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The Resistance Training Revolution
The No-Cardio Way to Burn Fat and Age-Proof Your Body—in Only 60 Minutes a Week
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- Hardcover $29.00 $37.00 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 27, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Tired of spending hours on the treadmill? Dealing with the joint paint of high impact exercise? And seeing very few results in terms of fat-burning and weight loss? If so, it’s time to join the revolution. Brought to you by Sal Di Stefano, the founder of the mega popular Mind Pump podcast, The Resistance Training Revolution reveals how resistance training is the best form of exercise to burn fat, boost metabolism, and achieve health benefits you cannot obtain from other forms of exercise.
Di Stefano breaks down fitness misconceptions, shares his decades of industry knowledge, and brings you a comprehensive, accessible guidebook that will give you the body you’ve always wanted—in as little as 60 minutes a week. This book features:
- Over 60 fat-burning, metabolism-boosting workouts you can do at home to sculpt your body and maximize your health and longevity
- Raw fitness truths that will show you what works and what doesn’t. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is to build lean muscle and lose fat once you understand these truths, and once you train your body the right way
- The newly discovered health benefits of resistance training in terms of heart health, bone strength, joint protection, and especially antiaging
- The exact formula for nutrition that makes losing fat, while sculpting your body a breeze and for the long term.
- Dozens of self-assessments to track your progress, and much more
THE METABOLIC FAT-BURNING SOLUTION
THE CARDIO CRAZE: WHY IT’S MAKING YOU FAT
You’ve just caught yourself reflected in your full-length mirror. What happened to that once-flat tummy that now hangs over your jeans? Or maybe your doctor said you need to shed some pounds and is worried about your ever-soaring blood sugar. Or perhaps someone snapped a photo of you recently, and it made you realize that maybe you let yourself go and should be doing something about it.
I’m no mind reader, but let me guess what you’re probably thinking: I need to do something about this! So, you decide to lace up your athletic shoes and start walking or jogging, and go on a diet. Or maybe you’re ready to pull out that treadmill that has been gathering dust in your basement.
All good, but time-out! Yes, it’s great that you want to lose body fat and get in better shape. Good for you! I commend you. But slow down! The exercise choices you make now can determine whether you lose weight and get fit temporarily or forever.
Much of the motivation behind weight loss and fitness for many people comes from a place of hating their body and hating the way they look. And that is okay (for now!). But don’t let those feelings drive you to make decisions that are not necessarily the best ones for getting in shape. So, if you’re eyeing your treadmill or ready to do laps around your neighborhood, you are about to head down the wrong road—the road of cardio exercise—to get to your goals.
As I emphasized in the introduction: focusing on cardio activity for fat loss is a fantastic way to fail at fat loss. Before I explain the reason for my shocking statement, let’s have a heart-to-heart talk about cardio exercise and why it does not work as well as you might think.
Cardio, also called aerobic exercise, is any form of repetitive body movement over a period of time that promotes the circulation of oxygen through your blood. Aerobic means “with oxygen.” When you perform cardio exercise, you breathe faster, so you inhale more oxygen. Your heart beats harder too. This gives your heart a good workout. Your heart becomes more efficient at taking in oxygen and supplying it to every part of your body. Examples of cardio exercise are walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rowing, and aerobic dance classes.
I bet a lot of people have told you, “You must do cardio to lose weight.” This is untrue. The cardio–fat loss relationship is greatly misunderstood. In fact, cardio is absolutely the wrong form of exercise for fat loss, especially in the context of the modern lives we lead. Let me elaborate.
Up until twelve thousand years ago, all humans were hunter-gatherers. Their environment was busy and very active, and food was scarce. They moved a lot just to get even a few calories to sustain them.
Our ancient relatives had to walk miles to get water, find edible plants, and forage for seeds, berries, and other plant foods since agriculture had not yet been invented. They had to hunt for animals and eat their flesh for food and calories. After spearing an animal, they had to track or run it down until it collapsed from exhaustion.
You’d think they burned a lot of calories from walking, running, and being on the move, right? But this is not what happened. Their body became very efficient at using the few calories on which they survived; they took in just enough to support their high level of activity. Their body (and ours) learned how to burn fewer and fewer calories so as to survive off the few calories that they were able to catch or forage for.
