High Reps don't work for fat loss?
Q: Why do you recommend sets of 12+ reps in some stages of the BootCamp program? It makes sense that heavier weights in the 5-6 RM zone will require more muscular work and therefore burn more calories right?
A: It makes sense that it would burn more calories during the set -- but it doesn't necessarily make that the only factor in burning more calories overall. Remember - my goal with the bootcamp program is ... wait for it... the AFTERBURN (the clue is in the title).
It's a fat loss specific program -- not a weight training program that has fat loss as a side effect. The primary effect of the bootcamp routine is to elevate metabolism. I'm looking at how many calories are burned because of the workout (incuding during and after) - not just during the workout.
Check out this study:
Murphy and Schwarzkopf
Effects of standard set and circuit weight training on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption
The Journal of Applied Sport Science Research (JASSR), 6(2) 1992
The researchers compared the short term EPOC effect of two resistance training modalities.
A standard weight training program using 80% of RM (3 sets of six exercises to failure -120s between sets) and a Circuit based weight training program using 50% RM (3 sets of 10-12 reps of six exercises – 30s between sets).
The circuit training group used less load, and trained for less time yet had a significantly higher and longer EPOC effect. Basically – there were more calories burned with the shorter, lighter workout when you factored in the EPOC.
Now I agree that this seems counter intuitive – but I think we need to look at the overall density and metabolic demand of the circuit workout. Yes - a set of six heavy reps will burn more calories than 6 lighter reps -- but what happens when we do 12 lighter reps?
Despite using lower weights – when we use higher reps (i.e. a longer exposure to the stimulus) and shorter rest periods – the intensity of the circuit (289 kilograms per minute) was greater than that of the standard weight training (106 kilograms per minute). I think this “real world” intensity is a more accurate measure in fat loss training than using a % RM.
It’s pretty obvious that with the same rep range and rest periods – higher loads will burn more calories – but to maximize total caloric burn we need to stop focusing on traditional resistance training and focus on “metabolic resistance training”.
High Reps don't work for fat loss? (Part Two)
A more recent study on EPOC –
Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM.
Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2002 Mar;86(5):411-7. Epub 2002 Jan 29
- Concluded that a circuit based weight training routine consisting of 4 exercises resulted in an EPOC that lasted 38 hours and metabolism was significantly elevated over the baseline measurement taken on a non-training day.
It's also important to note that the effect of weight training may have an as yet unknown effect on EPOC when compared to other forms of exercise. This study:
Braun WA, Hawthorne WE, Markofski MM.
Acute EPOC response in women to circuit training and treadmill exercise of matched oxygen consumption.
Eur J Appl Physiol. 2005 Aug;94(5-6):500-4.
- Compared treadmill exercise and circuit weight training at the same oxygen consumption intensity (ie the exercise programs were effectively matched) and found a higher EPOC in the short term with the circuit group.
Another study on EPOC:>
Børsheim E, Bahr R
Effect of exercise intensity, duration and mode on post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Sports Med. 2003;33(14):1037-60
noted that "The relationships between the intensity and duration of resistance exercise and the magnitude and duration of EPOC have not been determined, but a more prolonged and substantial EPOC has been found after hard- versus moderate-resistance exercise."
I would agree with that - however "hard" isn't just determined by load. And load isn’t the primary factor when we’re looking to generate fat loss.
Does all this seem GREEK?
Well all these studies show and prove that my bootcamp style workout by time in a circuit is the most efficient for Fat Loss versus traditional strength training.
See you in Boot Camp this week