High Intensity Interval Training is popular with active adults who appreciate an intense workout even when they’re short on time. The results can equal what you’d get out of a less intense workout lasting twice as long. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examines what added intensity brings to your game.
Researchers had inactive female subjects in their mid-20s engage in high or moderate intensity interval training on a stationary bike. The high intensity workout was performed at 80% to 90% of capacity while moderate cycling was restricted to 60% to 80% of maximum effort. All subjects completed six and ten 60-second sets separated by active low intensity recovery. They trained three times weekly for a total of 12 weeks. Fat oxidation was more dramatically increased with HIIT, but neither group realized significant improvements in body weight, fat reduction or waist circumference.
True Strength Moment: The study brief didn’t mention anything about diet, so it’s hard to know what these subjects were eating during the 12-week program. Fat oxidation was increased for both groups, so that’s a positive development. Unfortunately, it only makes a difference if training efforts are complemented by sensible eating.
It’s easy to think about losing or putting on weight as a relatively simple strategy of balancing calories consumed against calories used up during exercise. Research presented at the International Conference of Nutrition suggests it’s a lot more complicated. Consider the varying degrees of success experienced by millions of dieters each year.
In a 12-week study of active and relatively inactive adults, researchers found that even though all participants burned the equivalent of 500 calories during five weekly workouts maintaining an average heart rate of 70% and consumed a tightly controlled diet, weight loss ranged from 2.2 to 17.6 pounds. A few subjects even gained weight, although all lost body fat and built up lean mass.
True Strength Moment: It looks like very active people can consume more calories without putting on weight. Unfortunately, the complexities of weight loss aren’t that easily explained. For instance, your caloric needs are reduced when you begin to lose weight. Altering your energy balance triggers numerous changes; some that work in your favor and others that can make continued weight loss more difficult.
Concurrent training combines aerobic conditioning and strength work. Conventional wisdom would have you start off with weights to promote the use of body fat to fuel cardio after muscle glycogen reserves have been depleted, but then there’s the issue of metabolite buildup. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise examines how resistance training impacts the conditioning part of your workout.
Seven healthy male subjects took on intense arm exercise before cycling to capacity on a stationary bike. Compared to a prior workout when they rode the bike without doing any upper body workout, cycling work capacity was reduced although critical power remained constant through both workouts.
True Strength Moment: Metabolite buildup from the weight training phase reduced the duration of the cycling workout by 15%. That’s a very reasonable trade off considering the time-saving advantages you get with concurrent training. Give it a try next time your stale routine gets a little too easy to complete.
So far, the study of breakfast’s impact on weight loss is fairly inconclusive according to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. While there’s agreement on an association between breakfast and weight management, no one can say for sure whether skipping the first meal of the day contributes to weight gain or if making breakfast skippers eat breakfast will help them lose weight.
True Strength Moment: Breakfast might not be the most important meal to dieters, but it ranks right up there for active adults pursuing ambitious fitness goals. A healthy balanced breakfast providing complete proteins for muscle growth and complex carbohydrates for sustained energy can have a big impact on what you gain from workouts.