How to Burn More Fat with Less Effort
Short Sprint Intervals Can Assist Weight Loss
The headline read: How to Burn More Fat with Less Effort. No wonder it caught my eye; after all, that’s the Holy Grail of weight loss isn’t it? The headline referred to research by an Australian team at the University of New South Wales, the details of which were released last month, January 2007.
The team leader was Associate Professor Steve Boutcher, Head of the Health and Exercise Science program in the School of Medical Sciences at the university, and the results were presented at recent meetings of the Heart Foundation and American College of Sports Medicine, and are soon to be published in a leading journal.
Sprint Intervals Burn More Fat
The study group of 45 obese women did around eight seconds of sprinting on an exercise bike, followed by 12 seconds of light cycling in rotation for twenty minutes. For comparison, another group of women exercised at a continuous, regular pace for 40 minutes. The cycle group lost three times as much fat as other women who exercised at a continuous, regular pace. The women lost most weight off the legs and buttocks over the 15 weeks of the study.
Dr Boutcher said that the impressive result was probably an effect of body chemicals called catecholamines, which are produced in substantial quantities when we exercise intensely. Adrenaline and noradrenaline, the main catecholamines, act to break down fat stores and burn them. So far so good.
Can Intensity be Sustained?
Although the full details of the study are yet to be released, interesting discussion has emerged on some internet web sites and chat groups. The results seem impressive so far and the researchers suggest the idea of rotating high-intensity and low-intensity exercise could be applied to other activities such as jogging. Even so, from a practical perspective some doubt must exist that overweight people will maintain such an intense exercise regimen without supervision. Eight seconds sprinting, 12 seconds off for twenty minutes is a tough exercise routine for anyone.
Others point out that this type of ‘interval’ training for fat loss is not new. Interval training is when you exercise hard for a short time, recover, then repeat the high intensity exercise. You usually do this for less time than a more sustained, moderate workout. It has to be shorter because it is hard work. Still others say that the amount of energy expended is the key to fat loss, not how you do it. Shortcuts usually don’t work.
Burning Fat with a Weights Circuit
Interval training in a weight loss program still has merits. In fact, if you mix weights with an aerobic workout you could have the best combination of all to burn off fat and maintain muscle at the same time. Strictly aerobic, cardio type workouts have a limitation because muscle tends to be lost along with the fat, and preserving or increasing muscle should be one of your goals.
A circuit program is one in which you move from exercise to exercise quickly in order to maximize the intensity and variety of the workout. The well-known franchise Curves uses this principle with exercise machines. Combining interval training and circuit training, including weights and cardio, provides a useful workout for general fitness and weight loss.
Fat loss summary. In this article, So You Want to Burn More Fat I discuss the most up-to-date information on fat burning and I outline my weights circuit program designed to do just that. I have also adapted a weights and aerobics circuit program with simple weights and equipment based on the interval principle, and it’s being designed for the home or the gym. Try it out and let me know how it works for you.
Boutcher S, Director of Fat Loss Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Optimal Fat Loss Program at January 2007
Paul Rogers, About.com Guide
Squat: The King of Exercises
Walk into the many commercial gyms located throughout the nation and you will no doubt see a multitude of mirrors and machines spread throughout the facility. Now glance around and take note of all the patrons working out on the ‘abdominal’ machines’ or doing twists on the rotation devices in an effort to ‘spot’ reduce. You no doubt will also see men and women wearing weight belts as they do endless sets of lightweight barbell or dumbbell curls, maybe with an actual bar in hand, but more than likely seated in a machine.
What do all of these observations have in common with one another?
These well meaning but ill-informed people are for the most part, exercising in a fashion that will not and does not contribute a great deal to the improvement in the fitness, strength or power levels of the human body. In many instances, they are simply enhancing their ‘mirror’ muscles and not developing the vital structural and muscular changes that will sustain them, as they grow older. Look carefully and you may see a squat rack tucked away in the corner, but you probably will not see anyone using it. This is the fate of the power rack in the majority of the largest commercial gyms, its there but not used very often. Why? Because of the gym owner’s fear of someone getting hurt, doing squats. Or using so much weight that it ‘scares other members away’ or even worse yelling and using chalk to help keep the bar on the shoulders during a heavy lift intimidates other members.
Just what are all of these people trying to accomplish?
Is it to forge the ‘Perfect body’? Perhaps they are trying to lose a bit of weight for the upcoming holiday or to tone up their body or maybe to improve their level of fitness. So you ask yourself just what does this have to do with the king of exercises. Well let me tell you it has everything to do with the squat, but in a slightly round about way. A well toned body, which may eventually lead to the perfect body (whatever that may mean) on the way to increased physical fitness and better health all begins with added muscle mass. Added muscle mass increases the basic metabolism rate of the body. This in turn helps to burn a higher percentage of calories throughout the day and into the night. Therefore, even as you sleep, your muscles are helping to keep you trim and slim. The lower body has massive amounts of metabolism increasing potential. The best and most efficient way to tap into this is by doing heavy legwork. Not machine leg curls or leg presses but with squats. Bar on the back, sweat producing, breath taking and heart pounding squats.
Naming the squat the king of all exercises is not without foundation; just look at a few of the benefits of this powerful activity.
- Lean muscle mass is increased
- Basic metabolism is faster
- Your general physical fitness and work capacity are positively improved
- Mental and physical energy levels are amplified
- You will sleep better
- Body fat will be lowered
- Endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers are released into your body
- The heavy load on your shoulders, back and legs helps to make your bones stronger by increasing their mineral density
- The connective tissues of your body adapt to the load and in turn become stronger and better able to tolerate the additional stress of the weight
This article first appeared in:
- O’DELL, D. (2005) The King of exercises: the Squat. Brian Mackenzie’s Successful Coaching, (ISSN 1745-7513/ 21 / April), p. 1-3
The reference for this page is:
- O’DELL, D. (2005) The King of exercises: the Squat [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni21a1.htm [Accessed 19/6/2012]
We have TRX at RTP Fitness! Many of you have tried and already know what a great workout it is- either as a supplement to what you’re already doing or as a workout all by itself.
What is TRX you ask? It’s a total body workout that uses resistance (your bodyweight) and a simple and portable suspension system (TRX)- or as Wikipedia says “The field of suspension training is a form of resistance training that includes bodyweight exercises in which a variety of multi-planar, compound exercise movements can be performed. These are done with the aim of developing strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously.”
What are the benefits? Quoting directly from the source (the TRX page), here you go:
There are many reasons the TRX Suspension Trainer is all you’ll need for your complete home gym, but in this video, TRX Head of Human Performance Chris Frankel narrows it down to just three. Watch the video to see what Chris considers the top three reasons you need to be training your clients and athletes on the TRX.
The TRX is unparalleled when it comes to the following:
1) Core training. Your center of gravity is located just above your hips along the midline of the body. Changing body positions shifts your center of gravity. The body uses muscular strength and coordination to control its center of gravity during movement. Suspension Training bodyweight exercise is designed to intentionally displace your center of gravity, activating the core musculature during every exercise to stabilize and balance the body in a truly functional way.
2) Pulling exercises. It’s one of the oldest bodybuilding methods, but it works, big-time. Pulling exercises allows you to train all of the muscles involved in pulling (back, biceps, rear delts, traps, forearms, hamstrings) together at once, so you’re really lighting up your entire posterior chain. With the TRX Suspension Trainer, you’re pulling your entire bodyweight, plus you can add an exterior load if you want an additional challenge. The Suspension Trainer requires you to integrate the entire posterior chain with the pulling moves – hip extension combined with torso stability and pulling from the back – hard to beat it!
3) Unilateral training. Unilateral training is important to help identify muscle imbalances and/or weakness, which can lead to injury. Research has found that about 65 percent of injuries, both athletic and lifestyle-related, come from overuse, which is repetitive use of joints that are rendered dysfunctional by muscular imbalances. The simplest way to avoid muscle imbalance is to choose exercises that strengthen opposing muscle groups or perform unilateral training. Enter the TRX Suspension Trainer.
Of course, make sure you take the time to check out our instructional DVD’s or watch the videos below- as with any training, learning how to do it right helps prevent injury as well as speed up your results! So, here you go: