When you learn from Fabio Comana, you are standing on the shoulders of giants. In this episode, Fabio discusses HIIT programming, energy systems of the body and breaks down several myths within the fitness industry.

Fabio Comana is a brilliant international presenter, media spokesperson, and accomplished author. He is a faculty instructor at San Diego State University, University of California at San Diego and NASM, and one of the leading course developers of almost all fitness specialized courses. Fabio is also a scientific advisor for Orange Theory Fitness, academic consultant with FEA Asia, and the creator of ACE’s IFT™ model & live educational workshops.

Topics Discussed in This Episode

  • Why understanding the body’s energy systems is important
  • The 5 tenets of programming
  • Energy System overview programming
  • ACE IFT Model
  • Talk test, VT1, VT2
  • The problems with HIIT Is EPOC training worth it?
  • Programming using heart rate zones
  • Fasted Cardio
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Steps to becoming a better fitness professional

Transcript below:

Karyn  0:05  

Welcome to Fit pro foundations, the podcast where you’ll hear fitness professionals provide the ideas and the inspiration behind their success. My name is Karyn Silenzi, and today it is my pleasure to introduce Fabio Comana Fabio is an international presenter media spokesperson, and accomplished author. He’s a faculty instructor at San Diego State University, the University of California at San Diego and NASM, and a scientific advisor for Orangetheory Fitness. He’s also the creator of ACE’s IFT model and live educational workshops. Fabio, welcome to the show 

Fabio 1:00

Karyn thank you so much for having me on your show. Honor and a privilege. 

Karyn 1:02

Oh, can I say that it’s absolutely the same here on my end because I have been listening to your presentations and reading your work, and following everything that you’ve been doing to the best of my ability, because I believe that you’re one of these individuals in the industry who believes in educating others so that we can bring the industry standards up and make health, wellness, fitness, available to everyone. 

Fabio 1:22

Yes, thank you for those kind words

Karyn 1:26

Today what we’re going to be talking a lot about is understanding the energy systems, because I think that this is very important when we’re talking about different intensities of exercise, what individuals are trying to accomplish within fitness, health, and wellness, and also just to raise the awareness of what all is going on and how we as fitness professionals can use this knowledge to give people a better experience. I’d love to start off with, asking you what you believe the importance of understanding the energy systems is all about.

Fabio  1:54  

So it’s interesting that when it comes to programming as fitness professionals, I think we are very competent in the programming as it pertains to the variables like load rate, volume sets, reps call it those things. But it’s interesting that much like you can have a car with a big engine, it needs fuel in order for that engine to work well on the human body, we need an energy pathway in order to allow us to do that mechanical work that we’re asking our muscles to do. 

And so when it comes to programming. I think it’s equally important that a good professional has a solid, and equal understanding – not just of the muscular system but also of what I call the metabolic system. And so when I look at programming I look at the big five. I call it the five tenants or the five domains. 

I look at mindfulness, which is just being self-aware of everything you’re doing, you know, getting the sleep, the recovery, eating. 

I look at mindset, that’s all the behavioral components of it. 

I look at movement in terms of how well we’re moving so that’s where movement screens and corrective exercise come in. 

And then I look at the last two which is really, they go hand in hand, it’s metabolism and muscle. Metabolism is the fuel that drives the motor which are the muscles, and you’ve got to have a comparable grasp of the science in each of those two components. You can’t have one without the other.

Karyn  3:17  

And I love the fact that those all start with the letter M – mindfulness, mindset, movement, metabolism, and muscle. So this is the foundation of when we’re talking about fitness professionals working with the general public. How deep do need that knowledge to go, and who is it going to be for?

Fabio  3:43  

You know, we don’t need to do a deep dive necessarily because when you get into the biochemistry of the energy pathways, it’s very convoluted, right? So I think we need to have enough competency, where we understand the application of that sites, and the problem I have Karyn is that, when you look at a general certification, and there’s a lot of good certifications out there, but when you look at the general certification preparation materials, let’s call it a personal training manual. When you look at the chapter that’s devoted to physiology, it’s usually one chapter that covers the entire, gambit of exercise and human physiology. 

Now, if you want to put it in perspective at a university, human physiology is taught us a separate class, and it’s usually a prerequisite to what we call exercise physiology, which is an entirely different class. In a normal university, you might have 90 hours, devoted to Human Physiology and Exercise Physiology. Now that’s the deep dive that I’m talking about and I don’t think we necessarily need that in fitness. But we need certainly a lot more than one chapter which is maybe two hours worth of reading.

What we need to do, especially with the energy systems, is just to dig down to understand the fundamentals of how they work, what is the role of lactate? Is it Friend or foe, how’s it made where is it made? What’s this idea of, if it’s friend, then how do we use it if it’s foe then, which it is not, then why, why do people believe it’s that? What’s the role of the mitochondria? How do fats get transported from the fat cell where we can pinch ourselves, and ultimately get burnt as fuel. And muscle cells, we should understand those basic fundamental concepts, but most importantly, we also need to have a strong understanding in the application of how those energy systems are used when it comes to work. What I mean by that is work to recovery ratios, and that’s something I really think fitness professionals missed the mark, they don’t fully understand this concept of, “Hey, I can use this energy system for work, but then I don’t quite understand how much recovery needs so that I can use it again”. Optimally,

Karyn  5:47  

Oh my goodness, yes, absolutely. 

I want to jump back to the discussion about the certification programs that individuals may go through one chapter on bioenergetics. And if people attend a workshop with an individual, a professional that can help them understand it, they have a much better grasp IF that individual themself understands that well. Otherwise, these people may be studying this chapter, all by themselves, and they may not have the understanding that really goes to what you’re speaking to. How does this relate to the work that I’m putting my clients and my members through? 

And it’s interesting because, so I teach certification courses here in Canada for personal training and for group fitness, and I love teaching the bioenergetics chapter, and I love seeing the light bulb go off over the top of people’s heads – because reading it is very different from someone explaining it to them in very sticky ways. Retaining that knowledge so that they can then apply it when it’s time to work, face to face with members. 

So let’s talk about this car analogy being fuel because, the energy delivery systems, they do not go from gear one to gear two to gear three, like a car would. Our primary energy delivery system is going to be contributing a majority of the work depending on the intensity or how quickly the body needs that work done. Have you found that you have any great analogies that you use with people when you’re talking about aerobic glycolysis, anaerobic work and ATP- CP?

Fabio  7:34  

You know, you’re right, it, it is a complex series of physiological events that have to be grasped. And the problem that we have in a traditional classroom or in a textbook is that it’s taught in a chronological fashion. And like you said, these energy systems don’t work necessarily always in a chronological system where, one only contributes here and then the other contributes there. 