Unlike that of our hunter-gatherer days, modern life is busy but very inactive, and food is everywhere. We mostly hunt and gather at the drive-thru. Cars and other vehicles have seeped into our culture to such a degree that if we could walk or bike somewhere, we don’t. Social media and the rise of online shopping have made us even more immobile. We used to have to leave our home to go shopping or meet our friends, but now we do it all over a device while sitting on our couch. And, of course, watching TV for hours on end is a national pastime. Our sedentary environment encourages obesity, and the current obesity epidemic does not show any real signs of slowing down.
Very important: we are also surrounded by easily accessible and highly palatable foods—fast food, junk food, processed food, and sugar-laced food. Within a mile or two of your front door, you can probably grab a double cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake. At no time in human history has this ever been the case. In bygone days, food was hard to come by, and even harder to get. Prehistoric life meant prolonged stretches of near-starvation, surviving on much-needed reserves of fat tissue.
Nor was food ever this palatable. We now have foods that are combinations of flavors, textures, tastes, and aromas that literally hijack our body’s natural system of satiety (which is the technical term for feeling full). Typically packaged in boxes, wrappers, and other containers, those same foods are also engineered to be addictive.
In fact, multiple studies in lab rats show that they can get hooked on junk food in the same way that they become addicted to heroin and other drugs of abuse. So, we have a lot of rodents running around craving bacon, Twinkies, and Tater Tots. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not.
Studies on humans are even more revealing. Research shows that people will naturally eat roughly 500 more calories every single day when their diet is high in processed, ultrapalatable foods.
Think about it this way: If I took 2,000 calories’ worth of plain, white boiled potatoes—no salt, no butter, nothing—and I put them in front of you, and told you to eat it all in thirty minutes, it would be impossible. You’d gag, palate fatigue would kick in, and you’d wave your white napkin in surrender.
But if I served you the same potatoes, but fried, salted, and processed in the form of a bag of potato chips (that’s four to five potatoes), I guarantee you’d be able to wolf down the whole bag—and maybe within ten minutes. I’m not picking on anyone. I’ve done something similar myself.
So, here we are—sedentary and exposed to food that is highly palatable and ready to grab, practically on every street corner. No wonder it’s so easy to pack on pounds and even harder to take them off.
So, what is a body to do in this day and age?
The very best insurance against these modern-life factors is to protect yourself with a faster metabolism. But that won’t happen unless you kiss your treadmill (and other cardio stuff) good-bye.
CARDIO SLOWS YOUR METABOLISM
Metabolism is the sum of all the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that convert food into energy. Simply put, it is a food-to-fuel process. The body needs this fuel to do everything from moving to thinking to growing. When someone tells you, “I have a slow metabolism,” what they are actually saying is that their body burns calories very slowly, and this is why it may be difficult for them to burn fat. This person’s body burns fewer calories than other similarly built people do. In other words, they have an efficient calorie-burning body, not unlike a hybrid electric car. Efficient does not mean “good” or “positive”; it means that there is a slowdown in calorie-burning.
The fact that their body is very efficient with calories would have been an advantage in ancient times, when food was scarce. Remember, our ancestors needed lots of calories to hunt, gather, and move the tribe from place to place in search of new hunting grounds for food and survival. So, a metabolism that quickly reduced its energy needs was a good thing in hunter-gatherer days. Over time, the human body evolved to burn fewer calories—the result of thousands of years of evolution.
But in our modern, sedentary society where food is plentiful, tasty, and fattening, this is now a detriment. You don’t want an efficient metabolism; you want a metabolism that burns a lot of calories, even if you just sit at your desk at work. Under these circumstances, an efficient, or slow metabolism is a disadvantage because it increases the propensity to store fat and all the negative side effects that come with that—obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other casualties of an unhealthy lifestyle.
So, the challenge is to abstain from food rather than find it.
Exercise, if you choose the right type, can really fire up your metabolism so that you burn fat readily. But the one form of exercise that does not accelerate your metabolism is cardio.
First, when you do any form of exercise, it stresses the body. Cardio does this in ways that make you better at cardio. Sensing this stress, the body aims to become more resilient to this stress so it can better handle it next time around. This is why you get better at exercise when you are consistent.
When you first do cardiovascular activity, you breathe hard, your muscles burn, and the activity feels just plain difficult. But over time, the exercise gets easier, and your only option from that point forward is to continuously do more and more cardio. This is your body adapting to the stress.
