A+A versus Metcons

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Eric, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. Eric

    Eric Double-Digit Post Count


    I've been doing S&S now for a couple months or so. I plan to get a heart rate monitor to try and stay in the MAF zone while doing the swings. (i.e. stay in the Alactic + Aerobic zones and out of the Anaerobic one)

    One thing I seem to notice is weight loss is not great on S&S and that's one of my goals. So I added in High Intensity Interval Training on a bike one day a week in place of S&S. Interval training on a cardio machine lives up to the hype in my experience - it decreases body weight (hopefully most of it from fat)

    So a couple things occurred to me:

    One, maybe I've been foolish to use the bike for HIIT. I suspect the kettlebell is one of the finest metabolic conditioning tools available.

    And two, if fat loss is the primary goal, would it make sense to do kettlebell metcons (e.g. Pat Flynn's stuff) two to three times a week until the fat loss goals are met and THEN move to A+A training in S&S where the primary goal is obviously strength. (It's in the title of the company :)

    Or maybe do one metcon a week while on S&S. It could even be done with the S&S protocol by super-setting the swings with the get-ups and trying to move through the full workout as quickly as possibly while maintaining safety. I think it would be best to do this on the final workout of the week. I suspect few people do S&S 7 days a week.

    Any thoughts?

    Best Regards,
  2. Anna C

    Anna C Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum Certified Instructor

    That would be my suggestion. Once a week, or once every 2 weeks.

    Some S&S options:
    • Test yourself with 10 x 10 swings in 5 minutes with a weight you "own" (and 10 getups in 10 min)
    • Do the non-stop swings prescribed in S&S every 2 weeks, as many swings in a row without setting the bell down as you can do (and then your getups)
    • "Simply Sinister" The Simply Sinister Training Plan and a video of my first try at it: Simply Sinister trial I've done it several times since then and really like it. Yesterday I did a 5 swings + 5 snatch variant that also worked out well.
    Since these take less time than the average S&S session, it's good to add in a little LSD cardio on the same day too. I like to do a little before to fire up the aerobic system AND a little afterwards so that I'm not going from a hard effort to "done". Use a row, run, or bike ride as a nice cool-down to get rid of any byproducts of glycolysis from the metcon session.

    As far as the weight loss, my body seems to naturally adjust perfectly to whatever my activity is, maintaining my weight wherever it is. If I want to lose, I have to diet, regardless of the exercise. So, what kind of exercise is good for weight loss? Any exercise... along with a controlled diet... IMO. But if I had to point to one, I'd say that LSD cardio (HR at or below MAF value) does work well, particularly done in the morning in a fasted state.
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  3. Kettlebelephant

    Kettlebelephant Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    It doesn't.
    5-10min of HIIT doesn't burn more calories than e.g. a 30min S&S session (swings + TGUs) or jogging or whatever comes to your mind.
    Everything more than 10min can't be considered HIIT anymore.
    Even considering things like EPOC, which is highly debated, HIIT doesn't burn enough calories to lead to more fat loss than other methods.
    Fat loss is 80% kitchen 20% exercise and it doesn't really matter what you do for those 20%.
    Most of it actually comes from carbs, stored as glycogen in your muscle cells. During HIIT you mainly use glycogen as fuel.
    I think it also corelates with stored water in your muscles cells. So if you experience weight loss it's mostly just glycogen and water. You can store ~400g of glycogen in your muscles, add lost water weight to it and an intense HIIT session will leave you 500g-1Kg lighter than before, but none of it is fat loss, which is your real goal.

    It second @Anna C s recommendatio of HIIT/Metcon one per week or once per 2 weeks to reap a lot of the benefits of HIIT without too much of the negative side effects. You can read a lot about both (benefits, negatives) here on the forum.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
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  4. pet'

    pet' Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum


    In addition to the above, diet is also a significant factor regarding to weight loss. Then, what is your "nutrition plan" ?

    Kind regards,

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  5. Tony Gracia

    Tony Gracia Double-Digit Post Count Team Leader Certified Instructor

    I have the same thought/question at @pet' ... what is the nutrition like? That is the first place to start when looking at losing weight imo.
  6. Wesker11

    Wesker11 Helping Make Others Stronger

    I've gone from 21% body fat to 12% in four months doing nothing but S&S. Fat loss is 90% diet and 10% exercise. S&S is not to blame for your lack of weight loss.
  7. jhpowers

    jhpowers Triple-Digit Post Count

    I've got to ask how you did that (nutrition wise). Initially lost some fat on S & S but then my hunger caught up. I've toyed with training on a calorie deficit but it really worsens my recovery from the workouts.
    banzaiengr likes this.
  8. Sean M

    Sean M Helping Make Others Stronger

    Similar here, except 30% to ~20% in the same period. S&S is 80-90% of my training. A little loaded carries and occassional (once a week) sprint intervals. Intermittent fasting 5 days a week (16-20 hours) and low-glycemic when I do eat.

