Archive for the tag - interval

Sprinting Vs. Jogging for Weight Loss.

Spriting: It's not easy... but it is effective!

Are you looking to lose some extra weight or burn off some excess fat? A good and balanced workout routine contains a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. But when it comes to cardio, many well-intentioned exercisers opt for long periods of jogging rather than short, intense sprints.

In the last few years, we’ve been learning a lot about the benefits of quick but intense exercises like sprint intervals. Over the weekend, I was delighted to come across a recent study published in the International Journal Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism and featured in TIME.

For the study, researchers compared results from eight male students. The students, divided into two groups, performed either 30 minutes of endurance cardio (i.e., jogging) or two minutes of extremely intense sprint intervals. The exercise was repeated three times per week for a six week period. During the exercise, and then again after 24 hours, researchers measured the students’ oxygen consumption.

Though oxygen consumption was 150% higher during the endurance cardio versus the sprinting, researchers discovered something very interesting: After 24 hours, total oxygen consumption was nearly identical between the two groups. In other words, this study suggest that intense sprint intervals can boost your metabolism over the next day just as much a longer jog.

And that’s just with two minutes of sprinting.

Though the study was conducted on a small group of male-only students, it does support what we’ve come to know (and love) about short bursts of intense exercise. Not only does intense exercise require less of your time, it results in a longer metabolic boost. It’s the whole idea behind high intensity interval training (called HIIT for short) – and it’s the guiding philosophy for my Get Ripped Workout videos.

The bottom line is this: If you’re really serious about losing weight or incinerating some extra fat, it’s not the amount of time you need to increase in your workout so much as the level of intensity. Of course, you need to push yourself when engaged in high intensity interval training. It’s not easy, but it is worth it – and it’s great news for all of us not looking to spend half the day in the gym.

What is High Intensity Interval Training?

Ho, ho, ho – the holidays are here!

For most people, the holidays have a negative impact on their efforts to live a healthy lifestyle. For one, it means lots and lots of unhealthy foods, buffets and alcohol. Secondly, it means that all of us have a little less time in our already busy schedules to hit the gym. As a result, many of us tend to gain weight during the holidays.

But here’s a quick fix that not only prevent holiday weight gain – but actually cause you to lose weight. Yes, lose weight during the holidays. It’s called high intensity interval training – and it will absolutely rock your world.

Consider this: A recent study led by Jason Talanian in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that subjects who completed just seven sessions of high intensity interval training over the course of two weeks boosted their aerobic capacity by 13 percent and increased fat burning capacity by 36 percent. In a separate study that followed participants for 15 weeks, researchers discovered that the high intensity interval training group experienced 9 times as much fat loss as those performing regular cardio.

While regular cardio burns calories during the exercise, high intensity interval training actually boosts your metabolism and causes more calories to be burned all day long. Even while you’re watching TV. Or standing in line at the buffet.

I bet I have your attention now!

With a typical cardio program, participants run at a set speed and intensity for the duration of their workout. We’ve all seen people spending 30 minutes (or even more!) walking endlessly on the treadmill or peddling on the bike. While it’s better than sitting on the couch, the benefits for this type of cardio training (called endurance training) are fairly limited – especially when compared to high intensity interval training.

High intensity interval training sessions are much shorter. In essence, it involves alternating very intense exercise with moderate intensity exercise or active rest. While it can come in a variety of forms, I prefer performing my intervals on the treadmill. I sprint as fast as I can for 60 seconds, and then jog for 90 seconds. I do this for 15 minutes, and it absolutely kicks my butt. You can do it on the bike, elliptical – or even at home without any equipment. Try doing some vigorous bodyweight exercises like burpees or push-ups for 30 seconds followed by 15 seconds of rest. Keep repeating this for 10 or 15 minutes.

So why isn’t high intensity interval training more popular than it is? Well, it’s because most people don’t understand how effective it is. It’s got to be the best kept fitness secret ever. Moreover, it’s challenging. It’s easy to walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes; the same can’t be said for 15 minutes of high intensity interval training. It’s hard work! But it’s totally worth it.

High intensity interval training is great for the holidays because it’s such a fast workout. Though we’re all strapped for time during the holidays, all of us can set aside 10 minutes for a good, quick and effective workout. Give it a try – and let me know what you think!

New Study: Use Exercise to Shave Off 30 Years.

DILF Alert: Are you my daddy?

Forget skin creams, cosmetic surgery and youth-in-a-bottle gimmicks, a newly published study by Norwegian researchers shows that exercise can shave 30 years off your body’s biological age. Sorta.

