Friday, June 12, 2015


     Pressed for time? Want to work out, but not sure what to do to get the best bang for your buck? Looking to improve your muscle strength and cardio? Looking to make changes:? Changes for the better? Changes to loose that fat? Changes to get stronger?
     This week I will address these questions and provide a simple routine that will work the largest muscle groups, the greatest amount of supporting muscles, and get your heart pumping. There are two aspects to weight loss and fitness that we need to address. Those two are cardio and muscle mass and how they impact your weight loss goals.
     What is your metabolism? Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. It changes its rate throughout the day and throughout our lives/ It varies also based on whether you are man or woman. Men tend to have a higher metabolic rate than women of the same age. Sorry, ladies, it's nothing personal.
     Age related changes also occur. At a point in our lives we start losing muscle mass and start putting on fat due to changes in metabolism. At around 25 our bodies change. Our metabolism does a downshift. It begins to slow down at a rate of 2%, or maybe a little more, per decade. If we do not make appropriate changes to our input or output, we will gain weight.
     That works out like this. A man eating 2,000 calories a day and maintaining a healthy weight up until 25 os going to have to make one of two changes after age 25. He will either have to take in 1,960 calories per day or burn 40 to 50 more calories per day. A woman of the same age eating 1,800 calories at the same age would need to make a change that looks like 1,764 calories or burning off 36 to 45 more calories per day.
     In a nutshell, that is how to address your weight gain by adjusting your diet. But, who really wants to eat less and less over the course of their life? I mean, really? Slowly cutting your intake down to cheese and a slice of sausage on a cracker? That's no way to live. Besides, calorie reduction sends the body into a starvation response. This response takes muscle tissue for the calories necessary to keep functioning. Not good.

Effecting Changes in Your Metabolism Through Exercise via Cardio and Building Muscle
     Essentially, we burn calories every time we move. But, I am not going to go into that minutia. I am, however, going to look at the cardio aspect of weight loss. Aerobic activity, an exercise that gets us breathing heavy and our heart pumping for an extended period of time, is going to use fat stores while exercising. Here's how that works.
     Muscle glycogen, which stores energy, is broken down into glucose. This glucose goes through the process of glycolysis, a determined sequence of ten enzyme-catalyzed reactions, that reults in pyruvate. This pyruvate then reacts with oxygen to release CO2, water, and release energy. In the case of a lack of oxygen and an increasing intensity in the workout, lactate builds up in the muscles. This causes muscle soreness and, if goes too high, can also cause vomiting.
     When glycogen levels in the blood stream fall, the liver releases glucose. Fat is then used at a higher rate in order to fuel the aerobic pathways.
     Studies show that 65% of your maximum aerobic capacity is going to use the most fat stores possible for the duration of your exercise period. Calculating your VO2, the amount of oxygen you take in compared to the amount you exhale, is beyond the scope of this particular piece. So, we will revisit that another time. Still, you should be breathing heavy, but not so much that you can not talk to your training partner. Think about singing cadence. If you are breathing to hard to sing a few lines of running cadence then ease back on the throttle, you are going to hard. If you exercise too hard your body will keep burning glycogen and not the fat.

Cardio/Aerobic For Fat Loss
     Cardio/Aerobic is no longer just running forever. Interval style training is the preferred method for fat loss. Intervals combine muscle building, intense activity, and getting your heart and lungs working well above normal. But, we'll get to that later.
     If cardio/aerobic is not the greatest for fat loss, why do it? What's in it for me? There are several reasons why this is an important activity to include in your training. It lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. It floods your brain with chemicals that improve functions like memory, problem solving, and decision making. It spurs the release of “feel good” hormones into your brain.
     If, like me, you take part in other physical sports like grappling and kick boxing, you need that aerobic capacity to outlast your opponents. Running is still one of the best ways to get that. Jumping rope is a close second, not to mention the coordination and balance training you get with this. I love jumping rope!
     Movement is great! Keep moving and you are burning more calories with each movement. Cardio is not just laps on the track, but a mix of sprints, squat thrusts, push ups, pull ups, and other body movements that can be mixed in between the sprints. Exercises that are done in such a way so that your heart rate and respiration are elevated, hence aerobic.
     That being said, let's address the muscle building aspect of this.

Muscle Building For Fat Loss
     Resting metabolism burns 30% of the calories taken in over the course of the day. Increasing the resting rate by increasing the lean muscle mass increases the resting metabolic rate. Scientist know that a modest increase, such as 2-3%, in our resting metabolism could end up reversing the age related fat and weight gain.
     How we will do that is by improving the quality and quantity of lean muscle in our bodies. Yes, we. I have a routine at the end of this article that I am doing right now, and enjoying thoroughly. The challenge that I am inviting you to accept is to complete three months.
     Anyway, the goal is to increase our resting metabolism by increasing our quality of lean muscle and the density of that muscle. The reason is because that muscle requires more calories to exist. Muscle burns 6 calories per pound for its existence. If you increase your bodyweight by 10 pounds of lean muscle that means that you will burn 60 extra calories per day. I wish that it were more, I really do. Still, that's 60 calories right off the top. Fat, on the other hand, takes only 2 calories per pound to exist.
     What this means is more lean, solid muscle will require the consumption of more calories just to exist. This is why building muscle is so important to the weight loss process. Now, keep this in mind about fat and muscle; being denser than fat, muscle weighs more. While you train and are building lean muscles you may see an increase in weight.
     To the left you see what five pounds of fat looks like compared to five pounds of muscle. I think that clearly illustrates it.

    Below is a bodyweight routine that you can do just about anywhere that has a place to do pull ups. I use pull up handles that I an hook on a bar that is on the back of the bleachers at the local high school, there are several parks and playgrounds nearby.

Routine: Level 1 3x (24 minutes), Level 2 5x (40 minutes), Level 3 7x (58 minutes)
Each set is one cycle through. Start with Pull Ups, select one of the 3 cardio choices and stick with that choice for the duration of the workout, and do each event for 1 minute. Each cycle is 8 sets with 30 seconds rest between each exercise.

Pull Ups
Jump Rope, Jumping Jacks, or Running in Place
Push Ups
Jump Rope, Jumping Jacks, or Running in Place
Bicycle Crunches or Sit Ups
Jump Rope, Jumping Jacks, or Running in Place
Jump Rope, Jumping Jacks, or Running in Place

     The first month we are doing this challenge is Level 1. The second month is Level 2. The last month, Level 3. Time durations are listed above at 24, 40, and 58 minutes.
     There is a very specific reason behind the choice in selecting the exercises for this routine. The cardio events are outstanding at getting and keeping your heart rate at a good level. Pull ups, push up, and squats are the exercises of choice because of their being compound exercises. That is to say, they involve more than one joint and more than one muscle group.
These particular selections will hit practically every muscle in your entire body. We are all getting a head to toe work out that is effective and efficient. It will turn your metabolism into a fat burning furnace and give you the lean, muscled body you want.

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