Over the last three and a half decades, I have come in contact with tens of thousands of athletes and fitness enthusiast in my work as physical therapist and sports performance specialist. In my experience, with the exception of the genetically gifted elite athletes, almost all of them work out for body image. They want to look better! At the same time, almost all of those I meet are not happy with the results they have achieved from ever longer and more taxing workouts; they still don’t like what they see in the mirror. Typically, after initially losing a few pounds from their workouts, their weight loss stalls and many even gain weight as they continue to train harder and harder.
Fighting the Fit But Fat Syndrome
The problem is human nature and the American work ethic. Human nature dictates that when we find a good thing, we want to do more of it. Workouts make us feel good, so we do more and more until we are overtrained or broken down with injury. Reinforcing this human tendency is the American work ethic. Nothing is worth having if you don’t have to work hard to get it — this seems to be the philosophy of most athletes and gym rats. This creates an overtrained population of sportsmen and fitness buffs who remain pudgy, bloated, and perform below their potential. The public is also lead astray by the media representation that professional athletes perform grueling workouts for hours each day, month in and month, out, to get their svelte and muscular physiques. Not true. We train elite world champion athletes on a maximum of 11 hours per week early in the training cycle with low intensity, longer duration workouts, and as little seven hours per week when we peak their fitness over the six weeks before competition.
You cannot fight human physiology. Training too much, too hard, and without built-in recovery or an aggressive recovery program leads to the all-too-common overtrained and frustrated, “fit but fat” athletes. When we are overly stressed, whether it be from work stress, emotional turmoil, or over exercising, our body produces too much of a hormone call cortisol. Cortisol directs our body to store fat and water and leaves us with poor performances and a bloated image in the mirror. This leads most people to work out even harder and longer, which only exacerbates the problem.
The solution to the “Fit But Fat” syndrome is found in scientific principles of periodization training, with a progressive work load, built-in recovery periods, and a rationally-driven variation to workouts in regular eight week periods.
Training is only half the battle when it comes to achieving the body you want. Food and science based nutrition is the other.
In his book, Healthy Running Step by Step out in Sepetember Robert Forster covers nutritional strategies. Whether you are a runner, hiker, cyclist, swimmer, or a person who works out in the gym, this information will make your journey to the fit and lean body you have always wanted a lot easier.
Healthy Running Step by Step: Self-Guided Methods for Injury-Free Running: Training – Technique – Nutrition – Rehab
Authors Robert Forster, P.T., and Roy M. Wallack
Review – “Authentic, loaded with insight and information, “Healthy Running Step by Step” illustrates the scientific approach Bob used to help me and many others stay injury-free and achieve our ultimate Olympic goals.” – “Jackie Joyner Kersee, six-time Olympic medalist and multiple world record holder
ROBERT FORSTER, PT, has practiced Sports Physical Therapy in Santa Monica, CA, for 31 years. Robert has lectured throughout the US and Europe on Sports Rehabilitation and safety in exercise. Robert served as a private physical therapist at four Olympic Games for Olympians Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Florence “Flo-Jo” Joyner, Alyson Felix and their teammates who have won a combined 32 Olympic Medals under his direct care. He also worked pro athletes Pete Sampras, Kobe Bryant, Elton Brand, Maria Sharapova, as well as M.M.A. champions including B.J. Penn. Robert has published several articles in the scientific press and co-authored The Complete Water Power Workout Book published in 1993 by Random House. He has also written a regular column in Triathlete magazine, appeared in several episodes of the popular Fit to Hit series on the Tennis Channel and recently created the Herbalife 24 Fit Workout DVDs based on the principles of periodization training.
The research is overwhelming: you need to be active to avoid the lifestyle diseases that are pervasive throughout our society. These debilitating conditions will shorten your life and, at least equally importantly, rob you of an active and mobile lifestyle as you age. When it comes to preventing and treating these diseases, it is also clear that exercise is preventative medicine and holds the least tendency for negative side effects while offering immediate rewards in the quality of your life.
