personal training st. john's
It was a hot and humid 30-degrees Celsius when we were running and all I could think about was “Don’t over heat! Don’t over heat!”

We were on a one-week vacation down in the Dominican Republic from the arctic St. John’s, Newfoundland. Apart from the 40-degree temperature difference from where we came from, the humidity was probably the worst part, as we weren’t used to it.

So just as a car that overheats and has to stop, I was trying to run as efficiently as I could so I didn’t waste energy and produce excess heat. The car-human analogy works really well actually. At the beginning of your running career, your physiological systems are like a fuel-guzzling diesel engine. Your runs burn a ton of calories and your running economy is well, lacking.

With training, your cardiovascular system adapts to the training stress and develops more capillaries, your heart pumps more blood per beat, you produce more oxygen carrying red blood cells and so on. Essentially, your body is trying to be more efficient at delivering oxygen to your working muscles and ridding these working muscles of metabolic byproducts. As this process becomes more efficient, the easier your runs feel and the fewer calories you burn at the same submaximal pace. Overtime, you turn your body into a fuel-efficient Toyota Prius, which is able to go further with less fuel.

This is why running for fat loss doesn’t work forever.

For the most part, to lose fat, you need to eater fewer calories than you expend. People commonly use exercise, weight lifting or cardiovascular activity e.g. running, ellipticaling, swimming, etc., to bump up the calories-expended part of the equation. (Note: the major method for expending calories is your basal metabolic rate, which is the energy your body and brain need to survive – digestion and non-exercise activity thermogenesis also play a role in the number of calories expended, but we’ll save that explanation for another day)

So in the beginning of a runner’s career, the amount of calories expended is quite large compared to the amount expended after the body starts to adapt. Just picture how you felt after running 20-minutes around a few blocks to how you feel now, running the same distance at the same pace – you obviously feel better after training.

To put a quantity on this, say you expended 300 calories during that 20-mintue run 6 months ago. After training, your body might only expend 100-150 calories running that same 20-minute run today.

So the bottom line here is that you need to adjust the volume or intensity of your runs to burn more calories with each run.

Lifting weights is no different.

As you learn the skills of weight lifting, your form improves over time and you can lift more weight. For example, you use less energy to perform a deadlift or a bench press (at the same submaximal weight) compared to when you first started. Essentially your body improves the neuromuscular communication between your brain and the involved and non-involved muscles, thus making your actions more precise. Your body also increases the amount of muscle you have, which increases your strength and further makes submaximal weights feel easier.

So similar to running, you will expend more calories lifting weights when you’re new versus after several months of training AKA skill practice.

Now put this in the context of fat loss. If you don’t change your diet and just attack your fat loss goals with exercise (weights and/or cardio) and don’t progress your workouts, you’ll burn less fuel and have less of an impact on the calories in/calories out equation over time.

This is why you need to incorporate a few more strategies to your fat loss plan:

1) Have a look at the quantity of food/liquid/food-like substances you consume daily. My Fitness Pal is a free app you can download to estimate how many calories you should consume per day. Eat below this estimated number and you should technically lose weight.

2) Progress your exercises (weights and cardio) overtime so you can continue to develop muscle, strength and your cardiovascular system. Approach exercise not as a calorie burner, but as a method to improve overall health and body composition – lifting weights and getting stronger will increase the amount of lean mass you have e.g. MUSCLE! Where you have the most control of your calories in/calories out equation is in the kitchen.

So were we running for fat loss in the Dominican? No, because I was trying to expend as little energy as possible AKA calories to get through that run. Exercise is a great addition to any fat loss plan, but it’s not the only strategy you should apply. In Lose it Right by James Fell, he states, “…if you’re counting on exercise as your sole or primary weight loss tool, you’ve given yourself a pretty steep challenge no matter how you attempt it.”

Your body becomes more efficient at exercising so progress wisely and adjust food consumption accordingly. Good luck!

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BUNDLE_LWF 2 GSF 2 SquareIf you’re interested in learning new workouts, my friend Jen Sinkler just released Lift Weights Faster 2 this week. Jen put a ton of work into this fantastic product that provides a resource that anyone could dive into and feel at home with. Whether you’re seeking fat loss or performance gains (or of course, both!), her workouts are designed to fit your needs, time and equipment.

I was even asked to contribute one of my favorite conditioning workouts ☺

Learn more about Lift Weights Faster 2 here: www.JKConditioning.com/liftsweightsfaster2

photo credit: Famous Health Studio via photopin (license)

I chose JKC originally to help prevent rowing injuries. I’m a rower and we won the St. John’s Regatta in 2019 but I rowed through a rib stress fracture and missed significant time in the boat during the racing season. Training at JKC consistently since the pandemic helped me stay injury free this year and made me the strongest I’ve ever felt, which helped me help my team win the 2021 St. John’s Regatta! Jon adds variety and mixes the exercises up well so that the workout goes by quickly and strength is gained. The gym is very personable and I like the eclectic mix of people that are there. JKC is much more intimate and personal than other gyms.

I’ve always struggled with both my weight and anxiety throughout my life. As a writer you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle filled with both realistic and unrealistic deadlines, so I needed something to get me off my butt and to get me moving. JK has been a godsend during this past year and a half in particular. The pandemic has been tough, but workouts with both Thomas and Jon have really helped reduce the stress and strain of a global pandemic, and added an anchor of normalcy back into my life — which has been worth its weight in gold.

JKC has created an incredibly inclusive environment that’s filled with all kinds of supportive folks from all kinds of different backgrounds. For folks like myself, being surrounded by people with such athletic ability can be intimidating in most gyms. It can actually be a deterrent, and it sometimes has been for me. But, at JKC it’s far from that — it’s inspirational. Everyone supports one another. Which is something that’s not easily found in this day and age, inside of a gym or out. Not to sound like a total cheeseball here, but it really feels like a family.

I’m 40 years old & started training at JKC in 2015. The gym I was working out at closed and my husband recommended JKC. JKC meets you where you are in your fitness journey and tailors the work to help achieve your goals. I’ve trained with Jon & Thomas pre pregnancy, while pregnant and now post baby and they have helped me enormously to stay fit through all life phases.

I joke with the guys often that I’ve seen no change in my fitness level since joining the gym, but the reality is I’m in far better shape at 40 than I ever was at 30 thanks to them.

lisa jumping onto a box

JKC was recommended to me by a fellow runner. I was experiencing injuries, and feeling weak and fragile. When I started with JKC, Jon asked me about my goals and my focus. I wanted to concentrate specifically on running, and preventing injury. Jon developed a program for me that has enabled me to focus on my form and strength and has been flexible enough to enable me to train for many different races. I have been training with JKC for six years, and during that time I have enjoyed Jon and Thomas’s expertise in a very warm and supportive atmosphere.

I came to JKC through recommendations from my peers from lululemon. As a current ambassador, I’ve been introduced to legacy ambassadors, like Jon, and I knew a bunch of other people from the store were working out here so I wanted to give it a go. I often dread lower body workouts so I started coming here to do legs. I’ve had such great progress that I now come twice a week— and, I no longer hate leg day!

I’ve never experienced this sort of hybrid between group workouts and personalized service. Many group strength training services offer a sort of one-size-fits-all workout for the general population, which has never been of interest to me, because I want my workout tailored to my needs! I LOVE that you can be in a group setting while doing your own personal program; I love the camaraderie and community at JKC, and, I’ve seen incredible results thus far! Jon is always so attuned to what I need.

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