I remember once many years ago watching a great video that properly illustrated the problem. In the video was two guys. One was on a treadmill, and the other had a slice of pizza.
Just one large one, this wasn’t man vs food or anything, but that slice of pizza was about 500-600 calories. Pretty standard.
The task at hand was pretty straight forward. The guy on the treadmill was going to run for the same amount of time the other guy ate his pizza slice.
So one was burning calories, the other ingesting them.
So off they went. One guy started chowing down on the pizza – Not fast, but not slow either, and the other guy went for it on the treadmill.
This was proper hell for leather too! He was sprinting, and if it was a cartoon, smoke would have been coming out of the treadmill belt.
It took the one guy about 2 minutes to get through the 500 odd calorie slice of pizza.
On the other hand, by sprinting for 2 minutes, the other guy had burned around 33 calories.
So the point was pretty obvious! You can take in 500 odd calories in about 2 minutes, but to burn that off, that 1 single slice of pizza, you would have to sprint for over 30 minutes. (And yes, it’s impossible to sprint for 30 minutes, but you get the point!)
In short, trying to burn off what you eat through exercise is a false economy.
Unless you’re an extreme endurance athlete, you’re never going to burn enough calories during exercise to make a dent.
However, there is a way to burn more, and that’s using a concept we call Afterburn.
The technical name for this is Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), and what we’re referring to is how many calories you burn after the exercise as a result of the exercise. I.e. how long and how much after you step out of the gym you’re still burning calories for.
Now, different types of exercise will raise your metabolism by different amounts for different lengths of time.
Steady state cardio for example will raise it a little bit for a few hours, traditional strength (weight) training will raise it for a bit more and longer, and then there’s a type of training called Metabolic Resistance Training.
This has been shown to raise your metabolism for as much as 18 hours after stepping out of the gym!
Now, in some cases it could be as much as 48 hours, but even at the bottom end, 18 hours is a LONG time to be burning extra calories! And this will all be happening in the background, even while you sleep!
Oh, and as a bonus, as well as increasing your muscle strength and tone, it’s also been shown to improve your cardio fitness as much as traditional steady-state cardio with workouts that are a fraction of the time.
There’s no downside here!
So how do we do that? Well Metabolic Resistance training is a combination of both strength training and cardio training. So what you’ll do is work in short bursts of 2-4 minutes performing strength based exercises, then rest for a minute or two, then go again for anything from 10-45 minutes.
Using the strength based exercises we know creates the biggest stimulus and demands the most out of our body, and the short rest times creates a big demand on your cardiovascular system.
As a result, for the next 18 or so hours, your body is still going through its recovery and regeneration, followed by overcompensation (getting fitter and stronger) phase, and to fuel that, it needs extra calories.
So you’ve created a stimulus, and now you’re sitting back while your body capitalises on it. Even when you’re watching Corrie.
Now, understand this, the other thing that video taught us was that even when you’re burning calories for hours, you’ll still need plenty of hours to even break even! So you’ll still need to make sure you’re following a targeted fat burning nutrition plan, but put the two together, and the results can be spectacular.
I’ve seen people lose 27 pounds of body fat – Not weight, not lean muscle, not water – FAT in only 6 weeks! These are the kind of results I’m talking about:
So if you’re still doing steady-state cardio, or even traditional strength training, try switching it up and get some Metabolic Resistance Training into your routine. Combine it with the right eating plan and the results will amaze you!