The common thought today is that Biggest Loser style boot camp workouts are the key to burning fat and they are….for a while. The reason this style of workout has become so popular is that it gets results quickly, unfortunately the long term (2+ years) results are less publicized and far less glamorous. The reality is that this modality of exercise relies heavily on the sympathetic nervous system which is also the stress hormone system. The main hormonal players are adrenaline and cortisol. An overload of these hormones leads to adrenal fatigue, muscle tissue wasting, and thyroid suppression to name a few. Boot camp style workouts also lead to/exacerbate musculo-skeletal issues, largely due to excessive loading and repetitive motion injury. These injuries create a new motor engram leading to more complex injuries. Please understand that I am not against working out hard, the question is, or at least needs to be “is this beneficial long term”?
So how do we prepare our bodies to shed fat without sacrificing our health? First we must learn how to breathe properly. For our purposes we will refer to proper breathing as maintaining an optimal balance of oxygen to carbon dioxide. When one is constantly functioning in a pre-hyperventalative state (usually due to poor posture caused by excessive sitting and poor exercise technique), that leads to a loss of CO2 which in turn leads to a loss of O2 diffusion, which leads to a lower level of cellular energy. For this and more great information on the importance of breathing properly please visit the normal breathing website.
Once you have established a funciton breathing pattern, it is time to fix any musculo-skeletal issues with corrective exercise and manual therapy. This is important if you want to exercise consistently and long term. Otherwise you will constantly be battling injuries and the inflammation they cause your system. The next step is to make sure you are eating for your metabolic type and getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night.
So if you really want to burn fat and keep it off follow these steps.
1. Learn how to breathe properly.
2. Fix any musculo-skeletal issues.
3. Eat the right foods.
4. Get plenty of sleep and water.
Be wary of any program that sells you the idea of a quick fix, as it will not be permanent and you will most likely suffer long term repercussions.
BS Exercise Science