|Physical Training Nov 2003|
The Fit Life
By Glenn Archambault
Christmas is only weeks away - time is running out to look your best! How can you shed a few pounds before the big event? How can you get that ‘perfect’ body fast? Maybe I can help.
There is a belief that to reduce body fat you should perform cardio exercise at a low intensity for an extensive period. We’ve all seen people at the gym using treadmills or cross trainers for an hour at a time. Although this does some good it doesn’t help fully accomplish a fat-burning goal. This is because more fat is burned in an aerobic state rather than an anaerobic state. There is no easy solution, but there is a way to lose pounds quickly without having to spend hours in the gym, a way of doing this that will make exercise more interesting and provide quicker results.
Varying intensity during an exercise regimen is key to better results. I read that resistance exercise is the best form of exercise for toning your body, but I believe that resistance training combined with cardio is the better way to get that perfect physique! Cardiovascular exercise, when done properly and in conjunction with resistance exercise will accelerate fat loss while improving your physique and health.
What do I mean by ‘when done properly?’ The answer is interval training.
You do not need to spend hours doing monotonous exercises in order to burn fat. You should substitute duration of time with higher intensity walks or runs (short bursts of energy) with short periods of low intensity to lower the heart rate. By doing this you are increasing and decreasing your heart rate, thereby increasing your metabolism. In one study, interval training increased fat burning three-fold over continuous steady exercise.
You can perform interval training on any of the cardio machines i.e. the stationary bike, cross trainer, the treadmill or any cardio equipment. I like the treadmill best for burning calories and cutting fat.
Interval training (on the treadmill, for example), is performed by alternating between fast and slow running and walking. You can also raise and lower the treadmill grade to add intensity or lower intensity. For treadmill walking you can begin at a slower pace until you are warmed up (approximately 3 minutes); thereafter raise the intensity to a very fast walk that will increase your heart rate. Walk at the higher intensity for one minute. Then lower the intensity to the slower walk for one minute, thereby lowering your heart rate. Do this for approximately 25 minutes. If you cannot do 25 minutes at first, then work up to it over a period of time. As you become more fit, extend the total time or increase the speed or elevation of the treadmill.
Interval running on the treadmill follows the same principles as walking intervals. Run at a fast pace for 45 to 60 seconds and then run at a slow pace for 45 to 60 seconds. As you become more fit, shorten interval times or increase your high and low selections on the treadmill. By running this way you will burn more fat, thus becoming fitter, faster!
Interval training also accentuates intensity; hence, it affords considerable
cardiovascular benefits in addition to fat loss benefits.