Blog Archives

Best Exercise for Fat Loss

Best-exercise-for-fat-lossWhat is the best exercise for fat loss: Exercise is not the key to fat loss, diet and the right nutrition are. However if you’re on one of the Paleo Works programs or consuming a similar caveman style diet, high intensity intermittent exercise is the best exercise for fat burn, to improve fitness and can accelerate weight loss, though only when associated with the correct nutrition. This point is key.

What is high intensity intermittent exercise?  Periods of brief intensive exercise interspersed with periods of relative rest.  Not for the faint-hearted true but take a look at this study on the effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women..impressive !

And what we are looking for is the best exercise for fat loss: a method of exercise that delivers.

Cycling, rowing , running, swimming all adapt well to this form of training and all can take place outdoors away from the gym however if you are not fit, very overweight but generally well, it makes sense to build up a basic level of fitness before you start.

Walking is great and gets you out doors, you can build on that, resistance training will strengthen and tone your body.  Build up the intensity to include some light jogging, cycling and soon you will know you ‘[e ready to do more and then work with your body – it’s not rocket science!

How does it work?

It’s simple..intersperse relative rest periods with intense “sprint” periods.  The length of these sprint periods can be built up over time but a  programme might look like this:

Running:

Warm-Up: jog for a couple of minutes then…

Sprint: long and hard at high intensity: push hard for ten seconds

Jog in relative rest for 30 seconds

Pick up the pace again and sprint: long and hard for ten seconds

Back down again gentle jog for 30 seconds

And repeat this cycle for between 6 and 10 sprints

Cool Down with some gentle jogging.

Audrey-HepburnExercising in this way is truly exhilarating.  Try it and see.  Start with one of these sessions per week the build upon the number of sessions and then build up and vary the intensity of the sessions:  How?

Increase the number of sprints, extending the time of the sprints, putting more effort into the sprints, shortening your rest time lengthening the session times – the beauty of this exercise is it is free and it works with you, (outdoors, fresh air) and it is amazing fun with the kids (who love to operate the stop watch and challenge us)

Feel free to adapt this to cycling and rowing: warm up sprint hard on your bike, relative rest, pick up the pace again, sprint hard (12-15 seconds to start) relative rest  (45 seconds) and don’t forget to cool down at the other end.  There are endless variations.  Play with it and see.  And the good news?  You are shredding more fat in less time than any other exercise.  And best of all, anecdotal evidence suggests that this type of exercise does not cause an increase in appetite.

In this way we feel we are moving like our ancestors connecting with our past, tuning into our bodies, working our bodies naturally and feeling alive.

And the science?  A review of High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss concludes that:

“the effect of regular aerobic exercise on body fat is negligible, read The Truth About Exercise; however, other forms of exercise may have a greater impact on body composition. For example, emerging research examining high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) indicates that it may be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise. The mechanisms underlying the fat reduction induced by HIIE, however, are undetermined. Regular HIIE has been shown to significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. HIIE also significantly lowers insulin resistance and results in a number of skeletal muscle adaptations that result in enhanced skeletal muscle fat oxidation and improved glucose tolerance.”

This then is the best exercise for fat loss.

Try it and see, tell us what you feel exercising in this way?  We welcome your feedback and to hear of your experiences.

Advertisements

Little and Often

grazing-dietThis is a great question we received on Saturday……does eating little and often encourage fat loss or benefit your health?

Let’s cut to the chase: No!

This dietary “gem” relates to conventional dietary wisdom favoured by health and fitness establishments who suggest this eating little and often will help you keep your metabolism up and stoked and thus increase your fat burning possibilities.

Running alongside this dietary myth is the idea that if you eat less than once every three hours, your body goes into starvation mode and your metabolic rate slows down causing you to store more fat.  Kind of like a hibernating bear…..

Let’s review the science: our metabolic rate is determined by the energy required to keep our cells alive and functioning in good order.  This is our basal metabolic rate and remains at a constant level.  It will increase if we gain weight as we have more cells requiring energy but if our weight is constant then we will still burn this amount of calories throughout the day through existence and routine alone: not eating or eating does not affect that; it is simply the amount of calories that we require in homeostasis.

And not eating: does it slow down out metabolic rate?  The science says a definite “no” – for example, in a study putting people under starvation conditions for three days they saw no drop in metabolism and in fact saw a slight increase in metabolic rate after 36 hours of fasting (starvation)  and slightly higher again after 72 hours….

In another study at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, men and women who fasted every other day for a period of 22 days, experienced no decrease in their metabolic rate.

This confirms that our metabolic rate does not decrease at all when we don’t eat for three days and confirms that eating little and often to keep your metabolism up is not necessary as it doesn’t drop in the first place!

But you are right: so far we have only demonstrated that not eating does not slow our metabolism…what is the affect increased eating has on weight-loss: does it increase our metabolic rate and does it reduce muscle loss?

In a study using participants at a healthy body weight (BMI between 18 and 25), individuals were compared eating three meals a day with those eating one meal a day at the same calorie levels (although not focusing on calorie restriction) but instead at maintenance levels not intended to cause weight-loss (but to study the effects of decreased meal frequency) actually found that eating one meal a day decreased body fat levels by 1-2kg over the 8 week experimentation period.  There was no change in body fat for the three meal a day group.  The fact people lost body-fat from eating the same number of calories in a single sitting rather than across three meals shows that eating more frequently has no advantage.

In anther study using 16 obese individuals divided into two groups and comparing 6 meals a day against three meals a day with the same calorie consumption for 8 weeks found there was no difference in weight loss between the two groups and no signs of increased metabolism from the higher frequency meal group.  There was no difference in lean muscle preservation either, the muscle loss was exactly the same too: the hunger levels; and satiaty were similar showing that eating more often does nothing to improve the sensation of fullness.

Comments we have received on this subject illustrate the pitfalls of eating in this way: one client in particular confirmed what common sense would dictate: small meals are never enough and the opportunity to overeat is therefore ever present.  Another client remarked that this advice came from body builders – now wait a moment, surely a body builder’s objective is to bulk up and what’s your objective with fat loss……counter intuitive when you start thinking about it?  With no practical advantage to fat loss and a practice more akin to cattle, we urge you to quit grazing, go back to basics, heed the advice above (and Prince Charles)  and eat when hungry and stop when you are full.

Once again:  The little and often myth is busted!

%d bloggers like this: