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By: Activ8 Health & Fitness

Are you training for weight loss, or want to strip a little more body fat? Yes, well, this article is for you….

A lot of us have trouble achieving results to some extent from time to time due to many influencing factors such as stress, available time, current relationships and many more. Another factor that will influence our results is as simple as the form of training we are doing. In terms of weight loss, its not so much the types of exercises we are performing throughout our sessions, but how we are training throughout the entire session that makes the biggest difference.
There are many things to be mindful of when exercising such as reps, sets, rest, exercise techniques, exercise types such as fartlek, continuous, circuit, interval training and many more, however there is one simple rule of thumb when it comes to training for weight loss.....The “higher your HR, the more calories your burning”.

The truth about “fat burning” zone theory….

I’m sure you in one day or another have heard, or been told to hold your heart rate in the “Fat burning” zone whilst training for weight loss (continuous training). If this is your only or main method of training you have been doing in the past, you have been restricting yourself with achieving your weight loss goals in shortest timeframe.
Yes, I know your thinking “but isn’t this where you burn a higher percentage of body fat”? Yes, that is correct also, however, what we need to be looking at is the overall calories burnt during exercise. The “fat burn” method does have its place and should be included in every training program along side a sustainable and healthy diet, however for weight loss training, there is a much better training technique to achieve your goals faster, and this is the interval training.
During exercise, what is your heart rate?

Heart rate is the most important factor with exercising when it comes to weight loss training. As good as it would be to comfortably walk those kilos off; it is just not going to happen. Your heart rate is the main determining factor in terms of total calories you will burn during, and even after exercising.
If you don’t’ know, and your not working along side a fitness professional that can monitor your heart rate whilst your exercising, I suggest the first thing you do before your next training session is to invest in a heart rate monitor. This will be the best-spent money in achieving your weight loss goals. This will provide you with instant feedback to how hard your working, and most importantly your HR level. Most HR monitors these days will even track your distance, speed, as well as your max HR, average HR and much more. By using a heart rate monitor, you will also be able to see what you have achieved, how hard you have worked in the overall session, if and where you are improving with your exercising
So what is interval training and how do I do it?

In the whole scheme of things… It does not really matter what method we use to achieve a higher HR, however many health professionals now believe that the best form of training for weight loss is high intensity interval training. There is growing evidence of this theory also these days from all over the world. For those that have not heard of “high intensity interval training”, this is where you training at a high intensity for a short period of time whilst your body is in an anaerobic state to maximise your heart rate as quick as possible. This is than followed by a short “REST” interval to allow your body to recover for the next interval/s to follow. For this technique to be effective, the interval has to be at a maximum effort level. Interval training works both the aerobic and the anaerobic system. During the high intensity efforts, the anaerobic system uses the energy stored in the muscles (glycogen) for short bursts of activity. Anaerobic metabolism works without oxygen, but the by-product is lactic acid. As lactic acid builds, you enter into an oxygen debt, and it is during the recovery phase that the heart and lungs work together to "pay back" this oxygen debt and break down the lactic acid. It is in this phase that the aerobic system is using oxygen to convert stored carbohydrates into energy. It is through that by performing high intensity intervals that produce lactic acid during practice, the body adapts and burns lactic acid more efficiently during exercise. This means you can exercise at a higher intensity for a longer period before fatigue or pain slows them down.

So, What are some examples of interval training?

As mentioned earlier, it does not matter what exercise you use; however, I have found that one of the best pieces of cardiovascular equipment for this, is the rowing machine. You can use it for “distance” and / or “time” Efforts.
Some examples of this are:
500m (Effort) / 30 sec (Rest), 400m (Effort) / 20 sec (Rest), 300m (Effort) / 10 sec
1 min (Effort) / 30 sec (Rest)
30 sec (Effort) / 30 sec (Rest)
20 sec (Effort) / 10 sec (Rest) ← my favorite
As you become fitter and adapt to this technique, you will find that you can perform at a higher level and recover at a much faster rate. This is a great way of seeing your improvements also
So for a great “weight loss” program, combine some moderate (continuous) cardiovascular training, resistance training, a well balanced diet, and some high intensity interval training, and you will start to see some great results
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Added: 08-03-2011