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Category Archives: FAQ and Fables

Is low intensity endurance training the best intensity for weight loss?

Fact or Fable?

Many people who want to lose weight often perform long cardiovascular workouts at a low intensity. Many cardio machines also provide guidelines wherein exercise on lower intensities is often named weight loss or fat burning zone. (Usually around 60-70% of Maximum Heart Rate). But is it the most effective training intensity for weight loss?

How to do a push up

Although the Push UpHow to Push Up is one of the most popular bodyweight exercises, not everybody is able to do a proper Push Up. If you are having problems performing a proper push up and want to be able to do it properly, you can read here how to do a push up. And if you don’t have the strength yet, you will learn what you can do to strengthen the muscles you need to do a push up.

How much strength training is enough?

Almost everyone performsHow much strength training is enough? strength training for a certain goal. Whether that goal is to get stronger, get larger muscles or lose fat, strength training can help. Achieving those goal does not just depend on the perfect training program but on how often you train as well. Training frequency is an important factor in achieving results. When you train more often with the right (on training frequency adjusted) training program, you will likely get better results. However we all lead busy lives and not everyone is able to hit the gym every day. So the important question is: How much strength training is enough to see results?

Strength training for toning

Strength training Strength training for toningis an excellent way for both men and women to improve their figure and lose fat in unwanted places. However strength training is unfortunately not the first thing that comes to mind when someone wants to lose fat and improve their figure. Although men aren’t shy of strength training and lifting weights to look better, women are often scared of it, because they fear the body builder look. So sometimes they start special training programmes in which they perform strength training for toning rather than muscle growth. Does this work and if so, what do you need to do?

Bootcamp: What Is It And Why Should I Do It?

Bootcamp is a form of fitness training that is performed outdoor. BootcampThis form of training is based on the training recruits in the American Army have to perform to physically and mentally prepare them for duty which is also known as Bootcamp. Typical Bootcamp training involves combinations of running and interval training, strength exercises and core training. Whenever possible the surroundings are used to perform certain exercises such as a tree branch for pull ups. Most strength exercises during a typical Bootcamp class are bodyweight exercises such as push ups, pull ups but climbing up and over obstacles is also possible. There are more specialised Bootcamp classes that do make use of training materials such as kettlebells, Sandbags and/or tree logs.

Advantages and disadvantages

Bootcamp training is a very effective workout and can be used for several different goals. During a typical Bootcamp class the participants run at a moderate intensity and perform interval training at high intenseties to improve endurance. The strength exercises are perfect to increase strength and especially local muscle endurance. A combination of strength and endurance training is according to many studies very effective for losing weight and burning fat. (This is supported by our own study to the effects of a Bootcamp training program). Bootcamp combines different forms of training and it therefore improves several aspects of fitness at the same time without specialising in one in particular.

For who?

Bootcamp training can be done by practically anyone. The exercises and training intensity can be adapated to almost all fitness levels and there are classes for beginners and more experienced and/or fitter individuals. A good instructor that helps you perform exercises with proper technique is very important. This makes the training both safer as more effective.

Advice:

To improve endurance, lose weight, burn fat and increase muscle strength and endurance, Bootcamp is a very effective allround training method. Although these effects can take place with only one training each week, it is recommended to perform two to three Bootcamp training sessions each week, especially when you want to lose weight and fat. Choose a Bootcamp training class that suits your current level of fitness and experience and of course a certified trainer.

The influence of alcohol on training results

The influence of alcohol on training resultsThe influence of alcohol on training results

Although many people often train hard in their gym to lose weight, burn fat or build muscle mass and even use supplements many keep drinking alcoholic drinks. It is widely known that alcoholic drinks have a large negative impact on coordinated movement and reaction time, which is very apparent in driving. But how does regular alcohol consumption influence training results?

Hormonal Effects

The consumption of alcohol after strength training causes concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol to remain elevated longer than usual after training. This causes a longer period of muscle tissue breakdown and the body will take longer to recover from training. In addition, the concentration of free testosterone in men increases compared with not drinking any alcohol after training. This seems a positive effect, however the increase in free testosterone is not caused by an increased production, but by a reduced uptake by the muscles, which negates strength training effects.

