The newest cardiovascular, fat-burning revolution is no longer LSD (Long Slow Distance), but M.A.C. (Metabolic Activation Cardio).
M.A.C. NOT LSD
Are you worried about your failure to control fat accumulation in the “trouble spots?”
Have you ever considered that traditional long, slow distance (LSD) or high duration and low intensity cardiovascular conditioning actually may be contributing culprits, not only responsible for slower fat loss, but for an actual fat accumulation in hereditary storage sites-so called trouble spots?
Dr. Eric Serrano, M.D., a specialist in obesity, nutrition and exercise, has recently shocked the exercise world by suggesting that traditional cardio conditioning can actually elevate catabolic hormones (cortisol and cortisol-like hormones) that perpetuate fat storage and mitigate the incorporation of proteins into lean muscle tissue. In fact, Dr. Serrano has noted that literally hundreds of his exercising patients in his family practice, many of whom are athletes, have been exercising in the wrong “hormonal” direction.
Because of this and much research, Dr. Serrano and I have developed an alternative to LSD. This alternative is a revolutionary, high-intensity, interval training system, that we call metabolic activation cardio (M.A.C.).
Research has already revealed that intervals including vigorous sprints followed by active rest periods are the best way to lose body fat. This type of exercise increases metabolic after-burn (enhanced calorie use post exercise) and improves muscle tons, energy levels, V02 max, etc. In fact, one research study showed that high intensity interval training resulted in fat loss some nine times greater than long duration training, when adjusted for the length of workouts.
THE VAGARIES OF BODY FAT
The “fat Constitution” would not have worked for Madison, Hamilton and the boys because not all body fat is created equal!
Have you ever wondered why, despite considerable weight loss, you seem not to have lost any fat around your midsection (mostly males) or around the waist, hips, glutes and thighs (females)? Perhaps you not only lost some water and muscle to get smaller and maybe even smoother, but also the wrong kind of fat! Dr. Serrano suggests that fat can redistribute (to those trouble spots) because of chronically elevated catabolic hormones and this can be directly due to too much LSD.
Broadly, there are two types of body fat. Subcutaneous is the dreaded accumulation that is under our skin and other body structures. Other fat is enmeshed in storage or structural fat around organs and joints.
Fat as a functional unit in your entire body is mobilized for energy by the right kind of exercise. However, in many cases, with certain kinds of exercise modes/techniques it appears that storage fat may actually be preferentially burned before subcutaneous fat.
When it comes to losing fat, metabolic rate is everything. In general, body size, levels of muscle mass and activity determine calories burned through metabolic rate. With regard to exercise, and specifically aerobic exercise, research reveals that short (30 minutes) variable intensity (interval) sessions not only cause more reduction in appetite, but boost resting metabolic rates higher than LSD training.
This type of regimen causes a more prolonged oxidative after-burn, in comparison to a more typical 30-45 minute bike ride at a static, unchanging intensity level.
The common experience that Dr. Serrano and I see in our clinical world is that more trainees report enhanced feelings of rejuvenation and report less carbohydrate and fat cravings in the immediate hours following exercise. As Dr. Serrano says, “M.A.C. training can convert a metabolism comparable to a sluggish toaster into the fat burning furnace we all crave.”
THE MYTH OF LOW INTENSITY AEROBICS
In the last five years, low intensity, fat-burning zone theories, postulated in the physiological laboratories, have pretty much fallen flat on their faces. Unfortunately, for those proponents, the more important laboratory is the real exercise world.
Yes, technically more available energy, in the form of fat, is burned at a slower pace of exercise, but the results do not show up in the mirror for many reasons, primarily due to measures of exercise after-burn and hormonal influences on fat storage and oxidation rates.
Most studies exalting the superiority of low intensity, fat-burning zones were done on obese individuals. This state of fatness involves many unique metabolic characteristics, which are not present in average people or athletes. Why embrace research conducted with a group which does not reflect the conditions of the general public?
M.A.C. yields greater levels of fat being burned and more advantageous metabolic conditions. It gives you the RESULTS you want more quickly.
ENZYMES — LBM AND SUBSTRATE RESTORATION
There is an enormous array of enzymatic reactions within your muscles that are affected by exercise. High intensity interval training stimulates the release of enzymes that are responsible for improved muscle function and metabolism. These beneficial reactions improve the basis for muscle tissue and system recovery between weight training workouts and help trainees preserve and increase lean body mass (LBM) even while they do aerobic work. A higher amount of LBM will result in a faster metabolism around the clock.