The reality is, all energy systems are probably contributing at any point of time. If I get to the analogies, I’m just going to lay out one thing for you. I think one of the most kind of revealing, points that my students really grasp when I’m talking about bioenergetics is, introduce this concept and say “okay, let me ask you a simple question”, and you know Karyn, you and I could, mock this the scenario, and say “okay, here’s what I want you to do, I just want you to stand up and sit down 10 times”. 

So when you read this, you don’t have to physically do this, but you get the idea. So here I go, I have you stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down and, after 10 repetitions I may ask yourself a question “on a scale of 1-10 how difficult was that challenge?” 

And of course, most people are going to say well I was probably like a 1 right? It was relatively easy. And then my next follow-up question is, “what energy system do you think fueled that intensity?” And this is where we kind of have a breakdown because we’ve been kind of taught in some form shape or manner that aerobic energy pathways are used at lower intensities of exercise, and the anaerobic energy systems are used at higher intensities of exercise. And that’s in fact not true. 

If you were to kind of measure the total amount of calories that you expended in that 10 Sit to stands, the total calories might be small, it might be six or seven calories throughout that entire series of repetitions. But if we were to then gauge when most of that energy gets produced from, it would be the phosphagen system, which is your most anaerobic system. 

And the screen perplexes people because they sit there they go “Wait a minute, I’m doing a one out of 10 intensity and you’re telling me it’s predominantly anaerobic?”. 

Yes, and I think you hit the nail on the head you said, “when the body changes intensity or how quickly the body demands energy” and that’s I think something that we have to really appreciate is this is where we start to go wrong. 

The idea is this – anytime there’s a change of intensity, the reality is that our aerobic system is very slow to respond. I kind of paint this picture I say “Okay, think about this. If you need to produce more energy aerobically you need to get more oxygen down to the muscle cells. So let’s work backward and to think about how we’re going to get those additional molecules of oxygen out of the muscle cell. So if we’re working backward, you’re going to need better delivery from the cell wall to the mitochondria. Alright, that means there’s going to be systems that could have been involved in speeding up that process. Not only that, you’re going to have to have work, you’re going to need more oxygen being delivered to the muscle cells, so what does that take? That takes a lot of adaptations within the cardiovascular system, the heart has to pump faster, we have to vasodilate. And then let’s work backward from that. The oxygen has to get in the blood. So how do we do that? Well there’s ventilation but you’re gonna have to breathe more deeply.” 

So we saw, working this thing backward, and you start to understand why the aerobic system is slow adapting. So when you go from sitting to standing, or, standing at a traffic light and it turns green and you want to walk across the street, or you’re walking across campus or in your gym and suddenly you encounter a flight of stairs, you have an immediate demand for a different amount of energy that the aerobic system frankly just cannot deliver. 

And that’s where your anaerobic systems come in and it’s all about location. It’s kinda like real estate, right? Location, location, location. The reason why the phosphagen system is the most immediate is this: Number one, it’s a simple process. There are not multiple steps. Glycolysis is 10 steps, right? The metabolism of fats involves a complex process called beta-oxidation which is a slow methodical process. The phosphagen system is simple, it’s just splitting a molecule of ATP, and then splitting creatine phosphate which can just regenerate more ATP. So number one, it’s a rapid process but number two it’s also location. 

The ATP molecules are attached to the myosin heads with work actually happens in the muscle and the creatine phosphate is in the surrounding area in the immediate location. So it’s kind of like, we need delivery of a product at our gym. Well, we can either be prepared it in the backroom, or it’s going to be shipped in from across town. We know which is going to take longer. 

Well, the aerobic system is much like shipping it from across town. The mitochondria are located in close proximity but not in direct contact with the working contractile proteins. So if we’re making energy there, it then has to be shuttled over. That takes time. So we have to first appreciate that. 

From the moment we do any work regardless of the intensity, any change of intensity is going to be filled by your anaerobic systems and they work on a one-two punch,  the phosphagen system first. But it is rapidly depleting. And then the second anaerobic pathway, the glycolytic system, which is really the first step of all carbohydrate metabolism, then takes over and that carries the burden for about the next few minutes, right? And then at that point, it fatigues itself, for various reasons, and then the only option we have is to use the aerobic system. That’s why you look at this inverse relationship between intensity and duration – as you try and perform an activity for longer and longer periods of time, you cannot perform it at the same intensity. It’s a simple reason – it’s because the rate of energy production is not able to meet the demand for energy to do that work. It’s because your aerobic systems are fatiguing. So when you go for 30 seconds it’s fine, but if you try and maintain that same intensity for six minutes it’s not possible. You may give effort but you’re not giving the same intensity, and that’s where I think we really need to kind of hone in on first.

Because if you think – a lot of the exercise we’re doing is stop and start. Everything we do in the gym, well I shouldn’t say everything, but a majority of what we do in the gym, weight training interval type training, is all stop and start. It’s much like in a game of soccer, you know? I may ask a soccer coach, “you get your players out there, and they’re out there for 90 minutes. What energy system do you think they need to train”, and most people think logically 90 minutes that must be aerobic. But if you look at studies we’ve actually done, how athletes on a soccer pitch are expending the energy, it’s about 80% anaerobic. Because most of the energy is expended when they do those brief sprints with this action going on. And that’s when it counts for most of the energy during the game. And that’s all driven through the anaerobic pathway. So if we start there, Karyn, I think then we start to be able to kind of peel down a few more layers, and we start to get a clear understanding of “How am I programming and what kind of work to recovery ratios do I need to have, and what kind of recovery intervals do I need to implement?”

Karyn  14:07  

And what we’ll do here is, we’ll add a note about the different work to rest ratios in a link within the show notes. In my workshops, I actually have people doing the stand-up, sit down, stand up, sit down, and then to drill home the point of why people think, ATP-CP is all about high intensity. It’s again, that, that big change in state or how quickly you need that energy- even bringing in examples that people can relate to, like, driving the ball off the tee box in golf. That is ATP-CP but you’re not winded and you don’t necessarily need recovery after that. But again, it’s that, I need this energy quickly right now. 

You made an excellent point about the stop and start. I’ve done quite a few VO2 Max testing programs where we’re working with a metabolic cart. And it’s fascinating to see the respiratory exchange rates and that first minute. I’m on the bike so I’m going at a low watt because we’re ramping up, even pushing 50% of my FTP or my lactate threshold number, that first almost entire minute is all that anaerobic energy delivery. So I always think that fitness professionals, if they truly want to understand this concept and see it in action, they should get a VO2 max test done with the metabolic cart. But I realized not everyone works close to a laboratory that does it or a university and it’s also cost-prohibitive. 

Do you think that there’s value in fitness professionals doing VO2 Max testing, or can you suggest another way, where they can further grasp these concepts?

Fabio  16:05  

You know, I’m going to go back, I’m going to answer that question but I want to go back to what you said earlier. You talked about, taking a workshop or things of that nature. I think continuing education is not only advisable but I almost think it’s mandated. 

If you are someone who’s programming – because that one chapter that you’re getting in your certification preparation coursework is really not adequate to give you the full grasp of the depth and breadth of how the energy systems work, and I think as a continuing education class, or a continuing education opportunity, I would love to see more and more people, participating or attending, call it a four-hour six-hour workshop, because there’s so much to unravel. 

I mean, you mentioned the respiratory exchange ratio in VO2 Max. There’s so much scientific data that is applicable into practice, that they could benefit from that they just don’t get in that few pages or a chapter out of a certification preparation manual. Now, bringing it to life. I think VO2 Max – this is wonderful but it’s much like knowledge. People say “well knowledge is powerful”. Well, not necessarily if it’s not being used effectively. Now just because I contain knowledge doesn’t mean I’m going to be powerful with it.

Getting a VO2 Max test is a wonderful opportunity if you get that opportunity. It’s safe and appropriate and you have the means here so it’s accessibility, the financial, the capability of affording it, but then I think what’s important is for somebody to sit down with you and to go over the information because you can dissect so much data from a VO2 Max test. 

I can look at your ventilation curve, which is just simply measuring the volume of air that you’re putting out, and when I map that against other things like your VO2 in your VCO2 which is the volume of oxygen you’re consuming the volume of carbon dioxide you’re producing. I can then identify metabolically where your aerobic threshold is and your anaerobic threshold is. We can kind of look at all these different parameters, we can look at how efficient you are on utilizing fuels. There’s so much, Karyn that you can data collect and mine out of a VO2 test that I think, for someone who’s really involved in programming that $350 investment, coupled with some time with that administrator sitting down with you and kind of explaining it all to you can be a well worthwhile investment.

Karyn 18:40

And then of course, how do you then apply it to your clients? And I think that’s one of the things I loved the most about the ACE integrative fitness training model. Now did you develop this or you helped to develop it?

Fabio  18:26  

I was the original creator of it and of course no I couldn’t do it on my own. So once I had the vision of it or what it was and it was approved by the ACE board of directors, I then was able to recruit, specifically two individuals who really helped me build it out. And then, of course, what we did is we contracted out to other people to write chapters. I did a lot of the ghostwriting on some of the chapters but that was really the premise of it and the idea  – was to create much like we have in weight training where we have this systematic approach to going from training muscular stabilization and muscular endurance to muscular development, whether it’s hypertrophy than into strength and power, everything’s kind of a chronological or systematic approach. 

Well, the energy systems work the same way. They’re just a biological system. So what we did is we took some of the science that was out there we just built it into this kind of multistage model where we listed, we kind of help people to pinpoint what is the outcome you’re going after, and we created the systematic approach to improving the cardiovascular or the bioenergetic systems,

Karyn  19:28  

And if we were just to summarize what the IFT model looks like – you’re taking a look at the ventilatory threshold 1 (VT1) and the ventilatory threshold 2 (VT2) and breaking it up into those zones so that people can use the talk test, or breathing ease or difficulty, as a way of determining where they fall within those three zones?

Fabio  19:52  

From the original iteration that was created, I’ve now gone on and built a more advanced model. So I’ll kind of share with you – that advice for which is just really an improved iteration of what that original model was. So the idea is, you’re absolutely right, this idea of a talk test, has been validated probably ranging back over 20 to 30 years. There have been studies that have constantly validated it and validated it and the idea is this, it’s simply looking at your ability to talk continuously in relation to how you’re breathing. 

And if you think about it we talk during the expiration phase, so if at any point of time you’re producing large quantities of carbon dioxide, it’s going to really impose a challenge for you to be able to talk continuously because you’re going to have larger volumes of carbon dioxide that you need to remove from your lungs.  And think about what you do. What’s the natural, physiological response when Karyn, we need to remove a lot of co2? You’re probably going to have a forceful expiration and it’s going to happen pretty rapidly. Well if you think about those two things, it’s going to do what? Disrupt your ability to speak continuously. 

So the idea of a talk test is – where do we get you to a point where you find the ability to continuously. The original studies looked at 30 seconds of talking but we’ve identified that you can really pinpoint to challenge you’re talking within about 10 to 15 seconds so you don’t need to have 30 seconds, but it’s really a combination of you self-evaluating and then an administrator evaluating you in terms of your ability to recite something from memory, in a normal conversational manner. So I typically use the alphabet, A as for Apple. B is for boy. C is for cat. And I’ll kind of take you through that process, and you’re just reciting to me, what I’m doing is watching and listening. And if you breathe easy, it means that the production of carbon dioxide is very low, which means your intensity is lower and your primary fuel is fats. 

But as intensities get higher and higher and you start to switch to carbohydrates because frankly there are a more efficient fuel. And in that sense, what’s going to happen is your production of co2 is going to increase. And so now your breath rate and the rate at which you expel that air is going to increase. And now you’re going to start to see your talking become disjointed and so VT1 is marked where we start noticing your ability to talk continuously becoming uncomfortable to challenge it, right? Not difficult. 

So it would be if I was talking, for example, you can be doing this. (breath sounds). Not panting but you notice you can hear my breathing, you probably be able to visibly see me breathing. And if I was talking, it might be a little challenging. (talking sounds). You kind of hear how my words are getting a little different, a little challenging to kind of put out there. That’s where we look at VT2 and on. So that’s really the crossover point – where you’re losing fat as your primary fuel, and now carbohydrates are becoming your predominant fuel. And we mark that as Ventilatory Threshold 1. And it’s an important marker in training because at that point you’re digging into your glycogen reserves, which means you’re going to start running into the problem of glycogen depletion. 

Now we continue further and further, and we start getting to a point where we get to what’s called Ventilatory Threshold 2, and this is the point where now continuous talking is practically impossible. So it’s when you’re panting (breathe sounds), and you’re breathing out you’re hyperventilating there’s just no way you can put out anything more than maybe a string of a few words at a time. And so that’s Ventilatory Threshold 2. 

So these field tests that we’ve created, or, when I say we have been creative I should say scientists created, is really to identify VT1 and VT2. And then what we’ve done is we’ve built a model so, with the ACE IFT, we’ve built a simple model I’ve since gone on to build what I call a four-stage model where the stage below VT1 is really what we call your aerobic base, and this is much what we do with Orangetheory now. We’re kind of moving towards this. Then we have VT1 and then the area above, VT2 is called your zone four and that would be what we call anaerobic power. So in between, we have two training zones we have what’s called building cardiovascular efficiency or aerobic efficiency, and then we have built what we call anaerobic endurance. And so, in marathon running, they call this tempo runs, that would be zone three, which is your shorter higher tempo runs to build that tolerance for lactate. And then we have that, what some endurance athletes call longer slower days or longer slower distances, LSD, training, and that’s where we’ve trained just about VT1 just to improve your aerobic efficiency. So kind of taking what marathon runners have been doing for years, Tim Noakes, Jack Daniels, all these great run coaches have created over the years, and we just simplified it down into a four-zone model that’s just built around these two metabolic markers. 