Look at it this way: Imagine if gas were superexpensive, like $150 a gallon. Would sales of V8 trucks drop? Of course, they would. Instead you would see sales of superefficient cars go up, or people would use public transportation, or just walk. We would have to adapt our behavior to make up for having to buy expensive gas. This is similar to what happens when our body is forced to adapt.
Second, cardio sends a signal to the body. This signal says, “Become good at this activity.” Getting good at cardio means using less energy while doing it. With cardio sending this signal, your body adapts by sparing calories and pares down its primary calorie-burning tissue, muscle. This is why long-distance runners have skinny, sticklike legs with very little muscle. The hours and hours of cardio are making their body more efficient at saving calories, by slowing down their metabolism.
As part of this adaptation, the metabolic rate slows down because metabolism-boosting muscle is being sacrificed. This makes fat loss harder.
Burning fat becomes far more challenging if the metabolic fire is weak. This would be like trying to burn wood for warmth without the flame. It won’t happen.
Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself? You start jogging regularly to lose weight, and it works, at first. But then things slow down, and progress comes to a grinding stop. Frustrating, isn’t it?
Your body is undergoing metabolic adaptation, in which it slows down its calorie burn by reducing muscle mass. In extreme cases, such as prisoners of war, individuals have been able to survive on only hundreds of calories a day, but they were left with a weak body devoid of muscle mass. You need to prevent this from happening, or you will have a slower metabolism, and losing fat will become much harder.
So, with cardio, your body thus becomes very efficient at storing more calories and it becomes better at burning fewer calories. At the same time, you are losing muscle and muscle promotes a faster metabolism. The bottom line is that tons of cardio erodes muscle and slows down your metabolism, making long-term fat loss very difficult.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR METABOLISM SLOWS DOWN?
A couple of things. For starters, your body desperately holds onto fat. Years ago, I trained an experienced bikini competitor. Shelly came to me after her body started acting as if it did not belong to her anymore. She had done eight bikini competitions over the course of two years, almost winning a pro card in the process.
While prepping for her ninth show, her body stopped getting leaner and fat would not budge, regardless of what she did. In fact, she was gaining body fat, despite doing 90 to 120 minutes of cardio every day and following a very low-calorie diet that consisted of broccoli, lean chicken, and tilapia.
Shelly came to me in tears. “Sal, I don’t know what the heck is going on! I can’t exercise more, and I can’t eat less. I’m afraid that if I do, I’ll gain tons of weight. What should I do?”
Her metabolism had adapted and slowed down to a crawl. To “fix” her body, she had to do what many people feel is unthinkable: cut her cardio way down and start eating more.
That’s exactly what we did. I changed her exercise program and placed a special emphasis on building strength. I slowly increased her food intake. Here’s what happened: Shelly did gain weight, going from 130 to 134 pounds. But at 134, she looked smaller, tighter, and more sculpted than ever because she had put on more lean muscle weight, which is quite compact and denser than body fat.
I tell clients like Shelly: Stop trying to burn tons of calories with cardio. Instead, try to build metabolism-boosting muscle with the approach I will detail in the next chapter. You will learn how to exercise less, eat more, and boost your fat-burning to new levels of efficiency.
When your metabolism slows down and your body holds on to fat, you also look “soft” no matter how much weight you lose. Ask any good trainer who has worked in gyms for longer than a decade what a “cardio maniac” is. They will know exactly what you’re talking about. A cardio maniac is a person who comes into the gym religiously to exercise on a piece of cardio equipment for an hour or more every day. They all look the same. They have very little muscle. They have a flabby body. None of them is lean. In fact, most of them have excess body fat.
What is going on?
Honestly, when weight loss is your goal, it’s exciting to see the numbers on your scale start to drop. But shedding pounds does not necessarily mean your body will look the way you would like. I mean, you could cut your leg off, and you’d lose weight on the scale too. If cardio exercise is your main form of exercise, it can leave you with a soft-looking physique.
Your body composition—the ratio of fat to lean muscle tissue—determines your body shape. Ideally, you want to reduce body fat and increase muscle to improve your body composition. Cardio exercise, however, does the opposite—increases body fat and reduces muscle. This phenomenon indirectly increases body fat—which is why you will look soft.
