I’m going to make a bold and most likely inflammatory
statement right here:
Most people doing Met-Con – or Metabolic Conditioning
are wasting their time.
Because they view that as the “ultimate” approach or avenue
to getting “in shape” – a euphemism for “I want to burn off
all my body fat and get ripped/lean and toned.”
(Yuck – I hate the word “toned.”)
Here’s the deal though:
You ever see a male gymnast?
Here – take a gander:
Sure he’s not shredded, shaved, and oiled up stage-ready
ripped like a bodybuilder – although he’s pretty close.
(How many of us really want to look like that?)
But he’s lean and strong – very, very strong.
Because he practices generating total-body tension where
appropriate and when necessary.
(Pavel has written extensively on this in “Power To The
People” and “The Naked Warrior.” So, I’m not going to cover
the “how” right now – just the “why.”)
Remember yesterday I asked you if you’ve ever lifted a
heavy set of five how you felt afterward?
The correct answer should be somewhat taxed and out of
breath – heart beating rapidly and maybe even sweaty,
depending on how heavy that heavy was.
Here’s a quick story:
When I was a trainer at a prestigious NYC health club
a long time ago in a galaxy far away, I strapped on a heart
rate monitor and “monitored” a heavy set of squats.
Now, I had to do all kinds of exercise testing and VO2 max
protocols with clients at that time, so I had to go through
them myself. In one sub-max treadmill test the highest I could
get my heart rate to was 167bpm.
Well I was weighing about 207 at the time and tossed 365
on my back and squatted a set of 5.
Then I looked at my heart rate: 177bpm.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that creating
that kind of “metabolic disturbance” repeatedly will lean you
out – especially if you’re not eating like a pig.
Unfortunately, we’ve fallen into the Met-Con trap instead
of the strength basket.
(Now I’m not against Met-Con – it has it’s place. And it’s
MORE effective when you have the strength to maintain
the integrity of your exercise technique – which most people
don’t – which is why most people get hurt doing it.)
So here’s the deal:
When you train for strength, and you’ve regained most if
not all of your reflexive strength, then you need to start
adding tension techniques – or “high tension techniques.”
Again, I’m not going into the “how,” but rather, the “why”
here – “why” it will help you get leaner without trying.
– When you contract your muscles you use energy.
– The more muscles you can control and therefore contract,
the more energy you’ll use.
– And, because of the process of “irradiation,” you’ll be able
to lift even more weight than you would’ve without using
high tension techniques.
– And that means you’ll be lifting more weight – which means
you’ll be doing more work.
– And doing more work uses more energy.
– And using more energy = burning more calories.
The problem with all this of course is that you have to be
“mindful” in your training and you have to focus.
However, as much of a bummer as that may seem, you
only ever get what you focus on.
And it’s from this purposeful, willful, mindful, determined
focus on controlling your body – tensing all the muscles
involved in each and every lift – especially and most
importantly – the Grinds – Front Squats, Presses, etc –
That you’ll start to not only get amazingly strong, but burn
off that extra energy you’ve been storing around the middle,
(Lovehandles) or in your hips or thighs.
Only after you’ve mastered these high-tension techniques
and can apply them at will, should you ever consider doing
intense Met-Con work.
When you do this correctly, and in the right sequence, you
can literally turn your body into a Pillar –
A Pillar of Power –
From which you’ll end up lifting more than you’ve ever imagined.
“Accidentally” burn off lots of that unwanted body fat, without
extreme changes in your diet.
Sounds like a pretty good deal, huh?
And remember the gymnast…