Men's Fitness - - The Experiment -

Orangeth­e­ory classes are split into run­ning in­ter­vals, row­ing and re­sis­tance cir­cuits (see the box op­po­site for de­tails of my first class). Ev­ery­one is strapped up to Po­lar HRMs, with big TVs above the tread­mills high­light­ing our in­di­vid­ual bpm so you and ev­ery­one else can see how hard you’re push­ing.

There are five heart rate zones, rang­ing from grey for very light to red for max­i­mum. Your or­ange zone starts at 84% of your max heart rate, and it’s above this mark that you’re meant to spend 12-20 min­utes of the 60-minute ses­sion. Ac­cord­ing to in­struc­tor Em­manuel Olaojo, this sparks your body’s ex­cess post-ex­er­cise oxy­gen con­sump­tion (EPOC) ef­fect, ‘help­ing you burn be­tween 400-500 ex­tra calo­ries over the fol­low­ing 36 hours’.

I’m sur­prised at how hard I have to work to hit the or­ange zone. The class is se­ri­ously fast-paced, with the in­ten­sity high on the tread­mill and cir­cuit sta­tions, although a block of iso­la­tion ex­er­cises al­lows me to catch my breath. At the end of the hour I’m given my stats: I spent 39min of the time in the or­ange and red zones (you’re likely to spend more time in them if you’re less fit) and torched 813 calo­ries.


My body might have turned into a calo­rieincin­er­at­ing fur­nace for an hour, but it’s the en­su­ing 36-hour after­burn I’m in­trigued about. If my body were to con­sume a fur­ther 400 calo­ries while it re­cov­ered, that would equate to 50% of to­tal energy ex­pen­di­ture dur­ing the class. How­ever, a 2006 re­view of the re­search pub­lished in the Jour­nal Of Sport Science sug­gests the EPOC from in­tense ex­er­cise only ranges be­tween 6-15%. And if you’re al­ready mighty fit, it can be as low as just 1% be­cause you re­cover quicker.

Fat-burn­ing zones are a con­tentious area.

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