“Fat burning workouts”? Or gimmicks on machines?

Chris has asked a good follow up question so I though I’d post this one too.

I am confused on fat loss programmes, the gym machines seem to have lots of different programmes on there, but I seem to find the “fat-burning” programme very easy and don’t even break into a sweat?

Here’s one of my favourite and least favourite subjects at the same time! It always makes me laugh when they put these ‘”fat burning” programmes on the machines. Are they suggesting that the rest of the programme don’t burn fat? Do they suggest that the rest of the programmes are for very specific purposes only? The reality is that this is a very gimmicky way of training so don’t listen to their claims, most of these so called programmes are to make the machine seem a little more interesting, and keep some variety in there. You can measure your heart rate during exercise, and I measure all my clients, but if you find that difficult, look to put a 8 or 9 out of 10 effort each time you train and you will be doing very well, now THAT is the intensity you really want to be reaching in your workout, not what some made up routine on a machine that doesn’t work you that hard in the first place.

I addressed some of this in my previous post “do I need to work over 20 minutes to burn fat?”. If you think about this logically, any exercise will burn fat and you don’t need to be working for hugely long periods of time to burn fat, it’s what you do and not how long you work for. The fat-burning programmes you speak of usually encourage you to work at low intensity for lengthy periods, that’s why you never get into a sweat as you say and you are being short-changed of a great workout potentially.

The good news is that you can make any programme a “fat-burning” programme, all you have to do is make the effort worthwhile and exercise with purpose. If you are not really pushing yourself, and simply doing the workout at a slow leisurely pace, you need to up the intensity to truly burn fat as they say. If you’re working on a treadmill, increase the speed, or increase the incline. If you are doing weights or resistance exercise, add the weight progressively to increase intensity, and cut your rest in between sets down, that’s why I encourage you to work in a circuit style as seen in previous posts. See my interval training post, that’s got some solid training ideas in there to truly burn fat and quickly.

You know deep down chris that those “fat-burning” workouts that seem to last for really long periods at low intensity don’t really work, are hugely boring, take most of your evening up, and you need to buckle down and make improvements if you really want the changes for the better you are obviously looking for.

I have posted lots of examples of workouts already, and hopefully you can see that the theme is relatively brief workouts, but done at a higher intensity. You don’t have to work yourself until you’re blue in the face, but you do need to work slightly out of any comfort zone you may be in right now. Look for constant improvements, keep a training journal over the next 12 weeks, and you may be surprised at what you’re doing in week 12, compared to week 1.

Try some outside workout, can’t beat the fresh air and you can get a different scenery each time!

Let me know how you get on!

Keri

Walking versus running

A good question has come through from Chris, someone who like many others, has been viewing the site and has finally posted! Question is

Which exercise is better, walking or running?

There is no straight answer to this one Chris as I like to look at the big picture. The easiest to answer is this. If someone is new to training or wants to get started running, it can be intimidating and downright hard to say the least, anyone who has done it can testify to this!

Also, you may have a problem with your knee/ankle/back, and if this is the case, then I would advise walking to start with, make sure you get a good set of running shoes (although you won’t be running) as all the best technology and support goes into running shoes, they don’t have to expensive either, there’s always pairs on sale at any sports shop and sometimes you can get an excellent pair for around £40. What you want to spend is up to you, but bear in mind they mostly last for around 500 miles so you need to change them regularly, that is the true secret.

They used to say I would be a cripple by the time I was 35, however I change my shoes every 8 weeks now through picton sports in Llanelli, and im feeling better than ever at recently turning 41. I change them so often because my running would be considered excessive by many, but it is a big part of my job! So having proper training shoes is absolutely vital, or you will invite injuries.

Back to the question of walking versus running. I would say that an average person usually finds running for any length of time to begin with too difficult, so walking quickly is achievable and will soon get most people out of breath. Then, I would move them on to hills to drive up the intensity of the workout and this again, can be very tough!

Then, I find as long as there are no prior injuries or knee complaints etc, a lot of individuals want to step it up and achieve some running targets. I start with maybe running for 20 yards, walking for 50 yards, running for 20, walking for 50 and son on. Over a 6 week period, it could easily become running for 150 yards, walking for 50 yards, running for 150 and so on. People progress at different rates depending on ability, motivation, dietary habits etc, but with some well thought out and progressive training, the results will be very good.

I would only attempt to run a maximum of twice a week to start, to get your joints used to the extra load (the pressure can be 3 times your body weight). When you get up to around 20 minutes of constant running on the flat, I would suggest trying to bring in interval training (see my recent post on that), sprints on flat and sprints up hills over shorter distances (see previous posts on training for sports). These forms of training not only relieve boredom, but they cam bring you some tremendous results.

I have some individuals who are very good walkers too and just love walking. They start off on flat of course, then they work on rolling hills, and then they work up to some very demanding hills and even mountains. I have had a couple of people walk/climb up some very  famous peaks in the world, so the sky’s the limit.

