The motto of a lean person… INTENSITY WHEN TRAINING AND LOYALTY WHEN EATING
Staying true to the cause Think of ‘getting lean’ as a commitment, a commitment similar to that needed to maintain a relationship. A family member of mine has been married for 50 years, and from what they tell me, the key to a long and fruitful relationship is to get a balance of the following things: unwavering dedication, strong perseverance (nothing worth having is kept without a fight), occasional time apart, a little intensity here and there, getting physical, keeping things varied, and above all else, staying LOYAL! If you wish to strip off that excess body fat whilst maintaining the underlying muscle mass…you’ve got to adopt an unwavering capacity to remain loyal.
Intensity when training Supersetting, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Fartlek training and resistance cardio are all terms that embody intense training. All of the above involve moderate resistance (if performing resistance work), a relatively short training interval, multiple training intervals (bout of exercise lasting approx 30- 60secs) and low rest times. Several studies have highlighted the benefit of high intensity training and fat loss, the theory is as follows: Tipton & Luc van Loon, (2013) assert that evidence suggests that just 2-3 HIIT sessions a week can significantly increase the level of mitochondrial enzymes (energy breakdown systems), alter substrate metabolism (breakdown) to fat, and improve buffering capacity so that muscles can work for longer. The benefit of altering substrate metabolism…is that you burn more fat, and get more lean! A person performing HIIT training is more likely to develop a good balance between aerobic (oxidative) and anaerobic (non-oxidative) energy systems. Incidentally the main energy substrate during HIIT is glycogen, but Krustrup, Mohr and Steensberg, (2006) explain that an individuals muscle glycogen stores deplete to almost empty after a bout of HIIT, meaning fat stores are next in line as an energy substrate. The message here is that rest is best minimised until after the session if you wish to burn fat, it’s no good going ahead and lifting a load or running 50 yards only to have a solid 2min rest- instead try keeping rest times to a maximum of 30-60secs tops, this way you give yourself the best chance of getting lean!
Vary it up Although high intensity training methods appear to be the best route to all things lean, like with any relationship, there are times when it’s good to vary things up a little. Low Intensity steady state training (LISS) is another approach to burning fat, it is almost the direct opposite of high intensity training requiring the person to work at maybe 30-40% of their maximum, and maintain this for a comparatively long duration, say maybe 20-30mins.
Diet and training : when 2 become 1 It’s a thankless task trying to tone without a balanced diet AND training regime. If you’re only doing one and not the other, then do yourself a favour and stop trying now, there’s a saying in the fitness and health industry… ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’, so if you aren’t willing to COMMIT wholeheartedly then don’t expect to see those cuts and striations over your body. The more fat you lose the slower the fat burning becomes, with the fat around your mid- section being a particularly stubborn area. Acknowledgement and acceptance of this fact is key to not losing drive and interest, heck, we all hit plateaus in fat loss but this isn’t a reason to start lapsing with your diet, what you’re doing hasn’t stopped working necessarily, you might just need to ramp it up a little or make a few minor dietary adjustments. Remember to STAY FOCUSED – falling into a spiral of eating crap because your not immediately looking like Greg Plitt is senseless: - ‘if you drop your mobile phone on the concrete, you wouldn’t then proceed to start jumping up and down on it would you – so don’t do that to your ‘getting lean regime’!’ You control your mindset, you are the master of your fate, so on your journey to becoming lean and mean it might be prudent to remember that any good fat loss regime deserves time, patience, intensity and loyalty…get the balance right and in time you’ll reap the benefits, you’ll see.