercising (up to 24 hours): you will burn more during two hours running than half an hour high intensity weightlifting, but much less in the next 24 hours, and thus the total calories burnt are higher with anaerobic exercising.
Metabolism Diet: Avoid the Yo-Yo Effect!
This is a common trap where lifetime dieters fall frequently: low-calorie diets are interpreted by your body as a survival mode. Consequently, your brain waits for better times by reducing your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Your diet will be less efficient because both RMR and calorie intake decrease together, thus no change for the balance. The aggravating factor is that you will lose part of your muscle mass, which lowers your lean body mass and consequently your Resting Metabolic Rate. It already looks like a vicious circle, but it goes worse, with what is called the “yo-yo effect”: with less muscle mass, you burn less calories. Because of your low RMR, exercising becomes too hard. Typically after a few weeks, you stop this low-calorie diet and all is set for your next weight gain: your body will not only come back to the initial weight, it will also stock fat in your starving adipocytes to be prepared for your next fasting experience!
Foods that Speed Up Metabolism
Fortunately, there are other safe ways to achieve a fast metabolism through a smart diet.
Remember the golden rules (eat a bit of everything) and add these foods that will raise your temperature and energy.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin which can boost metabolism by up to 25%. It’s worth the burning sensation and sweating.
Spices like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, garlic or mustard seeds.
Citrus fruits, thanks to their high amount of vitamin C.
Whole grains, because your body works harder to digest complex carbohydrates than processed ones. Go for pasta, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal or white bread. They also regulate your insulin levels, as seen in my last post.
Essential fatty acids (omega-3’s) found in fish and in many nuts and seeds.
Drinks to Boost Your Metabolism
Here are also a few drinks which have shown good results.
Coffee. Studies show that caffeine can increase your metabolism by up to 16 percent. It also has synergistic effects with ephedrine. More info about EC stacks here.
Milk (because of calcium).
Green Tea is a well-known metabolism booster, among many other health benefits (high in antioxidants).
Water! You can’t have a fast metabolism without pure water which detoxifies your cells and speeds up fat burn. It also reduces your appetite. You may remember my favorite “weight loss tip“: drink a glass of water before each meal!
Fast Metabolism: Ephedrine is the Best Way
As you can see, having a fast metabolism is quite easy if you do it right. You can do it with these foods and drinks but if you want the best possible results in the shortest time, nothing beats ephedrine and ephedra alkaloids. Have a look at my other posts for a detailed explanation. In a nutshell: ephedrine will not only boost your metabolism but also your energy (less fatigue), your focus and will suppress your appetite.
If you are concerned about the legal aspects, check out this page. And regarding potential side effects, no worry, medical studies have proven that ephedrine is safe if taken in a controlled way: of course it’s mainly about contraindications and dosage, but avoiding heat and using your common sense also play a role 🙂
You know that fruits help in weight loss but here I mean low-hanging fruit in terms of prioritization of your efforts: you definitely should eat fruits but it’s not my focus here 🙂
It’s been a while without a post centered on weight loss and this is also the right period of the year to get rid of some pounds. So here are a few words specifically on this topic, including what I currently discuss with people I help in-person.
If you can’t lose weight even if you try hard, it could be linked to hormonal imbalance, especially for women who have reached their 40s or 50s.
I wouldn’t be able to explain that in detail because I am not a physician and this medical topic is *really* complex. Apparently doctors rely too much on lab tests that only show part of the global picture and many people who suffer from hypothyroidism are misdiagnosed.
From my discussions with the doctors in our team, several factors can lead to hormone imbalance: stress putting pressure on the adrenals, poor diet leading to a leaky gut or autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease.
Could It Be Insulin Resistance?
