Written by: Brian Kenney, General Manager @ O2 Fitness Wilmington
The difference between incredible fat loss and no fat loss can be a matter of a few small tweaks here and there within your workout program. Below are some small tips that when implemented make the biggest differences.
Use your biggest muscles in interval training.
The secret to Interval training being so effective is a little process call EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption). It's the process of your body replacing muscular energy that gets used up during intense exercise.
Bigger muscles have bigger stores of energy that need to be replaced. The more energy needed to be replaced, the more fat will be required for energy. Just think about it this way, what would use more energy, intensely exercising your legs or drilling your biceps to exhaustion.
Include a longer interval in your workout.
When doing intervals include intense intervals of longer duration (45-60 seconds) use up a lot of calories. Intense exercise triggers very efficient fat loss in your body, longer duration intense exercise triggers a lot more. Your body needs to work overtime to replace this lost energy. This is a direct form of weight loss.
Include a shorter interval in your workout.
Intense Intervals of short duration (15-30 seconds) have body changing affects. Your body undergoes a metabolic transformation and adapts into a long term fat burning machine. The short intervals burn up more energy and in turn your muscle will store and require more energy to recover. This adds up to more energy being diverted from fat stores to your muscles and becomes super efficient at using all this energy.
Eat before you exercise.
For a long time it was believed that doing interval training in a fasted state was the best for losing fat as you delayed the insulin surge that occurs when eating (insulin prevents your body from losing fat).
It has been found that eating before training gives your body the ability to exercise harder, and as you will see below, the extent and duration of your fat burning is directly related to the intensity of your exercise.
It's also been found that any suppressing of fat loss that may occur directly after training is made up for in the entire fat burning process. When you eat before you train you tend to consume less calories during the day. Eat an easily digestable, highly nutritious meal about 30-60 minutes before you exercise.
Interval training without good nutrition is nothing.
You can do Interval Training until the cows come home, but if your nutrition is not supporting weight loss, you won't get any fat loss. Interval training works in tandem with good nutrition to lose weight.
Good nutrition involves a low carbohydrate diet and meals times split into six times a day to increase your metabolism. It also involves providing the minerals, vitamins, energy and liquids required to power your body for maximum performance during your exercise. Proper nutrition should be a baseline of your workout program, without it no fat loss happens.
Intensity: Go hard or go home!
The secret to EPOC is intensity, Studies have shown that the more intense the exercise, the longer will be in a fat burning stage. They have also shown that the more intense the exercise, the greater the volume of fat burning will be. The body also adapts under intensity, the harder you can push yourself, the more your body adapts at becoming able to function at higher intensities.
When you are starting out, ease into interval training, start with some lower intensity to medium intensities as you improve, increase the intensities to maximal or all out sprints.