Ex­er­cises

Hit­ting the Road or the Gym?

Canadian Running - - FEATURES - By Jon-Erik Kawamoto

The Se­man­tics

The term “weight loss” is too generic. What you re­ally mean, and want, is fat loss. In other words, you want to im­prove your body com­po­si­tion: re­duce ex­cess fat and in­crease mus­cle mass. Bet­ter body com­po­si­tions are as­so­ci­ated with leaner bod­ies, more mus­cle def­i­ni­tion (or tone) and health­ier or­gan func­tion and blood profiles. You have four choices you need to make if you want to lose fat: 1. Re­strict calo­ries; 2. Per­form car­dio­vas­cu­lar ex­er­cise (e.g. run­ning); 3. Per­form re­sis­tance train­ing (e.g. weight lift­ing and body­weight train­ing); and 4. A com­bi­na­tion of any of the above. So, what choice is the best?

Qual­ity vs. Quan­tity

The sci­en­tific re­search tells us that steady state aer­o­bic ex­er­cise such as walk­ing or jog­ging yields neg­li­gi­ble weight loss. Con­trast­ingly, burst ex­er­cise, re­ferred to as high-in­ten­sity in­ter­mit­tent ex­er­cise ( hiie), has proven to be the best ex­er­cise method choice for re­duc­ing ex­cess fat. Char­ac­ter­ized as short in­tense ef­forts sep­a­rated by re­laxed ef­forts, hiie seems to be a more time-ef­fi­cient yet ef­fec­tive method of ex­er­cis­ing to re­duce body fat. Com­pet­i­tive dis­tance run­ners ac­tu­ally use hiie, com­bined with lower-in­ten­sity run­ning, to im­prove their car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tems. There­fore, not only will this train­ing method yield pos­i­tive car­dio­vas­cu­lar adap­ta­tions for run­ning faster, you’re more likely to re­duce body fat si­mul­ta­ne­ously. One study com­pared the fat loss ef­fects be­tween low-in­ten­sity car­dio ex­er­cise and hiie and found that a lower to­tal vol­ume of hiie train­ing over 15 weeks yielded more sub­cu­ta­neous fat loss com­pared to per­form­ing solely low-in­ten­sity car­dio ex­er­cise over 20 weeks. hiie train­ing

ap­pears to in­crease fat me­tab­o­lism, es­pe­cially fat lo­cated in the mid­sec­tion. hiie also de­pletes mus­cle glyco­gen (essen­tially sugar) stores, which re­quires en­ergy to re­fill. It in­creases growth hor­mone lev­els, which is a nat­u­ral fat-burn­ing hor­mone. Lastly, hiie pro­motes the healthy break­down and re­build­ing of mus­cle tis­sue, which re­quires ad­di­tional en­ergy post-work­out.

Pump­ing Iron

Sim­i­lar to solely per­form­ing low-in­ten­sity aer­o­bic ex­er­cise, re­sis­tance train­ing alone has also been shown to yield min­i­mal weight loss. How­ever, the in­ten­sity of the re­sis­tance train­ing rou­tines vary among stud­ies. If weight loss oc­curs, the sci­en­tific stud­ies have shown us that the ma­jor­ity of weight loss from com­bined ex­er­cise train­ing and caloric re­stric­tion can be at­trib­uted to caloric re­stric­tion. This doesn’t im­ply that re­sis­tance train­ing isn’t im­por­tant in fat loss; it’s ac­tu­ally very im­por­tant!

Re­sis­tance train­ing can:

• In­crease or min­i­mize mus­cle lost dur­ing a caloric deficit diet. • Main­tain or im­prove en­ergy lost via in­creased mus­cle mass and

me­tab­o­lism. • Cor­rect for mus­cu­lar im­bal­ances or weak­nesses caused via seden

tary liv­ing or dis­tance run­ning. • Pre­vent in­jury by im­prov­ing tis­sue and body re­silience to the

repet­i­tive pound­ing caused by dis­tance run­ning. • Pre­serve mus­cle mass and al­le­vi­ate joint pain in those over 40. The idea that lift­ing weights will make you bulky is a myth. De­vel­op­ing mus­cles that show through your clothes takes time, con­sis­tency and ded­i­ca­tion (and a weight lift­ing pro­gram and nu­tri­tional plan specif­i­cally de­signed for body­build­ing to boot). You won’t get huge in just a few work­outs so get the idea of look­ing like Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger out of your head. It’s like say­ing eat­ing a few sal­ads will make you im­me­di­ately skinny; it just doesn’t work that way.

Calo­rie Re­stric­tion

The sci­en­tific re­search sup­ports that idea that re­duc­ing calo­rie in­take com­pared to calo­rie ex­pen­di­ture is a nec­es­sary re­la­tion­ship to lose fat. You burn the ma­jor­ity of your calo­ries pri­mar­ily through your basal metabolic rate or the en­ergy re­quired for you to stay alive. You also burn en­ergy via di­ges­tion and food me­tab­o­lism, at rest (known as neat, non-ex­er­cise ac­tiv­ity ther­mo­ge­n­e­sis), and lastly via planned ex­er­cise. So, to sway the en­ergy bal­ance equa­tion in your favour, you need to choose a nu­tri­tional strat­egy that low­ers over­all calo­ries but in­creases over­all nu­tri­tion. You can choose any of the fad di­ets out there these days, but you can’t go wrong with in­creas­ing fruits and veg­eta­bles, wa­ter and home­made foods and de­creas­ing pro­cessed foods, restau­rant foods and sugar. To keep you mind­ful and on track, you can also use a tracking de­vice or on­line calo­rie tracker to en­sure you stick to your rec­om­mended daily in­take based on your goals.

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