As we age, it’s no secret that our bodies transform. Our metabolisms slow down and our muscle mass tends to decrease over time. But, according to research, it doesn’t have to be this way. Phsyical activity – rather than age – is a far more important in determining an individual’s fitness level:

By increasing the intensity of your exercise, you can beat back the risk of metabolic syndrome, the troublesome set of risk factors that can predispose people to type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular problems.

The study compared measures of fitness with cardiovascular risk factors and other assessments of overall health across different ages of sedentary and active individuals. Middle-aged gym bunnies rejoice: Active 50 year-olds were found to be just as healthy and fit as less active 20 year-olds.

Researchers dug deeper into the findings and found that, in terms of effectiveness, the intensity of exercise was far more important than the duration of exercise. Rather than spending countless hours at the gym, it’s wiser to engage in shorter, high intensity workouts. Specifically, the study mentions the effectiveness of interval training (alternating high and low intensity cardio) as a quick way to improve overall fitness.

The bottom line: High intensity workouts do wonders to improve your overall health and fitness – and thus, can shave decades off your body’s biological age.

Debunking the 20-Minute Exercise Myth!

Dear Davey,

I remember a “myth” from a few years back when I started exercising: When doing cardio exercise, you have to work for at least 20-30 minutes to get into the fat burning zone. In other words, it takes at least 20 minutes to start losing weight.

It sounds like a myth that is not true, but I just wanted to confirm.

From,
Damian

Damian,

Good nose! You were able to sniff out a very pervasive myth. And yes, it’s totally untrue.

The myth probably started based on a misinterpretation of actual science. During the early stages of cardio, your body does rely more on carbohydrates than fat. The longer you exercise, the more your body shifts from carbohydrates to fat. But really, you’re getting a tremendous benefit from each stage of exercise.

Moreover, the 20-minute myth ignores the bigger boost that your metabolism gets from exercise. Much of the exercise-induced calorie-burning happens when you get off the treadmill – especially if you maximize your cardio with interval training.

Need some solid proof to finally put this myth to rest? Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine looked at two groups of exercisers. Group 1 performed a single session of exercise for 20 – 40 minutes. Group 2 performed the same amount of exercise, but broken up into 10 minute sessions over the course of the day. According to the 20-minute exercise myth, group 2 shouldn’t see any weight loss. But, just the opposite held true; participants in group 2 lost an average of 20 pounds, compared to 14 pounds in group 1.

And for what it’s worth, my current cardio routine usually lasts 15 minutes.

The bottom line: The 20-minute myth is entirely untrue.

9 Really Effective Ways to Boost Your Metabolism

Boost your metabolism for weight loss or increased definition..

Your metabolism is like the fuel-burning furnace that powers your body. If you’re looking to lose weight or increase definition, then boosting your metabolism should be a top priority. Increasing your metabolic rate helps create the calorie deficit (more calories out than in) that results in the loss of body fat.

There are a number of things that you can do to boost your metabolism, including:

  1. Eat within 60 minutes of waking up. Within 15 minutes of starting my day, I always eat a banana to prime my body’s pumps and get my metabolism in gear. Research shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip breakfast. Think of it this way: Your metabolism slows down while you’re sleeping – and it won’t speed back up again until you eat. Not eating until lunch time or late morning means your metabolism is sleeping in.
  2. Get your daily calcium. There are a handful of supplements that improve metabolism, but I’m leery to ingest compounds like Betaine that I don’t fully understand. Calcium is a safe and effective way to boost your metabolism without the risk of serious side effects. You can simply take a calcium supplement – or consume so low-fat dairy products like yogurt.
  3. Drink lots of cold water. Water is a metabolism booster – especially if the water is ice cold; your body needs to work hard to heat it up. If your urine is dark yellow, then you’re dehydrated. Light yellow or clear urine is ideal. Gotta love the piss talk. ๐Ÿ™‚
  4. Add on a few pounds of muscle. Muscles incinerate calories. If you – or someone you know – has a muscular build, take notice of their appetite. It takes a lot of calories to sustain muscle, and even by adding a few pounds of muscle mass, you’ll do wonders to boost your metabolism.
  5. Lower the temperature of your home or apartment. This one falls into the strange but true category! Your body will have to work harder to keep your internal temperate at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Doing so burns calories, increases metabolism – and saves money on your heating bill!
  6. Eat metabolism-boosting foods. Aside from calcium rich foods like yogurt, the following foods (for various reasons) have been linked to increased metabolic rates: Cinnamon, curry, jalapenos, oatmeal, beans, green tea, ginger, grapefruits, apples, coffee, almonds, blueberries, watermelons and turkey. Incorporate them into your diet.
  7. Don’t overdo the alcohol. No surprise here: Alcohol decreases your body’s ability to burn fat during and after consumption by as much as 73%, so limit your drinking for best results.
  8. Do intervals. I know that I sound like a broken record player when I espouse the metabolism-boosting benefits of interval cardio training – but it’s extremely effective. If you’re doing mindless minutes of repetitive cardio training (which can actually cause you to gain weight), learn how interval training can take your workout to the next level. I promise you’ll never look back.
  9. Eat before you get hungry – and never starve yourself. The best way to keep your metabolism in high gear is to eat smaller meals spread throughout the day. If you consume less than 1,000 calories in a day – your body will go into starvation mode and your metabolism will slow down immensely.