In other words, all that work on the treadmill or elliptical might turn your body into a smaller but flabbier version of what it was before, instead of a tight, sculpted physique with very little body fat. Being soft and flabby is a major negative side effect of doing too much cardio exercise.
OTHER CARDIO CONCERNS NO ONE HAS TOLD YOU ABOUT
If your number one goal is fat loss—which it is for most men and women—and you are not an endurance athlete, cardio should not be the cornerstone of your workouts. I hope you get this.
Before we go any further, let me clarify something important: I am not saying you should never do cardio, and I am not trashing cardio. It does have its health benefits. In fact, a couple of thirty-minute sessions a week or some long walks are perfect for health. Cardio is one of the best workouts for building your cardiovascular strength (hence the name). It increases your lung capacity and helps normalize blood pressure. It floods your body with feel-good endorphins, relieving stress and making you feel great overall.
For these reasons, cardio is a useful form of exercise, but it should not be abused. At the risk of encouraging you to binge-watch Netflix on your couch, it’s not the actual cardio exercise that is the big problem; rather, the amount people do. Inappropriate amounts of cardio, without proper strength building, can result in some pretty serious health conditions, in addition to creating a slow metabolism. Take a look:
Heart complications. Studies have been conducted, looking at the other end of the exercise spectrum, to see whether more exercise is always better. One of these studies was published November 2017 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
Researchers found that people who exercised well over the national physical activity guidelines for many years were more likely to develop coronary artery calcification (CAC) by middle age. CAC, which is measured using CT scans, indicates that calcium-containing plaques are present in the arteries of the heart—a predictor of heart disease.
The study included almost 3,200 people. Researchers followed them for twenty-five years, starting when they were young adults. People who exercised three times the recommended amount—or the equivalent of 450 minutes a week of moderate cardio activity—had a 27 percent higher risk of developing CAC during the study period compared to those who exercised the least. Too much cardio over time is risky to your heart health!
Longevity issues. Exercise is supposed to promote longevity, right? Well, it depends. Studies have found that high doses of physical activity may do the opposite.
In one such study—the Copenhagen City Heart Study—moderate joggers (who jogged at an average pace three to four hours a week) had a threefold increased risk of dying early compared to light joggers (who performed light physical activity less than two and a half hours a week). For strenuous joggers, the risk of dying was nine times higher. (Strenuous joggers ran at 7 miles per hour on average, for more than four hours a week.)
The researchers concluded: “On the basis of current knowledge, if the goal is to decrease the risk of death and improve life expectancy, going for a leisurely jog a few times per week at a moderate pace is a good strategy. Higher doses of running are not only unnecessary but may also erode some of the remarkable longevity benefits conferred by lower doses of running.”
Repetitive stress injuries. Over the past thirty-five years, the number of Americans who jog or run has risen twentyfold. In 2018, the number of US joggers and runners was estimated to be nearly sixty million. I’m glad that so many people are moving their body. But this activity can come at a price to your joints. Depending on what kind of cardio you do, your ankles, knees, hips, and lower back can take a real beating. Cycling can create poor posture in your shoulders and back. Even swimming, a form of cardio credited with being joint friendly, can cause shoulder issues over time.
These problems occur because cardio usually has a set type of movement that you do repetitively with no regard for balance. For example, running uses the legs and upper body in the same ways over and over again. To prevent overuse injuries, you need balance with your movements.
Low energy. Listen to your body for noticeable decreases in your energy levels. Your body cannot adequately recover from a demanding cardio program if you are simultaneously dealing with other stressors in your life. As a result, you get tired, worn-out, and prone to illness and injury.
As a rule of thumb, if exercise recharges your energy levels and makes you feel revitalized, then that’s a sign that it’s doing you good. But if you’re overly exhausted afterward, it may be taxing your body and depleting vital energy reserves.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY TO LOSE BODY FAT, GET HEALTHY, AND FIGHT AGING
Given that cardio slows your metabolism, making fat gain easier and creating a soft body, and has health deficits, is there a better way to work out?
Absolutely. There is a superior method of exercising that just happens to be the only form of activity, according to research, that speeds up your metabolism and keeps you in a fat-burning state, plus improves your health and longevity. And you do not have to spend hours doing it; you can spend as little or as much time as your schedule allows. If you stick with it, in just several months, you can amplify your calorie burn by hundreds to thousands of calories a week, on average.
