06 Benefits of High-Intensity Weight Training

InForm Fitness Podcast


Coming up in this episode we’ll weigh in on the immediate physiological benefits of high-intensity
training. What is the difference between weight training and weight bearing exercises? And
steady state exercise, what is it and how does it compare to high-intensity weight training?

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Intro:               You’re listening to the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with New York Times, best-selling author, Adam Zickerman and friends. Brought to you by InForm Fitness, life changing personal training with several locations across the US. Reboot your metabolism and experience the revolutionary Power of 10, the high intensity, slow motion, strength training system that’s so effective, you’d get a week’s worth of exercise in just one 20-minute session, which by no coincidence is about the length of this podcast. So, get ready InForm Nation, your 20 minutes of high intensity strength training information begins in 3, 2, 1.

Tim:                Welcome in to the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with Adam Zickerman and friends. I’m Tim Edwards the founder of the Inbound Podcasting Network back with Adam’s friends and colleagues. Sheila Melody from the InForm Fitness Toluca Lake location and Mike Rogers from the New York City location. And across the hall from Mike is the founder of InForm Fitness and author of the New York Times best seller, Power of 10: The Once-a-week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution, Adam Zickerman.

Coming up in this episode we’ll weigh in on the immediate physiological benefits of high intensity training. What is the difference between weight training and weight bearing exercises? And steady state exercise, what is it and how does it compare to high intensity weight training? Adam, Mike and Sheila, good to have you back on the show and looking forward to today’s discussion. Adam, let’s start off with the debate between high intensity training and your, say, run of the mill exercise routines that we’re all familiar with.

Adam:             Why is high intensity so important versus just getting on a treadmill and doing that steady state, getting the heart rate up a little bit and spending the time, maybe an hour, every single day, which is generally what’s been recommended and why do I say, and why do plenty of people in my camp say, that’s the, you know, big deal. I mean, like, you don’t have to do all that. And this is what we’re finding out. First of all, a lot of people like to say to me that I don’t think that steady state cardio is worth anything. I don’t say it. Plenty of studies have shown that the physiological benefits that we see can come from steady state exercises. Certain markers have definitely been shown to have improved.

Tim:                I have a question Adam, if you don’t mind, for the layperson like me, what is steady state exercise?

Adam:             Steady state exercise is doing cardio to the point where you can read People magazine for a while.

Tim:                Got you.

Adam:             Steady state cardio is the kind of cardio that passes the talk test. That you can have a conversation with somebody next to you while you’re doing it. And steady state cardio gets your heartrate up maybe 20/30/40 percent above its normal heart rate sustained, steady state.

Tim:                Got you.

Adam:             Sustained. Steady state activities as such has definitely been shown to cause certain physiological improvements. They’ve been shown to raise certain markers that we look for. Some of these markers are oxygen consumption, improved oxygen consumption. They call it the O2 max. Certain anaerobic and aerobic enzymes go up. Glucose sensitivity is improved as a result of steady state exercises. These are all good things. You want to be able to handle glucose better. In other words, somebody that is out of shape, their ability to — if they eat something that has sugar in it, their ability to metabolize that sugar is very slow and keeps your blood sugar up high and that leads to obesity and all kinds of metabolic problems.

All these kind of markers are improved from steady state activity. What I’m saying is you don’t have to spend that kind of time to improve those markers to that level. Turns out, you spend a lot less time doing it but it’s a lot more intense actually, you can improve those markers equally and that’s what the McMaster’s studies have shown. At McMaster University in Canada they compare steady state activity and the markers of improvement to high intense exercise. And you’d think that the group that did the steady state activity for like for hours a week versus four minutes a week, that they would have at least a little bit better improvement of those markers compared to just four minutes of exercise but as it turns out there was zero improvement compared to the high intensity group. In other words, the marker that went up for the steady state group, hours of exercise per week were no better than the group that just spent about four minutes a week exercising at a much higher intensity.

So, it begs the question, why are we doing all that steady state activities if the markers that we decided are markers of improvement — if high intensity exercises are improving those markers equally, why are we taking the scenic route. So, the question is this and this is it. I don’t think that if you like to do steady state cardio and you want those physiological improvements, we’re all big boys and girls, go ahead and do it. If you want to spend the four or five hours a week doing it, fine. If you also understand the risks associated with doing four or five hours of exercise a week at a steady state level. If you understand those risks because a lot of people don’t understand but if they did understand these risks because they still want to do it that way because that’s what they like to do, it’s certainly better than sitting on a couch doing nothing and those risks are orthopedic risks and overtraining risks of course. And, you know, quite honestly, some people don’t see it this way but I see it as a risk of time, I mean —

Tim:                For sure.

