I was living a lie. As a personal trainer with over 24 years of experience, I was having a hard time keeping myself “healthy.” I was tired from training people all day and when I got home, I would take a nap before the kids would get home from school. My bodyweight and bodyfat levels were normal, but my diet was horrible! And it showed in my blood panel. In October 2015 I had a physical to see what my blood panel was saying. It wasn’t great. My LDL’s were high (bad cholesterol), HDL’s (good cholesterol) were very low, and my triglycerides were very high (see table below).
My culprit? Before bed “snacking” on anything chocolate. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, I had really developed a sweet tooth. Lots of folks believe that fat is the culprit when it comes to your cholesterol and triglycerides, but guess what? It isn’t just your fat intake, your sugar consumption contributes as well. It was no wonder that my cholesterol and triglycerides were horrible.
Once January 2016 started, I refocused myself to my training. I jumped back into strength training and did some cardio interval training twice a week. My training partner and I followed a traditional strength training program: 3-4 sets per exercise, 6-8 reps, 2-3 minutes between sets. To be honest, my diet didn’t change all that much. I was better about the volume of my sweet tooth cravings, but I still indulged every so often.
We certainly gained strength and I had definitely increased my muscle mass. In December of 2016, I received a letter from my physician’s office asking that I schedule an appointment for another physical as it had been 13 months since my last physical. I couldn’t get in any earlier than February of 2017.
Once January 2017 came around, I switched from a typical strength based plan to a metabolic strength training program just to switch things up as our training program had gotten stale. Metabolic conditioning is designed to improve a number of different factors: conditioning, strength, insulin sensitivity, hormone optimization, increase in metabolic rate, and a reduction in body fat. An example of a typical metabolic resistance workout looks like this:
A1. Goblet Squats 12-15 reps
A2. Inclined Chest Press 8-10 reps
A3. 1 Arm Dumbbell Rows 8reps/arm
A4. Romanian Deadlifts 12-15 reps
A5. Planks – 30 seconds
Perform the following exercises one after the other with minimal rest between exercises, 2 minutes between circuits. Perform the above circuit 4-5 times through, rest 3 minutes after the final circuit and then go to the next circuit:
B1. Chinups – as many reps as possible
B2. Bodyweight bridges – 12 reps
B3. Reverse Bodyweight Lunges – 8 reps/leg
B4. Lateral Raise – 12 reps
Perform the above round 3 times, taking minimal rest between circuits, 90 seconds between circuits.
I followed this plan for a month (there were 3 other metabolic workouts that I did as well during the month) while also incorporating intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is basically eating all of your allotted calories within a certain “feeding schedule” instead of eating multiple meals spread from the time you wake up till you finish dinner. My fasting window would last anywhere from 12-16 hours depending on the day. I noticed a decreased in my body fat as my strength levels started to pick up as well. On my workout days, I tried to time my meals so I would eat soon after my workout.
I had my physical and received the results of my blood lipid panel a week after my physical and the change in my numbers were dramatic! All my numbers improved for the better:
|October 2015||February 2017|
|HDL (good cholesterol)||39||50|
|LDL (bad cholesterol)||116||123|
While my LDL’s did increase a bit, I couldn’t have imagined better results. Pretty damn good considering my diet didn’t change drastically except for cutting down on the sweet tooth cravings.
I truly believe the difference in my lab results was a direct result of the metabolic strength training combined with the intermittent fasting.
Metabolic Strength Training workouts leave you tired, sweating, and feeling like you accomplished a lot of work. Compared to other people in the gym, you will have done more work in your 45 minutes to an hour than just about everyone. The key is to keep moving and use challenging weight on each exercise unless directed otherwise. You should only take enough rest as needed to get to the next round. Your heart rate stays up which gives you an incredible cardio boost, plus your metabolic rate stays elevated for hours afterwards burning excess calories and melting body fat off of your frame.
If you need to kick start your exercise program into gear, this combination of metabolic strength training and intermittent fasting is a great place to start.
However, if you haven’t been exercising for a while, I recommend that you build into it. Build a “base” of solid consistency of exercise for about a month before you jump into this style of training. Jumping into this style of workout may leave you feeling nauseous, dizzy, and light headed fairly quickly if you are not used to the pace of the workout.
Authored by Dave Radin