May 2014 27

It depends on your goals. Many personal trainers think that performing strength training before cardiovascular exercise will augment the amount of fat used during the cardio workout because the strength training will deplete the muscles’ store of carbohydrates (glycogen). However, strength training is not likely to deplete glycogen stores, because a lot of the workout time is spent resting between sets and exercises. Even if the strength workout were long and intense enough to accomplish this task, exercising in a glycogen-depleted state has many negative consequences, including an increase in acidic compounds produced in response to low carbohydrate levels, low blood insulin, hypoglycemia, increased amino acid (protein) metabolism, increased blood and muscle ammonia and a strong perception of fatigue. Currently, no research shows that strength training immediately before a cardio workout increases the amount of fat used during the cardio workout, or vice versa. Most likely, the intensity of the activity, not the mode of exercise, determines the “fuel”—either fat, carbohydrate or protein—that is used. However, if you strength train first, it is possible that muscle fatigue incurred from the strength training could cause them to decrease the intensity of their subsequent cardio workout, thus leading them to expend fewer calories over the workout as a whole.

1309-cardio-art

If the primary goal is to increase aerobic endurance or lose weight, then you should perform cardiovascular exercise first. If the primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then you should perform strength training first. Basically, in order to get the most out of the workout, you should perform the most important type of exercise when he or she is not fatigued. Because many people want to lose weight and increase muscular strength, alternating the order of the workout during different cycles of training is one way to satisfy both goals. 

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May 2014 23

Genetics play a role in whether or not you can obtain a flat stomach or a “six-pack” look to their abdominals. Having said that, two types of exercise can help: strength training and cardiovascular exercise. The abdominals are just like any other muscle group: For their definition to become visible, they must grow larger and the fat that lies over them must decrease. What makes the definition of the abdominals so difficult to see is that they are situated in the area of the body that contains the most fat.

flat stomach

Diet and exercise for a flat stomach.

Strength training the abdominals is only half the story. You will get a flat stomach only if they combine strength training with cardiovascular exercise to get rid of the fat. Most individuals do not do nearly enough cardiovascular exercise to decrease their body fat percentage to a point where they would see their abdominals. Even when the aerobic exercise stimulus is adequate, the role of diet must not be underestimated. All people with a flat stomach or six-pack have a very low percentage of body fat.

Abdominal crunches are just as effective as any piece of equipment to train the rectus abdominis muscle, the main muscle in the abdominal region. As you improve your abdominal strength, you can make crunches more demanding by performing them on a movable surface, such as a resistance ball.

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[…]

May 2014 21

“If I Lift Weights, Will I Get Bigger Muscles?”

Whether or not you will get bigger muscles (hypertrophy) depends on three basic factors: genetics, gender and training intensity. Genetics is mostly manifested as muscle fiber type; people with predominantly fast-twitch fibers acquire larger muscles more easily than people with predominantly slow-twitch fibers. In relation to gender, males acquire larger muscles than females do, because males have greater amounts of testosterone and other sex hormones that influence protein metabolism (Tipton 2001). Thus, females experience less muscle hypertrophy with strength improvement than males do (Lewis et al. 1986). Training intensity is the only factor you can control.

Hypertrophy results from an increase in the number of contractile proteins (actin and myosin, produced by the body in response to training), which in turn increases the size of the muscle fibers.

If the training goal is hypertrophy, the load lifted should be at least 80 percent of the one-repetition maximum (1 RM), as a general guideline (Zatsiorsky 1995). If you’re not interested in developing larger muscles, keep the load less than 80 percent of 1 RM. However, hypertrophy can be stimulated any time the training intensity is high enough to overload the muscle. Thus, in an unfit person who has never lifted weights before, 60 percent of 1 RM may be enough to cause slight hypertrophy, especially if that person is predisposed to hypertrophy by having a large proportion of fast-twitch fibers.

Stay tuned to Fridays post on getting a flat stomach!

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May 2014 19

Last week we explored fat and why we get that way. This week we’ll explore how to lose it without losing our minds.

What Is the Best Way to Lose Fat?

Activities that incorporate many muscle groups and are weight bearing use more calories per minute and are therefore better suited for fat loss than non-weight-bearing activities that do not use many muscles.

It is often assumedintervaltraining that low-intensity exercise is best for burning fat. During exercise at a very low intensity, fat does account for most of the energy expenditure, while at a moderate intensity, fat accounts for only about 50 percent of the energy used. However, since the number of calories used per minute is much greater at a moderate to high intensity than at a low intensity, the total number of calories expended during a moderate- to high-intensity workout is greater than it is during a low- intensity workout of the same duration; consequently, the total number of fat calories expended is also greater during the higher-intensity workout. The rate of energy expenditure, rather than simply the percentage of energy expenditure derived from fat, is important in determining the exercise intensity that will use the most fat. Furthermore, endurance-trained individuals rely less on carbohydrates and more on fat as a fuel source during submaximal exercise (Kiens 1997). Thus, the more aerobically trained you become, the more fat you will use during subsequent exercise sessions.

To decrease body fat percentage, you do not necessarily have to use fat during exercise. Much of the fat from adipose tissue (as opposed to intramuscular fat, which is primarily used during exercise) is lost in the hours following exercise. Moreover, the amount of fat lost after a workout depends, in part, on the exercise intensity during the workout. Following high-intensity exercise, the rate of fat oxidation is higher than it is following low-intensity exercise (Mulla et al. 2000; Phelain et al. 1997).

Because you can perform a greater intensity of work if the work is broken up with periods of rest, interval training is a great way to perform high-intensity work and help decrease body fat percentage.

Both strength training and endurance exercise have been shown to decrease body fat percentage. However, aerobic exercise appears to have a greater impact on fat loss than does strength training (Ballor et al. 1996; Dolezal & Potteiger 1998; LeMura et al. 2000). A combination of endurance and strength training results in more fat loss than either exercise regimen alone (Dolezal & Potteiger 1998), possibly because clients who perform both activities spend more time exercising.

Stay tuned for part two on Wednesday!

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May 2014 16

Breaking Down Fat

When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you’re not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:

  • pancreas – glucagon
  • pituitary gland – growth hormone
  • pituitary gland – ACTH(adrenocorticotropic hormone)
  • adrenal gland – epinephrine(adrenaline)
  • thyroid gland – thyroid hormone

These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.

When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores. Your body’s prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.

The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules — this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.

In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose.

fat-cell2

Losing Weight and Losing Fat

Your weight is determined by the rate at which you store energy from the food that you eat, and the rate at which you use that energy. Remember that as your body breaks down fat, the number of fat cells remains the same; each fat cell simply gets smaller.

Most experts agree that the way to maintain a healthy weight is:

  • Eat a balanced diet – appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, fat and protein
  • Do not eat excessively – for most people, a diet of 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day is sufficient to maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly

Now that we know a lot about fat lets start working on better ways to eliminate it!
Stay tuned as we give you tips and advice for slimming down and feeling better.
Special thanks to http://science.howstuffworks.com/ for the great info.

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