Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Secret to Getting Lean & Staying Lean part II
 The first part of this post can be found here.

8Time to turn up the intensity; Part of the problem with the traditional "Nautilus" circuit is that it's very difficult to get your heart rate up. You'd think that if the  repetitions were performed quicker the intensity would increase. The reality is that the chances of injury would greatly increase while the level of intensity would stay the same. For those who have first developed capacity (post 5 months of training) adding High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the ultimate calorie burner. It's also been shown to provide the the best hormonal response. This type of exercise is found in Crossfit "Cubes" as well as Russian Kettle Bell training. For the readers who still insist on doing large amounts of cardiovascular training, the training should be varied and could include Interval and Fartlek training. There are also a variety of cardio classes that incorporate compound movements, I know my wife really loves her Body combat classes, even though we did have to correct some movement patterns to avoid her getting injured by it.

9. You Can Never Be Consistent Due To Nagging Injuries; Lacking duration may be one of the biggest obstacles to consistent routines needed to achieve your fitness goals. Studies have shown that when athletes get injured they  have a 30%-90% drop out rate. Evidence suggests that injury is one of the greatest impediments to getting lean and staying lean.   
Awareness of when, why and how athletic injuries occur is paramount to maintaining your fitness routine. While my main goal is to find the "weak links" that causes or contributes to injury, I also need to educate exercise professionals in some of the risk factors. Pre-program baseline testing as well as ACSM risk stratification should be used as a screening process in ANY workout routine. I enjoy working with trainers in this regard, as well as prescribing corrective exercises.

10. You're Obsessing Over The Scale; It's true, we all do it, but is there something to be learned from our bathroom nemesis? Body composition analysis is a very big part of planning a nutritional plan. A popular way of figuring out your muscle mass/fat content is Bio-impedance, having this test performed before you start a fat loss program provides a baseline AND your metabolic rate. If you remember in our first blog item 1 and 3 in Part 1 then you know the caloric equation must be less or equal to the Metabolic rate. The number on the scale can be a poor barometer of progress when trying to get lean. The more muscle you have the better you burn calories, starving yourself because "it's not working" is just keeping you from getting stronger and ultimately leaner!! 
A better barometer is  anthropometric measurements or simply how your clothes fit.

We can run a bio-impedance test at our office, it makes that scale a lot less scary!

11. A Time for Every Season;  Periodization is a major component in how we, as strength specialist design a program. Professional athletes have 4 distinct periods in their training, it's improves their effectiveness and reduces the amount of injuries. Preseason, In-season, Post-season, Off-season-- all have their specific purpose and what works at that level should work at any level. This could have been number one, because everyone, everywhere has likes and dislikes. Some love cardio and just run all year round, some love the gym and all they do is weight train. They never change a thing and when they plateau, they wonder......what happened???  The truth is that the more we do something, the easier it gets; because like a hot bath, we accommodate to it.

12. Patience, No worries; We as American's are a fast food society, we want everything convenient and we want it 10 minutes ago. That being said, getting and staying in shape is a long road. Knowing the correct direction certainly lessens the travel time, personally I struggled for years until my muscle mass increased and my workouts got more intense (HIIT).  Patience and stress are mental components that can greatly alter the success of an individuals program. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can trick the body into not burning belly fat, as noted in a study done by Yale University. Resistance training has a positive effect on stress and fat loss, for more on cortisol response and high intensity training click here.

I'd love some feedback from my fitness professional friends on this post, the links to the local fitness establishments are some of the few quality establishments in the area.

Dr. Serafim is a Rehabilitation and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He lives and works in the Exton PA area and has devoted himself to furthering his understanding of movement related disorders. He teaches continuing education and operates a private practice. More information can be found at and feel free to like us at our facebook page.