What have you missed so far?
I want to introduce to you a few key words that are largely unused in the general population when it comes to training:
- Resistance Training
These words will, this year, take over your vocabulary in the fight to get yourself the figure you deserve.
EPOC & HIIT
When someone comes to me for help the opening lines are usually very similar; “I just want to do a bit of steady state to burn off some fat”, “I just want to tone up a bit, lose some fat” or “I want to lose the gut and get ripped”. I usually ask them how they think they are going to go about this or what they are currently using to achieve this and their answer is usually something along the lines of 20mins cross trainer, 20mins treadmill and then 20minutes bike. Dig a little deeper into their nutrition prior to the workout and its usually the client is on “insert fad diet here” and not had any decent meals for 4 or 5 hours pre-workout. During the workout they usually put a lot of effort in, which is very commendable, however, completely reverses a lot of the work they’ve done previously as they haven’t fuelled their workout properly.
My point being is that science has progressed and somehow managed to leave the very people its trying to help behind! Luckily though, that is why we are here!
In the last ten years there has been a flurry of studies examining the effects of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on health and obesity and largely the studies have identified that, as well as the usual health benefits that steady state exercise provides, HIIT actually creates a phenomenon called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).
EPOC is in my opinion the magic pill of exercise science. The idea that I can do a short bout of exercise that will continue to burn calories up to 38hrs  later (depending on choice of exercise) is awesome. Why would anyone want to spend 40 minutes bored to death on a treadmill when they can spend 25 minutes (20minutes of which is resting) blasting out the cobwebs in their lungs and then freeing up more time for a far more important form of training.
Resistance Training & BMR
This is overlooked by so many people, especially women afraid of being “bulky”, but, in my opinion, it is the single most important factor in altering the way in which your body looks. The most common misconception that most people have is that if they lose all of their body fat, underneath, is this shiny model like body. However, what happens is people lose a substantial amount of their body fat and underneath is a skeleton and they get something nicknamed “skinny fat” by gym goers.
This happens because once the fat disappears you have very little muscle underneath to make the skin look plush and smooth and toned. As “toned” is what most people are going for these days the best way to tackle this is to deploy a resistance training program alongside your HIIT training so that as the fat melts away the muscle is able to replace it and creates the toned look desired by the user.
Resistance training does two things to help with body composition. By raising the lean body mass, or muscular mass, of the body you increase the cost of energy required for the body to run and maintain itself. This means your body will metabolise more stored fats throughout the day. On top of this, a Resistance training session will also have the added benefit of inducing a large EPOC. Especially if you are deploying programs like Metabollic Resistance Training (more on that another time).
In conclusion if your are looking to shift the pounds and look good for summer, and obviously have no other health complaints (hence general population) then try switching out the long slow duration for a 4-week HIIT and Resistance training mix and tell me if you can spot any differences!