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Posts tagged ‘High Intensity Interval Training’

The principle of specificity

This principle refers to the effect that exercise training is specific to the muscles involved in that activity, the fiber types recruited, the principal energy system involved (Aerobic versus Anaerobic), the velocity of contraction, and the type of muscle. In other words, if I want to get stronger legs then I should train my legs and not my arms. Or, if I want to run faster then I should train sprints and not go out for long slow runs. This may seem an obvious thing to most people but when you see people train you realize that many don’t understand this concept. Let me explain.

There are three basic energy systems in the body:

  1.  Ultra Short-term Performance (10 seconds or less) – 60 meter race: most of the energy comes from the ATP-PCr and the glycolytic systems. Meaning, if you wanted to get better you would have to train those two systems.
  2. Short-term Performance (10-180 seconds) – 200-800 meter race: 70% of the energy comes from the Anaerobic systems but, as you get close to the 180 seconds, 60% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system. So here you would have to train both systems but still put more emphasis on the Anaerobic.
  3. Moderate Length Performance (3-20 minutes) – 800 meter to 10km race: 60% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system in a 3 minute maximal effort but, as we get close to the 20 minute mark, 90% of the energy would come out of the Aerobic system. So here you would train in a way that improves both system but put more emphasis on the Aerobic system.

So, imagine I’m a golfer and I want to improve my tee shot. That movement lasts a second or less, meaning I am working Anaerobic, so when I go to the gym I would do explosive exercises that don’t last too long. Let’s say now I’m a boxer, rounds last 3 minutes, I know that the first minutes I will work Anaerobically but as I get closer to the 3 minute mark 60% of the energy comes Aerobically, so here I would make sure to work both systems almost equally but still putting more emphasis on the Anaerobic part

What you have to do now is figure out what system your sport uses and try to improve it.

Hope you enjoyed

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How to improve VO2Max (run faster).

In the last blog I talked about what Vo2Max is and why it’s important to train it. In this blog I will talk about how to improve it.

Remember that having a higher VO2 Max is an advantage: it means that your body can take in more oxygen and deliver it to your muscles, enabling you to run faster for a given effort.So any person who runs races should try to improve it. In addition, people with a low VO2Max increase the risk of death from all causes (1) !!There are various ways to improve VO2Max but I will give the two most known and those are:

1.High Intensity Interval training– Here you would do series of at least 50-60 seconds of high intensity.  The work- rest ratio would be = to 1:1, 1:2, or 1:3. The work- rest ratio 1:1 means that if you work, for example, 60 seconds you would also rest 60 seconds. The work rest ratio 1:2 means that you rest twice the time of work, so, if I worked 60 seconds I would rest 120 seconds and so on.  For athletes who are not highly trained, a work- rest ratio of 1:3, or 1:2 may be preferable. As a general rule for young athletes, the heart rate should drop to approximately 120-130 beats (2). The  exercise should be done at 80-100% of VO2Max to improve aerobic power.
2. Long Slow Distance Exercise– Low intensity exercise where you should be working at around 50-65% of  VO2Max. The duration is generally greater in length than the competition you would be doing.

  • It is believed that high intensity intervals are more effective in improving VO2Max than low intensity intervals (3,4). Meaning that even  running intervals of 30 seconds or less at full intensity could improve VO2Max.

Now, you are probably thinking that this is nice but how in the world do I calculate my VO2Max to know what percentage I am working at. This is quite easy…..but I will talk about that in my next blog. See you then.

 

 

 

References

  1. Kodama S, Saito K, Tanaka S, Mai M, Yachi Ym Asumi M, et al. Cardiorespiratory fitness as a quantitative predictor of all cause mortality and cardiovascular events in healthy men and women. Journal of the American Medical Association 301:2024-2035, 2009.
  2. Astrqnd P, and Rodahl K, Text bookd of Work Physiology. New York: McGraw-Hill,1986.
  3. Hicson RC, Bomze HA, and Holloszy JO. Linear increase in aerobic power induced by a strenous program of endurance exercise. J Appl Physiol 42: 372-376, 1977.
  4. Hickson RC, Hagberg JM, Ehsani AA. Time course of the adaptive responses of aerobic power and heart rate to training. Med Sci Sports Exerc 13:17-20

I run and I run but I don´t lose weight!!

 Has this ever happened to you or have you ever heard this from someone? I sure have, I hear it all the time…. ¨I go running everyday 45 minutes and I´m still not losing weight, I must have a slow metabolism¨ (BIGGEST Bullsh%t out there). Well, as always, let me explain.

