Three Unusual Secrets For
That No One Ever Told You About
By Josh Henkin
The Rationale: While the idea of performing higher intensity
work for losing body fat is slowly becoming mainstream, many
people still believe in the concept of lower intensity
“cardio” for optimal body fat loss. This is one of fitness’
greatest existing myths as we can look at both anecdotal
evidence and research to show us otherwise.
If we look at the physiques of an Olympic marathon runner
versus and Olympic sprinter what body would most people
prefer? In my experience as a coach most people like the lean,
muscular physique of a sprinter rather than a marathon runner.
In fact, marathon runners are known to have higher body fat
levels than that of sprinters.
||Hmmm, muscle, low
body fat levels, strong, and athletic? Sounds like what
most of my clients often dream about achieving.
So, why does this myth exist if
it is obvious it doesn’t work in the real world?
It really stems from a study that
showed at a lower exercise intensity more of the calories
burned are from fat.
However, there was very little
discussed to see if this burned more body fat than other forms
of training. A study performed by Tremblay et al (1), examined
the difference of endurance training (ET) and high-intensity
intermittent-training (HIIT). The endurance group performed
their training for 20 weeks and burned an average of 120.4MJ
per session. The HIIT group performed their program for 15
weeks with an average expenditure of 57.9MJ per session. In
other words, the ET group burned more energy during their
training sessions. However, the result of six subcutaneous
skin folds showed the HIIT group lost significantly more body
fat. It has been theorized the hormones released during HIIT
causes greater body fat burning for a much longer period of
Sprinting not only burns body fat, but can build an immensely
strong torso as well. The rotation put through the body during
hard sprinting causes the oblique and deep trunk muscles to
work extremely hard and become much stronger.
Implementation: Sprinting can be done several different ways
to get an excellent training benefit. Tempo runs are often
used by sprinters for conditioning, but can be used by anyone
for getting leaner without losing hard earned muscle mass. You
can choose to run about 100 meters with 80% of your maximal
effort and then walk about another 100 meters. Every 100
meters alternate between the two.
My personal favorite is 400 meter sprints (this is one full
time around a track). These are far more grueling than they
appear at first, especially if you are going 90% effort or
better. You may want to stay on the conservative side at first
and only perform about 3-5 of these. Five doesn’t seem like a
lot, but it is huge when you haven’t performed these on a
regular basis. At first I would recommend performing three 400
meter sprints with 90-120 seconds in between, you may need
more. When your performance from one sprint to another drops
by 15% you can call it a day.
2. Lift Heavier
The Rationale: Research has shown that using compound lifts at
higher intensities helps with the release of anabolic
hormones. These hormones are responsible for increased muscle
growth and strength. Both are essential in obtaining a more
lean looking physique.
However, many lifters looking to improve their cosmetic
appearance shy away from heavier intensities (80% and higher)
because it usually goes against typical bodybuilding dogma
that is based upon higher repetition work (reps 8 and higher).
This leaves a major whole in their development as a very
integral component of muscle and strength training gets
bypassed. A common saying in the fitness industry is, “the
best program is the one you aren’t doing.” Since most neglect
this form of training you out to start making it a priority.
Implementation: You don’t have to use loads that are unsafe or
that will cause you rip your arms off of your body. Great
strength athletes rarely work at 90% of their maximal efforts
for long periods of times. Rather they will use these loads at
specialized time of year.
Using wave loading you can slowly introduce your body to more
challenging intensities. An example would be to take the
classic 5 sets of 5 repetition scheme and work at 65%, 70%,
75%, 80%, 80%. The first two are more for priming the nervous
system and the body for the heavier loads that are about to be
used. This also allows the quality of work to stay very high
and the average intensity for the exercise is still a much
higher 75% instead of about 60% which is what most lifters in
the gym use. You can try to go up by 2.5% each week for three
weeks and then perform a back off week where you drop the
intensities to 60%, 70%, 75% for 2 sets of 5 to encourage
recovery of the body and nervous system.
By implementing this method you can follow this scheme with a
series of complimentary higher repetition auxillary exercises
you can have the very best of both worlds.
3. High Allergy Foods
The Rationale: One of the biggest problems that people face in
their nutrition programs is the idea of avoiding foods that
cause inflammation. Such foods cause pain in the
joints/muscles, bloating of the gut, fatigue, reduction in
strength and recovery time, headaches, and inability to lose
Which foods are most common food allergies? Typically it is
wheat, corn, soy, and milk. Sometimes eggs can fall into that
category as well. These foods are common allergy foods because
of specific aspects of their make up. For example, wheat
products are often hard for people to tolerate because of the
protein gluten. You will notice grocery stores taking
advantage of such knowledge by selling more and more gluten
free products. Corn possess a natural mold that again can
cause a high sensitivity to people as peanuts often do as
well. Many people also have varying levels of problems with
lactose found in many milk products.
Any time your body is suffering from inflammation it will take
away from your progress in the gym. It is as though the body
is constantly fighting an illness. It is amazing, but people
can lose 5-10 pounds in a week when they get off foods that
they have adverse reactions to and more noticeably drop inches
from decrease irritation in the gut.
You don’t have to be breaking out either to have problems with
these foods. Subtle cues such as fatigue, congestion in
throat, running nose, sudden change in body temperature, etc.
can all be related by inability to handle certain foods.
Implementation: Start by eliminating the most obvious negative
foods. I would suggest doing this one at a time so you can see
which ones that may be for you. Move to foods such as sweet
potatoes, yams, and gluten free brown rice for complex
carbohydrate choices. Look to drop wheat, dairy, peanuts,
corn, and artificial sweetners from you diet. You will be
amazed at how fast your body can change!
About Josh Henkin
Josh Henkin is owner of Innovative Fitness Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. For
the past ten years he has created effective training programs for a wide array
of clients. Josh is a graduate of Arizona State University where he received his
Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science/Physical Education. At Arizona State, he
was also a member of the Men’s Basketball Team. Josh is an NSCA certified
strength and conditioning specialist, certified club coach with USA
weightlifting, and certified Russian kettlebell instructor and a certified
corrective high performance exercise kinesiologist. Coach Henkin is well known nationally as an expert in fitness and sports performance training and has been invited to appear at national conferences and write for numerous fitness magazines.
Coach Henkin has dedicated himself to providing cutting-edge, easy to apply training information to the masses. He has created the Ultimate Sandbag for those that wish to get the immense benefits of odd object lifting at home or at their gym, along with the very popular High Octane Sandbag Training DVD. He has also recently released SMASH: Total Conditioning with Sledgehammers. These programs have become so popular because they are effective and they are fun! Check out coach Henkin’s site at: