For most of my clients, weight loss is a primary concern but not for all. Antero is one such client. When we met, it was obvious that he really didn’t have that much weight to lose. In choosing HIT strength training, he had other objectives in mind, namely strength, longevity & low inflammation.
Weight & Waist Loss
By adopting an LIHF diet and commencing HIT strength training, Antero very quickly [within 2-3 months] lost 6kg in weight and over 10cm from his waist. When he started training with Ultimate Fitness, Finland, his waist/ height ratio was 0.52. As of writing, it stands at a fabulous 0.46.
“Big 5” Strength Gains
Antero’s strength gains have been impressive:-
- Seated row: 66% increase
- Chest Press: 20% increase
- Pull Down: 42% increase
- Overhead Press [handstands]: N/A, see below..
- Leg Press: 33% increase
With all of my clients, I give them the option of either sticking with the overhead press throughout their training OR switching to handstands , after initially starting out on OP. I found that in my own training this was a superior protocol, and I was keen to try it out on my clients. Antero is one of them. We start very simply by having the client walk their feet up a wall, whilst facing the wall. Then we start to walk inwards with the hands, all the while maintaining a nice rigid body posture. Each week, we try to get as close to the wall as possible, eventually getting close enough to “kiss” it. Once that has been achieved, we turn around to face the other way and the client starts to “flick” the legs up against the wall, with my assistance if necessary. This very quickly builds core, shoulder and upper body strength. We do as many sets as possible, right up until failure with 30 second intervals. For monitoring progress & strength gains, we simply measure distance to wall & number of sets to failure. Antero has gone from 2 to 7 sets and is already “flicking” nicely into the wall after only 3 months on this protocol. Handstands have been a very popular choice for those clients who have chosen to do them.
We’re at the stage now where the training needs to be constantly changed in order to produce further gains in strength. The client must never be allowed to rest on their laurels and get “comfortable” with any particular protocol. This is how regressions occur! I now have a very detailed training record for Antero which allows me to plan months in advance. I share this plan and all other results with the client and we always discuss progress and options together. In this way, clients remain informed, motivated and engaged.
I’ll leave the rest of this post to Antero, in his own words:-
1. What made you decide to start HIT strength training and what were/ are your goals?
I saw one of Dr. Doug McGuff`s [Body by Science] seminars and it sounded very interesting. Then I saw Dr Antti Heikkilä`s post where he explained that Nick is also using Dr. McGuff`s training method i.e. high intensity strength training. When I met Nick, he told me all about the LIHF diet and the 15 minute HIT workouts he was doing, and I was sold! My first goal was to lose some weight, which I have already achieved, but now it’s longevity, a good health-span and strong muscles, with an equally strong & robust metabolism to support them.
2. Have you had a personal trainer before? What kind of workouts did you do with them and how successful was this?
I tried an on-line training program once, about a year ago. It contained a lot of different weekly workouts. Since I consider myself a person who doesn’t like exercising at all, it was way too much for me. I simply don’t have the time or the inclination to work out 4-6 times a week, at over an hour per session! I didn’t get anything out of it and so I stopped.
3. What kind of diet are you on now and how often do you eat?
I’m on an LIHF, zero carb, meat and water diet. If I’m at home I eat twice a day, breakfast and dinner. However, I travel quite a bit for my job and this diet allows me the flexibility of eating only once a day if I have to, which is great.
4. How much weight have you lost and, apart from this, what other benefits have you noticed?
I have lost about 6 kg in weight but, more importantly, I have lost over 10 cm from my waist. I´m 53 years old and I´m in better shape now than I was in my 30`s!
5. How do you find the workouts?
The workouts are always very hard and intense, and that’s how they are meant to be. I always try to give my very best, because I know I will be getting at least a full week’s rest between workouts. I find that I always have the energy, strength & motivation to provide the level of commitment required in order to get the results I’m seeing.
6. People say it is impossible to obtain any health benefits on just 15 mins HIT strength training/ week. What do you say to this?
I say that it is definitely possible; I feel better, I look better and I can actually see my muscles again! Not only that but other people, my wife and friends, have also told me that I have changed. However, most important of all, through LIHF & HIT strength training, I believe that I’ve finally found a lifestyle & exercise regime that I really enjoy, gets great results & is sustainable in the long run.
7. How do you view the relative importance of diet & exercise? Do you believe one is more important than the other and, if so, why?
I think diet plays a crucial role. I have tried several diets before, even lost some weight but then promptly gained it ALL back! I see other people training very hard but with little or no results, simply because they’re eating the wrong things. That’s why I love this method; keep your diet tight, train for only 15 mins/week and see the results!
8. How important do you think a state of low inflammation is in achieving a healthy lifestyle/ health-span? Do you think you have achieved/ are achieving that state?
I think it is very important. I have been sick for maybe only 1 day during this entire 9-month training period. My co-workers and wife, who are doing things differently, have been sick with the flu many times during the same time-frame. My wife once asked me, “how come you always just have a 24-hour flu, yet mine last 2 weeks or more?”. Perhaps it’s something to do with being on a low inflammation diet?
9. What are the benefits of having a personal HIT strength coach/ trainer?
The main benefit is that the trainer does all of the thinking for you. He or she decides the protocol of the day based on your training record so far, sets up the weights, records your performance and makes recommendations for the next and future, long-term sessions. As the client, all I have to do is turn up, give 110% over 15 minutes and then go home! Doing all of this by yourself would be very difficult. Ultimate Fitness also checks your diet & biometrics; weight, waist, blood tests, etc., and so all of the thinking is done for you. It makes my life very easy indeed.
10. Do you intend to continue HIT strength training, even after achieving all your goals and, if so, why?
Absolutely. My ultimate goal now is to enjoy a long and healthy life, and this is definitely the best way to achieve that.