Fat Loss Fundamental #2

Posted on February 13, 2012. Filed under: Exercise | Tags: , , , , |

I’m very big into people watching. Always, have been.


At the gym it’s no different. Although due to my chosen profession I do abide by certain rules.


Unless I think the trainer is going to do damage to the client I don’t get involved.


I also never criticize the trainer to the client.


I have to establish these rules for me so that when/if I disagree with a trainer’s approach. I am aware that I do so out of logic, not personal ego.


The other day I overheard a conversation with a trainer that made me cringe.


The trainer was with a client and a male member came in.


He told the trainer that he had worked out so hard recently that he actually threw up. And the trainer commended him on his efforts.


The trainer then questioned the client’s commitment to intensity as ‘she’ had never thrown up during a workout.


I am going to assume the trainer was joking, poorly, but joking.



These things do have a tendency to fester though, so while the client was doing her cool down on a treadmill. I approached her. I identified myself as a professional and explained to her there is absolutely no reason to throw up during a workout.




And to be certain, any one who says otherwise has no clue what it means to be a coach.


Does it happen during workouts, sure. But it should never be the goal of the workout for goodness sakes!



This brings me to what I consider another fundamental for fat loss. Exhaustion is not intensity.


Too often we find people just killing themselves trying to lose fat as fast as possible. And it just doesn’t stick.


It sounds cliché but it’s true. It took time to put on, and it will take time to burn off.


Marathon sessions in the gym will burn lots of calories for certain, but how sustainable is that?Who wants to 15-20 hours in the gym over and over again? Who wants to be sore all the time?


I know I don’t.  When you talk of intensity, think sprint not marathon.


No offense to marathoners intended. I'm merely using the analogy.

When you look at studies on exercise routines and there effect on fat loss there are certain thing you notice


  1. Intensity matters. Over and over again. Any time you up the intensity of a cardio workout with something like intervals or just a variation of tempo. You see greater fat loss.(1,2)
  2.  Intensity is about getting more out of a shorter period of time, not going longer. In a study where two groups did the exact same weight routine, one as traditional sets, the other as one big circuit. The circuit group lost more fat (3)
  3. You get more out of a workout by being mentally present. I find those who are working out toward exhaustion tend to go on autopilot, this is a mistake. You must be present during your workout. This way you can focus on lifting with greater force, which leads to greater caloric expenditure. (4)


It’s an old analogy but it still works. Sprinters are a great representation of working out with intensity. How often do you see sprinters collapsing after they finished a sprint? How often do you see any one collapse after a spring who is in shape enough to actually sprint? How often do see people collapsing after a long run?


I am explaining this in simple terms but honestly it’s something that most really don’t get till it happens to them


Embracing the challenge of putting pedal to the medal, not dreading a beat down

Some coaches refer to it as leaving a few reps in the gas tank. You finish a workout, your tired, but if you had to you could do a bit more. If you feel like you have to drag yourself out of the gym with every workout. Or you are filled with dread prior to going to the gym every time. It’s time to re-evaluate.


And if this is happening before you meet with your trainer. It’s time to have a conversation.


Remember, this is your health after all.

Even marathon training can be done with intelligent intensity. Like the Paleo ultra marathoner who lifts weights pictured here.

Keep Fitness Groovy

Coach W

  1.  Tremblay et al, Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness & skeletal muscle metabolism.  Metabolism. 1994 Jul;43(7)814-8
  2. Trapp EG et al, effects of high-intenity intermittent exercise training on fat loss & fasting insulin level of young women. Int J Obes (Lond). 2008 apr;32(4):684-91. Epub 2008 Jan 15
  3. Alcaraz PE et al, Similarity in Adaptions to High-Resistance Circuit vs Traditional Strength Training in Resistance-Trained Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2011 Sep;25(9):2519-27.
  4. Mazzetti S et al, Effect of explosive versus slow contractions & exercise intensity on energy expenditure.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Aug;39(8):1291-301

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One Response to “Fat Loss Fundamental #2”

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Great advice!

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