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The 10 Commandments of Effective Fitness

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

If in-your-face fitness expert Adam Zickerman has his way, his tombstone epitaph will read: He made sedentary, fat women understand they need to weight train to lose weight.

It may seem a little off the wall, but then so does the author’s controversial stance against cardio activity. Zickerman has basically labeled heart-pumping, sweat-beading cardio exercise ineffective.

He's not about to win a popularity contest among fitness experts. He says his goal is to simply help overweight men and women make the most of their fitness experience.

On CNN’s Crossfire he squared off with cardio queen Denise Austin. Even though his views were in total contrast with those of the perky blonde proponent of aerobics, his mere presence on the show was enough proof that Zickerman has arrived as a respected figure in the field of fitness.

His workout program is being taken very seriously. Zickerman has thousands of clients and his new book is racing up the best-seller charts. He won't stop pressing until he undoes everything you’ve ever come to believe about the benefits of cardio.

So what’s his beef with sweating to the oldies or kicking it up a notch at Jazzercise? Zickerman simply stands by his belief that cardio is not the shining beacon of metabolism-revving weight loss. Just do the math, he says. If you burn a couple hundred calories doing 45 minutes of cardio, and there are 3,500 calories in a pound, imagine how long it will take you to burn five pounds.

Zickerman, the owner and founder of InForm Fitness Studios and the author of Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution (HarperCollins), is a major proponent of the philosophy that less is definitely more. Forget exercising five days a week, 30 minutes a day. By his standards, all you need is 20 minutes weight training, once or twice a week. He stresses very slow movements. The gold standard: 10 seconds up and 10 seconds down. Yep, each rep in his plan takes 20 seconds.

Another difference of established fitness opinion: Zickerman does not call for a warm-up period. Also, his routines involve no herky-jerky up-and-down movements. Instead, you’re moving in slow motion, emphasizing each and every movement. Your muscles sustain a constant, steady load for five to eight reps so you end up getting the most from your moves, according to Zickerman.

When it comes to reaping the maximum benefits of physical fitness, the party line has moved away from cardio and toward weight-bearing exercises over the last few years, he says. That’s partly because there's evidence that lifting weights tones muscles, increases bone density, prevents heart disease, boosts the metabolism and much more. Zickerman says he has taken the most recent findings on weight training and put a personal twist on them.

“What makes my weight training program so different than every single thing out there is that we don’t emphasize the number of reps or the amount of weight as the end goal itself,” Zickerman tells eDiets. “What you want to go for is muscle fatigue. It’s quality not quantity.”

Although the benefits of strength training have become common knowledge, there are still those individuals who continue to swear by cardio. And that will be their downfall, insists the well-built promoter of the Zickerman method.

He notes: “Not enough people realize that strength training is the key to fitness. There are those who will finally say to themselves, ‘I’m sick of this weight. I’ve got to lose 30 pounds. I’m going to start doing some cardio.’ That’s their first thought. Then they get frustrated when they don’t lose. They think diet and cardio will make them lose weight. Meanwhile, they’re probably losing just as much as they would had they adjusted their diet alone.

“They think walking on the treadmill three times a week at a low intensity is doing a lot for them. Little do they know...”

Zickerman says to get in the best shape of your life, you should included three core pillars into your routine: exercise, nutrition, and rest and recovery. The only diet he advocates is a well-balanced meal plan that includes six small meals a day. The resting period is perhaps one of the most crucial points of his program. While most fitness regimens advocate resting 24 to 48 hours, Zickerman believes it takes double that time to recover.

The more intense the exercise is, the more intense the rest has to be," he explains. "You have to take it more seriously in order to not burn yourself out. Sleep, massage, yoga, stretching, meditation and breathing are good things to control the heart rate.

Take the time you would normally spend at the gym and put that toward rest and recovery activities, he says. To find out if you’re on the right track when it comes to fitness, check out Zickerman’s 10 commandments.

The 10 Commandments of Power-of-10

1. The Speed Commandment: Thou Shalt Perform Repetitions That Are 10 Seconds Up, 10 Seconds Down.

2. The Breathing Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Hold Your Breath, but Shall Breathe Freely and Evenly, Always.

3. The Motion Commandment: Thou Shalt Never Jerk The Weights Up or Down, but Shall Be Smooth and Constant.

4. The Number of Reps Commandment: Thou Shalt Do the Number of Reps It Takes for Your Muscles to Run Out of Gas, Until You Cannot Do Another One; Then Try to Push for 10 More Seconds.

5. The Number Of Exercises Per Workout Commandment: Thou Shalt Be Done After About 6 Different Exercises or Sets If You Work Out Correctly.

6. The Correct Weight Commandment: Thou Shalt Choose a Weight Where You Reach Your Limit at About 6 to 8 Reps When You First Begin Training.

7. The No-Stopping Commandment: Thou Shalt Move Quickly from Exercise To Exercise Until The Workout Is Done.

8. The Focus Commandment: Thou Shalt Have a Zen-like Focus at All Times to Concentrate on Form, Motion and Speed.

9. The Number-Of-Workouts-Per-Week Commandment: Thou Shalt Do About One Workout Per Week -- Resting in Between for 5 to 7 days; However, You Mayest Do a Lighter Workout, Twice a Week, If You Feel Like It.

10. The Equipment Commandment: Thou Shalt Do Best and Be Safest If You Use Machines; However, Ill Also Show You How to Do It At Home.

What eDiets Says...
by Raphael Calzadilla
eDiets Fitness Expert

“When one is attempting to reach low body fat levels, cardiovascular exercise is necessary. It is a fact that many people perform excessive amounts of cardio to lose body fat and sacrifice much needed muscle tissue. Muscle tissue actually helps the body burn additional calories per day and excessive cardio works against this.

“However, one must be careful when promoting an ‘all or nothing’ training philosophy. The key to successful body fat loss is intense weight training, moderate amounts of cardiovascular exercise and proper nutrition that places one in a calorie deficit to achieve low body fat levels. In addition, one would have to place rigid demands on their day-to-day caloric intake without moderate amounts of cardio. Also, when performed in moderation, cardio helps to significantly increase energy. Balance is the key, not total elimination.”

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