I am going to admit something.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been stuck with 10 more pounds of body fat than I would like. Now that I’m more than 1/2 way through my 40’s, fat loss has become a bit more complex.
It was so much easier a decade ago:
At 35 I injured my back before a beach vacation in Mexico.
I had 10 pounds to lose, but couldn’t do any cardio because it was almost too painful to stand. I got really lean with a strict diet and minimal weight lifting over the course of 60 days.
Now that I’m 46, diet and lifting alone doesn’t cut it.
…and simply adding in walking doesn’t get the job done either.
I’m guessing Kylie Minogue feels my pain.
Walking obviously worked well for her back in 2001.
No doubt she has to push harder these days to keep lean.
(I’ve been trying to find an excuse to work a Kylie Minogue video into my blog for quite a while…and just remembered she has a video where she walks around the city. Don’t judge…you know you love it!)
Hitting a fat loss plateau is frustrating.
- You drop your calories down.
- Workout 3-5 times per week.
- Do a bit of cardio.
- You still aren’t losing weight?
I have a REALLY good idea of what your problem could be. It’s an overlooked aspect of training in many workout programs.
Raising your VO2 Max (Aerobic Capacity).
Back in 2010, I wrote an article on my old blog about a fascinating new study on fat burning.
This study compared fat loss differences between individuals at different fitness levels (as measured by VO2 Max).
The finding was that those with a higher VO2 Max burned more fat and got more out of exercising than people who were less fit.
US News summed it up well in this quote:
“After running on a treadmill for 10 minutes, people who were relatively more fit had a 98 percent increase in the breakdown of stored fat, sugar, and amino acids, while less-fit people had only a 48 percent increase.
The very fit had the biggest difference of all. Blood samples taken from 25 people before and after they ran the 2006 Boston Marathon found a 1,128 percent increase in some key metabolites.”
Aerobically fit people have an easier time burning body fat.
…but you don’t just have to stick to traditional cardio to increase VO2 Max and get aerobically fit.
CrossFit is an example of an activity that drastically raises VO2 Max.
There are two CrossFit gyms within a mile of my house…
Pretty much ever time I drive by I see nothing but ripped young people. It definitely gets results!
I just believe the injury risk is too high for some people.
My cardio course is aimed at greatly increasing VO2 Max using nothing but cardio machines in a commercial gym.
You certainly don’t have to train in a commercial gym.
…I just like having access to a large variety of equipment.
So why have I been stuck with 10 pounds of body fat to lose?
It is absolutely because I let myself get out of shape aerobically. I have stopped using the principles I teach in my cardio course about increasing VO2 Max.
A magical “Old Man” performance by Neil Young.
Younger people have hormonal advantages that you simply don’t have anymore. Raising your VO2 Max is how you make up for this hormonal gap.
Again…it doesn’t have to be on a cardio machine (although that is what I prefer most of the time).
It can be accomplished with weights, body weight, jump rope, etc.
In Part 2, I’m going to discuss how to use intervals and the ideal work-to-rest ratio of these intervals…for improving VO2 Max.