It’s that time of year again. Time to evaluate our year and who we want to be this year.
Last year was a bust for everyone so this year is going to be a fun new adventure – I keep telling myself this to make it happen.
I heard about the “COVID-15” from many of my students. That is, the extra weight that many people carry around due to the quarantine and other issues that have arisen.
Whether or not exercise affects weight loss has been a constant topic of conversation for researchers. Guidelines have stated that to prevent weight gain or to reduce body mass slightly, one must exercise 150-250 minutes a week of medium-intensity aerobic exercise, or about 5 pounds. Over 420 minutes a week to lose more weight, or around 10 pounds.
There is also a lot going on in the conversation about what is the most effective weight loss exercise. To be honest, “Abs are made in the kitchen”, but the old adage, “The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn” is also true. I want to explore interval training.
Interval training can be moderately intense and work at 55-70% of max heart rate, or it can be high intensity and work at more than 80% of max heart rate.
Interval training strengthens the heart, improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood pressure, can have a significant impact on total body fat, your metabolism is higher for hours after your workout, and it burns a ton of calories. Not to mention, you have more time because your workouts are shorter.
One study performed a meta-analysis of 77 studies on interval training. This analysis found that both high and medium can reduce total body fat percentage, but those who do high intensity (HIIT) lose an average of 28.5% more.
In a second meta-analysis of 39 studies specifically examining whether HIIT can reduce total, abdominal and visceral fat mass in normal and overweight adults, the results showed that HIIT was statistically significant in all types of belly fat with no gender difference reduced.
This study also showed that running was more effective than cycling. A third study tracked 22 young women who did HIIT training three times a week for 6 weeks. The results were promising.
There were significant improvements in participants’ insulin sensitivity, body fat percentages, and waist-to-hip ratio. Overall, research suggests high-intensity interval training to be efficient in reducing total body fat in those who do it.
An easy way to do interval training is to alternate short bursts (around 30 seconds) of intense activity with longer intervals (around 1 minute) of less intense activity.
Remember when you go out to exercise, add jogging. If you’re a runner, add sprints. Remember that your intervals shouldn’t be minutes, but seconds.
You want them to be short so that you can put your maximum effort into it. It is recommended that you do 20 to 30 minutes of HIIT training 2-3 days a week, plus other cardio and strength training sessions the other days.
If you are new to this field please take it slow. Starting a new workout can be difficult for the body, and overdoing it in the first few workouts can lead to injury and frustration. Please stick with it.
It is important to get off the couch and move around during this difficult time. You will feel better, and the benefits will affect other facets of your life as well.
Have fun exercising.