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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.

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