And the two markers really. We only use a four-zone model for people that have performance goals. If you’re just dealing with general fitness and health for your clients, we just recommended a two-zone model. We just work with zone one and zone two and that’s what we want to measure is VT1, because that’s really helping your body become better at utilizing fats as a fuel. 

Because at the end of the day, your body burns when it’s fed but your body also learns to burn how it adapts to training. And if we teach it how to burn fat more efficiently in training that spills over into the other 23 hours of the day, and that really was the goal of creating a systematic approach to cardiovascular training.

Karyn  24:48  

And yet, when we look at programming in the industry today, there’s so much hype and so much focus on the afterburn and EPOC. And I’m not dissing any type of programming, but I do think that this is an area of the industry that is very, very misunderstood. 

So not everyone in our class can go and get the VO2 max testing, and then even if they do have that well, how the heck do you measure it with programming within your classes, or on the weight room floor? So, I love the concept of the four-zone model and when you were talking about it, it made me think of Stephen Seiler’s work. Because of course, so I do a lot of work with Hunter Allen’s and Dr. Coggins’ seven-zone model, but I really do like the simplicity of Steven Seilers’, and I think that they have merits to both. I like the simplicity and I love the fact that you’re able to take something that you can see happening and something that you can hear happening with the people in front of you, to determine where they’re at. 

HIIT protocols and cues. We talked about work to rest ratios, which I think is something that is very very misunderstood. I presented at a conference a session called HIIT or Miss, where we went through this in-depth and, again, the light bulbs going off over top. And these are fitness professionals that have been working in the industry for, some of them for up to 15-

20 years and they were like, “I had no idea”. And in my conference presentation, I actually used a quote of yours, and I credited it to you, I think I called you the most brilliant Exercise Physiologist in today’s time. I’d like to read it. 

“True HIIT has origins in performance whereby an athlete aims to get bigger, stronger, or faster or enhance sustained performance. Training purpose is to systematically overload the systems with intense training through repetition and then take appropriate recoveries to enable near maximal performance or sustained intensities. And the bottom line. This is not always what we are seeing done in workouts that are labeled HIIT…” 

Fabio 27:14

Absolutely. 

Karyn 27:15

…and it has a variety of consequences.” and I see it. I see it happening everywhere in the industry. So why don’t you tell us in your words, if you can sum up, what you think HIIT protocols should look like. 

Fabio  27:30

Sure. I think it’s interesting because HIIT training, first of all is not new. I mean, we’ve seen, there’s been research studies conducted in true HIIT format since the 1970s. But you know it’s interesting how things have a phase with a trend or they’re a fad and then they disappear. I mean, think of TABATA training, how popular it became in 2009, 2010, and then it kind of fizzled away. And the interesting thing is Tabata’s research was done in 1996, so it was 14 years before it became popular in fitness, so where was it hiding? 

And so the same thing we’ve kind of been this HIIT era right now, but I don’t look at HIIT as a fad, I look at it as a trend. And what I mean by trend is that it’s going to have sustaining power because the reality is, research does support that HIIT training – whether it’s bad HIIT or good HIIT, and we’ll get to that shortly, does have some recognized benefits. And a primary benefit is that you can achieve many benefits, I’m not going to say all benefits, but you can achieve many benefits in a compressed period of time, and in a compressed volume of training. 

And for a lot of people that really place in what they call opportunity cost, and in place to their schedules. Because I don’t have to commit 150 minutes I can get the same results in 25 minutes so why not? I’ve just freed up another 120 minutes to do what I want to do. With time being such a precious commodity, I think there’ll be lasting power. But when I look at the fitness industry I’ve seen two things evolving. You’re absolutely right, the fitness industry largely misunderstands HIIT, and as you read there from my writing, the roots of HIIT lie in sports conditioning. It’s simple, you are seeking to train at near maximal performance – I’m going to go and I’m gonna explain that term shortly. But the idea is, if your goal is to get bigger, stronger, faster – it comes out of athletics, athletic performance.

In the fitness industry, I’ve seen that these people that just hook line and sinker, have bought into this idea that it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, it’s interval training, it must be HIIT. I’m pushing myself as hard as I can. And then I see that a lot in group fitness, and the reason being is, I’m not slamming group fitness but I just don’t think that many group fitness instructors have the same level of science in their credentialing preparation as say the personal trainers do. And when I look at the personal trainers, those that have a college background or those that have taken time to learn more about the energy systems seem to kind of wag their finger, shake their finger at HIIT, and say “No that’s not HIIT”. 

And so you almost see this dichotomy where there are some people that haven’t studied the science and they’re just hook line and sinker bought into this concept of HIIT. And then there’s those that are starting to kind of throw up the red flags, and say “wait, wait, wait a minute, let’s look at this a little bit more closely”. And really that’s what I’m trying to do is to get more fitness professionals to throw up a red flag and say, “what exactly is HIIT?” and here’s an easy way to look at it. If you’re doing interval-based training, there are two things that really will tell you, the two caveats really look at progress. 

Number one, when you look at the word high intensity, intensity is objectively measured. I can measure that by how much weight you lift, how fast you run a 40, how much distance you can cover in 30 seconds, how much wattage you can put on a bike – those are all objectives you measure. If you take objective measurement out of the equation, then it’s no longer HIIT because now it’s just going to be effort. And the problem that we have is because people don’t understand work to recovery ratios of the anaerobic systems, is we just tell people to go as hard as they can. And what ends up happening is they give us effort but not give us intensity. And in fact, I conducted a little mini-study with some students at the university. We had people doing exactly that. By the end of the latter part of the workout, they were 42% of where they started. 

Now I don’t know in what world 42% is considered high intensity, to me, that’s under moderate, right? It’s because they were given the effort, but effort and intensity are not the same things nor do they represent the same number of calories. So that’s the first thing I would tell you is simply identify, are we measuring this work on intensity or effort because that’ll be a big differentiator right there. 

The second one is I look at the work to recovery intervals. And if you’re going to do work that’s going to go over four minutes and I noticed that your recovery intervals, beyond four minutes, are actually equal to or shorter than your work intervals, you’re not doing HIIT, you’re just doing high work rate workouts, which is fine. But then call it what it is. If you look at the studies that are really geared around high-intensity workouts, you might see work intervals that are 30 to 45 seconds but they’re coupled with recovery intervals that are three to four minutes. It’s much like an athlete if I take a wide receiver out onto the track and we say “listen, we’re going to work on your 40-yard sprints because you’re trying to get faster”. One of the objectives of HIIT training. And so this athlete may do a five-second sprint, it’s a little slow for a 40-yard athlete but let’s just call it five seconds for my math, right, and then you watch how long it is and before they take the next 40-yard sprint so they can give me their maximal performance, they might rest for 75 seconds to 85 seconds, which means they’re doing five seconds of work, roughly every 90 seconds. So let’s say I take them out there for 15 minutes. In 15 minutes, they did 10 intervals. So in 15 minutes, they get 50 seconds of work. Ten 5-second sprints, which means they technically were in recovery, walking around passively. Just moving around recovering for 14 of those 15 minutes. So I asked the question, how many calories did they really expend? Not many. 

