Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 439: The Tom Venuto School Of Cardio

G'day Shredders,

How's this for synchronicity!? Today, Debbie discussed in her blog post this passage from Tom Venuto's BFFM eBook:
If I were overweight and I knew what I now know about fat loss, I would be doing cardio every day, possibly even twice a day, seven days a week until I was happy with my weight. Then and only then would I cut back to three days a week for maintenance.
Here's the weird thing, reading and implementing the words of wisdom in this passage was a major factor in me turning around 6 years of failure. Prior to getting Tom's book I was a strict adherent to BFL style cardio ONLY 3 times a week.

While I did get great results following BFL back in 2000 over my 12-week challenge my strict adherence to only one type of cardio 3 times a week began to drain muscle from my body and resulted in a less "cut" look 4 months later on (as seen in the picture below).

I Kept The Same Cardio Plan For 3 Years

Whenever I tried to get back into shape for the following 3 years I still used the same cardio method (20 minutes, 3 times a week) because it had worked before. I never changed it up for those initial 3 years because I believed too much cardio would be detrimental.

Of course, there were a myriad of other factors that contributed to my failure as well, but this strict adherence to cardio dogma really prevented me from building momentum, which is so critical for a rapid-fire physique transformation.

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

So, even though I knew it was gonna take a lot more cardio this time around (reading what Tom Venuto said above on Page 262 of BFFM) it was very liberating to know the truth about what it really takes to get cut quickly.

As a result I implemented a much heavier cardio schedule during the late stages of Mission 1 & 2 and lo & behold I finally produced tangible results! This was not a coincidence!

M4 Shred Cardio Experiement

With this in mind I have now decided to go full throttle on cardio earlier on in my M4 Shred Schedule (as opposed to M1 when I left it until the last 2 weeks). What you are gonna see from here on out is a real-time cardio experiment where I will put Tom's words above to the test.

Today I actually took the final step to getting my baseline cardio in order by stepping up to 4 one minute cycles of 6, 12, 14, 16 km/h increments on the treadmill. I have picked up an extra 1.5km/h across the board over the last 10 days (starting from 6, 10.5, 12.5, 14.5km/h).

Importance Of Setting A "Real" Baseline

Even though I knew I could handle more when I started this schedule 10 days ago my first priority is to always finish the prescribed schedule. I'd rather be conservative and have a little gas left in the tank when I am setting a baseline. If I had gone out too hard (without knowing where my current level was for 4-cycle cardio) I may have not been able to finish the job which would have set me back psychologically.

Anyway, the good news is that I am right where I want to be right now. Hitting 6, 12, 14, 16 is always a great indicator that I am on my game. I am going to HIIT this cardio format very hard until the end of M4. Let's see what happens!

N.B. The bottom line with cardio (and what Tom discusses in BFFM) is basically do as much cardio as necessary to get the results you desire. Of course, this includes tracking your progress and adjusting your schedule where necessary until you find the right balance that works for you.

P.S. If I could just find a treadmill machine that goes beyond 16 km/h that would be sweet!

P.S.S. Even though I have criticized BFL sometimes, the truth is I would never have gotten into fitness at all if it weren't for that book (and the Body of Work movie) because it gave me a simple plan to follow AND made me believe it was possible.

P.S.S.S. Click here for more information on my personal experience with Tom Venuto's awesome eBook, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle (BFFM).

Day 28 of 84

Nutrition: My meal plan was spot on today.

Training: Final day of baseline HIIT cardio testing, as mentioned above.

M4 Shred:
Real-Time Accountability

Day 28 of 84

Click Here to learn more about the origin
and theory of RTP Real-Time Accountability.



Feel free to use this plan as a template that you can follow. However, this plan is is based on my own personal experience over 3 physique transformation missions. In other words, what works for me may not work for you in the same way.

Success in this game requires research, individual design, real-world testing, monitoring results and making adjustments when necessary. This is your responsibility, no one else can do it for you. However, if you'd like to research further the exact programs I have used (over my first 3 Missions) and will use for M4 Shred you can do so at the links below.

M4 Shred Components: Click each link to learn more.

1) Fat Burning: 16 Principles of BFFM: nutrition, mindset and cardio.

2) Weight Training: Metabolic Surge: 36 Day Rapid Fat Loss System.

3) Six-Pack Training: Flatten Your Abs: 7-Level Training System.


Shredder Pact:

We will focus on the single daily actions that produce results.

We will "burn our bridges" and not look back.

We will never surrender.

Eat Clean,
Shred Hard,
Think BIG!

Adam Waters, NESTA-CPT

P.S. Below are Day 439 RTP Blog Daily Pictures for January 21, 2008: Mission 4 - Day 64 of 125 (M4 Shred: Day 28 of 84).


Debbie said...

Adam, I will join you in this cardio challenge and will set a baseline today. I'm also including 2 minutes on both the front & back ends of the routine for warmup & cooldown which makes it a 20 minute routine.


B said...

There is so much written about how much we should and shouldn't do when it comes to cardio, no wonder we are all confused. I think it really is about trial and error. I was of the belief that you should only do about 2-3 sessions a week as too much will burn muscle instead of fat. But now I've been doing the double cardio and i will continue that for a while to see how it works. I'm doing both steady state and HIIT and use different machines for variation.The experimenting never ends.

Michael said...

I have some advice here to everyone upping their cardio. First, be careful of muscle loss. To combat this, have a protein shake immediately AFTER your workout. If possible, get some extra BCAAs in that protein shake and you are going to be moving along nicely. Double cardio is an awesome thing. I did it for a little while, but found it wore me out.

Adam Waters said...

Thats very cool Debbie, one thing I didn't mention (that Michael has said below) is to take in some protein after your cardio sessions to preserve as much muscle as possible.

Excellent point Michael, that is critical.

Thats definitely the right way to go Bec, measure and track your results from an increased cardio schedule to determine whther it is working or not.

Finally, This double cardio schedule is something I do when I want to "peak" for a deadline. I don't recommend this approach for a long period of time as your body will adapt to too much cardio which may result in a plateau.


Suzette said...

ok, i think i am confused about how to set a "baseline". could someone explain that to me? thanks.

Adam Waters said...

Hi suzette, for me a "baseline" is knowing exactly where I am in my current condition. It is especially useful when starting (or re-starting) a routine. Once you set a benchmark to your "peak current capactity" you now have a definitive goal to beat so you can use the progressive overload principle.

I'm not sure if this is a widely used term or principle but I know it works for me.


Tearose said...

oh Blah lol, I read that too and have been thinking about it, I know I will have to do more as well, but I guess I was hoping I really wouldn't have to. I had to get to a place where I was willing to do it. OK OK I will do it!:P