Guess what, I need to lose weight. I’ve needed to lose weight for a long time and I just never seem to be able to do so. I’m a relatively active guy (for a computer geek). I play ball hockey every week that I can which is pretty intense. I almost always walk the course when I’m playing golf. Even when forced to use a cart I still make sure to walk as much as I can — the other guy can drive. Snowshoeing, preparing and carrying firewood, baseball, swimming … I have to say that I’m pretty active. I’m still about 90 lbs overweight.
My doctor and my naturopath both have told me that I need to lose the extra weight, so I need to step up the intensity a little. My naturopath has given me some guidelines to follow that should help.
High Intensity is the Key
The key to this workout philosophy is high intensity. We need to stress the body to its limit (and allow sufficient time to recover). There are two distinct types of workout that I need to work on — this article will talk about the Grunt n Growl and then we’ll follow up later with the Grizzly Bear.
The secret of the Grunt n Growl is to push your major muscle groups to the max and beyond. This is not done by completing a fixed number of repetitions or excessive weight. You need to listen to your own body as the guide.
You must use about 75% of the maximum weight that you can handle for each exercise. You start off with a light warm up set of the exercise and take a short break. Then you do another set which is done to the point of muscle failure. In other words, you do it until you can’t do it any more. Then do one more. This is where the name comes from as your last rep will have you grunting and growling as you force that one last effort out of the muscles.
Once you’ve completed one exercise you will move on to the next exercise/muscle group. What this does is use up ALL the energy stores in the muscles. There is absolutely nothing left. Now the body is forced to turn to the long term stores of energy which never gets used when the short term energy is available. Now we’re burning fat!
This is also a catabolic activity which breaks down the muscles. This forces the body to rebuild (and it will rebuild stronger) and increases your metabolic rate. This will help burn extra calories for days after the workout.
Once the workout is complete, it is important to let the body rest for a couple of days. You will be sore and as long as it is just muscle soreness then you are actually doing well. If you feel join pain then you’ll need to change your exercises accordingly.
It is important that you listen to your body and don’t do another Grunt n Growl workout two days in a row. In fact, you shouldn’t do more that 2 or 3 of these in a week. If you’re still sore from the last workout, wait another day. Pushing too hard will damage your body rather than strengthen it.
You need to do exercises that work the major muscle groups of the body. My naturopath recommended the following cycle for me:
- Warmup with some form of aerobic exercise (bike, treadmill, walking) and light stretching
- One circuit of warmup reps (not to fatigue)
- One circuit of supersets (i.e. to fatigue) You need to have one exercise from each of the following (example in parenthesis):
- Legs (squats)
- Push horizontal (pushups or bench presses)
- Pull horizontal (bent over rows)
- Push vertical (overhead presses)
- Pull vertical (pull ups)
- Core (crunches, planks, etc)
- Cool down
Along with this workout, we need to make sure that we supply the body with lots of good nutrients to rebuild during the anabolic phase (but don’t overdo the calories 8=) My naturopath recommends that I try to eat at least 6 times a day and get plenty of good protein. And drink lots of water! Lots!
I’ve only just begun with this program, so I can’t give you any results yet. I do know that my muscles were sore after this first workout, but probably not a sore as they should be. I don’t have any weights at this point (on the to buy list) so I’ve been focusing on the weight free exercises. Most of muscle groups can be pushed to the max with my body weight alone, but the pull horizontal and push vertical groups cannot.
I’ll post updates on my progress over the next months, so check back and see how I’m doing. And if you’re doing a similar workout let us know what results you’re getting.