Chad Waterbury is becoming a big name in the fitness and performance business. He’s written for T-muscle.com, Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness, as well as authoring a few books. I own one of them, Muscle Revolution. I’ve been following Chad since his beginning days at T-Nation.com and I’ve always enjoyed his fresh ideas on working out.
On his website, Waterbury sets aside a page for fat loss research. Naturally, it was the first place I clicked.
Also naturally, I was let-down by there only being three studies listed, although he achieved slight redemption with a picture of one of my favorite UFC fighters, GSP – a rare class act.
“Now, hold on Matt. Maybe they’re three really good studies. Maybe they’re studies not rife with errors like many that you read. Maybe they’re reviews or meta-analyses – papers which draw conclusions from a culmination of other studies.”
I’ll admit the positive attitude I struggle to maintain may have slipped for a second and I had to talk myself back into positivity. I had to investigate before I became disappointed. I had to give Chad Waterbury a chance.
In this post, we’ll look at the first article he references:
Mazetti S, Douglass M, Yocum A, Harber M. Effect of Explosive versus Slow Contractions and Exercise Intensity on Energy Expenditure. Med Sci Sport Ex. 2007:29;1291-1301.
This group of researchers studies the effects of different intensity and repetition speeds of the squat exercise on energy expenditure both during and after exercise.
“Training slowly will make you slow, and research indicates that it might also keep you from losing more fat. When the squat speed between two groups were compared, the group that lifted faster burned more calories during and after the workout. So lift fast to burn fat fast! (Mazzetti et al Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007)”
In fact, the explosive training group did show higher energy expenditures at all points measured after baseline. However, at its widest margin, the explosive group burned about 1.2 more calories per minute than the slow training group. After the entire protocol (20 minutes of sitting + squat exercise + 60 minutes of sitting), the explosive training group burned about 223 calories, while the heavy, slow and control (nothing but sitting) groups burned about 210, 214 and 135 calories, respectively.
This is hardly impressive, although I have to point out that the actual exercise time is very short (about 8 minutes). It was during the second half of the exercise session where 1.2 more calories per minute were expended by the explosive group over the slow group. So let’s pretend this lasted for 60 minutes instead of 8. If you used the explosive technique, you’d burn a whopping 72 more calories than with the slow technique.
Well, now you can enjoy yourself a Dannon Light ‘n Fit! (that’s sarcasm, by the way)
At this rate, you’ll only have to exercise for 48 hours to reap the fat loss benefits of explosive training over your slow training counterparts. And by reap the benefits I mean burn an extra 3500 calories, thought to be equal to one pound of fat.
The extra calorie burn the explosive training group experienced is negligible in the real world. It’s more efficient to adhere to a strict dietary program.
Chad Waterbury is correct. Training slow makes you slow and training fast makes you fast. But, for fat burning purposes, when you weigh the slight benefit of increased energy expenditure against the potential injury threat of training fast, especially when unsupervised, it becomes a no-brainer. Exercise at a pace that is comfortable and safe for you and concentrate on nutrition.