Lets think about burning fat, gaining lean mass, and improving fitness. Everyone seems to think they need to do longggg cardio to lose weight. They may walk or get on the elliptical for hours a day thinking they’re doing the right workout to get the best results. Cardio equals losing weight and getting abs right? Unfortunately, No. This eats up a lot of your time when you could get the same results or better in a much shorter workout. Also, being super skinny should never be the goal. I believe this is unrealistic and unhealthy. Weight training by itself and mixed into circuits/intervals is a great way to sculpt the healthiest version of yourself.
Your muscles receive energy and contract because of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). This is a large molecule that the body creates through three different generating systems.
System #1: Glycolysis (anaerobic)
System #2: KREB’s Cycle (aerobic)
System #3: Electron Transport Chain (aerobic)
The byproducts of system #1 (glycolysis) power systems 2 and 3.
Did You Know: Your muscles can only store enough ATP for 10-15 seconds of contraction. However, with these three systems constantly at work… you have plenty of ATP to use for energy. Much longer than 10-15 seconds. When you are out of breath and exhausted, your body will hit the point where it can no longer keep up with the energy demands it is experiencing. This is when the two aerobic (oxygen) systems stop working and you rely on your anaerobic system (glycolysis) to supply energy because it does not require oxygen. This is the transition phase from your aerobic metabolism to your anaerobic metabolism. When this happens, there are no systems using up the byproducts created during the glycolysis. The build up of these becomes detrimental as lactic acid builds until function is no longer possible. You are physically forced to stop… You have now reached your anaerobic threshold.
Can you increase your lactic acid threshold in order to continue to use the anaerobic systems longer? YES. This will allow your body to push harder and longer in a workout before your muscles are physically unable to work and contract. This is the goal of many athletes. If you increase this, you feel less tired as your opponents doing the same amount of work and perform better.
These systems can be very complicated and have a lot of moving parts. We just need to understand the basics…The byproducts of system #1 (glycolysis) power systems 2 and 3. Glycolysis does not need oxygen to generate ATP, the other two systems do
Many studies show the benefits of interval training. These intervals are supposed to be HARD. Top athletes may do this type of training five days a week. However, the majority of people should start these at about 2 times a week and slowly increase the frequency. You are supposed to be very tired after them, exhausted really. You will burn more fat and increase your fitness level much quicker than if you were to do a long/lower cardio session.
Benefits AFTER the workout ends: EPOC
Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to normal levels (homeostasis). This is why your body will burn more calories during rest after the workout than if you didn’t workout and were resting. Putting a greater demand on the anaerobic pathways will increase the amount of oxygen your body needs afterwards. This increases the EPOC effect you will experience after.
–>Circuit training, heavy resistance training with short rest periods, and high intensity interval training will require ATP from your anaerobic pathways and lead to a greater EPOC effect.
Long Story Short:
Get outside, do intervals and change up your routine! Be creative and get your heart rate high through hard work and effort. Then, allow yourself to moderately recover before you bring that heart rate back up again. These intervals should be intense and hard. You will experience drastic results if you do this right, burning fat and gaining lean mass. Especially if you never trained like this before. In my “workouts” posts I have a lot of workouts I have done where you can find interval workouts I’ve made up to give a try. This got me the fittest I’ve ever been. Your body will adapt and your thresholds will increase.