Weight Loss and Burning Fat

Alcohol is seen by the body as a sort of poison that needs to be removed as quickly as possible. This process has priority over other metabolic processes in the body. This decreases or stops fat metabolism altogether for as long as there is alcohol in the body. Even a small amount of alcohol can decrease fat metabolism with more than 70%. In addition, the breakdown of muscle tissue as a result of increased cortisol levels, decreases resting metabolism in the long run. Both decreasing fat metabolism as a lower resting metabolism make it harder to lose weight and burn fat.

Hypertrophy and muscle strength

Because alcohol has a negative influence on the uptake of the muscle size increasing hormone testosterone, the muscles will grow less when alcohol is consumed after a resistance training workout than when one remains sober. Protein generation within the muscles decreases greatly and the increased cortisol levels will break down more muscle tissue than usual. In essence, alcohol hinders muscle recovery after training because the body needs to focus on removing the alcohol rather than letting the body adapt to training. For the same reason muscle strength does not increase as much in the long run when drinking alcohol.

Conclusion

Drinking alcohol affects training results greatly whatever your goal is. Burning fat, losing weight in a healthy manner become more difficult, increasing muscle mass is inhibited, muscle breakdown is increased and recovery after training is delayed. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause a decrease in fat metabolism or stop it completely. People who have difficulty losing weight or increasing muscle mass are advised to reduce their alcohol consumption or stop altogether.

References:

-Baechle, T.R., Earle, W.R. (2008). Bioenergetics of Exercise and Training. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning. Third Edition. USA. Human Kinetics.

-Kraemer, W.J. et al. (2008). The Endocrinology of Resistance Exercise and Training. Essentials of Sports Nutrition and Supplements. Human Kinetics USA.

-Parr, E.B., Camera, D.M., Areta, J.L., et al. Alcohol ingestion impairs maximal post-exercise rates of myofibrillar protein synthesis following a single bout of concurrent training. PLoS One 2014, 9, 2.

-Suter, P.M., Schutz, Y., Jequier, E. The Effect of Ethanol on Fat Storage in Healthy Subjects. The New England Journal of Medicine 1992, 326, 15, 983-987.

Stretching, How and When?

Stretching, How and When?

Stretching, when performed in the right way a the right time, can be a very useful way to improve flexibility and retain range of motion. However many people get it wrong.

For one, it is not a good idea to stretch immediately after exercise. The muscles are likely to have small ruptures or microtrauma from the workout itself, which only gets worse by stretching it. And because of increased blood flow and fluid in the muscle as a result of training, the muscle will be stiffer. Stretching a muscle stiff with blood and fluid will only add to the damage, and therefore muscle soreness.

Second, research has not found any evidence that stretching helps to prevent injuries. Moreover, it even seems to increase risk of injury when performed prior to training, because the muscle can lose strength and is therefore more vulnerable and less stable. This occurs especially as a result of static stretching, which can lower muscle strength by as much as 10-20%.

Not all forms of stretching prior to exercise are a bad idea. Dynamic stretching does have positive effects. When stretching a muscle dynamically, tension on the muscle is gently applied towards their maximum range of motion for short durations. This activates the stretched muscles, preparing them for higher forces and contraction speeds, which can increase maximum strength. In addition it will increase muscle temperature because it is an active form of stretching, whereas static stretching does not.

This does not mean static stretching does not have any benefits, it can increase range of motion in a safe manner. But to reap most benefits and not run additional risk of injury during training, static stretching is best performed on days when no cardiovascular or strength training is planned.

Rest Between Sets during Strength Training

The amount of rest between sets during resistance training is very important because it has a very large impact on the results of your training. When shorter rest periods are used, the training will result in adaptations directed at improving muscle endurance, whereas longer rest periods allow for higher training loads and therefore effective improvement of muscle strength and 1RM.

Local muscle endurance can be very important for athletes who participate in martial arts, and strength training is necessary to improve performance during power lifting events. The amount of rest is essentially determined by the goal of the training. The most used rest periods are between 30-90 seconds, and are a compromise between training for muscle endurance, strength and hypertrophy.

Longer rest periods, from 1,5 minute to 5 minutes allow higher training loads which increases strength. When very short rest periods are used, sometimes shorter than 10 seconds, muscular endurance improves and more growth hormone is produced.