The result is usually that your blood sugar level go wild and you become resistant to insulin. In other words, this sugar is brought to your cells that refuse to let it in. Thus blood sugar is directly stored into fat cells, you know, these infamous adipocytes 🙂 As a result of insulin resistance, you have no energy (because sugar is not transformed into energy inside your cells, as it should) and your fat storage increases with each meal! Great… 🙁
As you can see, it is crucial to rule out this problem before considering any weight loss program: you have not the slightest chance to lose weight if you have insulin resistance or undiagnosed hypothyroidism.
Here is a link to a Youtube video made by a doctor that will tell you more about it:
Nutrition: Know Your Classics
Insulin resistance or not, you know that nutrition is key to your health and weight. I know it, you know it, we all know it. Still I see so many people doing the same mistakes again and again. So I thought it might be a good idea to recap the best practices I’ve been giving in my previous posts.
No alcohol. No beer and no strong alcohols either, like gin, whiskey or vodka. From time to time a glass of red wine
Avoid industrial/processed foods
Exclude beef and pork from your choices; eat fish, tuna, salmon, egg whites, chicken or turkey instead – by the way, never fried!
Avoid “quick sugars” passed directly to blood and stored as fat when not used immediately. Prefer complex carbohydrates – starches – such as grains (wheat, rice, barley, oats), beans, corn and potatoes.
Eat plenty of vegetables! Go for lettuce, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, onions, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. Fruits are recommended too, preferably with low glycemic index, because they are tasty and will help your mood, and because their antioxidants have a positive effect on free radicals and toxins.
It’s better if your carbohydrate could go decreasing during the day, ideally carbs only at the four first meals and nothing for the two last ones.
Eat the right fruits
In order to keep a constant metabolism, it is better to have 5 or 6 meals daily, the last one before 7 pm.
Drink a lot of water. Now the easiest and cheapest tip I know for weight loss: drink lots of water! I do it consistently since years and it works wonders. Pure water, when you feel hungry. Before lunch. It’s amazing how it regulates your metabolism and your appetite. It helps detoxing your body.
Go for the Low-Hanging Fruit!
OK, that was for nutrition only and we didn’t mention exercise yet. There’s a good chance that you agree on most nutrition points here, yet they seem unrealistic or there’s too many of them or you can’t figure out how to apply them.. It just doesn’t fit with your life: your food habits, where you eat, what real control you have on your nutrition, in your family, at work, etc. I hear that all the time 🙂
This brings us back to the title of this post: go for the low-hanging fruit!
Take it from the Pareto principle, and believe me this applies to most things in your life: 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.
Start with One Point Only
Honestly it helped me a lot when I was struggling. Try to do it also: take a step back and think of possible ways to apply it too. Years ago, my first “low-hanging fruit” decision has been the following: in order to lose weight, let’s start with nutrition first, before any exercising plan. It’s hard to change your food habits but it is also hard to exercise, so let’s start with what produces the quickest results.
So the good question is: what are the 20% of your foods habits that you should change first, in order to have 80% of your weight loss? Referring to the previous list, most probably you could come up with a short list of 3 to 5 points — be realistic!
Now select one point from this list, yes, only one point! Pick up the easiest one. The one that you will be able to apply in your daily routine without any problem. It will be your first step to success.
I know, I know…
If you think “Come on! If it was that easy, it would have done it already“, well, that’s fine, I hear that all the time… I call it “people who know everything but are stuck with their problems” 🙂 Or if you prefer the “politically correct” answer: there’s a huge difference between Knowing and Doing!
That’s why I always start with this “low-hanging fruit” approach with people I help with their weight management. And most of the time it works. My goal is to identify quick wins to start with, and for me it’s crucial for these 2 reasons:
– if they fail immediately, the whole process is compromised.
– if it’s a small change in their habits, they will be able to do it repeatedly during one month. From my experience, it’s what it takes to replace a bad habit by a good one. Keep it in mind: if you do the new thing every day for 30 days, you will “break” the former habit and replace it with the new one!
So please, if you are this kind of person who always thinks “Tell me something I don’t know!” please, don’t think twice, just pick up one easy point and do it!
