Take Your Workout Routine to its Maximum Potential

When committing to an exercise routine we want to make sure we are getting the most out of our efforts.  Our expert contributor and exercise physiologist, Reagan Tan, gives us a few tips on the type of exercise that is most effective for weight release and why.

So, starting this January 2012, take your workout to its maximum potential by putting the following tips into your workout routine:

The Fat Burning Myth

Do long low-intensity work outs really burn more fat? The answer is no. While training at lower intensities does burn more fat per litre of oxygen consumed, ultimately there are less calories burned in total over the time spent exercising compared to higher intensity work outs.

It’s like saying would you like the majority an average salary or a little of Bill Gates’ salary? Hands down – a little of Bill Gates’ salary!

For example, over a half hour period exercising at 50% of your work capacity you would typically use around 146 kcal, of that 73 kcal would come from fat. However, working out at a higher capacity, 70%, for half an hour you would burn around 206 kcal, 82 kcal of which would come from fat.

High intensity training also provides additional benefits. In addition to burning calories, it will also result in greater gains in strength and power compared to low intensity workouts. Furthermore, after a hard intense workout your metabolism will work at a higher rate for anywhere up to 14 hours after the workout. The added benefit to this is that exercise helps your appetite suppressing hormone work better and decreases ghrelin, the hormone that increases appetite, and the more intense your work out is the more your appetite will be decreased.  On the other hand after a slow aerobic workout your metabolism isn’t raised as much and so you are often back to your base rate within the hour.

The moral of the story is that short high-intensity work outs can give you a better outcome than a dragged out slog on the treadmill. Crazy, I know!

20 Minute Work Outs

A study conducted by the University of Newcastle found that a work rate of sprinting for 8 seconds out of every 20 seconds over the course of 20 minutes lead to optimal results in energy and fat consumption by the body. You can try this on a run or an aerobic machine like the bike or rower. For those of you who like a challenge, a gentleman by the name of Dr Tabata designed a sickening system of 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest to be completed eight times, or for four minutes in total.

You can easily try the Tabata style work out by focusing on different muscle groups for four minutes each with no more than a minute rest between exercises. For example, start with squats and move on to push ups, sit ups, pull ups (if you can’t do a pull up find a bar about hip height and pull your chest to the bar like a reverse push up), and, if you have weights available, shoulder press.

If you’re pressed for time, these quick work outs will help keep you fit and in shape this new year!

Reagan Tan, Exercise Physiologist, Owner, Its All About Me- IAAM Lifestyle Management

Fit is the New Skinny

When you’re looking to get “fit” instead of setting a goal to “lose weight” – you do your body so much good!

Focus on working your body as hard as you can, for at least one hour at a time. Do this 2 times a week to improve fitness – and up to 5 times a week to drastically change your body.

Intense work outs can include kickboxing, yoga (yes – it’s harder than you think!) and weight training blended with cardio.

Ann Clark, Fitness Consult, PrettyHardWork.com

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