What is Crossfit and what is it good for?

What is Crossfit and what is it good for?

Crossfit is a form ofCrossfit fitness training that has recently become very popular. Crossfit has been founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman and Laura Jenai and has grown significantly ever since. Crossfit training uses elements from different training forms and sports such as weight lifting, power lifting, strongmen training, exercises using one’s own bodyweight and interval training. It is aimed to develop all aspects of fitness which according to the founders consists of strength, speed, power, anaerobic endurance/capacitycardiovascular endurance, joint flexibility (ROM), balance, coördination, agility and dexterity. The underlying thought is that someone can only be fit, when he or she scores well in all these domains and has no weak links anymore. Therefore Crossfit training does not aim to specialise in one domain, but to become the ultimate allrounder. Aside from a training form, Crossfit has become a sport as well in which athletes compete with eachother for the title of fittest man or woman in the world at the Crossfit Games.

Although Crossfit training constantly varies and differ between boxes (Crossfit gym) there is a common template which is generally followed. A training always consists of a warm up, followed by strength and/or technique training in one or more strength exercises. After this, the Workout of the Day (WOD for the initiated) follows. A WOD consists of a combination of exercises that have to be completed as quickly as possible (a training for time) or have to be performed as many times as possible within a set time period (as many reps as possible or AMRAP). Training intensity therefore is in virtually every WOD very high. The exercises within a WOD normally combine push and pull movements and leg exercises. By constantly varying the exercises, all muscle groups will be trained regularly.

At the moment of writing not much research has been performed to the effects of Crossfit. The few studies that have been performed indicate that Crossfit is a very effective from of training to increase maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) and improve body composition. This can be explained by the high intensity of Crossfit training, which reaches 80% of VO2max and 90% of maximum heart frequency. Although no studies have been performed to the effects of Crossfit on strength and power, studies on similar high intensity training programs show that Crossfit is likely to be effective in this area as well.

One of the most common points of criticism on Crossfit is the relatively high risk of injury. Quite a few exercises from weight lifting require good form and technique. In addition many exercises are explosive in nature which causes higher joint forces than during regular resistance training. Another factor is letting your body take time to recover from the high intensity workout. However, when exercises are taught properly and are performed with the right amount of weight, the risk of injury decreases markedly and comparable to regular resistance training or sport-specific training. Proper instruction is paramount, even for more experienced Crossfit athletes.

For who?

Because training weights, training intensity and frequency can be adapted to suit everyone, Crossfit can be an effective and suitable form of training for everyone who is healthy. Many exercises are explosive in nature and people suffering from injury or pain may have to reduce training intensity or perform an alternative exercise. As always however, care must be taken.

What can I use it for?

Although not much research has been done on Crossfit training it has been proven very effective in improving endurance, decrease bodyfat percentage and increase strength. It can be used to improve sports performance in a particular sport until a point, however when one wants to specialise in a specific sport, sport specific training will yield better results.

Advice

Losing weight and fat: Two to three times a week for beginners.

Improving endurance: Two to three times a week for beginners. More experienced athletes up until five times a week or combined with high intensity interval training.

Improving speed, power or strength: Two to three times a week for beginners. More experienced athletes up until five times a week, or combine with seperate strength or power workouts.

References:

-Crossfit Schagen

-Smith, M.M., Sommer, A.J., Starkoff, B.E., Devor, S.T. Crossfit-based high-intensity power training improves maximal aerobic fitness and body composition. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 2013, 27, 11, 3159-3172.

-Babiash, P.E. Determining the energy expenditure and relative intensity of two Crossfit workouts. 2013.

-Voordouw, R.R. Het Verband tussen Zware Krachttraining en Schade aan gewrichten, 2007.

What is Spinning and what is it good for?

What is Spinning and what is it good for?Spinning

Spinning has always been one of the most popular fitness classes. A Spinning class involves cycling at different resistance levels and speeds while sitting or standing on the pedals on a stationary bicycle. The Spinning instructor is usually res
ponsible for designing the class, choosing the music and can suit it to the needs of special populations such as older people or people suffering from medical conditions. On average, a Spinning class takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

Advantages and disadvantages

Spinning can be seen as a form of interval training which depends on both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. This makes it very effective in increasing the maximum oxygen uptake and therefore endurance. In addition it is very useful for losing weight and burning fat.

