Tag Archives: weight loss

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?

Metabolism Booster: Barbell Circuit

The training for todayBarbell Circuit: A barbell circuit with super effective but surprisingly simple exercises. The exercises in this barbell circuit are excellent to lose weight, burn fat, improve endurance and the ability to deliver force quickly. This does not mean that technique is not important. If you are unfamiliar with one or more of these exercises, practice them with an unloaded bar or even a stick. Otherwise use a barbell with weights with which you can do all exercises for the given amount of repetitions. So do not change the weights between exercises because continueing with the training is the key to succes. If you have access to more than one barbell you can use different weights so for example the leg exercises can be done at a higher weight and therefore intensity. 

Metabolism Booster Kettlebell Circuit

The training for today: A kettlebell circuit for the more advanced kettlebell trainee. The exercises in this circuit are excellent to lose weight, burn fat, improve endurance and the ability to deliver force quickly. Some of the exercises are a little more difficult than in previous kettlebell circuit, so you might have to practice a little with lighter kettlebells before switching to heavier ones. Be careful with the last kettlebell rotation exercise. Don’t go to far and it is recommended to keep the kettlebell light (4kg or less) like in the movie.

High Intensity Bodyweight Workout

This is a bodyweight workout which improves strength and endurance and that can be done anywhere. Because of the high intensity, it is very effective in promoting weight loss and fat loss as well. You don’t need any training material or exercise equipment for workout.

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?

Training on an empty stomach for weight loss

(12-14-2014) To succesfully lose weightRunning the combination of a healthy diet with caloric restriction combined with training is more effective than using a diet or training alone. The last few years quite some research has been performed on endurance training on an empty stomach. These studies showed that fat metabolism was increased directly after fasted exercise compared with regular fed exercise. In addition fasted exercise improved insulin sensitivity and lead to a better glucose tolerance. These adaptations should in theory help weight and fat loss. To test this hypothesis, scientists performed a study to answer whether training on an empty stomach is more effective for weight loss.

Weight loss after pregnancy using videogames

(02-25-2014) Losing weight after pregnancyFitness gaming can be quite difficult and the gained weight often remains where it is. Different studies have shown that physical activity and fitness exercise are effective ways to make the additional pregnancy pounds disappear. Many young mothers however find it difficult to keep up regular exercise because the young baby requires a lot of attention and leaving the house to exercise is often difficult. Certrain computer games require people to exercise to play. Researchers from Japan performed a study on the effectiveness of playing these active computer games on weight loss after pregnancy. 

Tabata training using kettlebell swings vs strength training

(08-17-2014) Interval training is increasing in Kettlebell swingpopularity because it is an effective method to lose weight, lose fat and improve endurance. There are several different methods, but the best known is probably the method of researcher Izumi Tabata. His world famous study investigated the effects of his Tabata interval protocol and had major implications for the world of fitness because of the great results achieved in a relatively short amount of time. Tabata interval training is not only applicable to running and cycling, but to almost any intensive training form. Because kettlebell training is becoming increasingly popular, scientists  from the United States compared a traditional strength protocol with a Tabata interval training using the kettlebell swing.

Interval training vs endurance training for weight loss

(7-25-2014) High intensity interval training,Interval training vs endurance training also known as HIIT is increasing in popularity because of its’ effectiveness in increasing endurance. It has also been consistantly shown that it is more effective in helping weight loss and stimulating fat metabolism than endurance training at one steady state intensity. Most interval training protocols used in those studies were quite high in intensity, but did take a fair amount of time to complete. To see if a shorter high intensity interval training can be effective as well, scientists of the Universities of West and Central Florida performed the following study which investigates which is better: interval training vs endurance training.

Fast or slow weight loss: which is better?

(11-15-2014) According to current guidelines for dietitians it Lose weight and fat effectivelyis better to lose weight in a slow gradual manner than losing it quickly to maintain weight loss. Because there is hardly any scientific basis for this recommendation Australian scientists started a large scaled study to the effects of the rate of weight loss on weight maintenance. This article describes their research, results and their conclusions on which is better: fast or slow weight loss.

Effects of Crossfit

(Originally posted on: 11-18-2013)

Crossfit is a very popular form of fitness training Effects of Crossfitwhich aims to improve all aspects of fitness. Crossfit constantly varies exercises from Powerlifting, bodyweight exercises and kettlebell training. This is combined with different forms of cardiovascular training. Because Crossfit emerged fairly recently, little research has been performed up until now. Scientists from the Ohio State University therefore performed a study on the effects of Crossfit on aerobic endurance, fat percentage and muscle mass.

Tabata training

What is Tabata Training?

Tabata training is a form of high intensity interval training first investigated by the Japanese scientist Professor Izumi Tabata. The first few studies were primarily aimed at enhancing sport performance in athletes using short interval training sessions on a stationary bicycle. Every training consisted of eight 20 second sprints on a stationary bicycle at very high intensity alternated with resting periods of 10 seconds. After the training period endurance (maximal oxygen uptake) increased to a larger extend in the Tabata interval training group, despite the workouts being much shorter, compared with a group that performed regular modrate intensity endurance training for 60 minutes each training.1 Ever since that study, the Tabata interval training protocol has become very popular and is increasingly used to help (professional) athletes get fitter and help people lose weight.

How to lose weight and fat effectively

Many people exercise to lose fat by exercising to improve their looks and/or their health. Lose weight and fat effectivelyBut more often than not, hardly any fat is lost, people get frustrated and quit training altogether. In response to the rising demand in fat loss, much research has been performed to determine the most effective ways of losing fat. This article will give you best tips science can give you on how to lose weight and fat effectively.

Strength training to lose fat

Many people train in a gym or fitness center to lose weightStrength training to lose fat or improve their looks. It is often thought that the best way to lose weight by burning fat is to perform cardio training. Outside the fitness centers, many people can be seen running or cycling ot lose weight. Although cardiovascular exercise is an excellent method to burn a lot of calories, especially when performed at the right intensity, strength training or resistance exercise is often overlooked. Strength training to lose fat is not done by many. This however, is a missed oportunity. Resistance exercise can help greatly in burning fat and improving body composition, because it increases resting metabolic rate.

Exercise order: strength or cardio first?

Many people wonder about exercise order.Strength or cardio first? Which part of fitness training, cardio or strength training, should be performed first. Both alternatives have advantages and disadvantages so it is hard to give a clear answer but the advantages and disadvantages of each method are outlined below.

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.

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.

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