Adam:             You only have so much time on this Earth. I mean, like, I don’t want to spend four hours a week of my time exercising if I don’t have to. I’d much rather be with my family.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative] and that’s the part that’s most attractive about this exercise, your exercise, the high intensity slow motion strength training system as opposed to riding a bike for four hours a week. I mean, who has time to do that unless it’s something that somebody really enjoys to do or they use it as a recreational activity. I do not have four hours a week to work out and I’m sure the majority of the people listening don’t have four hours a week to work out especially when the benefits are equal [laughs] if not better.

Adam:             Well, that’s the point. So, we have choices. So, we have choices. When someone says you don’t believe in cardio, you don’t think people should do cardio, I’m like, you know, we have a choice and I have mentioned scenic route before. I mean, some people like to take the scenic route. Again, it’s a choice and most people I think want to just get it done, get it over with. And the people that want to take the scenic route, take the scenic route but I think a lot of people that take the scenic route, number one, don’t realize it’s just a scenic route, that there is even an express route. And number two, the people that take the scenic route, they don’t know about the side effects of it and maybe they’d think twice about it if they knew what the side effects were. I think exercise programs don’t have enough disclaimers with them. You know when you see a drug commercial on TV, they always have a disclaimer at the bottom.

Tim:                Yeah. [laughs]

Adam:             They read really fast and really small letters. Alright. Well I think, for the most part, that’s the way the exercising industry kind of covers their butts but they don’t really tell you truly what the risks are doing these types of activities and that’s sad.

Tim:                So, in addition to the obvious benefit of becoming stronger, what are some of the other direct physiological benefits that we can enjoy as a result of this protocol?

Adam:             Well, there’s a lot of anti-inflammatory responses and free radical absorption responses that occur when you push the muscles that deeply we’re finding out. This is kind of new stuff. I mean, last five years or so. When you work out that intensely the muscles are starting to produce things that really have more profound effects and like you just mentioned, just getting stronger can affect our immune system. It could affect how we deal with free radicals. The fact that we’re balancing the intensity with plenty of rest, allowing the body to do these things. So, you are actually enhancing your immune system as opposed to actually the opposite where your immune system is actually run down and you get more vulnerable to sickness because you’re over trained. So, the balance there is very important.

Mike:              Yeah. I mean, the immune system, I think the immune responses, that’s a huge thing because we always think about that’s how we keep our body’s, you know, to be able to fight disease and everything but you know something, I think even more direct and we talk about just strength training in general. We know strength training in general, you know, it, you can — when you have a program, hypertrophy, increased muscle sizes is a benefit, burning fat is a benefit, cardiovascular endurance is a benefit and it’s interesting. And Adam, I don’t think no one describes it better than you do, about what the effect of intensity has on hypertrophy or fat burning for example versus a steady state stimulus.

Adam:             I mean, when you’re pushing the body to that level of intensity, it sets off a cascade of things and basically all the systems — it’s a supply and demand thing. When you’re producing — so, intense exercise, that kind of demand and the muscles are growing and require constant demand, all our systems need to meet that demand.

Osteoporosis, the bones have to get stronger when the muscles are stronger. The cardiovascular system has to become more efficient as your muscles become stronger. The integrity of your joints need to improve if your muscles around those joints are stronger. Your digestive system needs to keep up with the demands of more muscle and high, intense exercise. Temperature regulation is improved as a result of this. When noticing all kinds of benefits just because you’re spending 20 minutes to push your energy systems to their max.

Sheila:             Yeah and the other thing that I just want to make very clear is that how safely we achieve that intensity with this Power of 10 workout because, you know, you can get the intensity, CrossFit or those other things that people are doing, that’s intensity, yes, but it’s very injury prone. And by going very slowly it is really amazing when people try this for the first time. They don’t believe it and then you get them on there and just by simply going very slowly with the right amount of weight in the perfect form, how deeply and how quickly they can achieve that muscle failure or that deep intensity.

Adam:             You know how you have to think of this is meditation with weights.

Tim:                Hm [contemplative].

Sheila:             Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             Going to muscle failure is very similar to meditating. You have to focus on one thing and not — and try to cancel out all the other distractions. And you have to accept the fact that there are going to be other distractions. In the occasion of reaching muscle failure the distractions are, you know, the big obvious one is the burn. The absolute discomfort that comes from going to muscle failures. You have to kind of ignore that burn and realize you have a very specific goal and that is to reach a certain level of muscle fatigue and you have to breath properly through this. You can’t hold your breath. You can’t do all the gyrations and hystrianics associate — those are distractions.