Imagine burning more calories automatically. Imagine having a faster metabolism. Imagine making your body resistant to gaining fat. Imagine eating more foods but getting leaner because your metabolism burned off those calories.
Sound like something you are ready to do?
Then, let’s go. There’s no better training method for fat loss than what you are about to learn.
DO WHAT YOU’RE NOT DOING TO BURN FAT
If cardio is the absolute worst choice for losing body fat, what is the best type of exercise for long-term fat loss?
In simplest terms: whatever builds muscle. Muscles are very important, metabolically active tissue. This means they burn a lot of calories just to maintain themselves. If your body doesn’t think it needs muscle, it gets rid of it and won’t waste precious calories maintaining it.
When this happens, you’re sending the following signal to your body: “Hey, body, my muscle tissue isn’t useful.” That is the wrong signal to send, by the way. Your body then responds, or adapts, to this signal by deconstructing that tissue—a loss that results in less muscle, more body fat, weak bones, and a generally flabby physique.
Your body will have as much muscle and strength as it deems necessary. If you do not give your body a reason to have strong muscles, you will lose muscular size, strength, and calorie burn.
If you have ever broken an arm or a leg and had to wear a cast, you were probably shocked at just how much muscle and strength were lost in a relatively short time. Muscle is expensive, and without sending the right signal, your body will reduce your muscle mass in an attempt to slow down your metabolism.
Fortunately, we know how to prevent and cure those conditions, and it has a name: resistance training, also called weight training, strength training, bodybuilding, or just lifting weights.
Don’t let the fancy names throw you. Resistance training is simply working against a type of force that resists your movement. If it initially conjures up weight benches and barbells, you’re right—partially. Sure, resistance training includes traditional weight lifting, but don’t forget about dumbbells, resistance bands, even exercise using your own bodyweight. All it takes to count as “resistance training” is a force pushing back on the force you’re generating, performed in a way that promotes strength gain.
When you do resistance training properly, you send the right signal to your body: build muscle and strength. For that to happen, two main adaptations need to occur. The first signal is central nervous system (CNS) adaptation.
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. The brain is like a computer that regulates the body’s duties, and the nervous system is like a network that relays messages to parts of the body.
Try this experiment: With one hand, take an object and squeeze it as hard as you can, except make sure the rest of your entire body is completely relaxed. This hard is to do at first because your natural instinct is to tense up the rest of your body, including your face. Now, repeat the squeeze, but this time squeeze your entire body along with your grip. You probably noticed that you were significantly stronger when you tensed up your entire body vs. when only your grip was activated.
- “Stop those mindless hours of ‘cardio’ and make real gains in health and weight loss by adopting Sal DiStefano's enlightening advice to adopt resistance exercise. Sal dashes widely held misconceptions about exercise and describes why aerobic exercise can be counterproductive, even detrimental, and why resistance exercise that builds muscle is key to weight loss, metabolic health, even healthy aging.”—William Davis, MD, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Wheat Belly book series and Undoctored
“This book is a clear and practical guide to training your body and your mind with simple, proven steps based in science. Sal Di Stefano’s raw fitness truths about motivation, resistance training and intuitive eating can help anyone, at any age, at any level.”—Jason Fung, MD, physician, New York Times bestselling author
- “Sal is one of my favorite fitness authorities. In The Resistance Training Revolution, he explains why lifting weights or using resistance is the best form of exercise for health, fat loss and longevity for people of all walks of life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in improving their health who also doesn’t have hours a week to dedicate to fitness.”—Dr. Jolene Brighten, author of Beyond the Pill
- "You don't just read this book—you do it, and you get the body you’ve always wanted. It's never too late to get into great shape, so this is a must-read for anyone at any age who wants to lose fat, build muscle, and get strong...for life."—Michael Matthews, bestselling fitness author and founder of Legion Athletics
- “Sal Di Stefano is brilliant and my go-to source for all things fitness. He bridges a crucial divide, presenting cutting edge fat loss techniques while keeping in sight the science of living and aging well. We live in challenging times, and Sal expresses a true understanding of the hurdles real people must go through in order to see results today. Anyone who reads this book and follows Sal’s advice will see improvements right away, both in mindset and in the mirror.”—Max Lugavere, author of Genius Foods and The Genius Life
- On Sale
- Apr 27, 2021
- Page Count
- 336 pages
- Hachette Go