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Burn More Fat with SABER (Supramaximal Athlete Building Exercise Regimen)

Bandwagon time…this morning my 12-year old son, while eating breakfast and thumbing through the June 6, 2015 issue of Time magazine (page 50), announced, “HIIT is the most effective way to burn fat.” I replied, “That’s right, and that’s why I train people the way that I train them.”  The magazine didn’t go into any detail or provide supporting arguments, so I’ll do that here. 

Why Does Supramaximal/High Intensity Interval Training Burn Fat So Effectively?

SABERtooth Fitness top four fat torching factors:  

  • Increased resting metabolic rate for 24-36 hours after exercise. 
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis 
  • Higher levels of fat oxidation in the muscles
  • Significant spikes in Growth Hormone levels 

Boosted Metabolic Rate/EPOC…Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption


“The magnitude of EPOC increases with increased exercise intensity for both submaximal and supramaximal exercises…As such, it has been speculated that the increased metabolic rate associated with EPOC is one of the primary contributing factors to the success of high intensity interval training (HIIT) programs for weight loss.”

This increase can be up to an additional 15% of the calories burned during the initial exercise session. It may not seem like a lot, but four 1,000 calories sessions in a week, can yield an EPOC boost of 600 calories in one week.  After three months, that’s 48,000 calories burned directly and 7,200 calories burned via the metabolic boost.  Two additional pounds of fat burned with zero additional effort is no joke. Since you burn off about 100 calories/mile from walking, you’d need to walk an additional 72 miles just to burn off the bonus (EPOC) calories. Pure cardio burns fat very effectively, but once you stop moving, you cease burning the fat. Pure cardio takes A LOT longer. Pure cardio can wear down joints and lead to repetitive motion injuries.

The Mighty Mitochondria—Encourage Them To Burn Fat

Your cells contain large numbers of these little energy generators...without them you would barely be able to move.  They use fat, carbohydrate, and protein to generate energy.  They really like burning fat. The key to develop a lot of them. The more you have, the more energy you can generate, and the more fat you can burn.

“Low volume/high intensity exercise (supramaximal training) increases mitochondrial biogenesis (production within the body). Within 24 hours of maximal intensity exercise, new mitochondria are grown. The higher intensity exercise leads to a greater increase in mitochondrial numbers. 
Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Jun;300(6):R1303-10. doi:
10.1152/ajpregu.00538.2010. Epub 2011 Mar 30. 
An acute bout of high-intensity interval training increases the nuclear abundance of PGC-1α and activates mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle. 

“In one study we investigated maximal rates of fat oxidation in 300 subjects with varying fitness levels. In this study, we had obese and sedentary individuals, as well as professional cyclists (9). VO2max ranged from 20.9 to 82.4ml/kg/min. Interestingly, although there was a correlation between maximal fat oxidation and maximal oxygen uptake, at an individual level, fitness cannot be used to predict fat oxidation. What this means is that there are some obese individuals that have similar fat oxidation rates to professional cyclists.”

What Does That Mean?  

It means…boost your VO2max (Supramaximal training is the single most effective way to do this) and, you will burn more fat, regardless of your fitness level!  Get it's for everyone...not just athletes.


“A trained individual can use his or her carbohydrate stores more slowly than an untrained individual because of the changes that occur in fat metabolism…The rise in capacity of the muscle to oxidize lipids (burn fat) is larger than the rise in its capacity to oxidize glycogen. This in conjunction with the lower plasma glucose uptake because of the decreased translocation of the GLUT-4 receptors, leads to the larger contribution of fat to energy production.”
Exercise Physiology for Health Fitness and Performance
Sharon A. Plowman, Denise L. Smith Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Feb 25, 2013


“…most of the energy is derived from carbohydrate during the first few seconds or minutes of exercise, but at the time of exhaustion, as much as 60 to 85% of the energy is being derived from fats…” 
Textbook of Medical Physiology, 10th Edition, Arthur Guyton and Richard Hall, Saunders, 2000

Growth Hormone—More Is Better When It Comes To Burning Fat


GH or Growth Hormone has been widely studied. It has been demonstrated that GH stimulates fat burning. High intensity (supramaximal) exercise increases the amount of GH, while low intensity exercise does not. If you want more, you're going to have to work for it.

“A minimum duration of 10 min, high intensity exercise consistently increased circulating GH in adult males.”
Effect of low and high intensity exercise on circulating growth hormone in men. 
N E Felsing, J A Brasel, and D M Cooper 
Published Online: July 01, 2013 

“The metabolic effects of GH predominantly involve the stimulation of lipolysis in the adipose tissue resulting in an increased flux of free fatty acids into the circulation. In the muscle and liver, GH stimulates triglyceride  uptake, by enhancing lipoprotein lipase  expression, and its subsequent storage.”

Breaking It Down

Supramaximal/High Intensity Interval Training is highly effective at turning your body into a fat burning machine. You’ll burn more calories, and most of those calories will come from fat...the fat that you are looking to lose. The long and the short of it is, you have to work hard, really hard. You are worth the effort, and the results are just incredibly satisfying. I’ve only provided a few of the reasons why this works…there are many more compelling reasons, but that’s enough for now.