    @Eric, couple thoughts:
    - Increasing strength means more muscle, and muscle hardens your body against insulin resistance
    - Insulin is the fat storage hormone. High insulin prevents your body from using fat stores for energy.
    - Insulin resistance can be reversed by cutting sugars from the diet and fasting. More time with low insulin means more time burning fat. It's why you can survive a night's sleep and feel/look/weigh lowest in the morning.
    - Metcons do burn mostly sugar, specifically muscle glycogen. It's better than nothing - the sugar from eating after a metcon goes to replenish muscle glycogen, not get stored as fat. But you need to do more to get at the stored fat.
    - Best thing I and others on this forum have found is fasting for 16-24 hours once or several days a week. Pair that with low-carb high (good) fat diet, and your body will switch from sugar to fat as the primary fuel source.
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  9. Jeffro

    Jeffro Triple-Digit Post Count

    I did 24ish% to 17 on ROP, 18 to 14% (so far) on S&S.
    IMHO for all practical purposes weight loss is nothing but diet.
    For me revovery is mostly managed via weight, pace, and sleep. I also take bcaa, some people say it helps with recovery, I dunno, but use it anyway.

    Hunger is managed 90% by getting used to being hungry. Sorry, not being a smart a#@, but really, its ok to be hungry. I learned that on IF years ago, and it works fine for me. You shouldnt starve yourself and you wont, so just get over being hungry for a few hours here and there. Other 10% is managed via coffee, green tea, immediately available protein (canned tuna, chicken, protein shake) or fat (avacado, MCT oil, nuts) and enough experience to know how your body will react if you are hungry and eat a serving of protein and/or fat and stop. Eat a can of tuna and walk away, it takes me 10-15 minutes, but then the hunger is gone. No need for a full meal all the time. Some raw veggies if you repond more to bulk. Dont like plain, raw veggies? Good, you wont eat too much! In fact, I find it liberating to not eat so often, and am amused when I interact with people who seem to have no time in their life for anything but eating. Breakfast, coffee break with snack, lunch, afternoon snack, 5:00 drinks, appetizers, dinner, desert, midnight snacks; good grief, how do you squeeze a life in between all that eating!

    Granted, everyone is different, and 24% isnt all that much fat compared to some and Im sure that makes a difference, so this is just my experience.
  10. taedoju

    taedoju Helping Make Others Stronger Certified Instructor

    Many ways to do it, Yo got three things when it comes to fat loss
    -> calories in deficit
    -> strength Training
    -> inefficient exercise
    You can do:
    Diet + pat flyn complexes - hard diet hard workouts - give yourself 4-5 weeks and kill it
    Diet + SS- hard diet , medium workouts - give yourself 6 weeks try plan which Anna C suggested
    Diet + SS- easy diet , easy workouts longer time but easier to do.
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  11. conor78

    conor78 Strong Member of the Forum

    Dan John writes about this in one of his books, about pairing heavy workouts with tough diet protocols such as the warrior diet. IF is easy to follow although if you were following a heavy protocol recovery would be tough. S/S with a reasonable diet and some LSS will push things in the right direction. Incorporating pull ups can be a useful addition as for anyone I train with the pull up is the one exercise that really seesm to stimulate upper body change. Try using Mfitness pal for a week and you'll get an idea of how many cals you're consuming. I don't track all the time but its useful for a reality check if the scale is creeping north.
  12. Wesker11

    Wesker11 Helping Make Others Stronger

    I followed the slow carb diet by Tim Ferris. I also added two or three 20-24 hour fasts a week to his diet. I regularly eat 4000+ calories on my cheat day and the weight is still dropping.
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  13. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Staff Member Senior Instructor

    @Eric, how tall are you, what do you weight, do you have an approximate bodyfat percentage you can tell us, and what weight are you using for S&S? And please post a video of you doing some swings.

