Want a cool body weight workout? Try this:
Complete 10 reps of exercises A – J. Repeat up to 5 times:
- A) Bodyweight Squat
- B) Push-Ups
- C) Jumping Jacks
- D) Burpees
- F) Mountain Climbers
- G) Prisoner Squat
- H) Elevated Push-Ups
- E) Pull-Ups (or assisted pull ups)
- I) Reverse Lunges
- J) Plank (30 seconds recovery)
This is from my friend, Ben Teal. He did a video interview with me HERE. We are part of the same group of fitness gurus who meet a few times a year to learn how to help our clients out best. In any case, it turns out that we agree on many aspects of fat loss. Ben has a pretty interesting story that I thought you’d like to read. But before you do…
The workout above is just one of the many cool fat burning, muscle building fast and nasty workouts.
Who is Ben Teal?
This seems like such a simple question, doesn’t it? It’s the one that always trips me up, though. There are so many layers to this onion!
First and foremost, I’m “daddy” to two little boys who fill my days with happy chaos. They keep me hopping, that for sure. I hope for that to ultimately define me – a loving, strong father. Beyond that, I am the husband of a way-to-beautiful-to-have-married-me wife. I’m very lucky she keeps me around. Let’s see… I’m also loving master and food source to two aging dogs and one goldfish. That’s the home side.
During the day (and often part of the night), I work as an economist/statistician and process efficiency expert. I enjoy my work. I’m a geek, so it all works out. And, of course, in between all of that, I help the busiest of the busy moms and dads lose their unwanted fat and keep it off in just 20 minutes (or less) per workout over at Metabolic Mayhem.
That’s a long, and sordid story. But suffice it to say, it almost never came into existence. The short story was that between my growing career and growing family, I literally couldn’t find time to fit in an hour of exercise each day.
After getting fed up with the last program I tried, I called the guru. After a brief, heated exchange, he told me I was lazy and that fitness clearly wasn’t a priority.
That just rubbed me the wrong way. Here I was, an Ivy League educated executive working my tail off each day and then coming home to spend time with my family and enjoying our lives together – that’s not lazy.
And it’s not having my priorities straight either. Seriously, if I had to choose between spending an hour with your kids or an hour on the treadmill, I’m choosing my kids every single time.
If the choice is giving up my career for an hour on the elliptical… again, easy choice.
Many of these ‘gurus’ work in a gym (so they have the option of working out any time a wild streak hits them), are single, and don’t have any kids. And then they have the audacity to lecture you and me on priorities. Give me a break.
So I dove into the research. I knew there had to be a better way to do this. A way for busy parents like myself, to melt fat and not have to sacrifice all that we’ve worked to build.
First, I found a 1995 study that discovered if you did three 10-minute workouts spread throughout the day, you could lose fat faster than if you did 30 minutes straight. Now, these workouts weren’t at all intense, but the work sessions followed by periods of rest… well that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Around the same time, we started learning that interval training specifically was better than long, slow aerobic training for burning fat. Then came along the studies on resistance training and how it was fantastic for your metabolism.
One day, while sitting in traffic, hit me like a bolt of lightning. My Blackberry lit up with an email asking me if I had 10 minutes the next day for a quick chat. As I was wading through a sea of traffic – stop then go, stop then go, my car was running out of gas. I thought that if I could just get up to highway speed, I could make it to the gas station with no problem because the engine is most efficient at highway speed. At the same time, I remember thinking that I was glad I had removed the cases of water I had in my trunk from our last big shopping trip. It was like a perfect neurological storm.
Bawitdaba! Why couldn’t I take a walk on the wild side and combine the research and science. Yes, as a matter of fact, I did have 10-minutes in the morning. On top of that, interval training works for same basic reasons you use more gas in stop and go traffic – your body isn’t as efficient, and YES! The more muscle weight you carry, the more calories you burn!
That was my big “ah-ha” moment. The moment that I knew I was on to something special.
Can you explain what metabolic training is?
Metabolic training is a way of training that taxes your energy systems with short, but intense workouts. Basically, when you crank up the intensity, you can not only burn more calories faster during the workout (up to 300% more in just 1/4 of the time) but also long after the workout is over.
Many of the ‘experts’ tend to simplify your metabolism down to the number of calories you burn each day. But that’s like saying I can describe the climate of Hawaii by telling you the temperature. Is it windy? How humid is it? Is the sun shining?
So sure, your total metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn in any given time period – for most people we measure calories burned per day.
It’s made up of your resting metabolic rate, the calories you burn from digesting food, and the calories you burn from exercising.
But it’s also how you use your stored calories (are the calories you burning coming from fat, glycogen or muscle?) and how you store the calories you’re eating – as fat or muscle.
This part of your metabolism is controlled largely by your hormones. And these can be triggered by when, how long and how intense you exercise. It’s one big eco-system.
Metabolic training cranks up the calories you burn from exercise, and increases the calories you burn at rest. At the same time, it’s designed to maximize fat loss while maintaining (and even building) your hard earned muscle.
What’s the biggest benefit of metabolic training?
For me, it’s the fact that it minimizes the time you spend working out. Your typical workout one hour workout usually takes at least 2 hours. Whoa, stop the train! What? Yep, when you add in getting ready and travel time to and from the gym, you easily can add an hour on to your “one-hour workout.”
With metabolic training, you can get some pretty significant benefits with bodyweight and dumbbell workouts as short as even four-minutes. For example, most of the workouts in Metabolic Mayhem take 20 minutes or less and can be done with minimal equipment.
What does that mean? That means that, for the most part, your only travel time is to the basement and back – no more wasting time driving back and forth to the gym.
What would you tell someone who has a lot of weight to lose?
I’d start with this: You can do it. Don’t let doubt creep into your mind. I lost over 100 pounds. And now I’m running 12+ mile adventure races.
The second thing is this: For most of us, that weight didn’t show up overnight. You can’t expect it to come off overnight either. Think of it like this. If you set out to drive from New York to Los Angeles at night, you’d do it with your headlights on. You may only be able to see 200 feet in front of you at any given time. But you can get all the way across America that way. And what happens if you make a wrong turn, you wouldn’t panic and go all the way back to New York, would you? Of course not. You’d correct your course and continue on your journey.
That’s what it’s like losing a lot of weight. Take it slow – a pound at a time – and if you get off course, correct what went wrong and continue on your journey. Always focus on hitting that short term goal. But know where you are with your long term goal as well.
Can you be fit and still carry a lot of fat?
I sure hope so! But seriously, I guess it depends on what your definition of “a lot” and “fit” is. I know some pretty heavy people that are in great shape.
I like food as much as the next person. And when I’m not going hardcore training for a race, I can creep up to 17, 18, 19, 20% body fat or so. For a 200 pound person, that’s as much as 40 pounds of fat. Is that a lot? I don’t know. I don’t think so. I like the way I look in the mirror most days. I’m not looking to be on the cover of Men’s Health or anything.
Am I fit? You bet I am.
The question I like to answer is, do I have to have a set of six-pack abs to be fit? No, not at all.
What diet did you follow to lose your weight?
I did a basic calorie and carbohydrate cycling plan to start that got more advanced over time. I lay it all out in Metabolic Mayhem.
You don’t want to start with intermittent fasting if you’ve never considered a low calorie and/or low carbohydrate plan. Just stop to think about that for a minute – I’ve seen people who are hammering back 4 and 5,000 calories per day say to me that they’re going to fast for a day. They barely make it past breakfast. That’s an advanced plan for most people. Instead, start by lowering your calories and cycling them with your activity. Then, once you have that down, cycle your carbs in a similar fashion. Then, if you’re up to it, try some intermittent fasting.
I like doing it this way because your body doesn’t hit equilibrium as quickly – I think the fitness folks say “homeostasis”, but I’m an economist, so we’ll go with equilibrium. You’re not eating a set amount of calories and carbs day in and day out – it changes.
The other good thing – for me, anyway – is that if you set up your cycles right, you can have a cheat day every week and still shed a lot of fat. That goes back to understanding how your hormones effect your metabolism.
If you want the details and a pretty detailed five-plan progression from calorie cycling all the way through intermittent fasting, then check out the nutrition guidelines in Metabolic Mayhem.
How important is nutrition in a body transformation?
This is a great question! Let me start with the old saying, “You can’t out train a bad diet.” I agree with this 100%. However, you can have a great diet, and once you shed your fat, you can just be skinny. If you want to have an athletic body – muscular, sleek, (gasp!) toned – then you have to do athletic, Metabolic Mayhem style workouts.
Nutrition alone won’t get you that. You need both. Anyone that says different is just not being honest.
That said, there’s a reason I included a ton of nutrition info in Metabolic Mayhem. Nutrition is half of the calories in vs. calories out equation. And your hormonal response to food is a huge driver in whether the weight your losing is coming from fat or muscle. If you get your nutrition right, you can maximize your fat loss response through what I call “Hormone Harmonics”. This is when your nutrition and workouts are in harmony and your hormones are primed for fat incineration.
Many “workout” programs try to upsell nutrition. I get where they’re coming from. But I wanted to be different. Metabolic Mayhem is a workout program that relies on solid nutrition. That’s the only way you’re going to get everything in sync as far as your hormones go – everything needs to be in harmony to maximize fat loss. You want “Hormone Harmonics”.
How important is nutrition to maintain a healthy weight and perform optimally?
I like to tell a story about coming off of a 12-mile Tough Mudder and, two weeks later rolling into a 4-mile Spartan Sprint race. I thought, “Screw it, it’s 4 miles. I can do that obstacle course in my sleep.” I showed up for my noon start time having only had two peanut butter cups and a cup of coffee that day. Worst mistake ever. My per mile time was by far the slowest of any race I’ve done – and all of the others were 12-miles are farther. Nutrition is key for performance. Key. I can’t stress that enough. I was stubborn and had to learn the hard way.
As far as maintaining a healthy weight, you still have to watch what you’re eating. But maintaining is a bit easier than losing. You just have to make sure you don’t overdo it too often. Keep working out and keep eating healthy on most days, and you should do fine.
Any words of advice on staying motivated?
Losing fat and maximizing fitness does have to be a priority for you. After family and career, it was definitely third for me. And there wasn’t a close fourth.
After that, pick a program and stick to it. You have to be serious enough about your transformation to be able to say no to the double-burger at lunch when you’re out with your coworkers, or, better yet, to pack your own healthy lunch and get a quick, 10-minute Metabolic Shred Circuit in during lunch.
There’s a saying I like to use: I’ve never regretted a workout I’ve done. The corollary to that is that I’ve never regretted not eating the slice of pizza/hamburger/milkshake I’ve skipped.
Decide to change your body and then take focused, relentless action.