So, what you’re trying to do, just like meditation, is focus, as like meditation on the breath, here you’re focusing on the movement on the objective muscle failure and as soon as a distraction comes in, what do you do? You note it and you bring yourself back and this is — you never perfect it. I’m doing this workout for 18 years or more and you’re never perfect at it. And when you think of it that way, I think all of the sudden, intensity is not so bad.

Tim:                So, Adam, let’s say we have somebody listening in an area where InForm Fitness is not located and they’re interested in doing this workout but they don’t have the actual machines that you have there in your InForm Fitness facilities or gyms. Can this workout translate to free weights or Nautilus machines they could find at a gym where they might be located or maybe even just body weight exercises? Does it translate across the various platforms?

Adam:             Yes. Principles of lifting weights slowly, keeping it safe, crossing that threshold of intensity can be applied using almost anything. My father, I remember building stuff in the garage with my dad growing up and he had all hand tools. And I would say, you know, why don’t you get one of those nice electric routers or hand sander, you know, like the electric sanders and things like that and he’s like, a good craftsman never blames his tools.

Tim:                Hm [contemplative].

Adam:             Point is my dad didn’t have the money to buy this kind of stuff but he still didn’t let that stop him from building some really cool stuff for the house. And that comment always stuck with me and to achieve muscle failure, to work out intensely according to muscle and joint function safely, you don’t need to have our fancy retrofitted equipment that we spent lots and lots of money on [laughs] because if you’re going to do this for as a business, a good craftsman will also tell you he’ll use the best tools available if he had the opportunity. So, yes, you can absolutely do this with anything because you have to just reach intensity and you want to try and do it as safely as you can and you want to keep it as brief as possible.

Tim:                But if you are within the area or within driving distance of an InForm Fitness, it certainly would be to your advantage, clearly, to jump onboard, join InForm Nation and try this out for yourself. And if you would, remind our audience of the markets where they can find an InForm Fitness place.

Adam:             Sure. I mean, there’s a reason why I spent all this time and money on this retrofitted equipment. You know, we’re in New York City. We’re on Long Island. We’re in Burbank, California. We’re in a couple places in Virginia, Boulder, Colorado and of course people in these areas are really enjoying the service of using equipment like this with a trainer that kind of has taught them the whole way how to go into that level of intensity and how to find that Zen master in each of us.

But again, you know, lifting weights slowly or pushing your muscles to their ultimate threshold, exhaustion point, doing that safely, doesn’t take much, doesn’t take much. A set of wall squats, a push up position, a plank. Doesn’t take much to stimulate this type of change, now, there are all kinds of people, all kinds of orthopedic issues, motor skill issues, genetics, where having a trainer, of course, is a benefit.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             But in theory, anyone can do this, with anything and I know the subject is equipment versus free weights or our equipment versus any other kind of equipment. Not too long ago I was interviewing a trainer who was thinking about becoming a trainer at InForm Fitness and I’m talking about the equipment and the special cams and the low friction and how — and all the body mechanics and matching resistance curves of the machines with the strength curves of the human body. And I got into all this biomechanics and I’m thinking he’s like eating all this stuff up, like, this is like unbelievable and in the end he was like, you know, I think this would be a little bit more varied, I’m kind of thinking I don’t want to limit myself to just equipment like this. You know, I think free weights is important and all kinds of different exercises, you know, for a well-rounded workout should be applied.

And I was like, this guy did not hear a single word I said for the last 12 weeks, honestly. He didn’t get it. He says, you know, you’re a little bit more machine — you’re like a machine based company and I’m thinking I don’t know if I want, as a trainer, I want to limit myself to a machine based type of protocol. You know, I was like, oh boy. Either he didn’t listen or I didn’t do a good enough job in explaining what we’re all about because his takeaway was we’re a machine based company then there was some kind of miscommunication going on because I really, I mean, I have this beautiful pulldown machine that I personally don’t use because I like to do chin-ups. You know, it — but the pulldown machine is great and it should be used by a lot of people. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter.

Sheila:             And you have in your book too. In your book, there’s a whole, like, the last, you know, part of the book is all exercises you can do at home, right?

Adam:             Of course.

Tim:                Yeah and for those that have stumbled across this episode and haven’t had an opportunity to listen to some of the early episodes, the first few episodes of this podcast, the book is called Power of 10: The Once-a-week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution with Adam Zickerman. Of course you can pick this up at amazon.com and I would imagine there are some bookstores across the country that carry it as well too and you have these as each one of your facilities too.

