I know the key to fat loss, I just have to do more cardio.
It makes sense, right?
Fat loss is basically can you burn more than you consume? To maximize the calorie burn you have to do more. So put your running shoes on, get a good playlist and run in place until you start chafing.
That’s all well and good until you’re about a week in. The results taper off and you’re only option is to run longer. So that 30-minute session that you could barely squeeze in turns into 60 minutes and more stress.
Three weeks in and you’re frustrated, stressed and haven’t lost fat since week one. So you quit. Why stick with something that is 1) not working and 2) giving you more stress than it’s worth?
It’s time to retire this archaic method of fat loss. Not everything from back in the day was sound advice.
In this post, I’m going to show you how you can take a modern approach to fat loss that won’t result in having you need to tape your nipples.
Unless you’re into that.
The Modern Iteration of Losing Fat
The Modern Iteration of Losing Fat (MILF) is all about essentialism – taking what works and doubling down on it.
There’s been a ton of research done on exercise and nutrition in the last 20 or so years that needs to be incorporated into effective fat loss.
MILF has two principles –
- Increase Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption
- Increase Insulin Sensitivity
Coupling these two principles together with a nice meal and some flowers and you’re sure to get lucky. Sorry, it took me 15 minutes to find an acronym that worked – I had to get at least one joke in.
Before we get into the MILF – a-thank you – I want to dispel two myths:
More muscle will burn more calories –
Muscle is more calorie expensive than fat, but it’s not a game changer. A pound of muscle burns about 13 calories a day while fat burns 5. Yea it’s more, but the difference is almost negligible.
Fat loss workouts should be lightweight for a million reps –
This type of training is good for the steroid users in the group. If you’re not on the juice it will leave you broken, battered and weak. Training this way, along with a calorie restricted diet, will help you lose muscle rather than keeping it.
Steroid users can do this because their body’s protein synthesis is jacked up – this is why they can add muscle so quickly.
Alright, back to your regularly scheduled program.
Quick striped down science lesson. If you feel your eyes glazing over jump down to Will Ferrell.
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule used to contract your muscles, can be produced with oxygen (aerobic) or without oxygen (anaerobic). To help you remember the difference I think of me needing oxygen at an aerobics class. Obviously in an eye-melting leotard.
The anaerobic path is good for a short burst of energy like lifting weights or sprinting. It only lasts a few seconds and ATP can regenerate quickly with the help of glycogen from your muscles. As you’ve probably seen in your own training there is a cap on how much you can regenerate in a short amount of time.
The aerobic path is better suited for long-term low-intensity energy like running for 30 minutes. This path uses fatty acids (fat) to help regenerate ATP. This is a slower process but it’s more efficient.
To put a picture of what’s going on and when – during your set, the anaerobic path is regenerating ATP to keep pumping out the reps. When you’ve hit your regeneration cap is when muscle failure comes in.
While you’re resting the aerobic path takes over the regeneration duties by burning fatty acids.
OK, science is done. Welcome back.
Ya know when you try to get to sleep after a stressful situation or working late into the night and you run out of sheep to count? That’s because your body needs time to get back to normal before allowing it to relax into sleep.
The same thing happens after you workout. Your body needs time to get everything back to a pre-workout state. Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC is the process of getting back to normal.
This increase in oxygen consumption post workout increases your metabolism to replenish the ATP in your muscles and work with protein to repair muscle amongst other things. All this work to get back to normal is burning calories and is known as the afterburn.
To increase EPOC focus on using the anaerobic path by adding more heavy weight lifting, short rest periods and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
By doing cardio like running on the treadmill your oxygen consumption is high so you burn more calories than you would for the same duration of lifting weights. But, after you finish the workout – in the case of weightlifting – your body can take up to 38 hours to get back to normal burning calories the entire time.
EPOC is like gaining interest in an investment.
Effective fat loss is not about how many calories you can burn in your workout. It’s about burning more calories overall.
This is a huge reason why lifting weights is a better option for fat loss than endless cardio. That’s completely sidestepping the fact that it’s waaaayyyy more fun too.
