Effective Interval Training Workout and More…

In today’s digest we bring you articles on Effective Interval Training Workout, Using Mental Imagery, High Intensity Interval Training and Loss of a specific enzyme boosts fat metabolism and exercise endurance in mice. Hope you enjoy them…

Effective Interval Training Workout

Interval training workout can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training workout: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves out legs like a sprinter, and burns calories at an accelerated rate… […]

Interval training workout can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training workout: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves o



In today’s digest we bring you articles on Effective Interval Training Workout, Using Mental Imagery, High Intensity Interval Training and Loss of a specific enzyme boosts fat metabolism and exercise endurance in mice. Hope you enjoy them…

Effective Interval Training Workout

Interval training workout can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training workout: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves out legs like a sprinter, and burns calories at an accelerated rate… […]

Interval training workout can be done in a variety of different ways. Here’s a wickedly-effective type of interval training workout: it requires no machines or fancy equipment, you can do it outside in the sunshine and fresh air, it develops killer conditioning, carves out legs like a sprinter, and burns calories at an accelerated rate…

In other articles about running/aerobics and high intensity interval training, as well as in my Fat loss books, I’ve written about how you can integrate both traditional steady state cardio as well as high intensity interval training into your training program for optimal body composition improvement, health and increased fitness – you don’t have to choose one form of cardio or the other. In fact, settling into dogmatic views about cardio will only limit you.

Traditional steady state cardio is pretty much self-explanatory and intuitive. But

interval training workout

many people are still confused about the best way to do interval training workout.

An Insanely Effective Way To Do an interval training workout

I’m not sure if there is a single best way to do intervals because there are so many choices and everyone is different in their goals, interests and personal preferences, so “best” is a relative thing. But let me give you one of my personal favorites that is breathtakingly effective:

Stair sprinting!

Your typical interval training workout in the gym might be on a stationary cycle, treadmill or stairclimber with short 30-60 second bursts of high speed and/or resistance, followed by a 60-120 second period of low intensity recovery. That’s usually a 1:1 or 1:2 work to recovery interval. You then rinse and repeat for the desired number of intervals, usually between 6 and 12.

I sometimes have access to a great set of university stadium steps with a straight shot right up – 52 steps.

Sprinting it takes about 10 seconds or so, walking down about 30 seconds. Those are short intervals with a 1:3 work to recovery interval ratio. That wasn’t by design, it just happens to be how long it takes to run up and walk down that particular flight of stairs, but co-incidentally, that fits within common recommendations for short sprint-style intervals.

I make sure I’m warmed up first, I usually start with a couple flights up at a slow jog then a run, before sprinting, usually 10-12 rounds.

Even if you jog/run instead of sprint, (or pause briefly at the bottom of the stairs), when you do the math, you can figure that this usually doesn’t take more than 10-12 minutes.

Why do I like stadium step sprinting for interval training workout?

  1. Stair sprinting is a time saver. Like other forms of interval training workout, it’s entirely possible to get as much if not more cardiovascular conditioning in 10-15 minutes than you’d get from a much longer session of slower cardio (depending on the intensity and effort levels).
  2. Stair sprinting is engaging. Many people get bored doing long slow to medium intensity cardio sessions. This is a great way to break up the monotony of traditional cardio workouts. Even though it’s tough, it’s actually kind of fun.
  3. Stair sprinting is incredible for leg development. As a bodybuilder, I like to look at all types of training not only in terms of conditioning, fat loss and health, but also whether they will add or detract from the physique. I find that brief but intense stair workouts are amazing for leg development – quads, hamstrings, glutes and even your calves. In fact, I started training on the stairs more than 20 years ago, and I always considered it as much if not more of a leg workout than anything else.
  4. Stair sprinting can be done outside. If you have access to stadium steps, as opposed to just a stairwell, you can enjoy the sun and fresh air.

How to integrate stair running into your interval training workout

If you’re an overachiever type, you might be tempted to do these sprint workouts in addition to your current strength training and cardio workload for a great interval training workout.

However, keep in mind that intensity and duration are inversely proportional. When you do high intensity cardio or all out sprints, you are condensing more work into less time. That means the best part is, you can do a brief but intense stair workout instead of one of your long cardio sessions rather than in addition to them. This is one of the reasons that a interval training workout is so effective.

Recommendation: Start with one session per week, then progress to two if you choose. You can do traditional cardio the other days of the week if you want or need additional calorie-burning. Lower intensity cardio in between training and interval training workout can also serve as active recovery.

Not everyone has access to a full flight of stadium steps, as you might find at a local University. Running flights of stairs in a high rise is another effective and no-cost way to train on stairs. Although you can’t truly sprint with twists and turns on each floor, you can jog/run.