Live longer and better with SABER (Supramaximal Athlete Building Exercise Regimen)

Over the past decade, there has been more and more attention focused on the relationships between telomeres, health, and longevity. There have been more than 10,000 scientific articles published about telomeres. All signs point to high intensity exercise having a tremendous positive impact on maintaining healthy telomeres and, in turn, healthy, long-lived bodies.

What Is a Telomere?

Telomere (tel-uh-meer) from the Greek telos (end) and meros (part) 

Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes. Think of them like the plastic/metal tips (aglets) at the ends of your shoelaces. In more technical terms...telomeres consist of DNA repeats and associated proteins located at the ends of the chromosomes (Blackburn et al., 2006; de Lange, 2005). Telomeres play an important role in maintaining genomic stability and regulating cellular replicative capacity (Allsopp et al., 1992; Blackburn et al., 2006). Telomere length is heritable, and length declines with increasing age (Njajou et al., 2012; Nordfjall et al., 2005; Shammas, 2011).

What Happens When Telomeres Shorten?

When you lose your aglets, your shoelaces fall apart and no longer function properly. Without telomeres, your DNA strands become damaged and can’t function properly. Shortened telomeres eventually lead to the inability of the chromosome to replicate at all. When the telomere length shrinks to a critical level and chromosomes can no longer replicate, the cell dies by a process called apoptosis. Accordingly, greater telomere length indicates more youthful, healthy cells.

Especially in early life, the impact of inheritance on telomere length is strong, but it seems to diminish by age (Svenson et al., 2011). Shorter telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of several chronic non-communicable diseases and with shorter life span (Ludlow and Roth 2011; Shammas, 2011; Salpea and Humphries, 2010; Wong and Collins 2003). Several factors including smoking, obesity and an unhealthy diet, all conditions associated with an increase in oxidative stress and inflammation, have been linked with telomere shortening (Crous-Bou et al., 2014; Ornish et al., 2013; Shammas, 2011; Tiainen et al., 2012; Woo et al., 2010;). It is believed that telomere length could be a biomarker of biological cellular age and thus predicts morbidity and mortality (Bojesen, 2013; Woo et al., 2014; von Zglinicki and Martin-Ruiz, 2005).

A 2010 study from Harvard Medical School showed telomere shortening to be a root cause of cellular aging.   
Jaskelioff M, et al. Telomerase reactivation reverses tissue degeneration in aged telomerase-deficient mice. Nature. 2011;469:102-107.

Now What?

OK, OK, you get it. Long telomeres are good, and short telomeres are bad.
This, of course, begs the question, "How do you preserve telomere length?"

Short Answer: You train hard….you train like your life depends upon it, because it really does. Here’s why:
Research demonstrates that there is a direct association between reduced telomere shortening in your later years and high-intensity exercise. 

"The results of the present study provide evidence that leukocyte telomere length (LTL) is related to regular vigorous aerobic exercise and maximal aerobic exercise capacity with aging in healthy humans.
… as LTL shortens with aging it appears that maintenance of aerobic fitness, produced by chronic strenuous exercise and reflected by higher VO2max, acts to preserve LTL.

Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that VO(2)max was the only independent predictor of LTL in the overall group. Our results indicate that LTL is preserved in healthy older adults who perform vigorous aerobic exercise and is positively related to maximal aerobic exercise capacity. This may represent a novel molecular mechanism underlying the "anti-aging" effects of maintaining high aerobic fitness."
Mechanisms of Aging Development 2010 Feb;131(2):165-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mad.2009.12.009. Epub 2010 Jan 12


“…The most dramatic effects of exercise have been shown in elite long term highly conditioned middle distance runners who had been running for 20 years on average. Their telomere length was actually close to that of a 25 year old. That is obviously a pretty select group but other studies have shown that vigorous exercise for periods of even 2 years yield benefits in telomere length and functional measurement so (sic) aging like lung capacity. For most short high intensity “interval type training” yields a lot of functional benefits and minimal oxidative stress so this is what most people need…”
Excerpted for David Woynarowski’s reply in a comment thread at the Conversation Archives. David Woynarowski is an author of Immortality Edge.


Song et al. [8] have demonstrated that duration of exercise inversely correlates with biomarkers for damage to DNA and telomeres and with p16 expression, a biomarker for aging human cell. Exercise can reduce harmful fat and help mobilize waste products for faster elimination, leading to reduced oxidative stress and preservation of DNA and telomeres. Werner et al. [62•] showed that exercise was associated with elevated telomerase activity and suppression of several apoptosis proteins, including p53 and p16, in mice. Consistently, in humans the leukocytes derived from athletes had elevated telomerase activity and reduced telomere shortening, relative to nonathletes [62•]. Exercise seems to be associated with reduced oxidative stress and elevated expression of telomere stabilizing proteins and may therefore reduce the pace of aging and age-associated diseases.

Wrapping It Up

Intense exercise will not stop the aging process, but it will slow it down. We start out with an average telomere length of about 15,000 base pairs. When you get down to 5,000 base pairs or less, you start getting into trouble, and your cells start to die off or shut down. To slow down this process of “erosion,” high intensity training is key. SABER (supramaximal) training is the single-most effective method to accomplish efficient high intensity training. In order to maximize your healthy live span, you are going to need to take care of your telomeres and, in turn, your DNA. Look, someone alive to day is going to make it to might as well be you.

Train like your life depends on it... because your life actually depends on it.

....or email your questions to me.


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