Anvil or Hammer

What makes a good fat loss workout?

Posted in Diet and Bodyweight,Rant by Mike on June 13, 2007

I struggled with a title for this. I wanted to ask “What makes a good cardio workout?” or “What makes a good aerobic workout?”. I know the answer to those things but those aren’t the real queston. I can look up Aerobic workout and find the answer to that. The real question is What is a workout that makes you burn fat.

Whether you believe you should eat more, less, more often, less often, before bed, after breakfast, not all workouts are created equal to burn fat. There are a lot of people that still feel that 45 minutes a day is the secret recipe. Most of them seem to be overweight. Some folks swear by high rep weight lifting. There is the kettlebell crowd.  The afterburn folks who do short intense workouts. Some people even swear by walking.

It seems to me that the only workout that isn’t suggested is powerlifting. I think we can see why. I sit at a desk all day so I probably don’t make my 10,000 steps a day or whatever. When I have walked more, I haven’t seen a huge benefit, unless I walked a lot more. Jogging is ok, I don’t hate it. Well, I do hate it but not as a workout, just cause I’m bad at it. I think everyone should be able to jog a couple miles on short notice but it’s not something that I think leads to long term success, unless you want to be successful at jogging.

Me being me, I like the theory that hard and heavy anaerobic training can burn fat. I haven’t found this to be the case. I think the primary reason for that is A)It’s really hard to push yourself for more than a half an hour to lift heavy, the body can scream really loud and B) your body will break down after a while of this.

I know the kettlebell folks love their kettlebells as weightloss devices. I like the idea, it’s certainly a fun way to do it. That said, I see two issues again A) this is basically a heavy anaerobic workout (See above for issues) and B) The lower back has to quit with the swings at some point.

So there are three camps, each of which have had some successes and a whole lot of failures in weightloss. I can’t see the difference. I have my favorites. I’m hoping to work a little of each but we’ll see.

7 Responses to 'What makes a good fat loss workout?'

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  1. Chris Rice said,

    Mike – first, you have been losing weight until this last weigh in – slowly but still……

    YOU cannot lose weight by lifting heavy weights – at least that seems to be what is happening from reading your log. You workout with a really nice Chaos Theory workout plan, a nice mixture of different workouts etc – you miss few workouts, your intensity seems high, your diet doesn’t sound all that bad – on paper it seems like it should work for you – but it’s not. About the only conclusion I can reach is that what you’re doing doesn’t work for YOU. DUH! The next guy might get the results with it but you aren’t – I don’t know why but there it is. Maybe you need more duration and less intensity – I don’t know.
    The next conclusion is that you’re going to have to A. Keep doing what you’re doing and be happy with the slow progress you have been making OR B. go to plan B. Humm – what the heck is plan B? I guess that’s the big question, isn’t it? Of course I’ve never been there so whatever thoughts I have are based on observations of others. You seem to be up against your “set point” – now I don’t claim to have any real understanding of this term but it does seem to have some validity as a concept – and getting below this point is not an easy thing to do obviously. Judging from what you say – the only time you have managed to “become lean” is thru what would be considered aerobics I guess. I’m sorry to keep coming back to my son but you remind me so much of him – naturally big and carrying a lot of muscle tissue along with the adipose tissue – you both love lifting heavy iron as your training method of choice. Maybe for whatever reason, your body requires this certain amount of fat to maintain the amount of muscle you have, at least for now. I don’t know but you may have to burn everything off, including some muscle tissue to reach your bodyweight goals. I guess this is one reason I like the rower, it’s possible to just mindlessly sit there and burn tissue and also possible to go anaerobic and get a brutal workout within the same workout. With the almost zero impact it has, you can train longer and with a greater mixture of intensities without burnout – or so it seems. It also works a lot more areas of the body than most exercises that can be considered aerobic by normal standards. Will this get you where you want to be – probably not – but it might drop your bodyweight significantly, at which time you go back to the weights to get the muscular look and strength that you want.
    A question that just came to mind – have you had any blood work done – thyroid comes to mind along with testosterone of course. It’s possible you’re fighting a hormone fight also.

    Choices often seem to come down to the lesser of two things you don’t like.

  2. Chris Rice said,

    I just posted another response that didn’t come up – I don’t think your program likes me LOL

  3. Mike said,

    I have no idea why my blog hates you. I’ll go digging, I’ll bet I can find it.

  4. Mike said,

    I’m afraid you are right Chris.
    I was planning on hitting the rower tonight. I think what I’m really trying to figure out is, what do I do tomorrow when I don’t have access to the rower? Are 16K kb snatches aerobic enough?

    I haven’t had blood work done. I’m waiting on insurance to be finished so I can get a physical. I was planning on it being pretty full too.

    I agree with you, that historically I lost weight with aerobics. OF course the other side of that coin is that it was an unrealistic amount of aerobics (wrestling practice and lifting everyday or boot camp) and that I gained it all back and more.

    I’m doing what I can to lock down my diet starting today and I will be hitting some more duration on my workouts. I’m not going to go all runner on you all but I’m gonna try and not do as much heavy lifting, although Fridays may still require two heavy lifts. Then some longer stuff.

  5. Stephen said,

    I recommend you continue doing what you’ve been doing with weights and add the rowing, bike or swim right after the weights or – later in the evening (ideally have a nap at some point to increase growth hormone).

    As far the diet goes…when I’m comfortable — I’m not trying hard enough.

  6. Mike said,

    In an ideal world, you bet. Unfortunately, I’m short on time and long on plans as it is. I don’t really have 3 hours a day to give to training and driving to train.

  7. Stephen said,

    Mike: I hear you – in the ideal world, I’d workout twice a day, get in an hour massage and nap around noon, and have a personal chef.

    Have you considered sprinkling in a few “Tabata” (when I was a kid we called it “playing”) routines during the week? Something like burpees or squat/press combos can be done anywhere, and are over with in 4 minutes.

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