My Own Experience
For the same reason, years ago I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find that “magic pill” that would make it easier for me to lose serious weight. Back then I really had no idea it would change my life. And that ephedrine would become my central point of interest 🙂 up to the point that I would create a website for that! and that I would be on the same topic for years!! Well it’s life, and I’m happy with it, considering all the people I got to know and that I’ve helped with my posts and recommendations 🙂
OK I digress here — I feel it when I become nostalgic 🙂 what I want to say is that ephedrine is totally consistent with this “low-hanging fruit” approach: you don’t have to suffer! If something can suppress your appetite to such extend and also boost your metabolism and energy, why would you do without it?? I’m happy I’ve made that choice and I’m also happy for all the people I’ve helped with my experience, mainly by recommending what I consider as the best products (meaning legal and safe) and the best ephedrine webshops.
The previous post explained why High Intensity Interval Training was the quickest way to burn fat, so now you probably want to hear about my preferred HIIT workouts… OK 🙂
Examples of HIIT workouts
There are hundreds of HIIT workouts; every personal trainer has his preferred one. I will only mention my preferred ones here, with emphasis on intensity if you aim at HIIT: many persons think that they are exercising with high intensity because they are running a bit faster than usual 🙂
Sorry… Below your max… is not your max! Being slightly out of breath doesn’t mean that you are anaerobic. It’s still Interval Training, but not High Intensity Interval Training 🙂
Build Your Own Workout Plan
If you want to build your own plan, keep in mind that the usual ratio between full intensity and low intensity is 2:1, for example, 30 seconds of sprint followed by 15 seconds of slow running.
We mention running here, but any classical aerobic workout can be adapted to Interval Training: running has my preference but rowing, cycling, weight-training or CrossFit are fine too. The high intensity parts should be at your maximum exertion, for instance short sprints at full speed that you try to maintain during a fixed time and which leave you *totally* exhausted.
My Preferred HIIT Workout for Beginners
We all have to start somewhere, don’t we? 🙂
Here is my recommendation.
1) Warm-up: 5 minutes – don’t skip it!
2) Max intensity exercise: the core part obviously. Sprint for 30 seconds, then walk or run slowly for 60 to 90 seconds. It’s far from the 2:1 ratio, even from 1:1, but believe me, this could be the “shortest” seconds of your life 🙂 In the beginning, even jogging instead of walking during the recovery phase is a challenge… if you did it right!
Start with 4 repetitions and increase step by step, up to 8 or 10.
3) Cool-down (at the end of your exercise, not between sprints!): jogging at low pace, 4 to 5 minutes – don’t skip it either!
Based on your physical condition, try to do 2 or 3 (max!) HIIT workouts per weeks for 8 weeks, and then give your body a break for one or two weeks.
Next Level: The HIIT Pyramid
You will love it 🙂
1) Warm-up: 3 to 5 minutes.
2) Climbing up the pyramid: high intensity runs lasting longer with each repetition: 30 seconds, then 45, 60 and finally 90 seconds.
3) Recovery time: always 1 minute at low intensity, but don’t exceed 1 minute even if you’re exhausted. Remember that the goal is to maximize your total anaerobic time. Your heart rate will decrease a bit, just enough to allow another run at max heart rate, without oxygen supply to your cells.
4) Going down the pyramid: High intensity runs that decrease with each repetition: 60 seconds, 45 and the last one, 30 seconds.
5) Cool-down: the best part 🙂 5 minutes.
Any Alternatives to HIIT Workouts?
Yes, a famous one is called Fartlek which comes from Sweden and means « speed play ».