Many people we meet are intimidated by the concept of exercise and justifiably leery of gyms and unqualified fitness programs. Still, others are exercising regularly but not getting results, or worse they are chronically injured from ill-advised workouts and unscientific dietary advice.
24 Fit Workout Plan – Science based, periodisation training, habit forming 30 minute workouts, clear instruction so like having a PT in your home, strength training 3 times a week(with resistance bands/dumbbells and for the advanced user ankle weights), gradual increase in intensity through 3 phases, 3 levels of difficulty, make your body more resilient to injury, improve posture and personalised nutrition plan.
Cardio exercise can include activities like walking, running, aerobics, cycling, swimming, dancing and workout DVDs. Cardio workouts strengthens the heart and lungs, increases endurance and burns calories which helps you lose weight.
Strength training is another form of exercise that works the body in a different way than cardio. With strength training, you lift weights (dumbbells, barbells, resistance bands, machines, etc.) to strengthen the muscles, bones and connective tissue. Strength training is just as important for weight loss as cardio. Through strength training, you build lean muscle tissue which raises metabolism and reduces body fat as long as you’re also watching your calorie intake. Adding even a few pounds of muscle will increase the number of calories your body burns each and every day.
Tom Holland ” Many people complain that, as they age, they eat and exercise the same amount but still gain weight. One of the main causes of this is loss of muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Strength training preserves and even increases muscle mass, keeping metabolism at a high level. Genetically, women have less muscle than men, and as a woman ages, the preservation of lean muscle becomes vital”
Why Strength Training Works
For light exercise, your metabolism may be elevated for just a few minutes after exercise, but for more intense activities, like weight training for instance, your metabolism may be elevated for up to 36 hours after your workout. When you perform strength training, you’re burning additional calories for a much longer period of time than if you merely do cardio exercise.
Muscles are like ” far furnaces” they burn calories…
Focusing only on cardio and skipping strength training could actually make it harder for you to lose weight. In fact, you may even gain weight – especially if your cardio workouts exceed 45 minutes. If you do cardio too long, your body consumes muscle for energy. For most people, that “too long” mark is at about 45 minutes. Done over and over again, day after day, this excess cardio could have a substantial impact on your body – and the muscle loss could decrease your metabolism and result in weight gain.
If you working out at the gym and have 60 minutes of gym time, here’s a recommendation of a client looking to lose weight:
25 minutes of cardio (5 minutes of warming up, 15 minutes of intervals, 5 minutes of cooling down)
30 minutes of strength training
5 minutes of post-workout stretching
If you are working out at home for 30 mins a day, then alternate between strength training and cardio work outs, in the time it takes to drive to the gym!
An effective fat loss program like 24Fit, will include regular strength training and cardio workouts, which are done on seperate days. Another important component is, of course, eating a healthy diet as well. Ask any fitness pro or nutrition expert and you will hear that diet is typically about 80% responsible when it comes to losing weight, with exercise contributing 20%. By implementing all three components, you can maximize your weight loss and your health.
Post Exercise Shake
Have you had your shake after your’e exercise or dance class?! “Important! Don’t skip your protein shake after you exercise and think that you’ll save calories! A protein shake after training accelerates lean muscle growth, which in turn revs your metabolism and burns more fat. Ideally aim for at least 20g of protein that includes Leucine (an amino acid that boosts muscle growth – found in Herbalife 24’s REBUILD range!” . Or if your using the existing range, then a combination of Formula 1 and 3. The optimum time for taking the shake is within 30 mins of exercise. Also avoids you eating something unhealthy as you are starving hungry! What many clients do, is to have a sip of their shake before the workout( getting some fuel in the engine), then the remainder of the shake afterwards.
Robert Forster, CEO & Founder of Phase IV and Forster Physical Therapy has teamed with Herbalife to create a fitness program using the very science that has made Robert so successful. See a preview on the Herbalife 24 Fit Workout/Fitness Program.