HIIT training has never been about calories. The problem is the fitness industry has tried to make it about calories, and that’s where we’ve gone wrong. You mentioned EPOC, we misrepresent EPOCs, and we’ve tried to create this idea that if you do more work with short recoveries you’re going to burn more calories and that’s not necessarily true because if you’re jogging because you can no longer sprint, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re burning more calories. You might be burning a few more but every time you work or you’re working at much lower intensities, you don’t burn that many calories. EPOC is driven out of intensity. Look at the research studies out there, those workouts that help performance at higher intensities objectively measured and demonstrate the larger EPOCs than ones that are based off of volume. And we’ve got research studies that show that – LaForgia and all these people have done these types of studies to show that.

Karyn  33:21  

And it’s interesting. So I teach a lot of cycle classes, because cycling is one of those things that we can measure the watts. We can do baseline testing where we know what everyone’s lactate threshold is on the bike with respect to aerobic and anaerobic efforts, and I can also sneak in those two or three-minute recoveries without people throwing up their hands and saying, “we’re not doing enough work here”, because I think that when we’re looking at group fitness, in any of the other types of classes, if you were to ask your participants to recover or walk around or do low-intensity exercise for two to three minutes, they would freak out. I know this because I have done this in my classes – but if they’re working at the right intensity, they’ll need that recovery in order to repeat the effort. 

And that’s so critical, and as you mentioned, it is about intensity and that dichotomy between intensity and duration. If you’re telling me that you’re working at your VO2 Max for 20 minutes straight, I’m going to call it – I’m going to say “No, it’s not possible”. 

Fabio  34:37  

I will join you on that. I’ll take that bet with you. Karyn, so this is where we as professionals need to be smarter, right, and so we can, and I think you said it best. The fitness industry – I’m gonna just paraphrase on some of the things you said there – the fitness industry doesn’t have a tolerance for long recoveries because we need to keep moving to burn calories because we’ve sold our souls down the river for calories. We pursue the movement quantity and we forsaking movement quality, and so yeah our technique looks like crap but hey we’re doing more movement or getting more calories. And as I said, there’s not necessarily so. 

But we can still be smart, we can modify interval training, and I’m going to piggyback on, kind of what you were summarizing at the end there, they are variations of HIIT training we can do. There’s Variable Intensity Interval Training, where you can intentionally undulate, so when the person has gone hard for a few intervals and you know that they’re gassed, they don’t need to just go for effort. You can intentionally structure the next interval to be – keyword intentionally structure the next interval to be at a slightly lower intensity, therefore, affording them a little more recovery, so they can return back to higher intensity intervals. 

So there’s Variable Intensity Interval Training there’s variable recovery. No one ever said that your recoveries always have to be the same duration. If you love a 60-second on and a 60-second off, you might need to take a 180-second active recovery at some point. And you can do what you say – you disguise things. You can certainly do things like, I love doing things like Turkish get-ups and windmills and then focusing on the Type1 muscle fiber. Stabilization type stuff. And they think they’re working out, but in fact, what I’m doing is allowing their anaerobic pathways to recover. 

So we can do variable recovery, we can do variable intervals. You might be someone who loves the 60 on 60 off, 60 on 60 off. At some point, you might just drop in a few 30 on 60 off, 30 on 60 off. All you’re doing here is creating a more appropriate work to recovery ratio. 

And then the last one I love is what I call Variable Modality Training where I might take you into an intense block for like five or six minutes, knowing that I’ve just exhausted your anaerobic systems, and then we might do some type of training, a different block of training where we’re working a completely different set of muscle fibers – Type1 aerobic muscle fibers. So we might be doing the stabilization training or a number of light cardio, and then we go back into our anaerobic work, and we just undulate through the workout between aerobic and anaerobic focused or centric type training. 

These are ways that fitness professionals need to be smarter so that we can deliver the experience and get the results because the problem that we have with this idea of HIIT that’s in the fitness industry is that people are having inferior experiences, they put on a brave face in the class but when you survey them afterward, and we’ve seen studies on this, they’re not enjoying it, there’s a greater risk of injury. And if you were to look at EPOCs. EPOCs aren’t very big when people are giving you effort. So that would be my segue because you wanted to talk about EPOC

Karyn  37:13  

So, during one of my classes, I ran a bit of a social experiment. I don’t know, can I say that I use my fitness classes as a social experiment? We were doing intervals on the treadmills, and then on the floor, and because I always dictate how hard we’re going to work, and then how long the recovery is to work within those proper work to rest ratios, and this time I said, “so the way that we’re running today’s class is intuitive recovery,” because I was really curious to see if they would listen to their bodies or be compelled to do what their neighbor was doing. What do you think that they did? 

Fabio 38:00 

They were very competitive. 

Karyn 38:02

Very competitive! They were taking less recovery than I would have given them, and they were deeply influenced by the people immediately surrounding them.

So I do think that as fitness professionals we really do need to drive home the point that your gains will be greater if you give your body the proper amount of time to recover. But speaking about HIIT, and this misnomer or how the fitness industry has manipulated this training concept – because HIIT training has been around since almost 100 years. I read back into running studies where they were utilizing different types of interval training, and high-intensity interval training, over 100 years ago, it’s not a new concept whatsoever but somehow, the market has repackaged and repurposed this as being the way to work out. 

So you and I are both familiar with the Amy KNAB 2011 study, where she had a group of individuals spend time in a metabolic chamber in order to measure the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, what the true burn rate was. But what I found the most interesting about this study is, it was only at 70% of VO2 Max for 45 minutes. So we see people in these HIIT classes, absolutely killing themselves and putting in a lot of effort, as you say, perhaps not the intensity, when this study shows the amount of afterburn by holding that 45 minutes and 70% of VO2 Max. Do we have a responsibility to be bringing research and analysis to the public to let them know that the way that they’ve been taught to do it isn’t necessarily the way that will work best?

Fabio  40:00  

Absolutely. I think that’s the whole, that’s the whole point of science right, and research. Is to, continue this journey of exploration to discover, to really question, the prevailing theories, and you know, to reach some sort of consensus. 

And, you mentioned the Knab study and I’m just going to build on that. What made that study remarkable, because there’s been tons of EPOC studies, is that how the EPOC was measured was using a concept of what’s called direct calorimetry where they actually had people living in chambers, and that is considered to be the most accurate way to measure heat production in the body, which is EPOC, as opposed to just doing gas analysis that’s indirect calorimetry. And so these chambers are not cheap. They cost in the range of about a quarter million dollars, so that study makes it almost unique to itself. It used a unique, a more accurate way of assessing the EPOC than any other study.  

Because the problem with EPOC studies is twofold. Number one, it’s very difficult to do with interval-type training, because when they’re recovering, there’s EPOC, but then they go to work again. So how are you really measuring the EPOC? So most EPOC studies have to be done or the better EPOC studies are done through steady-state training which is what they did. They did 45 minutes at this intensity, but then you need to keep people in that environment for an extended period of time. Well,  how do you do it, how do you ask a person just to sit in the lab? Well, what they did in this thing is they built a chamber that people essentially lived in the chamber, and went about their activities. They were just asked to be rested and they were able to just relax and rest for the ensuing, the average time that the remainder of the chamber was 14 hours. 

Now, to that that study, it showed a dramatic EPOC at 70, you know, at a submaximal, 70% of you have to Max 70 to 73% of the VO2 Max, which is where they were training at. They were reaching intensities of about 88% of their max true max heart rate. The interesting thing in this study is that the EPOC was 37% of the energy they burnt in the study. So, the energy that burnt in the workout. So the workout expended 519 calories on average, the EPOC was 190 calories. But if you put that in perspective, it was 190 calories extended over 14 hours. 

Now, EPOC’s not linear. It’s obviously the rapid phase shows demonstrated EPOC in the first hour and then it gradually diminishes but if you were to just average that out, Karyn 190 calories over 14 hours gives you an average of about 13 and a half calories an hour. Now, I want people to know what 13 and a half calories is, it’s two and a half minutes of walking, it’s a little over half a starburst. 

We shouldn’t sell the farm on EPOCs, I mean, even though this was a landmark study, it demonstrated that EPOCs are not as significant as people think. You know when people talk about EPOCs to elevate for 24 to 48 hours that’s bad research from the 1980s and early 1990s. Technology improved and we look at the more recent EPOC studies. The EPOCs are generally much smaller, they can be inside of 24 hours to inside of an hour. And generally, when we talk about how much is the EPOC, you’d be lucky if it represents 15 to 25% of the calories you burnt in a workout. So if you expended 500 calories in a workout, you’d be lucky if it’s 100 calories. We should not sell the farm on EPOC. EPOC is a component of total energy expenditure, but really, at the end of the day, it’s two to three pounds of energy in a year. Now I’m not going to downplay that but it’s also not going to be the game-changer.

Karyn 43:16  

Well the other risk with that is you see these people that do go really hard in these high intensity workouts, and yes, they may have that metabolic disturbance and slight elevated caloric burn, but if they’re so tired from their workout that they go home and lay down for two to three hours on the couch, what’s really being accomplished here?

Fabio 43:50

There you go. It’s negating, right? It’s a negating factor. Yeah, that’s a very good point to make.

Karyn 43:45 

My gosh, right? Here, I want to get into some myth busters when it comes to bioenergetics. And this one I – there is tremendous benefits in looking at heart rate response. However, if we’re using Fox and Haskell’s 220 Minus age, we know that there’s that 24 beats per minute that could actually sway from individual to individual. So there’s a high disparity within that formula. I like the Hunt Study model, are you familiar with the Hunt Study model? I found that one to work well for a number of people but I wanted to ask you – is there a better way of measuring, heart rate efforts?

Fabio  44:44  

The reason we use heart rate is because it’s so easy to measure. I mean, the reality is if we truly want to understand your metabolism, we want to assess Gas Utilization like oxygen utilization, but unfortunately, it’s prohibited in many manners. It’s expensive technology, you need expertise. So, what researchers discovered many years ago is that there is a somewhat linear relationship – keyword somewhat linear relationship – between heart rate and oxygen utilization during work. But here’s the catch, it does not apply to rest, and it does not apply at near maximal levels. There was what they call a heart rate threshold. In other words, heart rate can be used to estimate steady-state – keyword. In other words, anytime you are doing intervals where you are not at steady-state you cannot use heart rate. It is completely, absolutely, invalid to quantify calories from it. But people want to measure oxygen utilization. Why because from oxygen utilization, we can measure calories and that’s ultimately what everyone wants. But the things you have to appreciate is that you can only make this assertion or this assumption or estimate when heart rate is at steady state, in other words you’ve achieved some degree of work and you’ve been there for maybe, you know, could be anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes, and you’re now getting a steady-state heart rate response that correlates to oxygen utilization. And that only exists from low intensity through some near maximum, not maximal. 

So, a lot of these zone methodologies will estimate your calories all the way to your highest zone, like, oh when you’re in that zone five, you’re at 90% of your max heart rate. No, that heart rate threshold might be at 84%. It’s not a fixed number. So, we use heart rate because of its simplicity, but you are right, we build these zones based on an age-predicted formula. Now keep in mind, there’s at least 30 different max heart rate formulas and they all have different errors in their standard deviation, the standard error of the estimate. And they’re also validated using uniquely different population groups. 

You mentioned the Haskell and Fox model – the 220 minus age. You know, that was based on a very homogeneous population. Predominantly males who are older and they weren’t exactly healthy, and that’s not really applicable to push to the population. So there are better formulas out there – the Londeree and Moeschberger formula, the Tanaka formula, Inbar formula. These have much smaller standard errors of the estimate, but you still have to consider two things.

Number one, it’s still a mathematical calculation and what you’re saying is, every 35 year old has the same max heart rate – there’s no element of truth into that, number one. Number two, my biggest issue with percentage of max heart rate is that they don’t accommodate for discrepancies in resting heart rate. So for example if I had two people who, let’s say with a formula their max heart rate was estimated and I’m just going to make up a number 190 beats. I said listen I want you both at 70% of your max heart rate. So, if we were to get a calculator out, I’ll get my calculator right here 190 @ 70% I want you both at 133 beats per minute. So I’ve got you both training at 70% of your max heart rate, but what if person A’s resting heart rate was 55 and person B’s resting heart rate was 85, who’s doing more work to get to 133? 

So you see there’s this problem that it doesn’t accommodate for discrepancies in resting heart rate. So the reserve of work that has to be done to get to that target is going to be completely different. So my personal belief is that heart rate zones are, they’re horribly imperfect system, but until we get something better that’s what we’re kind of stuck with right? And that’s why in Orangetheory, we’re doing some unique things with VT1 and VT2. We’re customizing it to the individual, your VT1 and VT2 Karyn is unique to you and no one else. So if I build your zones around your VT1 and VT2, we’re now pinpointing the metabolic adaptations that are going to take place. 

It’s much like I put you in the gym, and I say here’s a 20 pound dumbbell, and you’re going to say “What am I going to get? Endurance out of this? For me to get strength out of this? Am I going to get power?”  I don’t know, let’s just see what happens. That’s kind of what we’re doing with heart rate zones because there’s no truth to what those numbers mean because we’re using a one size fits all, and we’re not even accommodating for so many variables that are flawed, like resting heart rate discrepancies, you know. Altitude even plays a difference in your max heart rate.

Karyn  48:46  

What you’ve eaten the day before, how hydrated you are, medicine, there’s just, there’s so many things, and I love the fact that you’re talking about the resting heart rate. I have zero issues getting up to my maximum, and my heart rate max that it has been tested in labs. So I am very familiar with knowing my ranges, and how quickly I’ll move through those ranges because I will go from my 40% up to my 75-80% really quickly, and then I’ll hang out – so I think even the zones themselves are a bit misleading because it is just like the energy systems. 

We don’t automatically switch from burning fat to burning carbohydrates once you hit a certain threshold, right, like there’s a whole bunch of different things happening inside your body that’s building up to that switch but it doesn’t mean that at 85%, boom, all of a sudden you’re burning only carbohydrates and at 84% you were mostly burning fats –  the body just doesn’t work that way. Yeah, so I love the fact that we’re talking about this because again I think that we have to understand that we can’t be so set in these belief systems that at this percentage or at this wattage, we’re necessarily working very different and very specific physiological systems. 

So fasted cardio for weight loss?

Fabio  51:023  

I will say this, I’m thankful that it’s a fad that has kind of run its course and it’s kind of disappearing. I mean it was popularized through the aesthetic, the fitness physique aesthetic world, and the idea was based on an element of truth, that after an overnight fast, we generally experience in elevation in cortisol. And cortisol is not a bad hormone. 

Cortisone is a very noble hormone and one of its key roles is to preserve blood glucose. So, in the early hours of the morning when your liver glycogen stores are becoming slowly depleted because, the liver tank is relatively small and it is the only reserve that you have that sustains blood sugar. Your muscles do not release glucose into circulation. Once you put carbohydrates into muscles they’re forever trapped in a muscle cell. So the liver is responsible for preserving blood sugar because if you don’t have blood sugar you don’t carry oxygen to the brain, because red blood cells only have one fuel – glucose. That’s it. Right? And so, in the early hours of the morning when the liver tank is getting towards empty, the body naturally releases cortisol and what cortisol is is a glucose sparer. And one of the things that does is tries to shift your metabolism over to saying, “Let’s burn more fats and preserve carbohydrates” and that’s where the fasted cardio world is really latched on. They’re like “oh if you go do your moderate intensity exercise before you eat in this fasted state, you’re going to burn more fat”. 

Well, scientists have started debunking this and so, the first thing to do is bring perspective. Let’s take a look at an example – I’m going to throw some numbers at you just to kind of put it into perspective. Let’s say ordinarily you go do your cardio on a given day, where you’ve eaten and you’ve got nutrition in your body, and let’s say the intensity that you’re training, you’re a 60/40 fat to carb burner, so you’re burning 60% of your fuels from fats 40% from carbs. Now, in the fasted state that number may change to 80%/20%, because of the influence of cortisol. So you might be burning 80% fats 20% carbs, okay, yeah, the argument is there. “Hey, aren’t I burning more fat?”. You are, but let’s put things in perspective. If I’m only burning 300 calories in that 30 minute cardio session, 60% of 300 versus 80% or 300, that’s any difference of about 60 calories. If you think about it, what does that mean in terms of weight loss? Well, if we use the standard 3500 calories is a pound means you’d have to do two months of training, roughly 60 sessions, just to get a pound. That victory is really insignificant, that’s the first thing, but you’ve also got to appreciate that there’s other things that cortisol does. 

Cortisol is not just simply a hormone that does one thing. Cortisol and the other domino effect that happens as a result of cortisol can also do other things like it can slow down your metabolism. Cortisol has a direct effect on impacting the production of what we call T3 and T4 through thyroid stimulating hormone. And so, in the morning part of the day your circadian rhythms are starting to wake you up and your metabolism is supposed to be naturally elevating and if I put elevated cortisol, it’s intentionally suppressing our metabolism. Which means just being awake you’re burning less calories than you are. So that’s already negating some of those calories that you’re looking to burn, and the list is endless. I mean this list could go on and on and on, right, in terms of that period of fasted cardio, you get a small miniscule victory by burning a few more calories of fat, but if you weigh that against all the the negatives of what the state puts you into, it’s actually a losing proposition, and that’s what scientists, actually science has proven to us. We’ve actually debunked this myth. That fasted cardio or, you know, fasting until later in the day is actually not a smart thing. I mean, the muscle protein synthesis rates we’ve noticed are best in the human body when you’re feeding every three hours. If you’re doing a 16/8 and waiting till 12 o’clock to eat or you’re doing fasted cardio, you’re depriving your body of any of these wonderful opportunities to undergo muscle protein synthesis. Your insulin sensitivity is greatest in the morning than it is later in the day. So if you ate 10 grams of sugar in the morning, versus 10 grams of sugar later in the day, you’re going to need more insulin to process that 10 grams of insulin later in the day and guess what insulin does? It inhibits fat metabolism. 

So you kind of see there’s a lot of science that’s really out there debunking this idea of fasted cardio or these time restricted feedings where people wait till 12 o’clock and then they eat from 12-8. These are all anecdotal but when you start digging down into the science, which is really where professionals should be going, we start to realize that a lot of these practices really just fail when it comes to them being evidence based. They’re being debunked.

Karyn  55:20  

And I think as well, with the hormone differences between men and women. Actually, intermittent fasting hits women harder than it does men just from a muscle loss standpoint, and from cortisol levels.

Fabio  55:36  

Yeah, but the one thing I do want to add is that intermittent fasting is just a placeholder name in dieting. Intermittent fasting represents an entire myriad of different types of of eating schedules because that’s what intermittent fasting is. So the time restricted feeding like the 16/8s – those really don’t have strong evidence around them right, especially when you’re doing back ending your carbohydrates later in the day. 

But these modified five/two where you’re doing some form of restricted calories during the fasting days – these things have a lot of science behind them. Alternate day fasting seems to have a little bit of science, you know there’s prolonged fasting regimens, I mean there’s a whole bunch of them. Some of them they lack scientific evidence supporting them, but some of them do actually have some techniques, and they seem to be the more moderate ones, tend to have a lot of scientific support behind them. 

Karyn 56:29

So, at the end of the day, do your research.

Fabio 56:30

Absolutely. Don’t trust, I mean your is not Facebook. I know Facebook is where you validate your, your existing belief systems, but if you are never going to question your existing belief systems, you’re never going to develop yourself professionally. 

I’ve had to do this my entire life. Things that I believed 15 years ago, I believe the complete opposite right now, and it’s because I had to trust that the science was telling me what was right and I’ve learned as the science evolves, that sometimes what we know is not necessarily right and it’s constantly changing. There were things I was probably saying 5-10 years ago that I would be debunking today because we have more knowledge about it.

Karyn  57:04  

Yes, You have explained the fitness industry, in a nutshell. That our understanding of the science is constantly changing and it’s important to have more research, and more research materials, and more research subjects. Because again, some of these older studies, primarily done just on men, when we know that it may have different impacts or effects on women because of the hormonal differences. So what are some ways that fitness professionals can immediately improve their practice, in your opinion?

Fabio  57:33  

Well, listening to podcasts like this is definitely a great start, because if anything, if I can just raise the flag, where you become a little bit more self-aware that man, I’m not quite sure I fully grasp this concept. Then it allows you to have the opportunity to identify weakness. 

And much like in business practice where a business will conduct a SWOT analysis, I always recommend that what you do – and I do this on an annual basis, I look at what my scope of practice is, what is it that I am required to do, what is it that I’ve been asked to do, and I kind of break it down into buckets. I can look at, okay so I’m focusing on nutrition and just nutrition for performance, I’m looking at, you know, weight management strategies and lifestyle and behavioral coaching. So I look at my individual buckets, things that I’m being held accountable for, people who are looking to me for information, and I do kind of a self assessment, I’ll do a SWOT analysis, where do I think my strengths lie, based on sometimes listening to other people is probably the best way where do they tell me I’m really strong, like you know you were kind enough today to pay me a compliment, that you believe that I have a very strong knowledge in the energy pathways, and so thank you for that, and so I would say well that seems to be a strength that I have. 

But then also try and recognize what my weaknesses are. Where are areas that are maybe getting more questions from my clients or my students or my peers, and I’m just not that competent or knowledgeable in those areas because to me every weakness is an opportunity to get better, and, and then I was looking at the threat. For example, the biggest threat we have in the industry right now is misinformation, right, because we’ve got too many influencers and not enough educators, right? And I think our biggest worry is that we are an industry that’s trying to earn the respect of other industries. Our, let’s call them our cousins, like physical therapy and medicine. Yet they look at us, they go, “But you guys are just a bunch of rogues, doing whatever you want to do without any rhyme or reason. We, as a practice are very disciplined and very systematic, and until you do that, the other communities are not going to respect the fitness industry”. 

So, as an industry we need to recognize that we’re our biggest threat. We are not scientific enough in what we do to gain the respect that we come up with demanding, and justly so, we don’t deserve it just yet. So to me it’s like you can do this for yourself and then of course the industry has to do it themselves, but I say, look within you, speak to other people, know what/ identify what you do well and what you don’t do well and look at every weakness. If you think it’s a relevant weakness as an opportunity to get better, then go find those resources. Network yourself to find out who these credible people are. 

So within the fitness community we have enough conferences, we have enough credentialing agencies where you can get good information, and you start to come across these names.  There’s always these names that are always going to kind of keep appearing like this person is great at what they do. Yes, Len Kravitz is amazing in the metabolism space, and we all try and emulate Len as much as we can. Then we come to say movement and I can look at something like Michol Dalcourt, of course, amazing, right? I can look at those people and we might say, that’s who I want to learn from, so I need to find a way to strengthen my understanding and my application of knowledge in this particular area. And maybe you’ve got four or five things and just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, you don’t try and mater them all in one year. You create some sort of plan where you say, “Okay, this year, my focus is on developing my knowledge of the energy systems so I can be better at programming”, then I’m gonna focus on let’s say the other M, but my next aim is going to be movement. And I’ll go deal with muscle and I’ll go deal with mindset – however it works out for you. Right, and that’s what I’m constantly doing. I’m trying to just kind of keep an equal balance between all those by constantly doing that. I’m learning by self education and by learning from others, I learn and listen from other people. And if it sparks something, I’m like, I need to go do a deeper dive and learn more about that. So I go find the information on that so that I can have a better grasp of it. And I’m constantly sharing ideas, learning from people, and that’s what I think we need to do we need to almost, it’s the scientific method. Question the existing belief systems, because if you just accept them as a status quo, you’re going to be quickly becoming irrelevant and outdated. I think that’s something that we should always be taking to heart.

Karyn 1:01:39 

I could talk to you for hours. You have so much value to give and I want to thank you for sharing your time and your expertise and your knowledge, and just giving such great advice because we shouldn’t ever be afraid of doing things wrong, as long as we’re learning from those situations. And I think that these are amazing words of advice. So other than me moving to San Diego and enrolling in some of your classes, how can we find out what else is going on in your life and what you have to offer to fitness professionals, globally?

Fabio 1:02:20  

That is becoming so difficult because I am pulled in so many different directions with everything I’m doing now. It’s almost becoming what I’m calling private labeled, where I’m doing stuff specifically for people. So like my commitments to NASM, to Orangetheory, to FEA Asia, to building and helping the Chinese market to develop fitness, to what I do at the university is becoming everything designed specifically for their audience. And so, I used to post educational articles on Facebook and everything. Karyn, I’ll just be honest, I’m just spread so thin that I’ve actually pulled back from a lot of that and just had to prioritize. So unless you’re a part of the NASM family or the Orangetheory family or San Diego State University or you are one of my educational partners in Asia, it’s really, it’s getting harder and harder to kind of really learn from me. I do still have a lot of stuff still posted on my Facebook stuff so I definitely encourage, go dig me up on Facebook, I’ve got a ton of articles that I post on over the years and have access to it. I mean, to me education should be shared, so you don’t even need my permission, take it, share it, if it helps you, great. If you’re interested, look within NASM for some of the stuff I’ve done there, if you’re part of the Orangetheory family you can look there, if you ever happen to be part of some of those Asian companies, or happen to be in San Diego and you come to San Diego State University, you’ll definitely find my content and you’ll find me there. 

Karyn 1:03:40

You may see me sitting in the back of one of your lectures. 

Fabio 1:03:41

That is absolutely fine. The more the merrier. 

Karyn 1:03:42

Oh thank you so much for everything that you do for the industry. And I do hope that individuals take the opportunity to look at the information that you have to share because, you are able to put it forth in such a way that I like to call it sticky, you make it sticky. You make it easy to understand and you make it easy to remember. 

Thank you, we’ve talked about a number of amazing concepts today – we’ve discussed some Mythbusters about EPOC, heart rates, calorie burn, fasted cardio, and even touched on the fat burning zone as well, and talked about the importance of understanding the energy systems of the body. So on behalf of myself, KIPS podcast, FitPro foundations, thank you so much for joining me today Fabio. 

Fabio 1:04:20

You’re so welcome Karyn, absolute pleasure. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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