The exercise industry has been lying to you for years. They still promote the idea that cardio workouts lead to fat loss.
But they’ve got it all wrong.
Sure, cardio will help you burn fat for a while. You’ll even lose weight in the short term.
But long-duration exercise tells your body to make more fat the next time you exercise. And after a while, your body adapts, and it gets very good at making and storing fat.
Fat is a starvation survival strategy. You put on and store fat because your body thinks it’s under duress. When you do 45 minutes of cardio, your body starts to believe that having fat is a good thing… And it starts to adapt to gaining fat.
The next time you eat, you convert even more of your food into fat.
In the Western world, we’ve also mimicked this “starvation mode” with the nutrient content of our food.
When you eat starch-heavy foods, your body goes into insulin overdrive. Insulin not only increases your body’s storage of fat, but it also decreases your body’s ability to burn fat.
I call this Environmental Lipogenic Syndrome. Lipogenic means the creation of fat.
As we get fatter, our bodies are deprived of the energy needed to do routine maintenance and fight disease and infection.
This is the root of all chronic diseases like diabetes.
It’s scary. But it’s preventable — and even reversible.
You have to exercise to beat this epidemic. But not any old workout will do. You need to work out for short periods at high exertion. I’ll tell you exactly how, but first, I want to bust two of the biggest workout myths of today.
Myth #1: Your Best Heart Workout Is Cardio Exercise. Nothing could be further from the truth! Long-duration, medium-intensity workouts decrease your cardiac output and put more stress on your heart. Sadly, marathon runners have a 50% higher chance of having a heart attack.
Myth #2: Weight Training Builds Strong Muscle. While there can be a place for strength training and for incorporating light weights into your routine, weightlifting, as it is done by most people, is not good for us.
Weight training, or weightlifting, is unnatural, ineffective, and misnamed—far from “training” anything, practicing these isolated tensing movements “un-trains” your muscles.
You see, along with being an anti-aging doctor, I’m a certified personal trainer. I spent years working with athletes. And I saw what cardio and weightlifting did to their bodies.
“Cardio” is short for cardiovascular endurance training. It’s the idea that you have to raise your heart rate for a long duration. It’s when you spend 45 minutes on a treadmill, run for miles a day, or take an hour-long aerobics class.
This kind of exercise is just not natural. You need to train your body to make an adaptive response – just like our ancestors did. But genetically speaking, we’re 99.998% identical.
Cavemen never exercised for 45 minutes like we’ve been taught to do. And they never lifted weights to build muscle.
When a caveman was hunting, his day was punctuated by periods of high-intensity exertion followed by longer periods of rest. This is the kind of activity that’s natural for the human body.
To “reactivate” your native fitness and stay as lean as your ancient ancestors, a few simple techniques will ensure your success.
That’s where my PACE principle comes in.
PACE – which stands for Progressively Accelerating Cardiopulmonary Exertion – is the antidote to traditional aerobic exercise.
It flips a “metabolic switch” in your body and puts you in fat-burning mode for up to 24 hours.
I realized long ago the value of increment increases of intensity in exercise. That’s why I created PACE. What makes PACE so unique is that your goal is to hit a peak of intensity in a short timeframe and then rest.
One of the core features of PACE is your body’s adaptive response to a new challenge.
This adaptive response sets changes in your body in motion every time it’s confronted with a unique physical challenge.
Notice I said unique. Because this is where 99% of all other exercise routines fail, if you repeat the same challenge, the same routine, over and over, you’ll never make real progress.
If you apply the right intensity to a new challenge, your body will react to that challenge by triggering thousands of biochemical changes that will produce a result of some kind.
And when you give it the right challenge, you’ll get the desired result – like fat loss.
Getting Started With Your First PACE Workout
Everyone can do a PACE workout.
It doesn’t matter what your age or physical condition is. You can choose any exercise that makes you stop and pant for breath. It could be as simple as going up and down the stairs, biking, walking, or swimming.
The important thing is to increase your challenge gradually over time.
Here’s a simple walking workout to get you started…
1. First, walk as far as you can for each of the three sets. Walk the first set a bit faster than you normally do. Then rest until your heart rate returns to normal.
2. Next, walk as far as you can again for three sets – but go a bit faster. Rest again between sets, but make the rest period a tiny bit shorter.
3. Then walk your sets again. But this time, go even faster and really pump your arms. Then push yourself to do one more set.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS