Archive for the tag - intervals

Burning 200 Calories in 2.5 Minutes.

How would you like to burn 200 calories in just 2.5 minutes of exercise? Researchers from Colorado State University and University of Colorado Anschultz Medical Campus found that interval training can do just that.

In recent years, high intensity interval training has become increasingly popular due to its fat burning benefits. Though the training is intense, it’s quick – and thus, it fits nicely into even the busiest of schedules. It’s an extremely efficient form of exercise, and there has been an increasingly large body of evidence and research to support the claims.

In this new study, researchers recruited healthy male volunteers between the ages of 25 and 31. For three days, the volunteers were locked into individually sealed rooms with the air intake and exhaust regulated. Specialized equipment measured oxygen, carbon dioxide and water content to determine how many calories each volunteer burned per day.

Though the first two days of the stay were largely sedentary, volunteers engaged in high intensity interval training on the third day. Using a stationary bike, the volunteers sprinted against high levels of resistance for 30 seconds. Coached over an intercom, the volunteers were told to give 100% effort. After the sprint, volunteers were given a four minute period of recovery – and then, another sprint. This continued until five, 30-second sprint intervals were completed.

In total, the workout amounted to 2.5 minutes of hard exercise. After analyzing the results from the room’s calorimeter system, researchers concluded that an extra 200 calories were burned during the high intensity interval training day. The increased calorie burn occurred not just during the exercise, but for several hours thereafter.

200 calories is a huge return for such a small investment of time. When completed a few times per week, it’s easy to see how these calories could add up – and result in big changes and sustainable weight loss over time.

To try interval training for yourself, download Davey Wavey’s Get Ripped Workout.

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 the Fat-Burning Zone Really Means?

Hey Davey!

I have a cardio conundrum. I’m 32 at 174 pounds, and I have a goal of losing weight. Because I can no longer run, it’s been suggested that I walk briskly on the treadmill at a high incline. I tried this today on the fat-burn setting, but the machine kept re-setting the incline and pace to get my heart rate in the “fat-burning zone” for my age and weight class. I continued the workout for 30 minutes, but I barely broke a sweat and didn’t feel like I worked out at all. I desperately wanted to return to the high incline and brisk pace, but I figured the machine knew what it was doing.

Should I stick with what the machine dictates?

Thanks,
Will

Hey Will,

Machines often target two different zones: Fat-burning and cardio.

The cardio zone programs are higher in intensity while the fat-burning zone programs are lower in intensity. When in the fat-burning zone, you burn fewer calories – but the idea is that a higher percent of those calories come from fat. Hence the name. When in the cardio zone, you burn a greater total number of calories.

Sounds like you should continue to work in the fat-burning zone? No. Consider the chart below which represents a 130 pound woman:

Even with a smaller percentage of calories coming from fat, you still burn more fat in the cardio zone.

But really, there’s a fundamental issue with relying on the treadmill to determine your “zone.” Fitness machines use a very simple formula to calculate your target heart rate involving only your age and weight. It doesn’t take into consideration your individuality – and the host of other relevant variables. The result is an overly generalized heart rate which usually isn’t accurate.

If you’re comfortable working out, I’d encourage you to think outside the treadmill’s zones and develop your own cardio routine that leaves you hot and sweaty. And, if you have issues running, it need not involve the treadmill.

Intervals are a great way to burn fat and they can be performed on many different types of cardio machines. I’d recommend trying intervals on a rowing machine. Row at a moderate pace for 90 seconds – and then switch to a sprint pace for 60 seconds. Do this for 15 minutes and you’ll be soaked in sweat. And, you’ll have boosted your metabolism.

You can also incorporate gut-busting intervals into strength training by moving between various exercises at differing speeds.

The bottom line: The zones on cardio machines are misleading and often inaccurate. Don’t give them more credit than they deserve – and certainly don’t base your weight loss program on their calculations.

Love,
Davey

P.S. If you have a fitness question for Davey Wavey, send it on over!

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.

Part II: Frustrated By Lack of Results? Create a Better Game Plan.

If you are frustrated by a lack of results, it’s probably one of two things. Either it’s an issue with your goals, or you need a better game plan. Yesterday, in part I, we discussed the importance of creating S.M.A.R.T. goals. Today, in part II, I’ll show you how to connect your workout routine to your fitness goals.

How to Create a Workout Plan that Achieves Your Goals

You have a goal or set of goals. It seems intuitive, but virtually everything that you do at the gym must be connected to those goals. Some people think that going to the gym and doing whatever is a means to achieving their fitness goals – but it’s not.

If your goals involve bigger muscles, for example, your workout must be intentionally structured around that. To get bigger muscles, you’ll want to stick with free weight exercises that involve either dumbbells or barbells. Moreover, you’ll be doing a low number of repetitions (probably between 4 – 8 reps) at a heavy amount of weight. You’ll want your muscles to be fatigued when you perform your last set, and you’ll need to constantly be progressing to heavier and heavier amounts of resistance. Most likely you’ll do different muscle groups on different days, and your cardio will probably come in the form of jogging, running or sprinting in intervals on the treadmill.

If you’re looking to maintain muscles, then your workout must be structured around that, too. When it comes to strength training, don’t increase the amount of resistance for those muscles you are looking to maintain. And, you’ll probably perform 10 or more reps since the weight will be only moderately heavy.

If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to build a well-balanced workout schedule that includes cardio and strength training (many people forget about the importance of strength training when trying to lose weight). Intervals are also great for releasing weight, and you’ll probably spend a higher percentage of your time doing cardio than your muscle-building counterparts.

Everyone’s goals are specific, and it’s beyond the scope of this blog post to create a personal workout routine for you (that’s what my Ultimate Guide to Working Out is for), but the point is this: Going to the gym and just doing whatever is not enough – each rep of each set of each exercise of each day at the gym must be intentionally connected to your goal or goals. Know what it takes to get where you want to go – and then do it!

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%.

How to Get Lower/Bottom Abs.

The human body is beautiful in all its shapes and forms, but there is something especially sexy about a well formed six pack. As it turns out, the bottom half of the six pack is the hardest part to get. So, here are some tips for developing your lower/bottom abs.

Lose the fat

The lower abdomen is where men tend to store fat hormonally. And it’s the last place that we lose it. This fat is incredibly stubborn – and even if your ab muscles are strong, even a small amount of fat will keep them hidden from view. To develop a leaner midsection:

  1. Strength train. Strength training is the best kept fat loss secret. When you strength train, you build muscle. And muscle incinerates calories – often causing a calorie deficit (more calories out than in) that helps people increase definition.
  2. Eat like a caveman. A healthy diet is key. Exercise is important, but don’t forget that nutrition is the other side of that equation. Lean meats, vegetables, nuts, berries, etc. should take center-stage in your diet. For more information about diet and eating like a caveman, check out my Eating for Fitness program.
  3. Interval train. Interval training is incredibly effective at helping people lose weight. It boosts the metabolism for hours and is several times more effective than running at a constant pace. Learn how to do it.

Increase the muscle

99% of unveiling your lower/bottom six pack is shedding the extra fat. But when the fat is gone, you’ll probably want your abs to pop. To that end, make sure you’re doing ab exercises that target that lower area. Exercises like leg lifts, weighted leg lifts and hanging leg raises will do wonders.

Here’s how to do a leg lift:

  1. Lie on your back on the floor.
  2. Extend your legs straight out and keep your arms at your side.
  3. Folding at the pelvis and keeping both legs together, lift your legs off of the floor.
  4. Lift your legs until they are perpendicular to the floor.
  5. Hold, then slowly lower.
  6. Repeat.

Enjoy – let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! And remember to honor your body wherever it’s at. Six pack or not, you’re beautiful. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also – Check out my amazingly cute and body-positive Good Vibes Gym Bag. It just launched today – supplies are limited and I’m offering special savings!