For who?

Spinning can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels. Participants can adjust the resistance level of the bike themselves and adjust it to their own fitness level. The fitness instructor can adjust the intensity of the class to suit specific needs of beginners, elderly or athletes. People suffering from knee problems need to be carefull though because of the high loads placed upon the knees during Spinning.

Advice

Improving Endurance: To improve endurance it is recommended to perform a Spinning class two to four times a week. Beginners are advised to start with two classes a week and add one or two each week as they get fitter. Fitter individuals can start with three classes a week or more.

Lose Weight: To lose weight and burn a significant amount of fat it is recommended to perform a Spinning class two to three times a week. Although an additional class a week can help to lose weight more quickly, it usually is more effective to perform a form of strength or resistance training instead.

See also:

-Cardio Training for Weight Loss

What is Occlusion training and what is it good for?

What is Occlusion training?

Occlusion Training is a form of strength training in Occlusion trainingwhich the blood flow to and from the active muscles is decreased by a tight tourniquet. The decreased blood flow causes the exercised muscles to exhaust themselves much more quickly which causes a stronger training stimulus to these muscles than without this band. This form of training has been developed by the Japanese Yoshiaki Sato in 1966 and is also known as KAATSU training or Blood Flow Restriction Training.

Advantages and disadvantages

As a result of the decreased blood flow the muscles receive a much stronger training stimulus compared with regular resistance training at the same relative intensity. Even when training at very low intenstity (20% 1RM) can cause strong increases in strength and muscle size in beginners. These results are comparable to the results when training at 70% 1RM. When high training intensities are not possible, Occlusion Training can provide similar training results as regular resistance exercise. Until now however, no studies have been performed which compared Occlusion training directly with regular resistance training.

A large disadvantage of Occlusion Training is that not all muscle groups can be trained using this method. A tourniquet is needed to decrease blood flow, which can only be applied on the arms and legs. This limits the use of Occlusion Training for athletes training for a specific sport, but makes it quite suitable for body builders and fitness athletes seeking to improve their physique.

Another drawback is the possible risks involved with restricting blood flow. The increased pressure in the veins can make them expand greatly and damage the valves within. There is also risk of developing a blood clot which can block a blood vessel and cause a pulmonary embolism. (Sat himself was admitted in a hospital for a pulmonary embolism as a result of Occlusion Training). However a study to the appearance of blood clots during Occlusion Training did not find an increased risk and other studies did not report any significant negative effects. Blood pressure does increase more than during regular resistance training, which makes it unsuitable for patients suffering from high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases.

For who?

Although not much research has been performed Occlusion Training seems primarily suitable for healthy people seeking to improve the strength and size of their arm and leg muscles. For these pruposes Occlusion Training might be an effective alternative training method. People suffering from cardiovascular disease are advised to perform regular strength training and avoid this form of training.

Advice:

For hypertrophy: Occlusion Training by performing isolation exercises for the arms (biceps, triceps and lower arm muscles) and legs (quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles) at 20-50% of 1RM and a tourniquet that restricts blood flow instead of training at 70-90% 1RM. Train 2-3 times a week and perform 3-4 sets of 60-70 repetitions with 30 seconds of rest in between sets. Make sure blood flow restriction is not maintained too long to minimize risks (15-20 minutes at maximum).

See also:

-Split training or full body workout?

References:

-Sato, Y. The History and future of KAATSU training. International Journal of KAATSU Training Research 2005, 1, 1-5

-Lowery, R.P. et al. Practical blood flow restriction training increases muscle hypertrophy during a periodized resistance training programme. Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, 2013 E-pub in press.

-Loenneke, J.P. Low intensity blood flow restriction training: a meta-analysis. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 2012, 112, 1849-1859.

-Fujita, S. et al. Increased muscle volume and strength following six days of low-intensity resistance training with restricted muscle blood flow. International Journal of KAATSU Training Research, 2008, 4, 1-8.

-Loenneke, J.P. et al. Potential safety issues with blood flow restriction training. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 2011, 21, 510-518.

Weight loss or improving body composition?

