The training secrets that make fat loss natural
When you are breaking through a fat loss plateau or trying to get to the Final Phase of leanness, things get a bit murkier than they do with traditional fat loss.
Rather than dieting excessively in order to create a calorie deficit, we instead focus on creating energy debt by way of intelligently designed training protocols. In addition, keeping energy intake high ensures that leptin levels don’t drop and throw another hormonal monkey wrench into the machinery.
Because when you’re getting very lean or you’ve hit a plateau, fat loss is not just about calories in vs. calories out–it’s about your hormonal environment.
When you’ve lost the first 20 or 30 or whatever pounds, you’ve lost the “easy” fat. Now the fat is specifically in your trouble areas, and when you’re trying to rid yourself of those last stubborn 5-10 pounds, it’s a hormonal battle.
In a previous post, I covered the three specific hormones that cause the three most common types of regional fat storage:
The female sex hormone responsible for lower body fat storage patterns.
Or rather, insulin resistance; this nasty dude heavily influences fat storage in the love handle and lower back area.
The appropriately dubbed stress hormone is part of the reason you’ve got more flab than ab.
Those are your enemies.
And you can actually increase the production of other hormones that offset the above “bad” hormones through the manipulation of training methods.
How else would you combat estrogen but with testosterone? Simply put, when it comes to fat loss and muscle gain, testosterone = good, estrogen = bad.
It’s for that reason that professional athletes, bodybuilders and the juicers down at the Jersey Shore use illicit steroids that are derivatives of testosterone.
But we’re going to increase testosterone levels naturally—through training. Not only will this increase the fat-burning effect of your exercises, but it will also help get rid of lower body fat.
I should mention something here to alleviate any concerns: It is not possible to produce a detrimental amount of testosterone through training. So ladies, you don’t have to worry about any masculinizing effects. Training only produces what we would term a ‘high’ amount of testosterone from a physiological perspective, relative to what your body normally produces. For the guys, this means that such training will put on a bit more muscle-just not steroid muscle.
At this point, I know you’re thinking, “All right Roman, get to the point, what do I do?”
The answer is Density Training.
Training density can be defined as the amount of work you do in a given amount of time during a training session, and increasing training density is one of the best ways to spur your body to produce and release more testosterone. If you want to increase density, you can do more work (sets, reps, or both) in the same amount of time, or do the same amount of work and decrease the time in which you do it.
And I’ve come up with a method of density training that is specific to radical fat loss, and this means that not only will you produce the testosterone necessary to mitigate your regional fat issue, but you’ll also lose more fat on the whole. Pretty cool, right?
So here is how we do it.
As an example, let’s pick 3 exercises: the overhead press, the dumbbell row, and the squat.
Setting these up in a circuit fashion, you perform them one after another with little rest in between.
Sounds like just about any circuit training protocol, right?
Instead of having a set number of reps, we’re going to be performing each of these exercises for time–you simply have to do as many as you can in a given time period.
To make it easy, let’s say you did each of the above exercises for 30 seconds. In performing such a circuit, your results might look like this:
Not too shabby, but here is where it gets crazy.
We’re going to increase the weight by 10-20% and try to do more reps.
Does that seem impossible? It isn’t. Due to neuromuscular junction and neural activation, in almost all cases, you’ll be able to do just that.
Your second attempt at that circuit might look like this:
I know you’re having trouble believing that outcome is even possible, much less common, but try it for yourself!
Density training is fun, challenge-based, burns a heck of a lot of fat, and–most importantly–is one of the best training modalities around for increasing testosterone production and release, which will help you shed stubborn lower body fat and more fat on the whole.
Insulin is a hormone that’s released when you eat, especially when you eat carbohydrates, in order to help you absorb nutrients from the food. How well your body responds to insulin dictates how efficiently carbohydrates are digested—the more sensitive you are to the hormone’s presence, the less likely it is that carbs will turn to fat.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body is less sensitive to insulin than it should be, and it’s combatted very nicely by a hormone called IGF-1, or Insulin-like Growth Factor one.
