Round is a shape, but not the one for you

With Christmas fast approaching, Gary Dawkins, of Creative Conditioning at River Ridge Retreat, shares some tips on how to drop that winter weight.

This 10-week summer shape-up programme is designed to take only 20-30 minutes - ideal for your lunch break.

Based on the most efficient and effective forms of exercise for long-lasting fat destruction and muscle tone, the programme is a combination of optimal cardiovascular exercise conditioning and bodyweight resistance-conditioning exercises.

The first two weeks will focus predominantly on cardiovascular training. We will then bring bodyweight resistance exercises into the mix for the remaining eight weeks. The programme starts on Monday, October 22, and will finish on Sunday, December 23.

Let's take a closer look at the differences between aerobic (low-effort exercise, such as walking) and interval training exercises (short bursts of intense exercise) and the effects they have on lasting weight loss and fast fitness improvements.

Some interesting points arise when we break down the different forms of exercise and compare them.

First, when we are doing easy-effort aerobic exercise the main fuel burned is fat. When we do interval exercise the main fuel is carbohydrates. Therefore it makes sense to only do easy-effort aerobic exercises for long-lasting weight loss? Or does it?

The answer is no! And this is the reason: Although the major energy source is fat with lower-effort exercise, there is still a far greater overall energy output when performing interval training. This means that total fat stores burned during interval training will still be greater than when exercising aerobically. And because we get an Epoc (exercise post oxygen consumption) response with interval training we will burn a lot more calories long after the exercise has finished. We do not get this same response when performing lower-effort aerobic exercise.

Secondly, it is interesting to note the differences in lean muscle generation with the two types of exercise - and remember that the more lean muscle we have the more calories we burn around the clock.

Thirdly, we get greater and faster cardiovascular fitness improvements when performing interval training exercises.

So, what forms of exercise should you be doing for long-lasting weight loss and fitness improvements, that takes the least amount of time to achieve?

A combination of interval-style exercise and resistance exercise.


Aerobic exercise (constant low effort)
Types of exercise: Long-distance walking, hanging out washing, gardening, biking along the flat, long-distance swimming (spending 40 minutes swimming lengths), long-distance running.

Effort level: You can comfortably hold a conversation when doing this type of exercise.

Heart rate: Is below 70% of your maximum heart rate.

Fuel or calorie type burned while doing this form of exercise: 70% fat, the rest carbohydrates and protein.

Time at which calories are burned: Mainly during the exercise session.

Speed at which you will notice fitness improvements: Slow to moderate.

Time you need to allow for this form of exercise in your day: From 40 minutes to 2 hours.

Frequency at which you need to complete this form of exercise to get real value: Preferably daily.

Do we generate lean muscle with this?
No, because our slow-twitch muscle fibres are doing the work, we do not generate much muscle.


Anaerobic exercise (interval training)
Types of exercise:
Short bursts of running between walks, walking (or running) at a maximum pace up a staircase, walking (or running) at a maximum pace up a sand dune, running at maximum pace for 1-2 minutes and resting for 1-2 minutes.

Effort level: During the interval you cannot talk.

Heart rate: 70-80% and more of your maximum heart rate.

Fuel or calorie type burned while doing this form of exercise: 30% fat, 70% carbohydrate and protein.

Time at which calories are burned: a lot of calories are burned during the exercise and a lot more calories are burned long after the exercise session has finished.

Speed at which you will notice fitness improvements: Moderate to fast.

Time you need to allow for this form of exercise in your day: 15-30 minutes.

Frequency at which you need to perform this form of exercise to get real value: Three to four times a week.

Do we generate lean muscle with this?
Yes, because our moderate and fast-twitch muscle fibres are being recruited, so we gain lean muscle.


Why interval training (high-effort intermittent bursts)?
It is a very efficient form of exercise - more calories are burned during this exercise and long after the exercise has finished.

The exercise sessions are a lot shorter - important when we all have time limitations in our lives.

Faster cardiovascular fitness improvements as the heart muscle is stressed to a higher level.

Some lean muscle is generated as moderate and fast-twitch muscle fibres are recruited - these are the muscle fibres that grow.

NB: We will focus on bodyweight resistance exercises in a couple of weeks from now.


The exercises
Field
Running around field (football field)
Warm up: Jog one lap (or walk one lap).

Four corners: jog (or walk) between the first two corners of the field. Run at pace (or power walk) between the second two corners of the field. Reduce to a jog (or walk) between the third two corners of the field. Now increase to a (or higher) pace run (or power walk) between the last corners of the field. Repeat this process until you have completed 3-6 laps.

NB: Keep arms moving and a straight back.

Running between markers
Shuttles: Place three markers (e.g., your two shoes and a top) 7m apart in a straight line. Run at (or higher) pace from marker 1 to marker 2 and then back to marker 1. Do the same from marker 1 to marker 3. Now rest for 10 seconds and repeat this process another 5-10 times. Rest for 90 seconds and repeat.

NB: Keep arms moving and a straight back.


Beach
Zigzags
Warm up: Jog (or walk) along the beach for 300m then return to starting position.

Zigzags: Start on the hard sand down by the water. Run at (or higher) pace (or power walk) on an angle up to the soft sand at the foot of the sand dunes, then jog (or walk) back down on an angle to the hard sand. Repeat this process for 20 minutes. It's a good idea to start at St Kilda beach and make your way down towards Middle Beach and then return.

NB: Keep arms moving and a straight back.

Sand long jumps
Do this only in the soft sand, so it's safe on the joints. Starting with feet shoulder-width apart and with a nice straight back, jump as far as you can. Complete five long jumps, rest 10 seconds then repeat the process another 3-5 times. Now rest for 90 seconds before completing another two sets.

NB: Keep arms moving and a straight back.


Stairs/bench
Stair climbs
Warm up: Go for a 3-5 minute jog (or walk) along the flat first.

Stair climbs: Run at (or higher) pace (or power walk) up 50 steps, then jog (or walk) back down. As soon as you get back to the bottom start again. Complete this 4-8 times. Rest for 90 seconds and complete this process one more time.

NB: Keep arms moving and a straight back.

Bench (or use the first two steps of the staircase)
If you use a bench make sure the bench is no higher than your knees. Complete running (or power) step-ups for 15 to 30 step-ups. Rest for 30 seconds then repeat the process another three times. Now rest for two minutes and complete the process another two times. Alternatively, use the first two steps of the staircase.

NB: Keep arms moving and a straight back.


Workout diary
Week One
Monday: Field
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Beach
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Stairs/bench
Saturday: Field
Sunday: Beach

Week Two
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Stairs/bench
Wednesday: Field
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Beach
Saturday: Stairs/bench
Sunday: Field


http://www.riverridgeretreat.co.nz/services/health-and-fitness.html