by Dr. Matthew Tischler
At around the age of 13, I became fascinated with fitness. Maybe it had something to do with the fear of getting bullied or those Charles Atlas ads showing the guy on the beach getting sand kicked in his face and the implication that building my body would prevent me from being picked on. Either way I was determined to build muscle and look strong. I tried almost everything — sit-ups, pull-ups, weightlifting and eventually even ordered the Charles Atlas “Dynamic Tension” course.
In time I came to learn that there was no true short cut, and it would take hard work and determination. I realized I couldn’t burn fat, build muscle and look fit by just popping some magic pill, drinking protein shakes or using the latest get-fit-fast courses. To build lean muscle and burn fat fast, I learned that I needed to focus on eating right and engaging in both cardio and strength-training exercises. Those three things combined have been the foundation of my fitness routine for the past 40 years.
In 1987 I competed in my first bodybuilding show (at age 25) and took second place in the National Physique Committee (NPC) Novice Mr. Georgia. Later that year I competed again and won the Overall NPC Junior Mr. Atlantic USA. I graduated from Los Angeles Chiropractic College in 1987 right after winning Mr. Atlantic USA and decided to use my experience with training combined with my knowledge of the body as a Doctor of Chiropractic to assist others in achieving their health and fitness goals.
In this article I will go over some of the basic fat-burning cardio guidelines … that have produced the best results for me and have been proven to be the most effective programs for getting lean. With summer here, many people feel the anxiety of what to do to get in shape quickly for the beach or pool. During the winter people tend to hibernate and don’t do much exercise or in fact any activity at all to maintain optimal levels of health and fitness.
It’s the same dilemma year after year. The rush to get that summer beach body! Well, let me begin with a saying I’ve learned: “It’s never too late to begin, but you’ve got to start NOW!” Also, my favorite saying is “Some is better than none!” I hear people all the time saying they don’t have the time to work out or it’s too hard. The fact is everyone has 24 hours in each day, and it comes down to prioritizing some time to take care of your body. Some may be more committed or driven than others, but a great place to start is now.
Every time you train, your body and nervous system will remember what you did, and the next time it will get a little bit easier. So let’s begin with the Basics of Fat Burning 101: Cardio. For many years people have thought that low-intensity cardio for 45 minutes to an hour was the best protocol for burning fat.
This concept has recently been proven wrong. A new and exciting way to perform cardio has been developed and burns greater amounts of body fat in much less time. The best cardio for burning off fat will have you in the gym for a shorter time than you’d expect. This cardio is called High Intensity Interval Training, HITT for short. It is relatively quite simple and easy to understand. Some of the top professional athletes I have known and worked with use HIIT training, and the results speak for themselves.
To begin an HIIT protocol, you transition from low-moderate intensity intervals to very high-intensity intervals. If you look at the readout on any given exercise machine, you might assume that going at a low intensity for 45 to 60 minutes would burn more calories than 15 to 25 minutes utilizing HIIT. This is not true when performing HIIT, though, because many of the calories you burn with HIIT are after you leave the gym.
Fifteen to 25 minutes may seem too good to be true to drop body fat, but it is not. However, this is not an easy training session. It is very demanding but extremely rewarding and time-saving. HIIT will support your metabolism so that you are burning calories throughout the rest of the day after your training is over. You will also burn more fat calories by utilizing HIIT then by spending countless hours in the gym.
As a beginner start with 30 seconds at a moderate pace (approximately 50 percent maximum effort), and after 30 seconds go as hard as you can for 30 seconds. Then repeat. With whatever exercise machine you use, whether it is a stepper, treadmill or elliptical or even a free weight, make sure to rev up the intensity level for the second 30 seconds so that it is totally challenging for you.
Complete a total of five to eight intervals your first time. Then build up the number of intervals as you become used to it. You will find it more challenging than it sounds. Once you are completely maxed out, take another three to five minutes to cool down. That’s all you have to do. Only five to eight minutes of high-intensity intervals, and you are on your way to shedding some serious fat.
Ed. note: Dr. Tischler, who provides chiropractic care in the Doylestown area including North Wales, Willow Grove, etc., has 28 years of experience, largely in sports chiropractic care. He has provided care for many professional athletes, including several players on the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons. For more information, visit www.chirocarepc.com or call 267-217-7686.
* This article was reprinted, with permission, from PhillyFit magazine (www.phillyfit.com)