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Month: July 2015

Fasted Cardio: Is it actually burning more fat?

Fasted Cardio: Is it actually burning more fat?

fasted cardioThere has been a debate in the fitness world about fasted cardio for quite some time now, and finally thanks to the  Strength and Conditioning Journal we can lay this debate  to rest.

Let me start off by saying that I was once a preacher of fasted cardio. I did it steadily for about 8 months, 2-3 days per week in hopes that it would help shed excess body fat. For those who are unaware, fasted cardio simply means to perform LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) cardio without consuming any food, protein, or even BCAAs beforehand after an overnight fast. I can state from experience that I was not any leaner from performing this type of cardio, in fact I am leaner NOW that I perform only a few HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) sessions per week. Let’s get down to the science…

The theory behind fasted cardio is that you will burn more fat as a result of your glycogen levels being depleted after an overnight fast. It is important to realize that fat burning is not immediate. You don’t just burn fat after an hour sweating on the treadmill. In fact, fat burning takes place over a series of days and research from the S&C Journal shows that the more carbohydrates you burn during exercise, results in more fat burned after exercise has ended. Brad Schoenfeld is the author of the journal article and in summary, he states that fasting before exercise actually reduces the thermogenic response to exercise compared to not fasting. What does this mean exactly? If you eat before a workout, you will increase thermogenesis (increase in body temperature which burns calories).

Not only that, but the article also discusses another negative factor to fasted training which is the breakdown of proteins (AKA proteolysis). If you are trying to build muscle, fasted cardio is more than doubling the loss of nitrogen (compared to normal cardio) which is key when it comes to building and retaining muscle.

Now that you have the scientific evidence supporting normal cardio over fasted cardio, I’m sure there will be people who are thinking, “What if I don’t LIKE to eat before a workout?”. Do you find that eating a full meal before working out makes you feel sick or too full? My solution for you would be to consume a liquid meal as opposed to a full on breakfast or dinner- depending on the time of day you exercise. About an hour before you are ready to hit the gym, I would suggest to consume a shake that is full of protein as well as those beloved carbs to ensure you are fueled properly. This is especially important if you are trying to maintain or build muscle. An example liquid meal for me would be 1 scoop of Whey Protein blended with ice, water and a banana. The banana is a simple carb which will be digested and ready to fuel your body within the hour.

There truly is no reason to suffer as a fasted cardio-goer every morning. I am a firm believer that you should not only be backing your theories with scientific evidence, but you should also be doing activities that you love and that will benefit your body to it’s maximum potential.

-Alessandra

 

REFERENCE: 

Schoenfeld B. Does cardio after an overnight fast maximize fat loss? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 2011(33): 23-25.

5 “rules” for beginners in the gym

5 “rules” for beginners in the gym

rules for beginnners

 

I have posted plenty of blogs on why resistance training is beneficial to our health, and I have also posted many blogs on why (if you’re a female) you shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavy weights (SEE HERE). Now that you may be convinced incorporating weight training into your life is a good idea, there’s one problem: you’re clueless when it comes down to how to begin.

I think that a lot of people could LOVE resistance training if they had the confidence to give it a shot which is why I chose to blog about this topic today. So here we go!

LIFTING RULE #1

Find a gym in your area that you can easily attend. The closer the gym is to your house or work, the more likely you are going to go. Easily incorporating this into your daily routine is what is going to keep you motivated.

LIFTING RULE #2

Create a plan. If you’re a total newbie to lifting, chances are you aren’t going to be very familiar with the machines. I usually have my beginner clients stick to dumbbell/barbell exercises that can easily be referenced on YouTube. If you are more familiar with your gym’s equipment, make sure to still set a weekly lifting schedule. Does this totally uninterest you? Luckily we do offer Online Training Plans HERE  which are 100% personalized to your goals, body & availability. Having a set schedule not only holds you accountable to your workouts, but (for me at least) gets me pumped up all day knowing what I have to do in the gym later.

LIFTING RULE #3

Start simple. There are SO many exercises out there which can be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to know that you don’t have to do EVERYTHING you see and at the same time it is also important to switch things up once in a while. I have witnessed people doing the same workouts years later and guess what….they look exactly the same. Our client plans change every 4 weeks which keeps the body guessing but also allows you to improve on those set movements for a duration of time.

LIFTING RULE #4

Find a training style that works for you. So many people go into the gym and perform a boring, basic bodybuilding style workout day in and day out not realizing there are multiple ways to reach their goals. I used to be one of those people. I thought 3 sets of 12 reps was the only way. Did it give me results? At first, yes however then I reached a halt in my progress. My body adapted and honestly, I was pretty bored with those workouts. I found powerlifting at the end of last year and I thoroughly look forward to going to the gym every day because I am so excited to do my set workout. I’m not saying you have to become a powerlifter, but do some research and see what else is out there besides your average bodybuilding split. For example, I like to start a lot of our beginner clients (depending on their goals) with a simple Upper/Lower Body split. This means 2 Upper Body days per week and 2 Lower Body days with 1 or 2 full body days. This keeps it simple at first, and down the road we change things up.

LIFTING RULE #5

Choose a starting weight that you can perform about 80% of the amount of reps with, leaving the last few reps as more of a challenge. A lot of clients ask me how much weight they should start off with and honestly, the answer is different for every single person. I cannot simply tell you where to begin. This is your job during your first week of training to “feel” out the weights. You don’t want to be too easy on yourself but at the same time leave your ego at home until your form is on point.

 

With these tips I hope we have inspired you to create a plan, step out of your comfort zone and go try a strength training workout that challenges and excites you! As always, E-mail us with questions or more information about the Online Coaching plans that we currently offer.

 

~Alessandra