It always amazes me to see bodybuilders who are trying to add lean body mass do long duration cardio sessions after hard weight training workouts. This makes no sense at all. Elevating or increasing the actions of cortisol-like, catabolic hormones, over time, literally burn away hard earned muscle. So does stress, of course.
M.A.C. sessions on your non-weight-training days will increase recovery between workouts, allow for better local substrate restoration from nutrition, and mobilize fat. Using this system as an adjunct to weights means you may actually get leaner during your building / bulking phases, too.
TRAINING FOR FUNCTION AND FUN
When it comes time to do your aerobic activity, nobody likes to wait in line, especially to go nowhere. Diversity of activity is another advantage of M.A.C. training. You can run outside, climb steps, jump rope and many other activities on your time without taking a drive to a gym packed with 40 people fighting over 6 stationary bikes, 6 treadmills, 6 stair steppers and 5 elliptical machines. Besides, outdoor and non-stationary activities may be better for your coordination, agility, flexibility and functional strength.
FORMING A PLAN AND SAMPLE PROGRAM
Detailed protocols and programs to make use of M.A.C. training already exist. Sprinting distance, rest periods, training modes, resistance level, total duration of the workout and frequency of sessions can be strategically manipulated or periodized to produce optimum results. The program best suited for your needs depends on your individual baseline of cardiovascular fitness goals, weight training workout and other athletic activities. Naturally, you must consider a multitude of factors in order to produce the best possible program.
DO ANY SUPPLEMENTS AUGMENT THE M.A.C. EFFECT?
Certainly, as with any training, M.A.C. workouts can be very challenging. Just as anaerobic training athletes need certain supplements, like additional protein, you must have the proper fuel to maintain a high level of performance throughout the session to produce the best long-range fat-loss results.
Endurance athletes also need protein so the body does not borrow from existing structural protein sources such as from hemoglobin, the gut lining and from muscle glutamine stores. Low glycemic carbohydrate sources are critical for all athletes and supplemental creatine may apply since power intervals in M.A.C. are different from those in LSD.
I advise my clients to use two advanced products developed by Dr. Serrano: GlutaCene and NitroMine. Dr. Serrano and I recommend the use of GlutaCene before training sessions, to produce the desired intra-muscular (fuel) result to take effect towards the end of the session and to continue after the session’s completion.
GlutaCene is a unique combination of glutamine and high dose branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s). As a nitrogen source, the BCAA’s have been proven (and recently very heavily re-examined) to be used by the body during heavy work to preferentially preserve and increase lean body mass, even in the context of reduced calories.
Glutamine is literally a miracle amino acid that becomes conditionally essential during and after exercise. Ingesting supplemental glutamine helps ensure that muscle stores of glutamine are not leached from existing muscle, delaying recovery and restoration. We recommend NitroMine use after all sessions (1/2) to augment fat loss, protein sparing and recovery and (1/2) before bed.
NitroMine was developed by Dr. Serrano to mimic the free form amino acid requirements of human muscle during periods of intense and exact muscle exercise. NitroMine provides the raw materials in the proper ratio for muscular growth and repair. Perhaps even more important, within four minutes of ingestion, minute levels of NitroMine are available; NitroMine is fully assimilated (delivered) inside the muscle cell in just over 20 minutes.
(note: A similar thesis was postulated by Dr. Scott Connelly for MET-Rx in 1991 with whole proteins.)
Of course, we all know that many endurance athletes do a tremendous amount of steady-state cardio. Some of this work makes sense as it directly relates to specific types of competition, (marathon, triathlon, etc.), but it’s undeniable, that you pay a metabolic price if you do too much long duration work.
Therefore, we feel that most endurance athletes need to improve the quality of their training as much as the quantity.
Indeed, running 26 miles every day to prepare for a marathon does not make sense. Breaking up your sessions into sprint intervals that will elevate your performance on race day, does! For example, a 2-minute sprint interval or race ending “kick” followed by a one minute jog will help prepare you to win a race instead of running with the pack. In fact, Dr. Serrano recommends that ALL endurance athletes train with interval sprints (M.A.C.) for 40% of their total training time. Give M.A.C. a try!
BENEFITS OF METABOLIC ACTIVATION HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL CARDIO CONDITIONING
1) Higher losses of subcutaneous fat.
2) A greater proportion of mobilized abdominal fat.
3) Decreased appetite after each MAC session.
4) Increased post-training resting metabolic rate, as compared to LSD training.
5) Enhanced specific muscle enzymes more favorable to lean muscle induction and substrate restoration.
6) Increased maximum oxygen uptake and increases in other levels of fitness.
7) Utilizes less training time with more flexible loads and environment.
8) Initial suggestion of higher levels of elation and focus, as compared to LSD.