Weight Loss Hiearchy

Tuesday, 07/11/2017

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN TRYING TO LOSE WEIGHT? In order to achieve your goals, you should view weight loss and an improved body composition within a hierarchy of needs. Our training staff suggests the following (in order) are the most important aspects of losing weight:

1. Nutrition

2.  Strength Training

3. Metabolic Conditioning

4. Prime Cardiovascular Training

5. Accidental Exercise

6. Nutritional aids and supplements.

 

 

Nutrition:

 

What you eat is going to have the biggest impact on your body bar none. Food gives us the nutrients we need to fuel our workouts and make us feel energized. The old adage, “you are what you eat” is true. What you eat literally becomes you. The foods we consume in our diet are used to create and repair the cells in our bodies. Every time we sit down to a meal, we have a choice: eat food that is nutritious and will sustain us, or eat something that will make us feel lethargic, and bloated.

 

We know that we should be getting 10-35% of our diet from protein, 20-35% of our diet from fat, and 45-65% of our diet from carbohydrates. We also know that there is more than one right way to eat, and many people choose many different nutrition programs to follow. Some choose to follow the “Zone Diet,” others go the “Paleo” route; some of us are carnivores and others are vegetarians. One thing about all these diets rings true; THEY CAN ALL WORK! Although there are many components to weight loss, the most important aspect is “calories in” vs. “calories out.” If you are consuming more calories than you are burning, you will gain weight. If you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose weight. One helpful tool to help you determine if you are burning more calories than you are consuming is to get a Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). This is a 20 minute, non-invasive test that we offer at METHOD which will tell you exactly how many calories you burn at rest. Having your individualized information from this test will give you a more objective idea of how many calories you should truly be consuming in a day.

 

In addition to calories in vs calories out, we also need to look at the quality of the food we are eating. Whole foods that are not processed are going to be your best bet if you are trying to manage your weight. Make sure you are consuming natural carbohydrates, lean sources of protein, and healthy fats. Stay away from processed foods as your body doesn’t have to use much energy to break them down. The great thing about whole foods is that our body actually has to burn calories in order to process them. This process is known as the “thermic” effect of food. The thermic effect of food is highest for lean sources of protein and high fibrous carbohydrates which is why these are such an important nutrients to consume when trying to lose weight.

 

 

2) Strength Training:

 

Having more lean muscle mass means having a faster metabolism. Since strength training is the number one way to build lean muscle in the body and muscle is much more metabolically active than fat; strength training is the best method to utilize when trying to lose weight. When strength training, it is important to know your repetition ranges; 1-6 reps is best for strength, 6-12 reps is best for hypertrophy (muscle enlargement,) and anything over 12 repetitions is used for endurance. That being said, you can elicit strength gains from any repetition range as long as you are putting forth a high effort.

 

When strength training, it is important to use complex, whole body movements that engage your largest muscle groups. Consider strength training like building a house; you must first lay the foundation before you do any decorating. Your foundation should be composed of 6 basic body movements: 1) Squat, 2) Hip Hinge, 3) Vertical Press, 4) Vertical Pull, 5) Horizontal Press, and 6) Horizontal Pull. Only once you have gotten proficient at these 6 movements should you consider adding isolation exercises to your routine for extra volume. Since movements like bicep curls and tricep extensions are isolation movements, you can think of them as decorations on your house. Although they are fine movements, if your foundation is not there they will not help you build your house.  

 

Now that you know the 6 basic body movements, you can start to organize your training program. We recommend training in “clusters” of 3 movements. The reason we recommend training in “clusters” is that it will allow you to perform more work in a shorter period of time. Clusters are great for increasing general physical preparedness (GPP) and they allow you to become more efficient with your training time because you are actively recovering between muscle groups during each set. Your strength training program should have a “strength cluster” and an “assistance cluster” for every session. Your strength cluster will be the main focus of the session and will involve 3 of the 6 basic movement patterns. The assistance cluster will involve the 3 movements you did not perform in your strength cluster. When performing your “clusters,” be sure to stress the largest muscle groups first. Each cluster should have a lower body movement, an upper body push movement, and an upper body pull movement.

