Fat Burning 101

By Dr. Matthew Tischler

At around the age of thirteen, I became fascinated with fitness. Maybe it had something to do with the fear of getting bullied or those Charles Atlas ads showing the guy on the beach getting sand kicked in his face and the implication that building my body would prevent me from being picked on. Either way I was determined to build muscle and look strong. I tried almost everything including sit-ups, pull-ups, weightlifting, and eventually actually even ordered the Charles Atlas “Dynamic Tension” course. In time I came to learn that there was no true short cut and it would take hard work and determination. I realized that I couldn’t burn fat, build muscle, and look fit by just popping some magic pill, drinking protein shakes, or using the latest get-fit-fast courses. To build lean muscle and burn fat fast, I learned that I needed to focus on eating right and engaging in both cardio and strength-training exercises. Those three things combined have been the foundation of my fitness routine for the past forty years. In 1987 I competed in my first bodybuilding show and took second place in the NPC Novice Mr. Georgia. Later that year I competed again and won the Overall NPC Junior Mr. Atlantic USA. I graduated from Chiropractic College in 1987 right after winning the Atlantic USA and decided to use my experience with training combined with my knowledge of the body as a Doctor of Chiropractic to assist others in achieving their health and fitness goals.

In this article I will go over some of the basic fat-burning cardio guidelines and in a future series of articles I will address specifically the dietary then strength-training protocols that have produced the best results for me and have been proven to be the most effective programs for getting lean.

With summer quickly approaching, a lot of people are feeling the anxiety of what to do to get in shape quickly for the beach or pool. It seems that during the winter people tend to hibernate and don’t do much exercise or in fact any activity at all to maintain optimal levels of health and fitness. It’s the same dilemma year after year. The rush to get that summer beach body! Well, let me begin with a saying I have learned: “It’s never too late to begin, but you’ve got to start NOW!” Also, my favorite saying is “Some is better than none!” I hear people all the time saying that they don’t have the time to work out or it’s too hard. The fact is everyone has twenty-four hours in each day and it comes down to prioritizing some time to take care of your body. Some may be more committed or driven than others but a great place to start is now. Every time you train, your body and nervous system will remember what you did and the next time it will get a little bit easier. So let’s begin with the Basics of Fat Burning 101: Cardio.

For many years people have thought that low-intensity cardio for forty-five minutes to an hour was the best protocol for burning fat. According to studies this method burned the calories primarily from fat. This concept has recently been proven wrong. A new and exciting way to perform cardio has been developed and burns greater amounts of body fat in much less time. The best cardio for burning off fat will have you in the gym for a shorter time than you’d expect. This cardio is called High Intensity Interval Training, HITT for short. HIIT training is relatively quite simple and easy to understand. Some of the top professional athletes I have known and worked with use HIIT training and the results speak for themselves.

To begin a HIIT protocol you transition from low-moderate intensity intervals to very high intensity intervals. If you look at the readout on any given exercise machine, you might assume that going at a low intensity for forty-five to sixty minutes would burn more calories than fifteen to twenty-five minutes utilizing HIIT. This is not true when performing HIIT, as many of the calories you burn with this type of training are after you leave the gym.

Fifteen to twenty-five minutes may seem too good to be true to drop body fat, but it is not. However, you must keep in mind this is not an easy training session. It is very demanding, but extremely rewarding and time-saving. HIIT will support your metabolism so that you are burning calories throughout the rest of the day after your training is over. You will also burn more fat calories by utilizing HIIT then by spending countless hours in the gym.

HIIT can be performed on many different exercise machines, as well as outside or on the track. In all situations, make sure to warm up for about three to five minutes. Once you are ready to go, you will begin your intervals.

As a beginner start with thirty seconds at a moderate pace (approximately fifty percent maximum effort) and after thirty seconds go as hard as you can for thirty seconds. Then repeat. With whatever exercise machine you use, whether it is a stepper, treadmill, or elliptical, or even a free weight, make sure to rev up the intensity level for the second thirty seconds so that it is totally challenging for you.

Complete a total of five to eight intervals your first time. Then build up the number of intervals as you become used to it. You will find it more challenging than it sounds. Once you are completely maxed out, take another three to five minutes to cool down. That’s all you have to do. Only five to eight minutes of high-intensity intervals and you are on your way to shedding some serious fat.


With over twenty-eight years of experience largely in sports chiropractic care, Dr. Matthew Tischler adds a distinct element to his Doylestown office located within The Doylestown Fitness Center. A graduate of Life University in 1987 and certified in Physiological Therapeutics by Los Angeles Chiropractic College, Dr. Tischler has a passion for health. As an experienced speaker and educator, Dr. Tischler offers opportunities for healthful Sports Injury and Back School clinics and seminars in the Doylestown area. Dr. Tischler has provided care for many professional athletes including several of the NFL Atlanta Falcons Football Team and has been the chiropractor for the USA Open Taekwondo Championships. He also served as the Official Chiropractor for the Atlanta Police & Fire Hockey League. He is now providing his care in the Doylestown area including Hatfield, Horsham, Lansdale, North Wales, Willow Grove, E. Norriton, Norristown, Quakertown, and King of Prussia. More information is available on his website, www.chirocarepc.com.

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