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Death to LSD for Fat Loss: Why Long Slow Distance is Outdated

In the beginning of this great country, people got from point A to point B by horse and carriage. It worked well. It got the job done. A couple centuries later the automobile was invented and revolutionized the way people traveled. People were able to get to their destination in a fraction of the time, making transportation far more efficient and increasing productivity.

Unfortunately, in the fitness world today, personal trainers and gym members are still using “the old horse and carriage” for fat loss. It’s called the treadmill. It works. But it has been replaced by a more effective, efficient and productive way to lose weight than all those hours on the treadmill.

The Case Against the Treadmill

This piece is directed to the people who spend hours on the treadmill at a steady speed. Let’s run some numbers. Most people burn 100-130 calories per mile. I rarely see people on the treadmill going above a 5.0 speed (which is 5 miles per hour). That’s approximately 500-650 calories per hour. That is if you continue at this pace for a full hour. Many programs call for a half hour of cardio. So if you did ½ hour of the treadmill at a speed of 5.0, you would burn about 250 calories.

For many, this is their only form of exercise. In order to lose 1 pound (3500 calorie decrease) this person would need to do 14 half hour sessions. That is a lot of time on the treadmill with seeming little result. Doesn’t seem worth it, does it? Before you throw your hands up and quit altogether, let me introduce you a relatively new concept called Metabolic Circuits.

Metabolic Circuits is designed to work non-competing muscle groups in a circuit-style workout. Working non-competing muscles allows you to not over- fatigue the muscle group and actually allows it to recover while you are performing one of the other exercises in the series. It is a more streamlined approach to working out. Instead of resting between sets of an exercise, you do a different exercise that does not involve the muscle group worked in the first exercise.

Typically we start individuals with 3 exercises and increase repetitions based on individual fitness. We have clients now doing 10-12 exercises in a row. This type of workout allows you to work many more muscle groups (and burn many more calories) than the old “horse and carriage-style” workouts of treadmills combined with chest day, leg day, arm day etc.

So if you’re looking to shed pounds, try Metabolic Circuits as an alternative to the single muscle group days and treadmill combination. It’s the natural progression in maximizing results of your workout, and using your exercise time more efficiently. Time to get off your fitness “horse and carriage” and hop into your modern day fitness regimen!

Casey is a certified nutritional coach and a certified personal trainer. His clients include US Marines, PGA and LPGA golfers, and those with physical limitations and medical conditions. Casey is co-owner of Next Level Fitness and co-creator of the highly successful Fit in 42 program. He can be reached at 760.413.9858 or casey@nextlevelfitness.org.

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