  14. GeoffreyLevens

    GeoffreyLevens Strong Member of the Forum

    Going around feeling hungry all the time is a ticket to diet failure. What is needed is an eating plan (for your lifetime) that is easy and simple, satisfying, and can give you a mild calorie deficit. The answer is plants, lots of plants i.e. vegetables. Fill up on them at every meal including breakfast. Some fruit too! Small amount of heavier starchy foods, nuts/seeds, and "protein" (less than 5-10% total calories of animal sourced foods) will get you there SO LONG AS IT IS ALL WHOLE FOODS, MINIMALLY PROCESSED, AS CLOSE TO NATURAL STATE AS POSSIBLE. No added oils or fats (butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc) and no added sweeteners. Some tastebud retraining my be necessary but can be done without too much upset. If hungry after finish a meal...eat more! But make it salad without oil or fatty dressing. Need dessert? Have a piece of fruit!
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  15. wespom9

    wespom9 Helping Make Others Stronger

    What's your training history? I ask because that may play a role in how many higher intensity sessions you can handle. Otherwise, lots of good advice here. Experience tells me much of your fat loss will come from diet, as echoed by all others here.
  16. Jeffro

    Jeffro Triple-Digit Post Count

    I should clarify that I feel 2 different kinds of hunger. Usually the feeling that makes me say "I'm hungry" is the sensation of an empty stomach. This is hunger that I've learned to embrace even when not trying to lose fat. Walking around with the sensation of an empty stomach is not bad at all. And it lets you learn how the other hungry actually feels, and how to fuel your body accornldingly. The other kind of hunger is the kind that makes me say "I need some food". Low energy, foggy brain, moody etc. I don't suggest you go through life like that!

    I've known many adults that don't even recognize the 2nd kind of hunger. They get "hangry" and don't know it, think they need afternoon coffee, feel like they "earned" a candy bar, whatever. They just need fuel, often because they are crashing from eating a sugar breakfast just because their stomach was empty when they woke up.
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  17. Kettlebelephant

    Kettlebelephant Strong, Powerful Member of the Forum

    Sugar, artificial sweeteners, transfats, preservatives and all those other things mess with humans natural feeling of hunger to the point that modern westeners don't know the difference between appetite, cravings and real hunger anymore...
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  18. pet'

    pet' Strong, Powerful, Explosively Athletic Member of the Forum


    When I ran paleo diet, at least 50% of my plates were filled with veggies. To avoid any lacks, I mixed as much as I could the colors and mix fruits and vegetables.

    Then, threre are "simple rules" such as no comfort food, processed food, artificial sweeteners, etc.. Always favor "real food". When I am hungry, I always have in the backpack a fruit as a snack (for instance an apple)

    Kind regards,

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  19. Eric

    Eric Double-Digit Post Count

    Well since you asked :)

    I followed a ketogenic diet for the last few years (very low carb, moderate protein (70g/day), high fat) I believe it's a safe and effective nutritional plan. (You can refer to books by Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek). I bought a dual diabetic blood meter and ketone strips and measured my blood everyday to see if I was achieving the level of ketones recommended. Carbs at ~30g/day. Eat twice a day, lunch and dinner.

    However, I've recently changed my diet after listening to a podcast by Tim Ferriss of "the 4 day work week." He interviewed Jerzy Gregorek of "The Happy Body" program and it was a great listen. Tremendous guy who has had an amazing life. But the part that hit me in the face like a hammer was this - he went back to his native Poland from which he emigrated as a political refugee. He visited the family's cemetery and there were the head stones of his five uncles. He did some mental math and figured out they all died at 55. That was immediately alarming to him because he was 55. He asked what they died of - all the same thing ... prostate cancer! Well, Jerzy was off like a shot to his doctor when he got home - Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) was 9.5 (should be <4). The infamous digital exam revealed a hardened gland with nodes and nodules. Not good! They wanted to do biopsy but he said hold on - give me 6 months to figure this out. So he researched and researched and his answer was to become a vegan - no animal protein. Back to doctor after 6 months and PSA 5. Another 6 months PSA 1. And finally 0.1

    So to make long story unbearable I've become a vegan. Very strong history of prostate cancer on my Dad's side. I'm going to see if it lowers my PSA which is currently 0.8.

    Whew. Not kettlebell related and of limited value to the women in the audience for which I apologize. But maybe some men out there with strong prostate cancer history will get something out of it.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2017
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  20. Eric

    Eric Double-Digit Post Count

    Hi Steve,

    I'm 54 years old, 5'10" and on my best day (last Friday morning) weighted 168.5 pounds. I did hydrostatic body composition testing a number of years ago - it said my lean tissue weighed 145 pounds.

    The weight is coming off but losing belly fat is so darn hard as you get older - don't want to be "skinny fat".

    I agree with the various poster's concerns about HIIT. It will predominantly burn sugar stored in the muscles. And since I don't each much protein (70g/day to down regular mTOR) maybe my liver is burning through some lean tissue to replace the sugar stores of the lean tissue which is left. Not good.

    I've decided to be patient and let diet and S&S do its work. I weighed 198 pounds on January 1 so the final weight is always hardest to lose.

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