Fartlek sessions last 45 minutes to one hour and the difference with HIIT is that there is no fixed time for maximal intensity and recovery. How come? Well, imagine that you want to surprise your body so that it will be stressed and burn fat as never before! I remember that we had such torture sessions at school and we all hated it 🙂 Our teacher was using a whistle to let us know when to sprint, when to recover, and for what period of time. Honestly, a few years later (!) I have to admit that this is probably the best way to use Fartlek: if you follow the instructions of a teacher or friend, your brain doesn’t know what will happen next and believe me, when your brain starts panicking, your body is ready to burn anything for energy 🙂
Similar to Ephedrine
By the way, Fartlek makes me think of ephedrine: in both cases your body has a “fight-or-flight” response where adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol are released into your bloodstream. In fact, in many sports you can go Fartlek without knowing it. Take football or soccer for instance: you don’t know when and how long you will have to sprint. So if you want to brake the routine in your HIIT workouts, find a weight loss buddy and try Fartlek together! It’s fun and *really* effective at fat burn.
As you know now, HIIT is a killer when it comes to fat loss.
But clearly it is not recommended to people having a poor physical condition or diseases, especially heart diseases of course. The risk of injuries is higher, and workouts of this nature (high intensity leaving you exhausted again and again) require strong physical and psychological resources.
If you think that the bar is too high, no worry: start with low or moderate aerobic exercises. You will have huge health benefits, as confirmed by this medical study. You will lose weight, especially if you add an EC stack to your cardio training, and later you might consider trying a short HIIT session (no more ephedrine in that case!). That’s exactly what I did, years ago 🙂
Remember, the name of the game here is not “just” losing weight, it is to lose fat (not weight) and to keep it off definitely.
I get many questions about HIIT benefits for fat burn, with or without ephedrine, so let’s detail a bit.
Just in case: HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training.
In terms of weight loss, HIIT seems « too good to be true ». Bodybuilders and other athletes love it because they can spend less time with cardio sessions 🙂
What Is HIIT Exactly?
As the name suggests, it’s a physical training made of short intervals of high intensity exercise followed by longer intervals of moderate or even low intensity exercise.
Is HIIT Really Effective for Fat Burn?
Yes, Interval Training and especially High Intensity Interval Training is probably the most efficient physical activity for fat burn, as proven by several medical studies since years. The most famous one has been conducted in 1994 by Angelo Tremblay et al.: « Impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism » which stated than « the decrease in the sum of six subcutaneous skinfolds induced by the HIIT program was ninefold greater than by the Endurance-Training program ». Another research made by Gibala et al. concluded that 2.5 hours of sprint interval training resulted in the same biochemical changes in muscle than 10.5 hours of endurance training. See what I mean?
Why Is It So Effective?
I won’t to go into details, here it is in 2 words: it has to do with your metabolism and energy consumption during and after your session.
When stressed by maximal effort, your muscle will start a chain reaction: it will use glycogen as fuel and will break it down to produce glucose, glucose produces pyruvate, and pyruvate associated with oxygen will produce water and carbon dioxide and release energy – this is known as the Krebs cycle.
Now a refresher about aerobic and anaerobic exercises: aerobic means with the use of oxygen for energy needs during your exercise and anaerobic means that your oxygen demand is higher than your oxygen supply during a short period of time.
To come back to our point (chain reaction initiated by your muscle at highest intensity) you see that oxygen is used by pyruvate, but in case of shortage of oxygen (thus anaerobic) carbohydrate turns short rapidly (because pyruvate ferments into lactate, you know, this burning sensation in your muscle) and then the interesting part: the last available energy resource now is fat cells! Your body has to increase the fat metabolism in order to destock your fat and use it for energy.
HIIT Benefits for Fat Burn: #1
How does that link to HIIT? well, HIIT is the best possible way to maximize the total time spent in the anaerobic mode. In fact, when you alternate high-intensity muscle effort with recovery periods, your total anaerobic time is much higher than compared to a one-time period at maximal effort (remember this lactate “burning feeling” that stops you very rapidly – try to sprint at your max speed and you will see how much distance you cover, compared to a succession of short sprints followed by short recovery periods).
