Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fat Loss Protocol

 There are many different protocols that one may implement when the goal is fat loss.  Since I am sure most people recently ate themselves into a near coma state with thanksgiving food, I figured an article on fat loss would be of interest.  One vital component that cannot be overlooked is diet.  You have to monitor your food intake and make sure you are eating to fuel and replenish your body. ( As opposed to eating just to eat. )  I cannot stress that enough...You cannot out-train a poor diet! So with that being said, lets talk about what you can do in the gym to help shed some unwanted pounds. Most people will go directly to the treadmill or elliptical, pop in the head phones, turn on the TV, and begin a slow grind for the next hour.  This does burn calories, but it takes a very long time and it is not the optimal way to lose weight.
  Long, slow cardio does not cause your body significant stress.  Thats why you can go for an hour watching TV and not really feel like you are working out.  Then, after you have exercised your body is still pretty much in homeostasis.  Homeostasis is a very intricate and important component.  Briefly and simply, homeostasis is the normal levels of chemicals, hormones, temperature, etc., that your body uses and maintains on a regular basis.Your body always wants to maintain homeostasis and it will work hard to do so.  So if you disturb that homeostasis your body works harder to get back to normal.  That is where today's subject comes in.  Using weight training to disturb hemeostasis and promote weight loss.
  After you weight train with high intensity you cause your body to need, and use, oxygen at a higher rate than before exercise.  This is known as excess postexercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC.  According to Dr. Len Kravitz, an associate professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico, " ...the body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise state, and thus is consuming oxygen at an elevated rate. This means that energy is also being expended at an elevated rate."  This translates to burning more calories over time and eventaully promoting increased weight loss.  The body is working harder to resore itself to homeostasis and burning more calories in the process.  Studies have shown that resistance training, or weight training, has a greater EPOC response when compared to traditional aerobic exercise.  This elevated EPOC state can also be reached with high intensity aerobic exercises such as interval training and sprints, but these modes of exercise do not promote strength gains or increased muscle mass, so they are not as effective.  Maintaining, and increasing, muscle mass is also going to have an impact on metabolism.  Those individuals with a higher percentage of muscle mass typically display an increased resting metabolic rate since muscle consumes more energy at rest compared to adipose, or fat, tissue.  Maintaing muscle mass also contributes to an aesthetically pleasing body shape.  If you were to do only aerobic exercise you become what is known as ." skinny-fat".  This is characterized by a small body size, but no muscle definition.
  In conclusion, if your goal is to lose weight or shed some fat then start focusing on weight training.  Traditional cardio can be added to help increase energy expenditure, but make strength training your priority.  Lift hard and reap the benefits. Good luck.

 ,Jacob Cagney Amerson


References:
Reynolds, J.M., Kravitz, L. " Resistance training and EPOC".