So back to the question which is better, I would say both are very good depending on personal preference. I would say that most have a desire to run, but I have some who hate running and love to cycle. I have some who love to swim. I have some who hate an audience and love to work inside with weights and body weight exercises. I am fully aware that many people have ailments that make running not very attractive. It is up to me to make sure they have a programme that they can still get into amazing shape with. Anyone who has trained with me will know after a good period of conditioning, I seek out the highest hills and some of the most demanding terrains. There’s plenty of them around the Llanelli, burry port and gower area’s so take your pick and see what you can do.

Another point, I would use the level of intensity as your guide to your workout. Think 1 as very easy, and 10 as working at your max. If you can get a 8 or 9 out of a walking workout, then that’s fantastic, and the same with running. It’s the effort you put in that counts and not necessarily if its walking or running. If you have an issue with your knees, choose non weight bearing such as cycling and swimming, walking may be okay too but running may be inviting trouble.

Up to you and let me know how you get on and good luck on the challenge next week!

Keri

Not learning lessons

I am the guilty one today, i am the one who said last wednesday, after being snowed in, that i was glad i didn’t get in my car and try my luck on the roads. I have spent too many needless hours on the roads spinning up hills in the snow and ice. I had sworn never to do it again!

After looking outside this morning very early, i was confused as there seemed more snow than promised, but some sleet in the air too. The bbc had say it may wash away with rain, after promising a couple of hours before that it would dump it down with snow! I decided that i would give it a go, and be an idiot! To cut a long story short, i got into serious difficulties in swansea, and a 35 minute trip turned into a 100 minute trip, after having a couple of slides and bumps into the pavement in my car! I eventually made it to mumbles and discovered i couldn’t get up the side roads! I could only then make it home by the M4, which is the long way around to say the least.

The point i am making in all of this is that we are all guilty about not learning lessons, and sometimes doing the wrong thing time after time, even if causes us pain and stress each time. The same could be said about our eating, all of us binge from time to time, there are various reasons for this but most of them involve stress of some kind. Then we get stressed because we have eaten so much and so badly!

The facts are that most of us are never going to stop making rash decisions, mistakes with our foods after giving in to sudden urges, the difference between being successful and constantly tripping ourselves up must be making “less” mistakes, and doing the “right thing” more. Hard to do but sounds simple. Next week’s start is about practicing good habits constantly, and not making so many emotional decisions on food that usually end up with us ingesting mega-calorie foods!

I am promising myself to do better than ever next week, and never to risk driving in so much snow again!

Keri

Awaken the giant within!!!!!!!!!!

Next week is an opportunity to finally get it right, get yourself out of the slumber of christmas and january, and finally reach the physical condition you’ve craved for all this time. Not only physically, but mentally too. You’ve always known its more than a diet, its more than an exercise programme, its the mind that in fact may be the most important part.

How long have you put up with faddy diets? What about those rubbish exercise equipment you have bought off satellite tv or a sports shop? Was it really a good investment or did that piece of equipment simply become anothe coat hanger?

Are you going to give yourself 12 weeks this time to get it right, to give yourself the opportunity to finally be in shape for summer? This is when the hard work starts, and this is the time when you outlast those who will be giving up their faddy programmes by valentine’s day!

Making this commitment for 12 weeks will also give you huge mental strength as previously mentioned to take on anything in life you want. If you develop self-discipline, and its all a matter of practice, you can apply that to life’s difficult challenges too. You’re going to develop a lot more energy too, and when you have that energy, you’re automatically going to feel a lot better too, it’s natural.

Are you fed up of being written off, and never letting your potential come to the fore? Are you fed up of people doubting whether you can get fit and healthy at all, this is the time to prove everyone wrong, and finally gets some huge compliments back in your life too, and they will continue if you manage to lay down a solid structure in your life, and theres no reason not to!

My first tip is to take a photograph of yourself this weekend, then again in 12 weeks, there should be a big difference, try and wear tighter fitting clothes as baggy t-shirts wont show your progress as well. Then measure your waist and hips, and write down your height in inhces, the goal is to get your waist under half your height in inches. You’re also going to keep a diary too, every day jotting down all your hopes and aspirations, and the reality of doing these 12 weeks, then after  the 12 weeks, you need to write a short essay on your experiences, and brutally honest as possible, and we will post those who want to post them, these will be valuable in helping others.

Plus you will get everyday help from me, and all the pointers and examples of exercise programmes to help you along.

More to come this week but this is an idea of what we need. Also, if you have any blood pressure issues etc, may be a good idea to get yourself checked out by your doctor, so he can check your progress out at the end, plus you can buy cheap bp machines in chemists these days. It is advisable to get your doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise programme. Safety is always my number one concern.

Speak soon,

Keri