Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 3 of 4

If somehow you’ve found us just now, this won’t make much sense without having already invested your time into reading or perhaps even re-reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

 

During the last installment I covered the first half of Detail 3: Cardiovascular Training in relation to fat loss. I left you hanging with the promise of a program style that works incredibly effective for fat loss.

It’s often said in the training world that the best program is the one you’re currently not doing. Simply because the body adapts over time and it’s wise to switch it up every 4-12 weeks (depending on your goals and level of experience).

 

I will place one big caveat on the following: just like every other training style, Elimination Circuits can run their course. Using them for 3-5 week periods seems best, beyond that I tell people go back to trying to grow muscle like a crazy person. If you didn’t achieve significant enough fat loss during the time you used the Elimination Circuit, yet again, the details of your formula haven’t been sorted out (likely food).

 

Detail #3(Adequate vs Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) Cardiovascular Training – Part 2 of 2 – Elimination Circuit Training

Adrian - Cardio Elimination Circuit

This was my last “cardio” workout. It was horrible. I hated my life come the end of it. Yep, I do cartwheels (blame Dan John for telling me to get over my suckiness of them). The Crowe Flow: Squat is one of my favored mobility drills for opening up where I tend to be tight. And yes, I think the gym ring idiot is purely in there to be “fun.” Angled Barbell exercises such as THIS are killer for elimination circuits!

Look, if your heart rate is jumping back and forth between 120-180 beats per minute for 60 minutes straight…is that cardio? Regardless of what you’re doing to get there??

Exactly! So make it fun. I make it up as I go.

The rules of the Elimination Circuit are this:

  1. Choose 7-9 exercises
  2. If the goal is cardio I suggest making most of them heart rate based, the rest aesthetic or physio/corrective drills. You can’t just go balls-to-the-wall for 60 mins straight.
  3. Choose exercises you know you should be doing, some stuff you like doing, and throw in stuff you absolutely suck at for the sake of getting better at it.
  4. How to calculate reps: take the exercise of your choice, what rep range would you normally perform it in? Let’s say for DB lateral raises you normally do 15 reps. Now take those reps and multiply by 4 or 5 rounds (you’ll have to experiment there). That’s how many you’ll do in total over the whole workout. The goal is to mostly have all exercises completed by the 4-6 round mark. If you finish them in 3 the weight/intensity was too easy or reps too low. If it takes you 8 rounds, the weight/intensity was too high
  5. Simply perform as a traditional circuit, do the traditional amount of reps you can do with good form for exercise 1. Write down those reps. Move to exercise 2, perform and write down the reps. Continue until you’ve completed 1 round of each exercise. Then start back over. You’ll find on the first set of the circuit you’ll get a few more reps than normal, just like towards the end of the workout you’ll end up getting less than normal. It all works itself out if you’re ending exercises between 4-6 rounds. If finishing an exercise in 3 or less then it simply wasn’t hard enough, not enough load or not enough reps. If you’re not finishing until 6-10 sets, then it was too hard, too much load, or too many reps.
  6. There are no rules except you have to finish all the reps. Feeling too beat to do the next exercise but you could do the next on the list instead, go for it! Just don’t jump around too much or you’ll get loopy and behind on reps. Once all the reps are complete, that’s it; workout over. Ideally the workout doesn’t last longer than 60 minutes, in fact, 45 minutes is probably the ideal.

This style will allow for the least amount of rest and such an INSANE volume/training density during a workout without blowing the body into nervous system oblivion.

Group Class Cardio Elimination Circuit

Here’s an example of using and Elimination Circuit on a small group training setting (5 people). Same rules apply. Pick 7-9 movements, figure out the “typical” rep range you’d use on that movement, multiply by 4-5 rounds and then multiply by how many people are working together to accomplish those reps. In this style what you get is absolutely outstanding teamwork. Some people are better than others at exercise 3, where some are better at exercise 6; it allows each to work as a team on their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone hates the Crowe Plank so make them do it! The only goal: GET ‘ER DONE!

I prefer Elimination Circuits best for cardio but try them using strength movements too. A chest/back day could be done the same bouncing back and forth between 4 types of chest exercises and 4 back exercises. The only rule for a strength circuit there is that you do need to take enough rest (45-90 seconds if you feel the performance of a heavy set will suffer). If your form is going to be crap, take 15-30 seconds longer to sip some water then jump back in.

I want to revisit a piece from Part 1 of this series:

Of the 168 hours we are all allotted in a given week, I want every minute, every hour and every workout to count for something. Who wants to workout 4 hours a week, week in-week out, to look and feel exactly the same next year?”