HIIT Benefits for Fat Burn: #2
This one is a blessing: anaerobic exercise builds additional muscle mass. Cool 🙂 This is very important in case of diets for weight loss, where usually people lose essentially their muscle mass, which is key to burning calories even at rest. Which leads us directly to the next point.
HIIT Benefits for Fat Burn: #3
It has to do with something called EPOC: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Medical studies have shown that HIIT increases the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) for the next 24 hours, way longer than with a steady-state aerobic two-hours run. In other words: your HIIT session is shorter than your run but the fat burning effect will last longer.
HIIT Benefits for Fat Burn: #4
HIIT will improve your VO2max, which is so famous by runners and represents your maximal oxygen consumption.
HIIT Benefits for Fat Burn: #5
Again based on medical research, HIIT has been shown to suppress appetite more than low intensity exercises.
HIIT Benefits for Fat Burn: #6
And we stop here: the effects of HIIT on metabolism result in a significant reduction of insulin resistance and a better glucose tolerance, thus preventing type-2 diabetes.
Let’s sum up these HIIT benefits for fat burn:
with High Intensity Interval Training you build muscle, you stay longer in the anaerobic mode which in total burns more fat than long aerobic exercises, due to a higher Resting Metabolic Rate in the next 24 hours. Other positive effects: VO2max improvement, appetite reduction and various improvements on metabolism.
The only drawback I see is that it is very demanding: if you’re not exhausted after your session, it was not high intensity. Most overweight people would be wise to start with low intensity cardio sessions and see how it goes after a few months, before thinking of HIIT.
As you can guess from the title, “My Weight Loss Experience”, this is going to be a very personal post… Maybe a bit of nostalgia, looking back at all these years 🙂
I have received emails about my last post, saying that many people lack of patience when they try to lose weight, compared to all these years of poor diet food and no exercise.
Hmm, apparently it was a bit rude…
No offense though. I had one example in mind when writing that, and as always, it’s a poor idea to generalize.
What can I say?
Well, I could say that if at some point you realize that, regarding your overweight, enough is enough, I totally understand, because I’ve experienced it years ago. I had something like 50 pounds to lose. I was happy in every aspect of my life, with my family first, my friends, my job.
Except that I had been gaining weight for years and years.
And it was not a problem. It came so progressively that it was not something we talked about. Easy life, busy life, good food, alcohol, nothing to worry about. No exercise by the way.
Until that day where I almost died due to this overweight.
Suddenly I realized the high price I had to pay now 🙁
And I’ve been very angry because I had been surrounded by doctors during all this time and nobody told me about the health risks. And remember, my wife is a doctor.
Now with the distance, frankly I don’t blame them.
Nobody forced me to have this lifestyle. Again, I was really happy with my life.
As you can guess, this new perception has started tough discussions with my wife and with friends 🙂
My conclusion was clear: it’s my life, sure, but it also affects my family, so I have to take real control of my health. I decided to get healthy as quick as possible.
And of course, I also wanted quick results…
So as you can see, if you’re currently trying to lose weight and you want quick results, I can fully understand…
My Weight Loss Experience
What I want to say now is that, with this mindset, I did all possible mistakes.
I decided to try by myself, without support, because I was angry. This was a real mistake.
I have tried all possible “magic diets”. When I think about it today, honestly it makes me laugh 🙂 Do you want an example? OK. I found somewhere a “miracle diet”: The Ultimate Fat Burning Soup! It was supposed to burn fat like crazy, but you had to eat this soup only, nothing else, for a whole week!
I did it… One weekend before vacation, I tried to convince my wife that we had to cook a huge quantity of this “miracle soup”! She refused and we didn’t talk for one week 🙂 But her reaction didn’t stop me: “you’re a big boy, go buy these veggies and cook it yourself”!
So during that week I’ve been eating this soup 3 times a day, from breakfast to dinner! And after a few days, even the smell in the kitchen was making me nauseous…
But I did it.
And guess what? No results of course.
I could go on with all other mistakes, but you get it.
