Exercise – no more ‘cardio’

May 10, 2010

So, you’ve probably heard it all before:

  • The key to not losing weight is to ‘burn more calories than you consume.’
  • You accomplish this mean feat by counting how many calories you consume (to varying degrees of precision) and engaging in ‘cardio’ activity several times a week (3-5, depending on the purveyor of this advice) for at least 30 minutes a pop.
  • Doing so ensures you stay in a state of ‘caloric deficit’ which results in weight loss (or at least the absence of weight gain).

The crux of this post is intended to turn that thinking upside down. Regular visitors to this blog have seen me rail against the ‘calorie is a calorie’ idea, expressing strongly that the nature of the calories you consume plays a significant role in the extent to which you make fat for storage.

Now that I’ve taken on that commonly-held notion, it’s now time to focus on the other side of the coin: exercise. Here are a few alternate bullet points for you to consider:

  • Cardio exercise is bad for you (that’s right, I said bad for you)
  • The best type of exercise for ensuring weight control (and a vast array of other benefits) is strength training – many people call it weightlifting
  • The most effective way to perform strength training should take you no more than about an hour a week, and there’s a good chance you won’t even break a sweat doing it.

Well, I hope that has at least piqued your interest.

I’ve been admonished to keep my blog posts shorter, so I’ll try to go into the ‘why this works’ in brief and leave to you to follow up with the recommended readings. So, how does this approach work?

  • The single most beneficial thing you can do in the realm of exercise to control weight (read: lose fat) is to build muscle
  • The most effective, least time-consumptive and safest way to do build muscle is to engage in high-weight, slow-speed motion that ‘exhausts’ your muscle groups. This can be done for all the major muscle groups in the body in about a half an hour.
  • In order to get the maximum benefit from this ‘exhaustion’ is to give your muscles about a week to recover as it takes that long for your largest muscle fibers to re-build.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat

So that’s the summary. I can tell you I’ve been working out in this way for the last couple of months and it is hard to believe the time vs. benefit ratio.

You’ll want to know more, I’m sure. As always, I have references:

Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week

Best one of the bunch for my money. Might delve into the science a bit too much for some, but it covers all the bases and you come away understanding how this crazy idea just might work.

The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution: The Slow Motion Exercise That Will Change Your Body in 30 Minutes a Week

This one is a comprehensive take on the issues as well. Covers the science well enough, but still a non-threatening read if you don’t want to geek out. Also great dietary advice from Drs. Eades.

Power of 10 : The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution

This one is very light and breezy while still getting all the big ideas across. Heavy on the testimonials. There are times when it comes across mostly as an avertorial for the authors gym in Manhattan, but take it for what it’s worth.

More details on my own progress in a few weeks.


6 Responses to “Exercise – no more ‘cardio’”

  1. Cathie Says:

    Thanks to Jimmy Moore, I came across your blog and I must say I just love it! Keep doing what your doing. It helps so much when people like you get the word out there.



  2. Ed Terry Says:

    When I tell guys at the gym that I’m in and out in a half hour, they simply blink in amazement. I sometimes break a mist, much less than a sweat. They key is to lift slow and not rest between exercises.

    At 53, I can lift as much as I could 15 years ago but spend only a fraction of the time doing it.

    I do frequent cardio however. I have three dogs and they treat me like a rock star when I announce we’re going walking. However, I never spend a second on the treadmill/stair machine/elliptical.


    • KMT Says:

      Good on ya, Ed! I love hearing these stories.

      To your point, Ed, I have never been able to lift as much as I can now. Not that I was ever that big a lifter, but it’s very empowering to be able to increase your functional capacity (whether it’s strength or endurance) later in life. Especially since it’s not *supposed* to happen that way.

      Keep it going!


  3. munch Says:

    Hello. I am very interested in doing this slow motion work out and looking for a group of people who are actually doing this program in Seattle. Do you know of any?


    • KMT Says:

      As a matter of fact, I do. Please contact the guys at Geekfit: Chris Tremonte chris at geekfit.us and Lowell Meyer lowell at geekfit.us.

      They’ll get you going in the right direction!


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