Sheila:             So, explain the difference Adam, between when women come in and they’re told that they need to do weight bearing exercise in order, you know, to stave off osteoporosis. What’s the difference between weight bearing exercise and weight lifting? Is there a difference and what is it?

Adam:             Yeah. I don’t know what — there’s seems to be a lot of confusion because I don’t think doctors are explaining to their patients clearly enough what they mean by weight bearing or even if they know what weight bearing is because a lot of doctors are a little paranoid to get and recommend their patients, especially if they have some kind of osteoporosis or some kind of orthopedic issues, I think they’re a little nervous telling them to start doing a high intensity program. So, what they do is just say weight bearing. I guess they can’t get sued for just saying do weight bearing exercise. And weight bearing has become such a ubiquitous word if you will. It almost means anything as long as your active. Like a walking program by some is considered weight bearing exercise. Especially if that person doing the walking program has a big butt. [laughter]

Sheila:             You’re bearing your own weight.

Adam:             That’s weight bearing.

Tim:                That’s right. Well —

Sheila:             Yeah. Weight bearing is like Zumba.

Adam:             To me that’s not what weight bearing is. That’s not — to me, weight bearing is high intensity exercise. Pushing the muscles to their max. That’s what weight bearing exercise is to me. A walking program doesn’t qualify. Jogging doesn’t qualify. Lifting five pound dumbbells to music while you’re riding a bike does not qualify. You have to go into the zone. You got to push yourself to your limits. Doesn’t have to be long. Doesn’t have to be unsafe. Doesn’t have to be with fancy equipment but you got to do that and that’s weight bearing exercise.

Tim:                So, Adam, are there opportunities for other professionals in this industry who have been listening to this podcast who really are starting to subscribe to this high intensity slow motion strength training system, enjoying the science behind it and all that you and Mike and Sheila have to say, they might be able to get in contact with you about maybe getting certified to teach this in their area where an InForm Fitness is not located.

Adam:             Yes. As a matter of fact, I just got back from San Francisco with a group of six people for exactly that. There was an owner of a gym up there that wanted to get all their trainers exposed to this and certified in how to teach this exact type of training. So, I just did a 12-week course with them, Skype and lectures and then a workshop at the end for two days and then boom, they’re off and running.

Tim:                So, you have a curriculum in place to go ahead and bring —

Adam:             Yeah. The curriculum I’ve been working on for, like, the last five, six years.

Tim:                Mhm [affirmative].

Adam:             Every time I give this course it gets better and better and better.

Sheila:             And I just want to add from personal experience, it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done is to take that certification course from Adam. And I’ve also been through probably two or three different, probably three different groups of people that he has certified including some of our own trainers and if anything, you learn, you know, this whole new way of exercising which you can take with you for the rest of your life.

Tim:                And a lot of people imagine that are getting in touch with you like the folks in San Francisco, they already have a gym. They already have members. They already have a client base and they’re just going to teach this new method, something that they haven’t taught before.

Sheila:             I was just going to say that we’ve actually had people call us up and say, you know, I know that we’re not — you know, there’s not an InForm Fitness in my area but I read the book, I wanted to learn this. Can I just — I’m going to fly in and can I do a little mini workshop which is like a consultation or whatever. We’ll take a couple hours with you and work with a trainer and show, you know, show them how to do this. And we’ve had several people, like, fly into Burbank Airport. And, I’m serious and I was like really. Do you really want to do this? And yeah, we’ve done it. So, that’s always something. If you’re kind of close but you’re not really close, find a trainer that is certified in this and then just, you know, pay them to go through it with you.

Tim:                Yeah. That’s a great idea. Or perhaps if you’d like to hire Adam directly to train you or your staff to offer this slow motion high intensity training to your clients, just send Adam an email or a voice memo from your phone to podcast@informfitness.com. You can also leave us a voicemail by calling 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. That’s 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. And to join InForm Nation for yourself to give this work out a try, just visit informfitness.com for phone numbers and locations nearest you.

That puts the wraps on this episode. We are close to that 20-minute mark in the podcast which means if you began your slow motion high intensity workout when this podcast started, you’d be finished with your workout for the entire week. Join us next time as we learn more about the equipment necessary to perform the Power of 10 and we’ll discuss age limits for this very unique and effective workout. How young is too young and how old is too old to begin?

And please, don’t forget to subscribe to this free podcast from whichever platform you might be listening from, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher Radio, Acast and even YouTube. And please, rate the show and leave us a review. It only takes a couple of minutes and will ensure the continuation of this podcast. For Adam, Mike and Sheila, I’m Tim Edwards and we appreciate you listening to the InForm Fitness podcast, 20 minutes with Adam Zickerman and friends right here on the Inbound Podcasting Network.