New Year's Day is rapidly approaching, so that means there are just a few days left to make some 2017 New Year's resolutions. You know, those promises to "lose weight," "eat clean" or "live healthy" that come after more than six weeks of Thanksgiving to New Years Eve binging on high calorie food and drinks. The same promises that many of us struggle to stick with and then all but abandon by March or April -- if not sooner.
Unfortunately, most resolutions to “exercise more” and “lose weight” fall victim to the body’s natural fight or flight defense mechanism. Simply put, if your body is not in a fight or flight state, you're probably not stimulating your body the way it needs to be stimulated in order to gain muscle and lose fat. So, it won’t matter if you spend two hours or most of the day at the gym. If you're not working hard and at a measurable intensity, you're wasting your time and not likely to see progress before getting discouraged and giving up.
An important takeaway from a recent sports conference I attended was that if training intensity is high, a fight or flight response is triggered and the body’s release of fat and building of muscle is stimulated. There are a number of exercises you can do to cause this response including sprints, squats, deadlifts, clean and presses, snatches and pull-ups. Go hard for 40-50 minutes and call it a day.
Additionally, cater to your body's physiology to cause this response. Do things like listening to loud music, grunting, getting psyched, talking yourself up, whatever it takes. Just make sure to get yourself amped up.
In short, while there are many variables that will determine the speediness of our desired results when training like frequency, exercise selection and order, undeniably one of the key parameters that will make a difference is the one that will stimulate the fight or flight response.