So when you design or choose your workout programs, it’s about time. Spending more than 4 hours a week exercising can be a waste of time when it comes to fat loss. So telling someone that an hour on the treadmill 3x/week plus 4x/week doing 90 minute resistance training sessions just cost you over 6 hours of your life. I’d venture to say if you’re close to that and not seeing results it’s because, yet again, cardio is rarely the answer. It’s one of the details.

Implant this in your brain forever if fat loss is your goal:

High Amount of NEPA/NEAT > Muscle Training > Cardiovascular Training

Focusing on the above equation backwards (cardio, a little weights and the rest of your day spent sitting on your still overweight booty) is NOT EVER going to work. Especially if you can’t get the next two details sorted out.

Detail #4De-stressing Your Life + Adequate Quality Sleep

I was going to delve into research as to what the magical number of hours the human body requires to function (is it 6, or 7 or 8.258 to the third power) but here’s the thing: YOU’RE AN ADULT, figure it out. Most adults know that number for themselves. And good luck changing their mind.

The answer is probably 1 more hour than you’re currently getting if you’re tired all the time.

Most of the stuff I’ve read on sleep talks is not so much about how long one should be in bed sleeping but rather what is the quality of sleep you’re achieving (light vs. deep vs. REM sleep cycles)? What time of night are you going to bed (before midnight or after)? Are you a night owl or an early bird? Introvert or extrovert? What are the activities you are performing before sleep? What’s the quality of your place of sleep (meaning mattress, pillow, bedding, temperature of room, noise levels, electromagnetic fields from electronic devices, and how dark is your room)?

There is far more to experiment with the above parameters before one can so easily adjust the amount of time you’re sleeping.

If you really want to investigate something interesting about sleep look into polyphasic vs. monophasic sleep patterns. For a great many thousands of years (prior to the invention of electricity) humans may have slept differently to how they do today. My goal over the next couple years is to be able to schedule my day to allow biphasic sleeping patterns.

Here is my top 5 list of sleep fails guaranteed to throw a wrench into your fat loss plans:

  1. Sleeping schedules all over the map. Shift workers find it much more difficult to maintain lower body fat levels than people with a 9-5 job. It’s better you go to bed and rise at roughly the same times every night, including weekends. Perhaps moreso because sleep schedules all over the map means meal timing and food prep that likely looks the same.
  2. Too much TV or Candy Crush before bed. Let’s see, you want to go to sleep which requires darkness for your melatonin (the hormone that makes you drowsy so you can sleep) to fire properly and you’ve instead decided to blast your eyeballs with flashing, bright lights. Good one. A book would probably improve the quality of your life far more. But whatever your medium of choice to end your evening it’s probably wise it’s not too exciting. Don’t get me wrong, I do like my TV shows before bed too but never put a TV in the bedroom (pretty much asking for less sex aren’t you?) and watch some dry stuff last. I love me some Mysteries at the Museum before bed!
  3. Eating too heavy a meal before sleep. Starving before bed is not wise either but you should experiment to figure out what foods digest best in the last meals/snacks before bed. It should be obvious sugar of any sort is the worst choice because we are talking about fat loss after all. Almost as bad for ruining sleep quality before bed would be alcohol.
  4. When I was a teen 12 hours of sleep was “necessary” for me to function. No it’s not, you’re just bored with your life and haven’t set some goals that require you to get outta freaking bed and do something with your life. There are times my body tells me to F off for not sleeping enough the past nights of the week and I’ll let it sleep 10 hours but more than that is a waste of life and you’re more likely to be inactive after sleeping that long.
  5. Your bedroom atmosphere sucks. Too much noise. Too much crap on the floor for you to even get to your bed. Too many plugs and electronics next to your head. Poor quality mattress. You don’t know the thread count of your sheets cuz you bought cheap sh*t. Your pillows are 2 years old. And there’s too much street light coming in from your windows. May as well scatter some thumb tacks randomly throughout your bed sheets to make it even more interesting. Fix the problem: Google this: “make bedroom conducive sleep”

Enough of that rant. Let’s move on.

Let me ask you something…could you right now, take a pen and paper and write 15 small little joys in your life. Not people (though quality time with people can be part of it). Not your job. Not your beloved iPhone. 15 things you can do right now that would bring a smile to your face. What recharges you? What makes the daily routine and grind worth repeating endlessly? Seriously, take a pen and paper and write 15 things down that you love doing.

Now ask yourself: how often are you doing them? How’s that saying go? All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

I’m a workaholic for sure (routinely pulling off 60-80 hour weeks) but the first thing I do when work is done as much as can be for the day is get right to my little joys. When I skip that too often I’m a miserable SOB. And most likely so are you. If you’re tired, miserable, hate your daily grind, can’t stand everyone around you because they’re irritating you more than usual; while a 3 week vacation to Bora Bora sounds awesome right now, perhaps we don’t need such an extreme. A happy body is one that loses weight more easily. If not simply because of the causal effect on motivation and ability to stick to the hard game plan (read: nutrition) that’s going to help you achieve those fat loss goals. Wanna know how simple this is to achieve? Take a timer, 15 minutes. No one, nothing, no phone texts or calls, nothing is allowed to disturb you for 15 minutes every single day and you do one or more of those things on the list you created. If you couldn’t even be bothered to create the list, therein lies the problem. You want without the will to work for it.

What I’m getting at with all of this is that if you want to expend energy, be it physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental energy, it is impossible to the degree that makes a real change in your life unless you recharge the battery often. Do you really think the human body is drastically different in energy needs to your cell phone? How often do you plug that battery in to recharge??

Two more things.

I kick myself in the proverbial pants on the regular for not having taken advantage of the years in my life where I was covered under an extended health care plan through my work place. My previous job I had hundreds of dollars in chiropractor, massage therapy, acupuncture and a whack of other services that were essentially free to me if I could have been bothered enough to take advantage of that. I’m going to kick your ass if you’re not taking advantage of that situation if you’re fortunate enough to have it. MAX that plan out!

For those of us not under such magical coverage, please treat yourself every 4-8 weeks. You take your car in for regular tune ups, correct? Because you know it helps it last longer and perform better. But not the same for your body?

 

Lastly, what if I said there was a very unique, personal way to achieve a deep state of relaxation, one that in my opinion cannot be beat for recharging the mind, body and spirit. What would that look like? First I ask you to invest 5 minutes of your life to explore these brilliant thoughts:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeqmKwsvM58 (language warning)

Get Your Float On

I suspect the floatation/isolation/sensory deprivation tank will be one of the greatest things I invest my time into during the course of my life.

Just try it once! Trust me on that. (Locally in the Greater Vancouver area, look up Cloud 9 Float Spas in Coquitlam. The couple’s tank was brilliant quality couple time). Otherwise try finding a floatation tank near you: http://floatationlocations.com/map/ or www.floatation.biz/floatfinder/

 

But what does this all have to do with fat loss?

I’m sure you’ve seen someone who’s lost quite an impressive amount of fat and simply looked ragged and aged from the process. How often do those people keep the weight off? Rarely.

Those who are in great shape, have the vitality we all desire and maintain healthy body weights tend to look vibrant, healthy, happy, and have found a balance between how much they put out and how well they recharge.

 

Okay, we’ve got just one more installment left next week. I’m going to attempt to cover the final detail: {Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition} as well as neatly wrap this whole series up for you all.

Please understand that my goal here is not to portray myself as the be all, end all guru of anything but rather to give you avenues and ideas to explore to help you find the best way to manage and adjust the details within your fat loss formula.

The Formula: (Adequate NEPA/NEAT) + (Adequate + Appropriate Muscle Training) + (Adequate vs. Appropriate – Excessive Cardiovascular Training) + (De-stressing your life + Adequate Quality Sleep) + (Adequate but Appropriate Goal Based Nutrition) = FAT LOSS

 

BTW, you can now find me on:

Instagram @adriancroweathletictraining

Facebook page at Adrian Crowe Athletic Training “The Crowe’s Nest”

YouTube www.youtube.com/acathletictraining

or email me directly at adrian@adriancrowe.com

Advertisements

11 comments on “Fat Loss: The Be All, End All Formula – Part 3 of 4

  1. […] Part 3 – Cardio Training Part 2/2, De-stressing & Sleep […]

  2. Shane Mclean says:

    This 4 part series is gold mate. Well done.

    • Adrian Crowe says:

      Thank you Shane! I’m glad it’s getting out there for folks to enjoy. If you have any other topics you’d like me to cover in future via blog just let me know!

  3. […] call it the Elimination Circuit. But let me save that for Cardio – Part 2 in the next installment of this series. Any further questions on the details above or if you have training related questions […]

  4. This post is invaluable. When can I find out more?

  5. Keep on working, great job!

  6. […] if you spent your money better? What would happen if I wasn’t capable of complaining ever again? What if you stopped sleeping in all the time or going to bed so darn late? What if you never drank or did drugs again; you can party and enjoy yourself without that stuff, […]

  7. […] this summer. So be smart, plan your own down time. Meditate. Start taking yoga (or go back to it). Go for a float (seriously!!!). Book regular massages, especially if you have coverage people, c’mon! Your […]

  8. formula 10 says:

    Wow! In the end I got a weblog from where I be able to truly get useful information regarding
    my study and knowledge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s