It’s that time of year again. Time to evaluate our year and who we want to become this year.
Last year was a bust for everyone, so this year will be a fun new adventure — I keep telling myself this so that it comes to pass.
I have heard from many of my students about the “COVID-15”. That is to say the extra weight that many people are carrying around due to the quarantine and other issues that have arisen.
Whether or not exercise affects weight loss has been an ongoing topic of conversation for researchers. Guidelines have noted that one needs to exercise 150-250 minutes per week doing moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to prevent weight gain or to mildly reduce body mass, or about 5 pounds. More than 420 minutes per week to lose more weight, or about 10 pounds.
There is also much happening by way of conversation as to what the most effective exercise is for weight loss. Truthfully, “abs are made in the kitchen,” but the old adage of “the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn” is also true. I’d like to explore interval training.
Interval training can be moderate-intensity, working at 55-70% of maximum heart rate, or it can be high-intensity, working at greater than 80% of maximum heart rate.
Interval training strengthens the heart, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure, can have a significant impact on overall body fat percentages, your metabolism is higher for hours after exercise, and it burns a ton of calories. Not to mention that you will have more time because your workouts are shorter.
One study performed a metanalyses of 77 studies on interval training. This analysis found that both high and moderate can reduce overall body fat percentage, but those who perform high-intensity (HIIT) lose on average 28.5% more.
In a second metanalyses on 39 studies that looked specifically to see if HIIT could reduce total, abdominal and visceral fat mass in normal and overweight adults, the results showed HIIT statistically significantly reduced all types of abdominal fats with no difference between the sexes.
This study also showed that running was more effective than cycling. A third study followed 22 young women who did HIIT training three times each week for 6 weeks. The results were promising.
There were significant improvements in the participants insulin sensitivity, body fat percentages and waist to hip ratio. Overall, the research points to high intensity interval training to be efficient at reducing total body fat in those that do it.
A simple way to do interval training is to alternate short bursts (about 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (about 1 minute) of less intense activity.
Consider, if you walk for exercise, add in jogging. If you are a runner, add in sprints. Remember, your intervals shouldn’t be minutes long, rather they should be seconds long.
You want them to be short so that you can push yourself to the max. It is recommended that you do HIIT training 2-3 days per week for 20-30 minutes, plus other cardio and strength training sessions on the other days.
If you are new to this, please take it slow. Starting into a new work out can be tough on the body and overdoing it in your first few workouts can lead to injury and frustration. However, please keep at it.
It is important to get off the couch and get moving during this difficult time. You will feel better, and the benefits will bleed over into other facets of your life, as well.
Happy exercising everyone.