While all of these tips will help you boost your metabolism, it’s important to remember that “calories out” is just part of the equation when creating a calorie deficit for weight loss. The “calories in” part of the equation is just as important – so be sure to include proper nutrition as part of any comprehensive plan.

Is Your Cardio Killing Your Results?

Results like these don't come from endless cardio sessions. Just saying...

There is a delightful older woman at my gym who spends 60 minutes on the treadmill each day. She walks at a moderate but steady pace, and complains endlessly about the lack of results she is getting from her workout. And yet she continues to do more of the same. Like many gym goers, her cardio program is killing her results.

There are a few reasons why endless cardio sessions don’t serve you well:

  1. If you’re doing more than 45-minutes of cardio, you’re entering into the “danger zone” at which point your body will start burning muscle – not fat.
  2. Since long sessions of monotonous cardio result in muscle loss, the effect is a decrease in the body’s metabolism (as muscle is a large driver of your metabolism). In other words, the body will burn fewer calories throughout the day because of muscle loss. For some people, this could even mean gaining weight.
  3. It’s time consuming! 60-minutes on the treadmill is time better used elsewhere… like in the free weight or strength training section of your gym. Or even time better spent doing some fitness research, like reading this blog. ๐Ÿ™‚

There are two quick fixes for endless, monotonous cardio sessions:

  1. Interval training. I keep my cardio sessions relatively short – but extremely effective – by using interval training. In a nutshell, it’s all about varying between intensities on cardio machines – from medium intensity to high intensity. I jog for 90 seconds and then sprint for 60. After 15 minutes, I’m totally beat! It burns more calories than long cardio sessions, and has a huge positive effect on metabolism.
  2. Strength training. I can’t say it enough: Any comprehensive fitness program needs to include both cardio and strength training. If you are just doing cardio, then you are killing your results. Everyone needs to hit the weights as well – especially if your goals include weight loss.

Are you in a long, monotonous cardio rut? Tell us about it in the comments below. And I hope this post can be a light at the end of that results-killing tunnel!

And note: Today is the last day to save 25% off of my Ultimate Guide to Working Out – and it’s the last chance to get Underwear Yoga as a free gift. Through my program, we’ll create a fitness program that is customized to your results. Use discount code “buddy” during checkout to save 25%.

Bust Your Ass (and Belly) with Interval Training!

Running his way into my heart.

One of my favorite training techniques is interval training. I love interval training because it burns 30% more calories than exercising at one pace and it boosts your metabolism like none other – for up to 12 hours after exercise. It’s great for losing weight, toning, definition (hello, six pack), injury prevention, burn-out reduction and performance.

Want to give it a shot? Set aside 40 minutes and grab a sweat towel:

  1. Warm up with five minutes of low-intensity jogging.
  2. Stop and stretch for a good three minutes. Stretching will improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury.
  3. Start cycle 1: Pick up your pace to a medium-intensity speed and hold it for three minutes. This is a pace that you’d be able to maintain for the entire workout.
  4. No, go full out. Run hard for 1 minute. Really burn yourself out at a speed that pushes you to your limits. After the one minute, drop back down to your medium-intensity speed.
  5. Each subsequent cycle will follow this same pattern. 3 minutes of aerobic/recovery and 1 minute of anaerobic/sprinting. Do four more cycles (five cycles in total).
  6. Cool down with five minutes of low-intensity jogging.
  7. Stretch again.

I usually do my interval training (and running, in general) on a treadmill; it’s easier to set a speed and monitor the time. But, you can certainly perform interval training outside with the help of a watch or stopwatch.

Running not your thing? Try this same program on a bicycle. Or, modify it slightly to try in the pool (2 laps recover, 1 lap sprinting).

And, feel free to change the numbers. You may want to shorten recover time or do more cycles. Make it your own and have fun with it. It will kick your ass, but the results speak for themselves. Enjoy!