High Performance Vegan Letters

The Best Cardio Protocol To Burn Fat and Monk-Mind Powers

Published 20 days ago • 5 min read

The Best Cardio Protocol To Burn Fat and Monk-Mind Powers

Date: February 9th, 2024

Read time: 5 minutes

Last weekend, my wife and I left the state.

We went to Knoxville, Tennesse, to have a base close to the Smoky Mountains for hiking.

We had planned an end-of-year celebration to acknowledge our growth in 2023, but this got pushed out every weekend in January.

Until I realized we wouldn't go on the trip unless we booked it and scheduled it.

Once it was booked - it became real.

We couldn't move it (since we were invested in the process).

Once you invest in yourself and your health - it becomes the same way.

Nearly everyone talks about getting healthier, stronger, and fitter each year, but those people have stopped talking by February and March.

The humans who invest in themselves and their continued growth each year succeed repeatedly.

If it's not scheduled into your calendar, it's not real.

Workouts, meal prep, shopping, sleep, etc., can all be made into concrete, actionable steps when we schedule them.

I'm also excited about a recent investment I made into my health and reconnected with a prior mentor I worked with three years ago.

I'll document each step of the process with Dr. Haun and look forward to sharing some of the updates with you, too.

Finally - I've been secretly running a health and nutrition experiment on myself for the past 4 weeks.

While far from complete, I'm also looking forward to sharing some of my biggest insights and lessons over the next 3-6 months as results pour in.

In conclusion, we wouldn't have gone away for the weekend and explored the Smoky Mountains National Park if it hadn't been scheduled and we hadn't invested in the trip.

Make your goals into concrete, actionable steps - then take action on them.

Lesson: If it's not scheduled and you don't have skin in the game - you're probably not going to do it.

Here's Your 5 Minute Friday:

The Best Cardio Protocol To Burn Fat

The 1-minute workout protocol is one of the most effective ways to use cardio to burn fat.

To be clear - in order to drop fat tissue, you need to be in a caloric deficit.

No deficit = no fat loss/weight loss.

However, provided this is in place, AND you're lifting weights, you can accelerate the process even more using the 1-minute workout protocol.

Pioneered by Dr. Martin Gibala, the 1-minute workout is a form of interval training or HIIT.

The reason why it's so effective?

You can get similar benefits as steady-state, long-form cardio in a fraction of the time.

As a busy human with little to no extra time each weekday, that's very attractive to me.

However, this doesn't mean steady-state cardio doesn't have a place.

It's just not as efficient for tapping into body fat storage, especially the leaner you get.

Conversely, interval training does tap into lower body fat storage (again, provided you're in deficit & lifting), activating some of the stubborn fat areas that are resistant to coming off.

A side note: for females who want to get VERY lean (15-18% body fat), you may need to incorporate some steady-state cardio (longer cardio).

This is because, as men and women, we have different body fat patterns.

Most females (not all) tend to store body fat in their lower bodies (glutes, legs, etc), while most men (not all) store body fat in their upper body and belly.

Again, there are differences per individual, but if you've noticed your legs are the LAST to drop body fat or your lower belly is the LAST to go, that may be your particular body fat pattern.

Back to the 1-minute workout - here's how it works (courtesy of LesMills):

  • There’s evidence that three super short workouts a week can generate a lot of the same fitness benefits that come from 150 minutes of traditional moderate intensity exercise a week.
  • If you’re wanting the benefits of short burst exercise you need to go hard. We’re talking all-out effort for 20 seconds (three times over).
  • Extremely short, extremely intense workouts are not necessarily for everyone, every day – but they are a valid option. So on days when you’re time-pressed and you might otherwise blow off a workout, intervals can be a really good choice.
  • There’s a misconception that HIIT is just for regular exercisers and athletes, but anyone can adopt interval training principles. The untrained can benefit by simply as walking around the block, picking up the pace and then backing off.
  • The potential for injury is higher with more intense, impactful exercise. Intervals of cycling, rowing, even in the pool, are all valid ways that you can apply interval training in a less weight-bearing manner.
  • Variety is key. The sweet spot is considered 20-25 minutes of intervals, ranging from as low as 30 seconds to as long as four minutes.

A 1-minute workout can be as little as 5-10 minutes max or as high as 20-25 minutes.

Again, it depends on your time budget, goals, and the timeline you have for your results.

Since it came up while doing this research, one interesting thought to add to this was whether interval training could be dangerous.

The risk is minimal if you use less impactful exercise modalities like cycling, rowing, pool, elliptical exercise, boxing, etc.

The greater risk would come from being sedentary and obese with rising health concerns.

If you're starting with interval training, I suggest choosing a standard for yourself each week.

Commit to 1x, 2x, or 3x weekly (or whatever your standard is), but refuse to go beneath your standard once you set it.

Build your nonnegotiables, then go and practice them.

Monk-Mind Powers

This was an article I found interesting this week.

While not a direct reference to nutrition or fitness, I thought this was a helpful reminder of our minds' capabilities.

The monks in this study were brought into a cold room while scantily clothed.

With sensors and monitors placed on the monks, they were carefully watched as attendants placed cold, wet blankets on the meditators.

Within hours, the monks had steam leaving their bodies and had completely dried the blankets on them.

Using a Tibetan meditation style, they could dry themselves and stay warm even in freezing temperatures.

What fascinates me is the reminder of what we're all capable of.

We haven't scratched the surface of our true potential for most of us.

For many Buddhist monks, they recognize that the reality we live in isn't as real as we believe it to be.

Our emotional states and how we use our minds, especially in the West, indicate how disconnected we are from our bodies and reality.

And while many people may say that only certain people have these abilities, my question is, have you even tried?

Have you tried meditation for years?

Have you tried self-examination for decades?

Have you tried exploring outside your comfort zone for a long period?

There's no right or wrong here.

It's just self-reflection available for those of us who are curious.

If you'd like to read the full story on the study of this group of monks by Harvard Gazette, click here to read more.

One Quote To Finish Your Week Strong

"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."
- Earl Nightingale

Be curious.

And bring wonder to your world.

What else are you capable of?

- Gabriel

Whenever you're ready, there are three ways I can help you:

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High Performance Vegan Letters

by Gabriel Zhanay

Join the top 1% of plant-based founders, leaders, and creators. Every week, you'll receive practical advice on how to build muscle, get lean, and build a high-performance body that fuels your busy plant-based lifestyle.

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