 

The following is an example of a two day per week training program:

Day 1

Focus

Order and Exercise

Sets/Reps

Weight

Strength Cluster

Back Squat

5x5

 

 

Standing Press

5x5

 

 

Pull Up

5x5

 

Assistance Cluster

Kettlebell Swing

3x10

 

 

Pushup

3x10

 

 

Suspension Row

3x10

 

Day 2

Focus

Order and Exercise

Sets/Reps

Weight

Strength Cluster

Deadlift

5x5

 

 

Bench Press

5x5

 

 

Bent Over Row

5x5

 

Assistance Cluster

Goblet Squat

3x10

 

 

Seated Dumbbell Press

3x10

 

 

Lat Pull Down

3x10

 

 

Notice that in this program all 6 movement patterns were performed on both days. Day 1 focused on the squat, vertical press, and vertical pull as the strength movements and performed the 3 remaining movements as assistance movements. Day 2 focused on the hip hinge, horizontal press, and horizontal row as the strength movements and performed the other three movements for assistance. Training in this fashion helps to minimize downtime between sets and allows you to train in large complex movements without having one movement affect the others.

 

 

3) Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon)

 

Alternating intense exercise with periods of recovery has been shown to help individuals maintain lean muscle while burning fat. Metabolic conditioning keeps your metabolism revved up after you have finished your workout which can help put you in a caloric deficit at the end of the day. Since MetCon is so metabolically demanding, it should be included in any exercise program that has the intention of losing weight and improving body composition.

 

MetCon training can be performed with weights, calisthenics, running, biking, or any combination of exercise formats you can think of. The important thing is that you work as hard as you can for a period of time, followed by resting for a period of time.

 

The following is an example of a MetCon circuit workout:

 

Order and Exercise

Reps

Work Time

Rest Time

Circuit 1

Speed Skaters

x20

 

5 min

 

1-3 min after circuit

 

Battle Ropes

x20

 

Jumping Jacks

x20

Circuit 2

Rowing Ergometer

x250 meters

 

5 min

 

1-3 min after circuit

 

Jump Rope

x50

 

Body Weight Squats

x20

 

When performing the above workout, the goal would be to complete as many rounds as possible in the allotted 5 minute time frame for each circuit. Once the 5 minutes were completed, you would rest for 1-3 minutes before moving onto your next circuit.

 

One of the reasons MetCon training is so successful is that it elicits a very high EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) or “afterburn” which means your metabolism stays revved up for a longer period of time after the workout. Although there is debate about how long your metabolism is raised after the workout, research has shown that you will have a much higher afterburn from performing a metabolic conditioning workout than you would from performing steady state cardio.

 

 

4) Prime “Steady State” Cardiovascular Training:  

 

Performing prime (also known as steady state) cardio is a great way to increase your work capacity and enhance recovery after a tough training bout. Although this should not be the primary form of exercise when attempting to lose weight, it still should have a place in your training routine. At METHOD we recommend performing steady state cardio for 10 minutes before your workout, to increase blood flow throughout the body and make sure your body is warm before you begin training.

 

Prime cardio can also be used between training sessions for 15 – 20 minutes to help the body recover from more intense training. Doing a brief bout of prime cardio in the morning could serve as a great way to wake your body up and prepare you for the day ahead. In addition, you are teaching your body to utilize fat as a fuel source making your metabolism that much more efficient. Evenings are also a great time to perform prime cardio as it can help you wind down from the stresses of the day, and help reduce your appetite after work. Going for a walk in your prime zone can do wonders for your mind and body.

 

 

5) Accidental Exercise

 

We should not underestimate the importance of staying active throughout the day. Every movement we make takes a certain amount of energy to perform. Even acts such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking in the back of the parking lot can make a difference in your body over a long period of time. Since weight loss is going to be an equation of calories consumed vs calories burned, the more movements you can accumulate in a day, the better off you will be at having this equation work in your favor.

Human beings were meant to move which is why you might notice that your body aches in pain when you sit still for too long. Moving throughout the day not only aid in burning extra calories, it also keep you mobile, and maintains steady “feel good” endorphins.

 

 

6) Nutritional Aids and Supplements

 

Our final suggestion in the weight loss hierarchy is to use nutritional aids and supplements as appropriate. That being said, if you are not eating well and exercising often, no amount of supplement will help you lose weight. You have to make sure you have your nutrition and exercise habits squared away before looking to nutritional aids and supplements to help you further.

 

Supplements do have a place in weight loss. If you are on the go and cannot get a nutritious meal, a protein shake with some fiber can be a good option. The protein and fiber combination found in most commercial weight loss shakes can help you feel full and satisfied throughout the day which will help reduce cravings.

 

Summary

 

Understanding the 6 components of our weight loss hierarchy will help you achieve your weight loss goals. Although weight loss is never easy to achieve, with a solid diet, sound exercise, and the resolve to make a change, you will be sure to succeed. Our staff at METHOD strongly believes our weight-loss hierarchy can help you achieve your goals. Let us help guide you along your journey and help you get the results you know you are capable of achieving. If you enjoyed what you read here and are ready to take command of your physical well-being, e-mail us at chad@methodsportsperformance.com to see how we can assist you with your weightloss goals.

 

References available upon request.