First, there is no such thing as a slow metabolism, I talked about that in one of my previous posts (https://sports-diet-pain.com/2013/10/17/metabolism-the-myth-behind-slow-and-fast-metabolism/), please watch the video attached to that post as it is GREAT!!

Second, you are probably not losing weight for a couple of reasons:
1. You do the same training over and over. You see, the body adapts and if every time you go running you do the same thing it´s not going to cost you as much as it did at the beginning and you will also be burning fewer calories. So change the training plan!!!
2. The intensity is always the same. When we do finally change the training plan we only change the time, forgetting sometimes that intensity is more important than time (https://sports-diet-pain.com/2013/10/18/high-intensity-interval-training/). The higher the intensity, the more calories you will be burning after the training. Try incorporating series into your trainings plan.
3. Don´t just run, change activity. Go swimming, go bike riding, GO LIFT WEIGHTS. Yes, resistance training is great and not just for bodybuilders but for everyone. A recent study showed that 10 weeks of resistance training may increase lean weight by 1.4 kg, increase resting metabolic rate by 7%, and reduce fat weight by 1.8 kg (1).
4. Rest. Some people don´t know this but sometimes less is better. They body has to recover after a training. When you train everyday for long periods of time the body starts releasing cortisol. Cortisol is the ¨stress¨ hormone and can have negative effects (3-4). Cortisol isn´t always bad and is sometimes necessary but high levels of cortisol usually aren´t that good. A recent study thas shown that endurance athletes have higher levels of cortisol (2). So take a rest, don´t run so much!
5. Overcompensation. People sometimes eat more after exercise because they think they have burned so many calories but, you see, running really doesn´t burn that many calories. For example: 30 minutes of steady pace running will probably burn you in between 300-350 calories. That is not that much….. a simple cheeseburger in McD%& has 300 calories (5). So of course running is good and burns calories but don´t ruin it afterward by not watching what you eat.

So, in conclusion: change your training plan, play with the intensity and time, change sport activity and, most importantly, sometimes more is not better. Keep running!!

References
  1. Westcott WL. Resitance training is medicine: effects of strength training on health. Curr Sports Med Rep 2012 Jul-Aug;11(4):209-16.
  2. Skoluda N. Dettenborn L, Stalder T, Kirschbaum C. Elevated hair cortisol concentrations in endurance athletes. Phsychoneuroendocrinology, 2012 May;37(5):611-7.
  3. Kanaley JA, Weltman JY, Pieper KS, Weltman A, Hartman ML. Cortisol and growth hormone responses to exercise at different times of day. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001 Jun;86(6):2881-9.
  4. Heitkamp HC, Schulz H, Rocker K, DickHuth HH. Endurance training in females: changes in beta-endorphin and ACTH. Int Sports Med.1198 May;19(4):260-4.
  5. http://nutrition.mcdonalds.com/getnutrition/nutritionfacts.pdf

Rest Interval – How much time should you rest in between sets

¨When I´m doing an exercise, how much time do I have to rest in between sets?¨, it´s probably one of the questions I get asked most often. And the answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, but first, let me explain what repetitions and sets are. Repetitions are the number of times you  are going to perform an exercise. So, if I tell you to give me 10 push-ups, 10 are the repetitions. Once you are finished with the 10 repetitions, that would be called a set. So, if you did 3 x 10 repetitions, that would mean you have done 3 sets and each of those sets consisted of 10 repetitions. Ok, now that we got that out of the way let´s answer the question.

Well, the answer is ….it depends on your objective (also intensity and volume are very important but I will not get into that today). You see, depending on what your objective is (losing weight, gaining muscle, gaining strength) you will rest more or less. So, resting too long or too short can negatively affect your results.

Rest intervals can be classified into 3 categories: (Resistance Training)

  1. 30 seconds or less,
  2. 1-2 minutes,
  3. 3 minutes or more.

Resting 30 seconds or less – is beneficial for endurance and size because  metabolic accumulation increases and this enhances the body´s anabolic (building) environment.  The bad thing is that short rest intervals do not allow enough time to regain your strength. And according to different studies, a loss of 50% in strength in the following sets is seen when rest intervals are limited to 30 seconds. Meaning, it is difficult to build a lot of muscle(1-2).

Resting 1-2 minutes – allows you to recover most of your strength and according to different studies, is the best way for developing more muscle. In other words, this is best for hypertrophy (1-3)!!

Resting 3 minutes or more – allows your muscle to completely restore its strength on a given exercise. Full recovery allows you to train with the heaviest weight. On the other hand, any metabolite buildup that may have been created disappears over the course of the rest period, this is good for strength but not for size(1-3).

So to summarize:

  •  I would rest 30 seconds or less if I wanted to build up endurance and gain a bit of muscular size. Resting 30 seconds or less keeps your heart rate up and will lead you to burn more calories. High Intensity Interval Training bases itself a little on this method (https://sports-diet-pain.com/2013/10/18/high-intensity-interval-training/)
  • It´s been scientifically proven that for muscle building the best is to rest in between 1-2 minutes(1-2).
  • And if I wanted to gain strength I would rest 3 minutes or more.

Rest Interval is very important to obtain your goal, but it´s only a small piece of the puzzle. Intensity (the amount of weight lifted), volume (the total amount of repetitions), effort (the energy you expend during a set), tempo (the velocity in which you do the exercise), frequency (the number of exercise sessions you perform in a given period of time), and exercise selection (the exercises you decide to do) are equally important! Work on all these pieces and you will obtain your goal!!

References:

  1. Willardson J. A brief review: Factors affecting the length of the Rest Interval Between Resistance Exercise Sets. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2006;20(4):978-84.
  2. de Salles BF, Simão R, Miranda F, Novaes Jda S, Lemos A, Willardson JM. Rest interval between sets in strenght training.Sports Med.2009;39(9):765-77.
  3. Schoenfeld B. The Max Muscle Plan. Human Kinetics.2013

High Intensity Interval Training.

There is a new trend going out there saying that High Intensity Interval Training is the best option if you want to lose weight and get in shape, and that aerobic exercise is not that useful. First like always let’s clear up the difference between one and the other.

  1. High Intensity Interval     Training (HIIT) – I will use the definition given by Wikipedia, since it’s     pretty accurate: HIIT is an exercise strategy alternating periods of short     intense anaerobic exercise with less-intense recovery periods. HIIT is a     form of cardiovascular exercise. Usual HIIT sessions may vary from 4–30     minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity     and condition, improved glucose metabolism, and improved fat burning.

So basically the whole idea of using HIIT is to raise your heart rate and then allow it to come back down again.One example of this would be for example sprints. The person runs as fast as they can for 15 to 60 seconds, then stops, rests for 30 seconds (or until their heart rate reaches 60% of their capacity) and then does it again. They could do this for 3 series or more and that would be an example of training with HIIT (I highly recommend to train with a watch that measures your heart rate when training with HIIT).

  2.   Aerobic exercise. It’s light to moderate intense activities, and refers to the use of oxygen to meet energy demands. Running 5 km is an example of an aerobic exercise.

OK, now that we know what both things are, let’s see the benefits and risks of HIIT activity.

Benefits of HIIT.

  1. A study published in the     International Journal Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that 2     minutes of intensive sprint interval training perform 3 times a week,     during 6 weeks, was as good as running as 30 minutes, 3 times a week, during     6 weeks. So we can say it’s more effective for people who have less time     to work-out.
  1. Increases Aerobic     capacity. This may seem strange to people, because when you are training     HIIT you are actually doing Anaerobic, but different studies have shown     that it also increases the aerobic capacity.
  1. Increases Insulin     sensitivity. This could be confusing to people so let me clear up what     insulin sensitivity means: Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the     body is to the effects of insulin. Someone said to be insulin sensitive     will require smaller amounts of insulin to lower blood glucose levels than     someone who has low sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity varies from person to     person and doctors can perform tests to determine how sensitive an     individual is to insulin. So the more insulin sensitive you are, the less     likely you will develop type 2 diabetes. HIIT causes your muscles to     absorb glucose more readily, preventing it from being stored as fat.
  1. Improves fat burning. It     has been proven that the higher the intensity is during your cardio the     more calories you will continue to burn after the exercise!!    

Risk of High Intensity Interval Training

  1. I think the greatest risk     is that you probably have a higher probability of getting injured. I haven’t     read any articles that say so, but that is my conclusion. The     higher the intensity of the exercise, the more likely you will get     injured.
  1. You have to be in shape     to do this kind of exercises. HIIT is not for everyone, especially people     that are just starting to do sports. With HIIT your heart level reaches     sometimes 90% or higher of your capacity. So I really don’t recommend this     to any beginners.

Seeing the information we can see that HIIT is quite effective and probably can help you a lot in getting you in shape. HIIT will probably also help you get better physically at whatever sport you are practicing but the important thing to have in mind is that you first need a base to be able to do HIIT, and this base will only be acquired through aerobic exercise.

Having said that, I think a combination of both activities is the best option for most people. Aerobic activities have been proven to produce great effects on the body and mind of most people, but if you want to train a little harder and obtain better results you should try to “slowly” begin with HIIT.

My next blog will be about the topic or myth that exist out there, that low intense cardiovascular exercise will burn more fat than high intense cardiovascular activities. We will see if this is true and the explanation behind it. Until next time.

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