Many people wanting to improve their looks or their health seek to lose weight achieve this goal by dieting, a dedicated training plan or both. Often they set goals to lose a certain amount of weight. Others don’t use the scale to measure their progress, but look towards body fat calipers or other methods to assess their body composition. So the important question is: Which is better focussing on weight loss or improving body composition?

The advantage of setting a weight loss goal is that it is easy to measure weight. However, the weight lost can be caused by loss of fat mass, muscle mass, water or a combination of these. Measuring body composition allows to keep track of changes in the relative amount of fat during diets and weight loss training programs. Changes in body fat percentage better represent changes in someone’s health and fitness. As stated above, weight loss can also be caused by a loss of muscle tissue. This not only makes a person weaker and less fit, resting metabolism decreases as well. This makes retaining weight loss much harder.

Consider the following example:

Subject 1 and Subject 2 before weight loss:

Table 1 Subject 1 and Subject 2
Age 25 years
Length 182cm/6′
Weight 90kg/200lbs
BMI 27.2 (overweight)
Fat Percentage 25%
Fat Mass 22,5kg/50lbs
Fat Free Mass 67,5kg/150lbs

Subject 1 and Subject 2 followed different weight loss programs and the results are:

Table 2 Subject 1 Subject 2
Weight 82kg/182lbs (-8kg/-17.8lbs) 88kg/196lbs (-2kg/-4.4lbs)
BMI 24.8 (Healthy) 26.6 (Overweight)
Fat Percentage 23% (-2%) (Overweight) 18% (-7%) (Healthy)
Fat Mass 18.9kg/42lbs (-3.6kg/8lbs) 15.8kg/35.1lbs (-6.7kg/14.9lbs)
Fat Free Mass 63.1kg/140.2lbs (-4,4kg/9.8lbs) 72.1kg/160.2lbs (+4.7kg/10.4lbs)

In this example we can see several interesting things. First, Subject 1 lost more weight in total and therefore was no longer overweight according to the BMI. However, his fat percentage did not decrease as much and he is still considered overweight in this respect. This means that, although he did manage to lose some body fat, most of the lost weight was not fat, but muscles and water instead.

Subject 2 on the other hand did not lose as much weight, but did manage to bring down his fat percentage by a considerable amount. Enough to be classified as healthy when looking at fat percentage. The BMI in contrast, which depends only on weight and length, still classifies him as being overweight, even though the health risk as a result of too much fat has decreased considerably. Subject 2 managed to lose a lot of fat and actually gain some muscle mass. Not only does this make him look a lot better than Subject 1, he is healthier as well.

This example serves to illustrate that it is better to improve body composition, than to just focus on losing weight. Someone who gains muscle mass and burns fat mass at the same time, will look healthier and lighter than they actually are. Muscle tissue density is much higher than fat tissue density, meaning that in the example above Subject 2 looks a lot slimmer than Subject 1 despite being heavier.

See also:

-Is Cardio Training the Best Way to Lose Weight?

-Strength Training for Weight Loss

-Cardio Training for Weight Loss

Is cardio training the best way to lose weight?

Many people who want to lose weight at some point runningtry cardio training in one form or another to achieve that goal. But is cardio training the best way to lose weight or should they look elsewhere to lose fat?

It is true that cardio training can help lose weight. It burns a lot of calories and improves the body’s ability to burn fat, which aids weight loss. However the main drawback of losing weight by cardio training is the same as with an energy restricted diet. It does not prevent the loss of muscle mass associated with a caloric deficit, or in other words, when you eat less calories than you use each day. The loss of muscle mass decreases resting metabolism, which makes it harder to lose more weight and more importantly, makes it harder to keep the lost weight off and prevent the yo-yo effect.

In addition, when too much cardio training at moderate intensity or higher is done, stress hormone levels such as cortisol start to increase beyond normal values, which not only breaks down muscle tissue but is not beneficial for health in general. Performing too much cardio training at moderate intensities is not too hard to reach. From six hours each week and more, cortisol levels start to increase and muscle damage from training is impaired.

Cardio training in the form of high intensity interval training can be very effective in helping to lose weight. Loss in muscle tissue tends to be less and therefore there’s less risk of regaining the lost weight. However, when combined with a healthy diet and strength training, the effects on weight loss and health are more profound. This combination helps to maintain muscle mass and resting metabolism, improve health and lose fat at the same time. In addition the body will look more athletic and fit after weight loss instead of just thin.

