Monday, July 30, 2007


I've been reading Alwyn Cosgrove for quite some time now. I check his blog every few days to see what new genius tidbits of information he is willing to throw my way.

This past December I ordered his Afterburn : Extreme Fat Loss Training program but didn't put the program to practice. I was deep into training for McNaughton 100 and wasn't ready to learn something new, so I continued the same old weight routines that I have done for 5 years now.

As I've been recovering from Vermont 100 this past week I've been reading, well devouring, really, the Precision Nutrition program and Afterburn.

Precision Nutrition will get it's own post. Suffice it to say for now it's good stuff. As for Afterburn, I couldn't stop laughing and nodding my head in agreement through the introduction. He doesn't write all that motivational, cheerleader, colored pictures, fluff. Everything is plain and simple. He states why steady state aerobics don't work to burn fat, he puts the 'fat burning zone' myth to death. Finally. He talks about metabolism and how to raise your metabolism while resting. Build muscle; yeah, most of us do know that, but his workouts are simple and effective. He talks about THE BODY ADAPTING TO ANYTHING. Bingo! Wonder why you don't lose any more fat while running mucho mega miles? Your body adapted. Which is a GOOD thing when you are training for an endurance race, and don't want to hit the wall, you want your body to adapt. But in fat burning; nope. You don't want your body to adapt to your form of exercise, it will become very efficient. You need to mix it up.

I love this. How many times have I had a runner or ex runner come up to me and say ' I began training for a marathon and it ruined my metabolism! I gained 30 pounds (or 7 or 12 or 15 or 21) I'm not kidding while training for the marathon and I can't lose it now. I usually say 'well, it wasn't the marathon training it was the PROCESSED CARBS you were eating, thinking you needed a 60% carb diet because you are a runner, in fact when you don't.' Then I get the eye roll and 'I so will never run a marathon again' well, whatever. So this is what Alwyn says ' I've lost count of how many times I've heard people say "I barely eat anything-I eat like a bird and I still gain weight" Oh, really. You are eating fewer calories than you need and your body is gaining weight? Impossible. This violates the law of thermodynamics. If your body was capable of producing body weight from nothing, then we better get you sent over to NASA or UNICEF immediately-with magical genes like yours, we might be able to solve the Third World's hunger problem." I LOVE THAT!

His program is lifting and cardio. The cardio is a plan where you NEVER do the same cardio machine two workouts in a row. Genius! You switch length, intervals, etc. over time so your body DOESN'T adapt.

The lifting begins easier, but is really hard as I found out today, and every four weeks it changes up, to a more difficult set.

I feel very well after Vermont, my body must be adapting to the 100's I'm running this summer (!), so after my run with Topaz I did my chores around the house and with the boys at the lake, I needed something to do. Well, might as well begin Afterburn! I went to the gym, with the Afterburn spiral bound book in hand and began my first workout.

First off was barbell squats. These squats take you all the way to the ground.Butt near heels. I have never squatted this way. I didn't load the 45 pound bar. 3 sets of 20 later I was toasted. All the way to the ground! I could feel my quads stretching out nicely! Have you ever done a "T Pushup"? I hadn't. Well, today I did. Then onto the step ups, seated row to neck, SHELC (supine hip extension with leg curl) that totally kicked my ass and I could only do 10 per set instead of 20. My hamstrings! Oh yeah. I've never done anything on a ball before. Then onto swiss ball crunch. Jeeze. Sadly I could only do 3 sets of 8 instead of 20.

My body definitely isn't used to this. I'm going to follow the whole 16 weeks and see what kind results I can get.

The cardio (EPOC-excess post exercise oxygen consumption) is on tap tomorrow. Steve set up my new free treadmill while I was in Vermont so it needs a test run :)


Travis said...

Good luck on the new training and glad you are recovering well. I met your friend Kurt at PCT this weekend. He was basically the next campsite over, small world. :) He's one stubborn SOB, started early and came in with the sweeps, but never gave up. It was pretty awesome to see.

Avery said...


If you are getting into Alywyn's program you might also be interested in Crossfit ( It works under a similar premise and advocates a clean diet also.

Check out some of the WODs (Workout of the Day) - the easier they look usually the harder they are. I'm not sure if they have a CF gym in Minnesota, but you might find one on the main site....Anyway, it has completely changed my perspective on what being fit really means.


Julie B said...

Hi Avery, thanks for commenting. I've read about crossfit, will check out the site again, but alas, there is nothing near me..closest to Big Lake is Plymouth, a 42 mile jaunt. I'm just lucky we finally have a 24 hour gym! Glad you are enjoying crossfit.

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie. Thanks for the Afterburn review. I ordered both Afterburn and Afterburn II and plan on starting in the next week or so. I followed your weight loss while you were on leanness lifestyle, and find the whole "lots of aerobic activity and carbs does not equal lots of fat loss" very interesting, as I've experienced similar results. I've trained for marathons and duathlons without ever losing more than 5 lbs (I currently have about 25lbs to lose). I am going to compete in a half ironman next summer, and plan on following afterburn until December-ish and hopefully reach my goal body composition BEFORE I start serious endurance training. I think it will be easier that way, I find endurance training with extra weight so hard on my body. If you could go back in time, would you have continued endurance training while on leanness lifestyle, or separated the two phases like I plan to do?

Also, glad to hear you are recovering well!


Julie B said...

Hi Terri, thanks for the comment.
If I could go back in time, I would do it the same way. No way would I 'stop' endurance training to lose some fat. I need endurance training to keep me sane and I needed to lose fat at the same time. The two worked well together. Leanness Lifestyle is a great program, it's actually very similar to Precision Nutrition: eatng 5-6x a day, protein protein protein, carbs only after an endurance workout but IF you are looking to lose fat, maybe not even then. As for the Afterburn workouts, I needed something different as my body has completely adopted to my way of lifting and my long endurance runs. Enjoy your Afterburn workouts and goodluck with the weight loss.

Julie B said...

OK, so I felt the need to add another comment.

Please realize, that many many people can lose weight by eating carbs, and yes, even processed ones. I did when I first began LL, then I stopped losing fat. That is when I cut out processed carbs for the most part. Now, my body has adapted to running long endurance mileage without processed carbs daily. Of course, during a race, I do eat gels, drinks and PB&J. I don't want to give the idea that in order to lose fat you must cut processed carbs; that is not true for everyone. This is only what has happened to me, I only can reiterate my experiences.