I’m a stubborn guy.
I could also tell you how wrong I’ve been when starting the “exercise” part of my weight loss experience. I think I mentioned it already in my previous posts about running. All these efforts, for nothing! A pity.
OK, what I want to say with these embarrassing memories is that I can fully understand you.
But please, don’t do the same mistakes.
Be smarter. Be patient.
Because in the end, I finally managed to lose these extra pounds. Not by accident.
By doing the right things.
By asking for support.
By *really* applying the weight loss pillars, eat less and move more. In the right way, step by step.
And fortunately, one day, I came across one post about ephedrine and it changed my life.
I spent months learning everything about it and finally I decided to try, hesitating between hope and the memory of the past stupid attempts (magic pills, miracle diet and so on).
I’m happy I did it finally. Because it helped me a lot with my weight loss, but most importantly, because it gave me the opportunity to create this blog and to help many people.
And fortunately, to help you too.
Do you know my biggest problem in my weight loss coaching experience so far?
The lack of patience I see with most people asking me for support.
Demotivated after Two Weeks!
I can understand that if you do some efforts, you want results. Sure. But how come that we want results quite immediately nowadays?
I know that especially young people live in the “micro-wave generation”. You know, when even waiting for one minute until the beep is too much 🙂
I’m always surprised when after 2 weeks coaching I hear the first signs of demotivation!
Come on! Apparently it’s not a problem if you had a poor lifestyle for years (having a poor diet and no exercise). And now you complain because these last 2 weeks you finally reduced slightly your calorie input and you managed to run twice a week? Seriously…
Think of all these progressive changes that happened in your body, usually during years, leading to your current overweight. Do you really think that all these changes can be reversed by a 2 weeks diet and 4 running sessions??
How to Overcome this Demotivation
You know me, I’m telling you that, but I will never say it to the people I coach 🙂
Instead I just try to be friendly and supportive, I try to bring them back to reason and to work on their motivation.
In fact if they quit here, my weight loss coaching would have been a failure and it will be worse for them later. I can’t stand it, honestly 🙁
So during that phase, we talk a lot 🙂
And most of the time we find a agreement: keep up the good job and you will see the result.
Then depending on their physical condition, usually I vary the intensity in order to break the routine and the monotony. But the most important point is to *finally* have these expected results! A few pounds off are enough. Just something to celebrate, with new clothes for instance — not drinks 🙂
This is my preferred part, the one that rewards you for all the efforts: it’s when these men and women realize that regular, progressive efforts lead to solid, stable weight loss for the long run. So easy to say and so hard to do.
What About Ephedrine?
In most cases I do not include ephedrine in my weight loss coaching, especially with people I don’t really know. I prefer to test their patience 🙂
And usually I use it later on, to boost the results when we have reached a plateau.
But sometimes I have no other choice than introducing it sooner, during the demotivation phase, because I feel that the person is really close to quit. It’s a kind of deal: after in-depth explanations, especially regarding the legal aspects (trust me!), I ask them to make an informed decision. Most of the time, they accept because they expect less efforts and more results.
So Why Not Starting with Ephedrine Directly?
Yes, I always get this question 🙂 Why did you ask me to spend weeks dieting and running for no results when I could have been taking ephedrine from the beginning?!
The answer is easy: you don’t necessarily need ephedra or ephedrine to lose weight. You can reach your desired weight by adapting your lifestyle. Eating less and moving more.
But it takes time and the risk is to quit because it’s so hard. Your metabolism goes on vacation and you don’t have the needed willpower and physical energy to exercise. Your body enters in the “starving mode” and does its best to keep this overweight! But still, it’s feasible. And you don’t have to pay for the pills. You could buy new clothes 🙂
So again it’s their informed decision: if they want buy ephedra or ephedrine for less efforts and quicker results, for sure I can understand. I just insist on the fact that their weight loss will mean nothing if not sustainable: it has to come with real adjustments to their lifestyle.