In conclusion, although cardio training can help you lose weight, it is much more effective and healthier to combine it with a healthy diet and strength training to achieve permanent weight loss and a healthy look.

See also:

-Strength training for weight loss

-Cardio training for weight loss

Cardio training for weight loss

Cardio training has classically been the training cardio training for weight lossform most used to achieve weight loss and improvements in body composition. And not without reason. Cardio training can be done in many different ways and is a very effective component of training for weight loss. Here are the reasons why cardio training for weight loss is a good idea:

Cardio training burns a lot of calories

The most well known reason why many people perform cardio training is because it allows burning a lot of calories in a relatively short amount of time. Your energy consumption can easily increase five fold and for up to ten fold when the duration of training is not too long. And a higher metabolism means more burned calories and more weight lost.

Cardio training increases metabolism

Due to the prolonged stress on the body, after training the body needs to recover and adapt. This process requires a lot of energy, which can increase energy requirements above base resting metabolism. A phenomenon also known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC This means that more calories are burned when the body is at rest, which makes it easier to lose weight. This advantage is especially pronounced after high intensity interval training.

Cardio training increases fat metabolism capacity

One of the more important adaptations to cardio training is that the aerobic system will improve its efficiency. Since this is the system responsible for our fat metabolism, this is one of the most important benefits of cardio training. This means the body is better able to provide energy for lower intensity activities in daily live by burning fat. When the aerobic system is not as efficient, the body will have to burn carbohydrates instead, making weight loss much harder.

Training tips

Cardio training is a very important part of your training when striving for weight loss. To maximize its effectiveness keep the following in mind:

-Perform cardio training on a machine of your choice. Examples are treadmill, stationary bicycle, cross trainer, stair master or rowing machine.

-For maximum training adaptation train at high intensities. This means well above the intensity when talking during exercise gets difficult.

-Perform interval training rather than continuous cardio training at one intensity.

-Interval training should be done for at least 10 minutes and up to 30 minutes. If you can go on after that, you should have trained at a higher intensity.

See also:

-Strength training for weight loss

-Fact or Fable: Fat matabolism starts after 20 minutes of exercise

 

Strength training for weight loss

Although more often considered a training to
Strength training for weight lossincrease the size and strength of your muscles, strength training for weight loss is an often overlooked form of training when it comes to losing weight and burning fat. There are however several important reasons why strength training is very important for weight loss.

Strength training costs a lot of energy

Strength training requires moving of heavy weights and therefore requires quite a bit of energy, which is the prime requisite of weight loss. The energy needed to activate the muscles and move the weights is generated by the anaerobic system. This metabolic system delivers energy very quickly, however it produces many byproducts that need to be cleaned up which costs energy as well. Lower intensity cardio exercise, relies more on aerobic systems which are far more efficient and even clean up these ‘waste’ products. In other words high intensity strength training requires the body to spend energy recovering, while lower intensity exercise requires constant work for it to be effective.

Strength training increases metabolism

Strength training, when done right, damages muscle fibers slightly which need repair afterwards. In addition, adaptations to the muscle are necessary after training such as increasing strength. Recovering from training and adapting to it cost energy and therefore raise metabolism above resting levels for up to a few days. Moreover, since muscle tissue needs a constant supply of energy, even when it is inactive, increasing muscle mass helps burn more energy everyday and therefore is a great help while losing weight.

Strength training stimulates fat metabolism

Not only does strength training increase metabolism, after training it will stimulate the body to generate energy by burning fat in favor of carbohydrates. As said above, the high intensity of strength training requires the anaerobic systems to generate a lot of energy using several sources among which carbohydrates. By doing this, in essence the body receives a signal that sometimes large amounts of carbohydrates are necessary for a short period. This signal will cause the muscle to save the carbohydrates for when they are necessary for high intensity work and ‘choose’ to burn fat instead.

Strength training prevents weight regain after weight loss

Although weight loss can be realized in multiple ways, adding strength training prevents the loss of muscle mass that often causes the weight loss during dieting. Since muscle tissue needs constant energy, maintaining or even increasing the amount of muscle mass you have will help keep the lost weight of and prevent the yo-yo effect.