Producing extra IGF-1 via training will help you improve insulin sensitivity and rid yourself of love handle and lower back fat.
Insulin resistance is very common, particularly in people who were previously overweight; so if you have lost some fat and you’re now struggling to lose a bit more, and that fat happens to be in your love handles, I’m willing to bet you’re suffering from some degree of insulin resistance.
In order to get rid of that fat, we have to increase insulin sensitivity, an to that end, we need to employ what I call Dynamic Training.
Dynamic training is pretty much the over-arching concept of how I design fat loss training programs–it’s about using fast-paced movements to teach the body how to move more efficiently. Combination movements, like the squat-to-press, are also brought to bear.
Because this style of training is extremely expensive in terms of energy (calorie) demand, dynamic training is excellent as a general fat loss modality. But perhaps more important is that setting up these types of exercises in a non-competing circuit fashion as part of a dynamic training session is an incredible way to produce IGF-1–and that is one of the most effective methods to mitigate insulin sensitivity.
And now we come to our final bout of the evening–the main event, as it were.
The higher your cortisol levels are, the more fat you’re going to be storing on your belly. Given that fact, it stands to reason that if you store fat primarily in the abdominal region, you’re a victim of high cortisol.
But never fear: Growth Hormone is here.
Sometimes called the “fountain of youth”, growth hormone is the single most effective compound your body can produce to affect both fat loss and muscle gain. The more you produce, the faster you’ll lose fat and build muscle. It’s just as simple as that.
You’ve probably heard that one of the ways to reduce your cortisol levels is to get more sleep. That’s something you hear on nearly all the medical TV shows. What you don’t hear is the reason.
You see, sleeping is one of the main ways by which your body produces growth hormone—in fact, up to 75 percent of your “GH” production happens while you’re snoozing—and as I’ve said, growth hormone is one of the main hormones that reduces the effects of cortisol. Sleep more and you’ll produce more GH. Produce more GH and you’ll have less cortisol. Therefore, sleeping more results in lower cortisol levels. Got it?
Of course, I’m not suggesting you can just sleep your way past a fat loss plateau (although getting more sleep does help), I’m merely illustrating the relationship between cortisol and growth hormone.
This leads us to growth hormone as it relates to training. Now, while nearly all forms of exercise produce both growth hormone and cortisol, some types are better than others. Cortisol is produced heavily in long duration cardio sessions–so let’s not do that.
Instead, we’re going to utilize a style of training that produces more growth hormone: Lactic Acid Training.
Lactic acid, by way of a definition, is a byproduct of the chemical reactions that take place during exercise as your body uses up its stored energy deposits. This substance is wildly irritating to the nerves, and your body responds.
Think of lactic acid as sort of a type of oil igniting fires as it flows through you–your body will call the fire department to put those fires out. And your body will do that by dousing them with soothing, cooling growth hormone.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little simplistic with my metaphor, but it gives you a general idea.
In any event, we must structure training to produce the most lactic acid possible. And, because lactic acid is primarily produce in the concentric (positive) phase of anaerobic exercise, we extend that period, and decrease the eccentric period.
What that means is that we lift the weight very very slowly, and lower it very very quickly so that we can have a fast turn around.
As an example, if you’re doing a squat, you’ll descend to the bottom the squat very quickly (drop down fast, but still controlling the weight) and then lift the weight sloooowly, oh so sloooowly, over a period of 4-6 seconds.
This will create tremendous amounts of lactic acid, which will in turn send GH production into overdrive.
Keep in mind that training in this way necessitates the use of lighter weights than you’d normally use on any given exercise. Therefore, if you’re interested in lactic acid training, I suggest you reduce the weight you’d use on any exercise by about 30% in order to be both safe and effective.
This will result in not only reducing cortisol, but also reducing cortisol related fat storage in your belly.
On top of it all, it’s great for fat loss in general!
Although the battle against hormone-related fat storage can be a tough one, it’s certainly easier when you have hormones on your side–tougher, stronger, better looking hormones! Make these tweaks and your fat loss will, quite literally, come naturally.