Sunday, November 8, 2009

My weight loss over the last year....

I have just been doing some measurements and stuff and I have found the that over the last nine months, my:
* Weight is down 28 lbs. (from 207 to 179lbs)
* BF% is down significantly from (28% to 10.75%)

Even though I was already killing people in the gym in the gym work capacity-wise, I am really doing some great work capacity stuff since losing weight.

I do no steady state cardio, here are the things that I do for weight loss:

* Heavy weightlifting/strength training with barbells/dumbbells/machines/kettlebells

==> I think that sacrificing strength for body composition is not necessary and long term could actually hinder your long-term progress. I see people who lose weight by primarily doing cardio and light weightlifting for weight loss and even though their body comp is lower, they look flabbier. Also, when there life has more meaning than spending two hours in the gym on a hamster wheel, they blow up like the Michelin man. I don't care what a number on a BF% monitor says, I want to look and be strong. Also, keep in mind that you need energy to do heavy work too. The oxygen replacement of a set of 10 squats is about the same as that of a 100 yd dash.

* Kettlebell ballistics, including snatches, swings, jerks, and cleans
==> There are a number of reasons that I prefer this type of "cardio" to machines.
1) Emphasis on the posterior chain. Using of treadmills and exercise bikes became really popular in the 70s and 80s. Almost all of these exercises really take the hamstrings and glutes out of the exercise. On the treadmill, the motorized tread pushes the foot back instead of the body having to pull the back. The causes an imbalance in the muscles that extend and bend the knee. This causes of a lot of people in their 50s, 60s, and 70s to have knee problems. Also, the lack of glute involvement and overuse of the quads causes of a lot of people to be pitched forward in their torsos, which in turn causes a lot of back problems. There are a lot of back problems in older people for exactly this reason. I do a lot of work with older people to fix the problem in their back and knees mostly teaching them proper movement. Kettlebells does this automatically.

2) The use of resistance makes it easier to get your heart rate up into the cardio conditioning zone (80-85%) without the localized fatigue in the calves or thighs. The reason is that kettlebell swings use a lot more muscles than running does. This means more work can be done by the body, without being limited by any particular muscle group. This means that we are dealing more with systemic fatigue rather than specific fatigue, thus making it easier to perform in the "fat burning" zone. Gotta love that. I have recently started doing long cycle clean and jerks with two 32kg kettlebells. I can't think of a body part that is not used during this exercise.

3) The movements of kettlebell ballistics just look a heck of a lot more athletic that moving on a treadmill or exercise bike. The snatch looks a lot more like jumping or the standard "ready position" in most sports. When I train my clients, I keep in mind functionality first. This not only helps them perform better, but more importantly it keeps them from getting injured.

4) Because you don't need to exercise for as long, you can keep your T-levels high and cortisol levels low. If you are a 19 year old on a cycle of D-bol, this may not be an issue. I am almost 40, and kettlebell training has almost been like a fountain of youth, even before dropping the pounds.

* Dance Dance Revolution, about 5 hours/week
==> I know a lot of people may poo poo this, but here is why I think if we had Dance Dance Revolution in every school, day-care center, and boys-and-girls club we would literally eliminate childhood obesity:
1) It burns calories. I know for me it burns more than a spin class, but it uses a lot more muscles.
2) It forces you to move in all directions, which means that it won't cause imbalanced muscles. You have to move, rotate, and jump left, right, back, forth, clockwise and counter clockwise. If you have stiff hips, which is in my opinion the leading causes of strong people being crappy at sports, DDR will let you know and also help you fix the problem.
3) If is the kind of exercise that forces a response to visual stimuli, thus increasing the carryover to sports, especially those that require "read-and-react" abilities.
4) It is extensible to the abilities of the user. What I mean by this is that as you get better at DDR, you can adjust the level to your abilities.
5) It forces quick, precise movement in the feet, which in my opinion is more important for athleticism than other standard tests like the 40 yd dash.
6) It is fun. Can you imaging a 12 year old on a treadmill?
7) Watch someone who excels at DDR and watch someone who goes to town on a treadmill. The guy on DDR looks like an athlete, the guy on the treadmill will look like an ape.

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