Strength training makes the body look athletic

Most people want to lose weight to improve their appearance and looks. Strength training helps shape the regions of the body that become visible when you lose weight. Losing weight by dieting and losing muscle mass will only reveal loose skin, veins and bone underneath. Training the muscles and stimulating them to at least maintain their size, will reveal healthy muscles and yield a healthy and athletic look desired by many.

Training tips

As you can see, strength training is vital in a healthy weight loss program that yields long lasting results. To maximize the effectiveness of your training keep in mind the following:

-Train all muscle groups during each session

-Perform two to three sets per exercise of 8-12 repetitions each at maximum weight

-Don’t rest too long between series (30-60 seconds)

See also:

-Weight Loss: What Works and What Doesn’t?

-Strength Training makes women large and bulky

What is Pilates and what does it do?

What is Pilates?

Pilates is a very popular training form developed Pilatesby Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. At the core of Pilates are movements and postures that activate deeper muscles and lets them work together in better unison, the so called muscle chains. The original training method was specially developed for well trained, professional dancers. Current Pilates classes however are better suited for the average gym visitor.

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is a very effective training form and has several very important benefits.

It strengthens the core muscles

Practically all Pilates exercises require stabilization of the spine and therefore it is a very effective method to strengthen the core muscles. This is not only important to show of your abdominal muscles, but is useful in most daily tasks and other sports and exercises as well.

It increases flexibility

Flexibility of the body depends for a large part on how well muscles work together and their ability to stabilize the joints. If a joint can’t be stabilized in a certain position, the muscles will stiffen to prevent the body from reaching that position. When properly exercised and when they can work together sufficiently well, the joints can be stabilized in a larger range of motion which helps increasing flexibility.

It improves coordination and balance

Pilates exercises target many muscle groups at the same time which improves their ability to co-operate during difficult movements. This leads to more efficient and less jerky movements. This in addition to enhanced proprioception, also known as ability to sense the position of the body, leads to improvements in balance.

It decreases low back pain

Pilates exercises target the deeper core musculature and therefore help stabilize the lower back and the pelvis. Strengthening these muscles increases joint stability and therefore decreases low back pain considerably. It is therefore an effective method to help treat a specific low back pain.

Fact or fable: Strength training for children stunts growth

It is often said that strength training for children stunts growth and should not be done by them. Loading the bones in this way, would damage the growth plates (epiphyseal plates). These growth plates are responsible for the elongation of our bones and therefore our growth. This process eventually slows down and stops when we reach the end of puberty or early adulthood.

However, there is no research that indicates that the growth plates are damaged by performing strength training. Studies involving strength training for children show normal growth patterns and no adverse effects whatsoever. So strength training does not stunt growth in children.

Moreover, several studies even recommend it for its’ beneficial effects on children. Not only does it increase strength, but it improves children’s health and introduces them to a healthy habit at an early stage in life which they can easier maintain throughout their lives. It improves control over their body and strengthens muscles, tendons and bones.

There should be no fear of excessive muscle growth either since both boys and girls at a young age lack sufficient amounts of anabolic hormones such as testosterone to produce noticeable changes in muscle mass.

Before children start going to the gym, there are several considerations:

  1. The child should psychologically ready to perform strength training.
  2. The child should understand proper exercise techniques for each exercise.
  3. The child should understand safety concerns of each piece of exercise equipment.
  4. Train at a moderate intensity (12-15 repetitions per set), higher intensities are harder to perform correctly and don’t yield better results.
  5. The training equipment should fit the child properly.
  6. Proper guidance is often necessary.
  7. Training should be fun.

References:

-Zatsiorsky, V.M., Kraemer, W.J. (2006). Strength Training for Young Athletes.Science and Practice of Strength Training. Second Edition. USA. Human Kinetics.

Benefits of strength training

Strength training or resistance exercise,  is a very well Man dumbbellknown form of fitness training. Strength training is characterized by performing exercises for short amounts of time at moderate to high external resistances resulting in localized fatigue and possibly muscle failure. Strength training is mostly done by lifting free weights, performing exercises on special machines or by bodyweight exercises such as pushups.

