|If your goals are changing body composition: intervals, intervals, intervals, my friend!
First, let’s debunk the cardio confusion. Research shows that when women diet and do steady heart rate cardio, they forfeit lean muscle mass which lowers daily calorie burn totals. The fat doesn’t budge or if it does, it sneaks back once you quit the routine cardio. It’s not designed for long-term efficiency on a metabolic level because the body quickly adapts to the consistency by decreasing oxygen load and energy use, which in turn, burns less calories. This does not promote fat loss.
I’m not hating on marathons or half marathons. I’ve done one. I’m a complete advocate of upping activity level. Sitting is killing us. It’s the new cigarette, they say. But simply, if your goals are changing body composition: intervals, intervals, intervals, my friend!
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the secret sauce when it comes to revamping your body composition. It is highly effective at reducing body fat, as it uses an anaerobic state and burns more via metabolism in the hours following your gym session.
The goal is to run sprints for a short period of time (30 minutes max… trust me you won’t last much longer!) and completely exhaust the muscle tissue. Start with a 30 second minute sprint followed by 1 minute recovery. Eventually you want to up that to 1 minute sprint, 1 minute recovery. A treadmill or Garmin watch helps to time this. You can, however, do intervals outside, with a bike or elliptical and even with weights.
Benefits of interval training are:
- Increase in lean muscle mass as an after result so that you boost your resting metabolic rate, which is the majority of the energy you burn daily.
- It burns a great deal of calories during your workout and elevates metabolic rate as you recover hours after training. That means when you are sitting, you are burning!
- It enhances the function of hormones, making the muscles more sensitive to insulin so that your body uses it’s go-to energy source, glucose, more effectively.
- It improves metabolism of estrogen for a lean body, less cancer risk, and an all-around happier life. This is also disease prevention, as high levels of estrogen can wreak havoc, contributing to cancer and fat storage.
|They are the biggest bang for your buck in training!
New Term: Boss lifts. Boss lifts are those that utilize many prominent muscles of the body simultaneously. These exercises activate multiple joints and consist of deadlifts, squats, lunges, presses, chin-ups etc. They are the biggest bang for your buck in training. Making these moves the core of your workout is a smart move because they utilize and strengthen multiple muscle groups and joints simultaneously. Talk about efficient!
First, “boss lifts” using several joints trains the body for real-life movements that increase agility in sports and daily activities. It creates greater capacity to jump higher, run faster, lift groceries or move boxes with greater functionality and ease.
Second, these boss lifts are extraordinary because you are burning more energy and therefore more metabolic effects, than just using a single joint in an exercise like triceps row or bicep curls. Also, by using multiple muscles and joints, you make more muscle mass sensitive to insulin and other hormones. Insulin is sugar-shuttling, fat storage hormone, so with greater uptake into muscles, you can prevent fat storage while dramatically improving body composition.
>> Learn more about Boss Lifts in Amber’s latest post: Weight Lifting 101 – Boss Lifts for a Beautiful, Buff Physique.
|Lifting weights is quintessential to young women, as much as it is too old…
Third, these full-body lifts help to stimulate bone growth and resilience, which is vital for women to have, as their bone mass starts declining after age 30, with changing hormones. Though this be the case, lifting weights is quintessential to young women, as much as it is too old. It’s never too late to get after muscle and bone strength through a solid strength training program.
These boss lifts of full body engagement train the posterior chain (it rhymes nicely), which consists of many muscles on the back side of your body such as upper and lower back muscles, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Women tend to be weaker in back muscles and stronger in the front. Having asymmetry as this can lead to functional problems like slouching, poor posture and injury with intense running or weight lifting.
It’s important to work on the posterior chain for a couple of reasons:
- Women have more challenge than men do in leaning out thighs and glutes. They tend to lean out in the upper body first when on an effective exercise program. Thus, the greatest hormonal and metabolic impact will occur with boss lifts that hit the posterior chain. This is the key to positive, measurable shifts in body composition i.e. fat loss, muscle gain and a great physique!
- Women tend to have strong quads and weak hamstrings (weak posterior chain) which can lead to impaired activity and in some cases, recurrent pain.
|When it comes to changing your physique, the secret sauce is: CHANGE early, CHANGE often.
Change the stimulus for maximal results. Switch up the routine. Do something different, challenging to your muscles.
I love KINESIS because it challenges you to exhibit all ranges of motion. Many gyms now have kinesis classes or the wall panels you can freely use on your own.
Kinesis helps you move the weight easily and naturally, and without restrictions. It allows users to move tri-dimensionally while providing resistance to every possible movement of the human body. Greater resistance equals greater results!
Once you see the results from varying your routines, you will see that same routine at the gym is an inefficient use of time. New moves is the name of the game! Sleeping an extra hour to improve hormonal sensitivity and muscle repair might even be better than having an unchanging, repetitious workout pattern.
The other consideration with exercise is most people think they don’t have time. But it can be as simple as 20 minutes all out work. Or If you run interval sprints for 20-25 minutes at maximal effort, you’ll be toast! Doing what’s uncomfortable, both internally and for your physique is what makes you better. The burn creates the fatigue. The fatigue creates the change!
Switch up the Tempo
I have some experience with Body Pump by Les Mils, which utilizes tempo at large for targeted muscle change. Tempo basically means the number of seconds you spend performing the up and down phases of a lift. Essentially, it’s fully engaging your muscles to raise and lower the weight instead of letting gravity assist.
One example is a bicep curl. You raise the weight in a controlled motion, taking 3 seconds to do so. You would not pause at the top, but come right back down in 1 second. Then you’d pause for 1 second at the top, in the original start position, followed by lowering the weight while counting 3 seconds to do so. This would be written as 3011–-3 seconds for the up motion, no pause, 1 second for the up, and 1 second pause at the top.
Longer tempos like 3, 4, or 5 on the raise and lowering phases, tend to lead to fat loss and more effectively improve body composition. This is because there are more metabolic adaptions (similar to interval training on a treadmill or track). Utilizing shorter tempos builds strength while explosive tempos such as Olympic lifts and squat jumps build upon power. Most people, though, are wanting to lean out their physique are best with longer tempos.
Here are some suggestions for ways to creatively get more active:
- Workout Videos:
– Les Mils Body Pump
- Wake up and get out for a hike. Listen to a podcast that excites you or kickstart yourself with a new music playlist on Pandora or Spotify.
- Make phone calls while on a walk outside.
- Find a local dance studio and take a hip hop class.
- Find a great deal for Yoga or Kickboxing in your local area on Groupon. They have great short-term deals and it changes the stimulus to try a new physical activity.
- Buy a joint membership to fitmob which is now hitting major cities. You pay for a membership, but have access to a handful of local gyms, kickboxing and yoga studios. More ways to switch up the muscle work!
- Live by a tennis court? Go run sprints, do grapevines, perform squat jumps, do pushups, planks and crunches and if you are so daring…hurdles over the nets!
- Sand volleyball outdoors or in the winter, some gyms have racquetball courts that you can set up a volleyball net in and play.
- Clean your car, your kitchen cupboards or your closet. Vacuum, dust, spray it down. You will break a sweat. And clearing and cleaning a space, has been shown to help mental clarity and happiness levels too.
- Go to a weekend of Les Mils workout camps (Seattle in November!) or catch it at your gym (most 24 hour fitness locations host classes). You’ll get a great workout that strategically takes advantage of tempo, big lifts and changes the stimulus in a 50 minute full body workout.
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