A BRIEF REVIEW
In prior posts, I have cited the value of resistance training in addition to cardio – for fat loss, as opposed to weight loss only. Taking a long walk is great, especially if you walk briskly or with long strides. But weight training 2-3 times per week will boost your metabolism and enable you to more efficiently burn energy (calories) while at rest. It’s not either / or. We must do both.
Kristen Beavers, professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University (my alma mater), led a study that concluded that aerobic exercise without weight training would reduce lean muscle mass. Not just fail to increase muscle mass, but reduce it! This study goes as far as to say that weight training is a better choice than the aerobic type for seniors. Personally, I don’t see it as a contest. Do both!
Let’s not step on the scales and be happy with a 20 pound weight loss if we see lots of loose skin or cellulite on our bodies. Fat loss is a healthier and more worthy objective. Why not take advantage of a nice bonus – increased calorie expenditure while at rest?
HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING
H.I.I.T. is gaining more and more attention as the best way to reduce body fat. Actually, this fitness strategy has been around since the 1970s. Briefly, this is a cardiovascular program wherein periods of high intensity are alternated with recovery periods of much lower intensity.
Here is an example: after a warm up, you might run as fast as you can for a couple of minutes and then stop to leisurely walk for a couple more minutes. Then continue alternating until exhaustion sets in. The level of intensity will vary with one’s fitness and capabilities. I have knee and back issues and have not gone for a run since maybe 20 years ago.
This is what I do: I begin walking on my treadmill with the miles per hour set at 2. This is a leisurely walk and serves as a warm – up. Then I raise the mph to 5, which is almost running and definitely very fast walking. I do 5 cycles and stop after 20 minutes. As I progress, I may consider making the ratio 2:1, intensity over recovery. I might even extend the total time to 30 minutes if I feel okay.
Alternating jumping jacks with walking in place would be another example. The idea is that taking in more oxygen burns more calories and increases your metabolism for greater fat loss. During and after the training!
So…….H.I.I.T. burns more fat in less time, which explains its popularity. You are finished in 20 minutes, but you must work hard. A maximum of 3 such workouts per week is best. This leaves times for resistance exercise on other days.
Actually, the H.I.I.T. program might be applied to resistance training. Here is a possibility: first warm – up. Then do biceps curls with light resistance for 25 – 30 reps. Then do heavy triceps work for about 6 reps. Then do 20-30 triceps reps with light weight. Next, follow with heavy curls for 6 reps. Then repeat the whole cycle and stop when you are exhausted. Your arms will be pumped up to the bursting point We may forget that resistance training by cycles without totally stopping for rest is an excellent form of cardio training.
A few caveats:
- By all means, don’t do two forms of H.I.I.T. training on consecutive days.
- Let your physician know that you are considering this form of training. Seek the doctor’s advice.
- Start slowly or moderately. Rest for at least a few seconds between movements until you have a week or two under your belt.
- Don’t view this as a competition. Know your capabilities and their limitations.
- Measure your pulse during the training. Be sure that it goes down during the recovery portion.
I generally drink water with lemon when dining out, but recently I have begun to squirt lemon juice into my water at home. Sometimes we develop healthy habits without consciously trying to do so.
It turns out that lemon water does the following:
- Provides vitamin C and acts as an antioxidant
- Replenishes electrolytes
- Immunizes against germs and viruses
- Decreases uric acids in joints
- Fights asthma symptoms
- Improves vision
- Improves our digestion
- Targets adipose tissue (when the lemon peel is placed in water)
Another personal anecdote. I was playing in a 35 and over tennis tournament when I was 38. The heat was oppressive, over 100 degrees. The match went to 3 sets and I believe I was almost delirious when it was over. My fingers and toes were spasming uncontrollably.
Someone was kind enough to hand me a banana, which I gobbled down as fast as I could. Then I had another one and, like magic, I was okay. I will never forget this. The tournament officials had been astute enough to be prepared for this type of occurrence. Apparently, my potassium had been depleted.
As I found out, bananas reduce cramping in athletes because of the mineral content and the ease of digestion. Also:
- Bananas aid in weight loss since they are low in calories and yet give us a feeling of fullness.
- They help with blood pressure and kidney health
- The potassium content enhances heart health
- They are loaded with nutrients and help with digestion
- They are convenient snacks and relatively very inexpensive
I have never tried a keto diet, primarily since at this point I can wipe out a gain of a couple of extra pounds by calorie control and exercise. But keto products are found in abundance in most stores and I hear about ketos constantly.
Many years ago, I tried the Atkins diet and I clearly remember attaining ketosis, which occurs when your body does not have sufficient carbohydrates to burn and must use fats for energy.
As a Bullworker user, I am a member of a large global Facebook group of health – minded Bullworker proponents. One member from Norway has lost 121 pounds by a keto diet, along with Bullworker workouts. He has the before and after photographs to prove it.
Studies show that keto diets may help with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
As was the case with the Atkins diet, there may be initial side effects with the keto diet – headaches, nausea, lack of sleep, cramps and irritability have been reported.
Here are a few keto products available from Amazon:
Bottom line – fat loss is better than weight loss alone. Also, adding weight training to cardio will go a long way toward retaining lean muscle mass and increasing our rate of metabolism.
I will never regret choosing a lifestyle of fitness and I would recommend it to everyone.
Please leave any comments or questions in the “Comments” box below. Or e-mail me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Be well!