Increase Insulin Sensitivity
Ever notice that some people can eat half a dozen cookies and not gain a pound while someone else can eat the same amount and gain another chin?
A large part of the difference has to do with insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas to help move glycogen (sugar) out of the bloodstream.
A person who is insulin sensitive will move the glycogen into the muscles. The muscles get bigger and the rich get richer.
A person that is insulin insensitive requires more insulin to do the same job. But, the increase in insulin triggers more fat gain than muscle gain and also is redlining their pancreas.
Eating high sugar foods for years makes your pancreas need to produce more and more insulin, making you less and less insulin sensitive. Like driving your car too hard for too long, in time it can’t keep up. Enter Type II Diabetes.
So how can you steer clear of Type II and make yourself insulin sensitive?
THE MILF PROGRAM
The trick to MILF is to gain muscle and increase your EPOC which will result in an increase in insulin sensitivity and fat loss. This happens by being strong.
Unlike cardio where your body becomes more efficient as you get better. Lifting weights causes you to be more inefficient the better you become.
The difference? The weight is increasing. Lifting heavier weight is more taxing on the body which makes losing fat that much easier.
To do this and avoiding plateauing requires a cycling approach to your workout as well as your nutrition.
Strength Training Phase-
Take 90% of your 1RM or a weight you can lift about 3 times for your big lifts (squat, bench, shoulder press etc.) and aim for 50-75 reps per body part per week. Aim for a 2-3 minute rest period between sets.
The trick is to go an inch wide but a mile deep here. Meaning don’t string together 6-7 isolation exercises each workout. Take 2-3 compound, multi-joint exercises each workout and do enough sets to hit the total rep number.
This will allow you to get a lot stronger in a few exercises that translate a lot better than if you would spread it out.
Metabolic Weight Lifting Phase-
Taking the same exercises from above, superset an upper body exercise and a lower body exercise to tax your anaerobic path. This increase in work done in a short amount of time will increase demand on the aerobic path to replenish ATP when you’re recovering.
Take a weight you can lift for 10 reps and perform sets of 5 then superset with another exercise for a set time.
Set a timer for 10 minutes
Squat 5 reps
Rest 30 seconds
Shoulder Press 5 reps
Repeat until time is up.
Building lean muscle will help you lift more weight which will increase EPOC and also increase insulin sensitivity.
This is where you’ll throw in more isolation exercises and aim for 100-150 reps per body part per week. The most effective strategy I’ve seen is a 3×8,10,12 while elongating the lowering part of the movement.
As the reps go up, lighten the weight used.
Combining the ramping sets along with the elongation of the lowering part will enhance the muscle building process on each rep.
Strength Training Plus Conditioning Phase-
The final phase should take what you’ve already built and push it to the next level. In this phase, we are going to get stronger and incorporate some HIIT to further enhance EPOC.
Having not done HIIT through the whole program, your body is inefficient with the recovery. Body inefficiency equals more calories burned to get back to normal.
The strength part should mirror the initial phase. This time throw in sprints or intervals on the treadmill for 20-30 seconds and then rest for 30-40 seconds. Repeating for a total of 10 minutes to start.
If the HIIT becomes easy, increase the total time from 10 minutes to 15. Likewise, if you’re struggling, drop it from 10 minutes to 5 minutes and work your way back up.
Perform each phase for 4-5 weeks then move on to the next.
For your nutrition, you want to consume more calories during high volume training (Metabolic weightlifting and bodybuilding phases) and lower calories during strength training phases.
WRAP IT UP B
The goal of fat loss is to preserve the muscle you have. This will help with insulin sensitivity and EPOC and make the fat loss journey that much easier.
Weight training will give you that toned look everyone is looking for. Cardio will give you that marathon runner physique.
- Rotate your training and diet every 3-5 weeks
- Lift heavy weights
- Keep rest periods short
- Get off the treadmill
If you’d like a MILF Program Sample, let me know where to send it to below
P.S. I am well aware I am a child.