 

Resistance training has always been associated with fitness training and is essential for bodybuilding. It has many benefits for those that are willing to put in the effort, so here are the advantages of strength training.

  1. It increases maximal strength:

One of the most obvious effects of strength training is that increases muscle strength. Aside from professional strength athletes such as weightlifters, this is a very important effect for elderly as well. A certain amount of strength is necessary to perform everyday tasks. When people are hindered during activities such as walking, cycling or walking a flight of stairs, they tend to avoid these activities. If this pattern is not broken, muscle strength decreases even further, hampering these activities even more. Proper strength training prevents or slows the decrease of muscle strength effectively.

  1. It increases muscle size:

One of the most important reasons many men go the gym is to increase the size of their muscles and look more athletic. One of the adaptations that are necessary to increase strength is to increase the size of the muscle. This effect is very pronounced in men, but far more subtle in women.

  1. It helps weight loss and prevents weight regain:

Weight loss is achieved by burning more calories than are taken in. Muscle mass is active tissue and requires a constant supply of energy even in rest. When muscle mass increases, energy expenditure in rest increases along with it, making it easier to burn fat and improve body composition. And when active, larger amounts of energy can be used than with less muscle mass. Adaptation and recovery following a strength training session increase resting metabolism, helping in weight loss. Lastly, strength training prevents the loss of muscle mass during weight loss, which often happens while dieting. It therefore also prevents the well known yo-yo effect.

  1. It rejuvenates the body:

Resistance exercise stimulates the production of several hormones that help maintain and repair the body’s cells. There is even some research indicating that it helps protect our DNA as we age, effectively delaying the physical aging process.

  1. It decreases risk on metabolic disorders and diseases:

Because resistance exercise increases the amount of active tissue, metabolism is increased and improved. The body needs to optimize carbohydrate metabolism to adapt to the training. This helps in preventing metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes mellitus type 2 or can help decrease or reverse their symptoms.

  1. It decreases osteoporosis:

Bone tissue, like muscle tissue, is constantly remodeled. As we age, quality and density of our bones often decreases as a result of increasing inactivity. Resistance exercise stresses the bones, and will slow down or even reverse the development of osteoporosis. Because of the higher training intensity and greater loads placed on the bones it can be even more effective than aerobic exercise in this respect.

See also:

-Advantages of cardio training

 

Benefits of Cardio Training

Cardio training or endurance exercise or aerobic exercise,running is a well known form of fitness training. Cardio training is characterized by movement by large muscle groups for prolonged periods of time resulting in an elevated heart rate and breathing frequency. Examples of aerobic exercise are jogging, cycling, or use of a stationary cardiofitness machine, such as a crosstrainer or stairmaster.

Strength training makes women large and bulky

Fact or fable: Strength training makes women large and bulky

Strength training is often seen as a training form best suited for men
Strength training for women
that want to increase their muscle mass. Women often want to lose weight and certainly don’t want to look like bodybuilders. But does strength training make women large and bulky?

It is true that strength training also increases muscle mass in women, which can cause an increase in total body weight. However this increase will be rather small, because women produce far less muscle mass increasing hormones than men. Only when women have exceptional genetic potential to build muscle mass and perform large volume high intensity strength training will have large increases in muscle mass.

Women who want to lose weight would do well to regularly perform strength training, despite a possible increase in body weight. Strength training stimulates fat metabolism after training and an increase in muscle mass increases resting metabolism. An increased resting metabolism makes it easier to lose weight because even in rest the body needs more energy than before. Moreover, strength training exercises all muscle groups, which causes all muscles to remain firm and give the body a more athletic look.

Other effects of strength training that can be very important for women:

-Increase in bone density: Bones get stronger through strength training. Especially after the menopause bone density can decrease significantly. Strength training can prevent this to a large extent.

-Rejuvenation of body cells: Strength training stimulates the production of hormones in the body that aid the body’s cells with maintenance and recovery. This causes the cells to function better and age less quickly.

For women it is highly recommended to regularly perform strength training. It has many health benefits, but helps in weight loss and improving body composition as well. The fear of looking like a body builder is not necessary. Women don’t have the necessary hormone production to produce and maintain large amounts of muscle mass. Female bodybuilders do this by using anabolic steroids and other substances that stimulate muscle mass.