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Freakin' Rican Ripped

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Freakin’ Rican Ripped

By Robbie Durand

Recently, I was able to witness Gustavo Badell training one of his clients in the gym here in Orlando, Florida. Training with Gustavo means pushing your body to the absolute limit, his clients are often pushed to the very limits in the gym, so its not uncommon to see them lying on the floor between sets. Over the last few weeks, I had noticed one particular client was much more ripped in the gym despite not seeing him do tons of cardio. This goes against everything I have known about fat loss because everyone knows that you have to do cardio to lose fat, right? Not according to Gustavo, he made his best gains in fat loss with minimal cardio, but high intensity resistance exercise.


Gustavo was not one that would spend hours on the treadmill, but simply as a competition approached, he upped his intensity level in the gym while reducing his caloric intake. In the offseason, Gustavo rested more between sets, but as a competition approached and he was looking to get ripped, his rest duration between sets decreased and upped his sets. Most gym lovers think cardio is the key to fat loss, but according to the newest research, it’s not. Exercise protocols designed to induce fat loss have focused on regular aerobic exercise such as walking and jogging at a moderate intensity. Disappointingly, these kinds of protocols have led to negligible weight loss.

High Intensity Exercise Turns on Fat Burning Hormones
Acute responses to high intensity resistance exercise been results in changes in heart rate, hormones, venous blood glucose, and lactate levels, autonomic, and metabolic reactivity. Fat loss hormones such as catecholamines, cortisol, and growth hormones have been found to increase during high intensity exercise. Other possible mechanisms underlying the high intensity induced fat loss effect include increased exercise and post-exercise fat oxidation and decreased postexercise appetite. A previous study examined the growth hormone (GH) response to treadmill sprinting in female and male athletes and showed that there were greater GH responses to 30 seconds of maximal exercise compared to endurance trained athletes. GH concentration was still ten times higher than baseline levels after 1 hour of recovery after high intensity sprinting exercise. The significant catecholamine response to high intensity resistance exercise in contrast to moderate, steady state aerobic exercise that results in small increases in epinephrine and norepinephrine which have been shown to drive lipolysis and are largely responsible for fat release from both subcutaneous and intramuscular fat stores.

Resistance Exercise not Starving Yourself is Best for Fat Loss
The latest study in Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, titled “Diet, exercise or diet with exercise: comparing the effectiveness of treatment options for weight-loss and changes in fitness for adults (18–65 years old) who are overfat, or obese; systematic review and meta-analysis” supports the finding that Gustavo always preached, “To get ripped, spend more time doing high intensity training and less time on the treadmill.”

Researchers performed a meta-analysis (i.e. collection of all available studies) on all the available studies examining fat loss with diet alone, resistance exercise, resistance exercise and cardio combined. The researchers crunched all the data and found that the analysis of effectiveness showed preference of favor toward resistance training rather than the classically recommended endurance training at being more effective to elicit beneficial changes in fat loss. More importantly, the combination, resistance training was more effective than endurance training or combination of resistance training and endurance training, particularly when progressive training volume of 2-to-3 sets for 6-to-10 reps at an intensity of ≥75% 1RM, utilizing whole body and free-weight exercises, Another really cool finding of the study was that resistance was more effective at reducing fasting insulin levels (ES = 3.5) than ET or ET and RT. Even though generally lower ES than RT, the inclusion of ET was more effective when performed at high intensity (e.g. ≥70% VO2max or HRmax for 30-minutes 3-4x’s/wk), or in an interval training style than when utilizing the relatively common prescribed method of low-to-moderate (e.g., 50-70% VO2max or HRmax for at least equal time) steady state method, ES of 0.35, 0.39, and 0.13 for BM, FM, and FFM respectively. Thus indicating that focus of treatment should be on producing a large metabolic stress (as induced by RT or high levels of ET) rather than an energetic imbalance for adults who are overfat.

_MG_0530Within this difference of effectiveness for treatment, diet with resistance training was not only more effective at altering bodymass in the most beneficial pattern (i.e. reduction of fat mass with retention of lean muscle mass), without regard to level of training, versus any of the other categorization of the methods for exercise. The effectiveness for exercise becomes more pronounced with higher levels of intensity of exercise regardless of the methodology employed (i.e. endurance training, resistance training, or combination) within the intervention protocol. Most importantly is that protocols utilizing exercise were more effective than those that employed just a hypocaloric diet. With the combination of diet with exercise (especially resistance training) being more effective than diet or diet with endurance training in reduction of body mass and fat mass while retaining of fat-free mass following treatment.

If you still need material to convince your significant other that hitting the weights is not only more time-efficient and less daunting than hours on the treadmill, but also more effective when it comes to improving his/her body composition and/or health, I’d suggest you print this article and pin it on your fridge.

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