Why anaerobic interval training is the best training method for fat loss

February 12, 2010

 

Have you ever wondered what the best , most time efficient wat to lose fat is?

Have you been told totally different things about what is the best training method for fat loss?

Read this article from Ultrafit Magazine and it will hopefully clear this issue up for you.

Commonly, interval training has only been used as a time efficient way to increase anaerobic fitness or sport-specific power endurance in the final weeks before competition. However, new research on interval training has shown it to be a very efficient method of fat burning.

Consider some of the following on steady state aerobic training and fat loss:

  • A 1996 study showed that the addition of 5 x 45 minute sessions of aerobic training sessions per week for 12 weeks had no effect on fat loss.
  • A 2007 study showed that 5 x 50 minute of aerobic training per week for 6 months had no effect on fat loss.
  • A 2008 study showed that 3 x 40 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for 15 weeks actually resulted in a fat increase!

 And now consider the following about interval/anaerobic training and fat loss:

  • A 1994 study actually showed that interval training reduced body fat by nine times more than traditional cardio training, despite using few calories during the session and taking less time.
  • A 1999 study showed that the addition of a resistance training program to fat loss increased its effectiveness by 35% over diet and purely aerobic training.
  • The same study showed that 3 x 50 minute sessions of aerobic training for 12 weeks (36 sessions) increased fat loss by only 450g over diet alone.
  • The rise in metabolism after anaerobic training (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption – EPOC) results in further calories being burnt for up to 38 hours after the finish of the session.

 

The indicators are clear: this type of information should go a long way in helping fitness professionals design and implement effective fat loss programs. It’s not the workout – it’s the effect of that workout on EPOC.

EPOC is defined scientifically as the “recovery of metabolic rate back to pre-exercise levels”. It can require several minutes for light exercise and several hours for hard intervals.

In layman’s terms it means you keep burning calories at an increased rate after a workout.

If you can imagine a big forest fire, you understand that it doesn’t just burn for an hour and then burn out – it gradually burns out so that over time there is no fire anymore. The peak of the fire may have been a long time ago but there are still flames being produced for a long time afterwards.

We call this the afterburn – metabolic disturbance – elevating EPOC to maximise calorie burn for the 23+ hours per day. Is there much of a real world effect of burning 300 calories per workout (e.g. aerobic work) if we don’t elevate EPOC??

If we could elevate EPOC even an apparently insignificant ¼ of a calorie per minute for the 38 hours that the study showed, then that 31 minute resistance workout would burn maybe 300 calories during the session plus the extra 570 calories over the next 38 hours. That becomes very significant.

In the past, fitness professionals and researchers have looked at how much fat is burned during the exercise session itself. This is extremely short sighted.

As American conditioning guru Alan Aragon said “Caring how much fat is burned during training makes as much sense as caring how much muscle is built during training.”

Think about that. If we looked at a weight training session that started at 9am and finished at 10am – how much muscle would we see built if we stopped at 10am? None.

In fact we’d see muscle damage. We could make the conclusion that weight training does not increase muscle – in fact it decreases muscle, right? It’s only when we look at the big picture – and look at the recovery from the session – that we find the reverse is true – weight training builds muscle.

Fat loss is the same way. Someone talking about the benefits of the “fat burning zones” or “fasted cardio” is a sure sign that the individual has stopped looking at the end of the exercise session. They have come to the conclusion that, lower intensity steady state exercise burns the most fat and made the massive leap of faith to suggest it’s the best for fat loss.

Using that same logic, these same people would suggest avoiding weight training if you want to grow muscle.

Take home message – focus on the afterburn, not just what happens during the exercise session

There is another, more subtle reason why intervals are superior to steady state training.

The body does the opposite.

If you don’t drink enough water your body will retain it. If you drink too much water your body will excrete it.

Article from Ultrafit Magazine

Issue 123 Jan/Feb 2010

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The value of one on one sessions with kids

August 18, 2009

I take group training for kids aged 8-12 which mainly includes games and fun circuit based exercises with basic equipment. When you have a group of kids in a resistance based circuit it’s hard to find time to help every out and get them doing things right. Kids between the ages of 8-12 do tend to have a fairly short attention span and by the time they’ve done one or two circuits they’ll start to misbehave. So in a group it’s a tough job to teach everything you want to for each individual as they’re all at different stages of learning and maturity levels.

You may think that all kids love games and all kids want to play with balls and run in the park but this isn’t always the case.

You shouldn’t under estimate the importance of proper training in a safe environment.

  • You have the right equipment to monitor improvements
  • You can progressively overload what they are doing by increase speed, incline, reps, resistance etc.
  • They are in a safe environment with good supervision and knowledge.
  • They often enjoy feeling like an adult. They want to do things that they don’t usually get a chance to do.

The benefits of a one on one session compared to a group session are:

  • The participant gets more guidance from the trainer
  • They can do more advanced exercises because of the increase time the trainer can spend with the individual.
  • Kids like to have your attention; they generally misbehave in a group situation to impress others or to get your attention.
  • They will learn alot more one on one compared to a group session because there are no other distractions.

Overall group training is good fun but kids love having role models and they can look up to the trainer. They want to have their attention and they also want to learn and become better at certain things whether it’s a sport or to just be fit and healthy. They love to try new things and tell their friends these cool things they did. I encourage parents to keep their kids active and get involved with some sort or program, sport, or just walking the family dog! It’s that simple. Just keep it simple and regular. After all, parents are the ones in control of their children. If you teach them early on to exercise regularly they are more likely to get involved with physical education and grow up to be fit and healthy.

Tell me which of these sounds better to you..

Healthy kid who exercised regularly by walking the dog and going for runs on the beach or playing sport in the backyard who grows up fit and healthy and leads a healthy lifestyle because of his childhood experience of exercise.

OR

A kid who wasn’t bought up around exercise whether it be incidental or set execise like walking and playing sport therefore doesn’t enjoy physical education at school, often discludes themselves or gets in trouble. Grows up overweight leading to poor mental and social wellbeing and bad lifestyles choices lead them into such problems as heart disease, stroke and other realted problems.

The message: It’s in your hands – it’s your call


Your morning sets you up physically and mentally for each day.

July 27, 2009

 

The morning is an easy time to make excuses but there should be no excuses for not fitting in what you should each morning.

 Your morning should include breakfast. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day. It fuels your body and helps you perform better at work or the gym depending on your morning schedule. Include a drink with your breakfast for hydration other than a coffee as it tends to dehydrate rather than hydrate. Water is best, if not water then try a fruit juice.

 Set your alarm earlier than usual instead of setting it when you need to get up and then snoozing it a few times before getting up! There are no excuses for not enough sleep. If you feel you need to sleep more then go to bed earlier rather than sacrificing breakfast or a morning workout.

 Do a morning workout. Include it in your morning schedule whether it’s a walk outside, a bodyweight circuit or a visit to the gym. You’re almost guaranteed to feel better for the rest of the day if you get a morning workout in.

 Get organised. Be as organised as possible and have what you need prepared the night before ideally so you don’t have to rush or sacrifice things when the morning comes.

 Remember your morning sets you up physically and mentally for the day so be well organised, feel good about yourself and relax. Try this and see if you feel better about your body and about your day. If you’re not a morning person try and implement one thing a week with your goal being to include all these things into your morning.

 Unsure of what to do for your morning workout? Stuck with minimal time? Wait for my next blog to pick up a few ideas you can use.


Setting goals works – how it can help your weight loss

July 15, 2009
Goal setting works! It’s as simple as that. It’s essential for anyone who wants to lose some extra weight no matter if its 5kg or 50kg you want to lose, goals are a necessity.
Here are some simple steps to planning and achieving your fat loss goals.

1. Write down your main goal. This is generally the total amount of weight or % of body fat you want to lose.

2. Give your number one goal a time frame. Setting a time frame is so important. Your time frame is predominately based around how much time and energy you can dedicate to reaching your number one goal. Ask yourself how important is achieving your goal to you on a scale of 1-10? From your answer decide how much time you can put towards achieving it.

3. Once you have your time frame you can break it up in to smaller goals. For example your goal is to lose 12kg in 3 months. You can set yourself smaller goals that are stepping stones towards your main goal. This may be ‘lose 1kg a week over the 3 month period’. By setting smaller goals that lead up to your number one goal you can monitor your progress and see what is working and what isn’t straight away.

4. Once you have your goals planned out on paper it’s time to do something about it. Get to the gym, sign up for a boot camp or exercise program, create a better eating plan, get out of the house more and do what you need to do to reach your goals! You need to make these lifestyle changes and stick to them for long term fat loss success.

5. The SMARTER your goal is the better!

Specific – the more specific your goal is the better. It gives you direction!

Measurable – you need to be able to know if you’ve achieved your goal. Lose weight isn’t a measurable goal. However lose 5kg in one month is very measurable.

Accountable – who is accountable for reaching your goals. 99% of the time you are!

Realistic – unrealistic goals will lead to discouragement. Not good for successful fat loss!

Time frame – decide on how long you will take to achieve your goal and stick to it.

Exciting – you should be excited about what it will be like when you reach this goal.

Recorded – record your progress somewhere that you see every day to keep you on track.

Whether it’s fat loss goals or any kind of goal using a method like this increases your chances of achieving it.


The importance of fitness testing

July 15, 2009

Fitness tests allow us to identify physical strengths and weaknesses and also monitor increases and decreases in specific components of our fitness. Conducting a fitness assessment allows us to create a program that is suitable for our clients. Without fitness testing how would we know if we were neglecting weaknesses and only improving on what are already our strengths? How would we know if the program we designed is working if we didn’t test our fitness components regularly?

The answer is we wouldn’t know. Without any proper testing in the right environment it’s near impossible to tell. How can we tell if a client has lost body fat if they do both cardio and resistance training? They may get discouraged by looking at the scales at home thinking I’ve put on weight, I’m failing. They may not realise that they’ve put on some lean muscle mass and decreased their body fat %. This is just another reason why testing is so important.

It doesn’t just show that you are doing a good job and have the ability to help people improve their fitness. It shows and motivates your clients to keep working hard because they know that when they do they achieve the goals they set themselves.

When should we test?

Testing should be done regularly, whether it’s done every 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, whatever you do don’t leave it longer than 8 weeks! If you leave it too long clients can get off track and don’t know how they are traveling and if you make it too short they may get discouraged by not achieving much as you leave little time for the body to change. You need to keep them focused and I prefer to test on a monthly basis, anywhere between 3-5 weeks I think is good because it gives your clients time to improve on their previous set of results.

What should I test?

Keep the tests specific to the client’s goals. Not much point doing a VO2 max test on someone who just wants to increase their lean muscle mass. It’s a waste of your time and theirs. It would be better to stick to muscular tests and measurements and body composition tests. There are plenty of tests for particular components of fitness out there. You just need to have a look around.

Are there any areas you don’t know how to test?

What time frame works best for you when it comes to regular fitness tests?

Feel free to let me know.


Skins™ How they effect performance and recovery

July 14, 2009

It seems to me that a lot of people these days are wearing Skins™, especially athletes. I don’t wear them myself so I’ve asked a few people I know what they think of them and are they worth the money. All feedback I got was good so I thought I’d do a bit of research and find out how skins can benefit my training or anyone’s training for that matter.

Here is what I found on their website – http://www.skins.net

  • Skins™ BioAcceleration Technology™ as they call it has been developed over years of scientific research. Ongoing testing of elite athletes have proven that Skins™ creates marked improvements in reducing the build-up of lactic acid immediately after periods of sustained exercise, and allows for more rapid return to normal levels. You experience less fatigue, minimise soreness and recover faster.
  • Skins™ is body-moulded compression performance equipment manufactured from the finest Lycra and Meryl Microfibre, scientifically engineered to provide support and muscle alignment to the smart-fabric covered area of your body. Skins™ will definitely change the way that you train and play as well as speed up your recovery. You will feel fresher after heavy bouts of exercise and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) will be minimised.
  • Skins™ technical compression wear has been developed and designed to provide engineered gradient compression. When compression is engineered to apply a balanced and accurate surface pressure over specific body parts, it triggers an acceleration of blood flow. This increases oxygen delivery to working muscles to enhance their performance. The circulation improvements also help the body to eliminate lactic acid and other metabolic wastes. The combination of these effects allows you to work at a higher rate for longer.
  • Skins™ development of the correct compression is based on a body mass index (BMI) algorithm. A unique sizing system based on the algorithm allows us to customise and engineer gradient compression. By controlling the stretch and recovery of the fabric in conjunction with specifically developed pattern making techniques based on the sizing system, they are able to ensure the correct level of surface pressure for most body shapes.
  • Skins™ performance equipment has been designed to wrap and support key muscle groups to reduce muscle movement and focus the direction of the muscle. The wrapping effect and specific compression also dramatically reduces muscle vibration resulting in less soft tissue damage and muscle soreness.
  • The other benefits of skins™ are that they keep the moisture off your skin, regulate your body temperature, discourage growth of bacteria, help prevent odour and protect you from the sun.

After checking out the site and seeing how skins™ can benefit me I am considering getting some for myself. I usually find it hard to fit gym sessions in between soccer training and games because I’m usually a bit sore and don’t want to be sore for my game on the weekend. By the sounds of it Skins™ assist and decrease my recover time enabling me to do some quality workouts in between games and training.

Let me know what you think of skins™, Do you wear them? would you buy them after reading this article?


The Benefits of boxing for fitness

July 14, 2009

I don’t blame people for getting tired of the same old cardio machines when you use them day after day, week after week! It’s always great to try something different. Boxing for fitness adds that extra fun into your workout and also delivers great results.

Here are 5 ways boxing can help you!

1. Increase your fitness levels – boxing is based around high repetitions with rest in between work efforts. It’s a great interval training session and, when done with correct technique, will give your whole body a good workout.

2. Help you achieve your fat loss goals – boxing is great for losing that extra fat. Its high intensity and gets plenty of muscles moving and burning lots of calories. With the right format to your session you will see great results.

3. Increase your muscular tone – punching bags or pads requires your muscles to be working pretty hard throughout the session. If you’ve ever done a one on one boxing session you know the feeling of how hard your arms have to work towards the end of a one minute round of high intensity effort. By losing that bit of extra fat and toning up your muscles through boxing training you’ll soon be seeing the results.

4. Improved coordination and agility – technique is really important in boxing. Once you know the main punches your trainer can combine these punches into combos which can include weaves between certain punches.

5. Reduce stress – we all know when we get really angry we like to hit things or take our frustration out in some way. Boxing is a feel good workout. After a long hard day in the office there isn’t much better than letting it all out and having a fun, solid workout to make you feel great and put everything else behind you.

The best way to get started with boxing for fitness is to ask about it at your gym and get a trainer to take you for a few sessions or join a group boxing class to learn the right technique and good session formats.