No stairs? Hills will get the job done too and they may provide you with more flexibility in the length/duration of your interval training workout. I’ve found some big hills at just the right grade of incline that I can do 30-45 second runs up, with about 90-120 seconds walk down. Grassy hills are nice, when available, as they spare you some of the impact from running on the concrete.

Running Stairs is Tough but Effective Exercise

Sprinting up stairs is not for everyone doing an interval training workout. If you have a history of health problems or orthopedic issues, check with your doctor before doing any kind of high intensity training and of course, don’t train through the pain of injury. If you are significantly over, it may be a challenge just to walk up stairs, let alone run up, not to mention it might create undue stress on your joints. But as you get lighter and fitter, it’s a challenge you might slowly work toward.

Be sure to build up gradually and adjust the workout based on your current health and fitness level. You could start with as few as 4-6 rounds and build up from there. You can also start with jogging up the stairs, then progress to running, then move to sprints. Be sure you are fully prepared and warmed up before attempting all out sprints as sprinting when unprepared is a notorious source of hamstring pulls.

Stair Training Is Easier on your Body

Some coaches believe that running uphill is safer than sprinting flat surfaces. Writing for Staley Training.com, Coach Steven Morris says, “Another great reason to hill sprint: even an athlete with horrendous running form will be safe running hills. This is simply because the hill does NOT allow the athlete to over-stride nor does it allow them to reach top speed, both major factors in hamstring injuries.”

Stair sprinting is a perfect complement to the cardio portion in my Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program. If you’re healthy and already fit, try this advanced interval training workout and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

Train hard and expect success!

Tom Venuto, author of
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle

Founder & CEO of
Burn The Fat Inner Circle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is the author of the #1 best seller, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle: Fat Burning Secrets of the World’s Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder and fat loss expert who achieved an astonishing 3.7% body fat level without drugs or supplements and he totally supports a interval training workout.



Effective Interval Training Workout was originally published at LINK


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Using Mental Imagery

Tom Venuto, the famous bodybuilder who wrote a fantastic ebook on loss and muscle gain gave me this article on using mental imagery to post on the blog. I hope you enjoy it and visit his site to learn more. The word “visualization” or using mental imagery sometimes conjures up images of new age gurus […]

Tom Venuto, the famous bodybuilder who wrote a fantastic ebook on loss and muscle gain gave me this article on using mental imagery to post on the blog. I hope you enjoy it and visit his site to learn more.

The word “visualization” or using mental imagery sometimes conjures up images of new age gurus teaching esoteric techniques for personal enlightenment and “attracting” what you want into your life.

This causes many evidence-based types to scoff. However, piles of research has shown that using mental imagery (aka “visualization”) can improve performance. The latest study suggests that a certain type of mental imagery can also increase your strength

How to Use Mental Imagery

ability motivation atttitudeOlympic champions and professional athletes have used visualization and mental rehearsal techniques for decades. Not only is visualization one of the most widely accepted techniques in sports psychology, it’s supported by scientific research.

Nevertheless, many people remain skeptical of using mental imagery

Some people agree that mental rehearsal might enhance specific skills, like a golf swing or a basketball throw, but they question whether it could make you stronger, increase muscle growth or help you lose weight.

Study on Using Mental Imagery

A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that indeed, mental imagery can make you stronger. This study also begins to explain how mental imagery works on a neurological level…

Twenty two sports students, with a mean age of about 20, participated in the 6-week long experiment. Prior to the study, none had done mental imagery before. The students were divided into a control group and a mental rehearsal group. The goal was to see if mental imagery could increase bench press and leg press strength.

Each participant was given very specific instructions on how to perform the mental imagery. During the rest period between sets, they were to vividly imagine the exercise movement and the muscle contractions generated from each rep.

After 12 workout sessions, the mental imagery group had significantly increased their strength more than the control group, especially in the lower body (leg press).

The researchers concluded:

“The results provided evidence that mental imagery did contribute to improve strength of the leg muscles without any macroscopic structural change”

What they were saying is that the duration of the study wasn’t long enough that there was any major muscle size increase, so they credited the strength increase to non morphological adaptations.

Why Does Using Mental Imagery Work?

It’s well known in exercise science that gains in strength occur from changes not just in the muscle fibers and surrounding tissues, but in the nervous system.

That gives us clues about how mental imagery works.

Put simply, mental training techniques, (since they’re working with your brain/nervous system – as the name implies), can trigger some of the same neurological adaptations that occur from physical training.

Apparently, mental imagery can increase synchronization of motor units in muscles, having large corresponding cortical areas in the primary mortor cortex.

There are also psychological benefits, such as increased motivation, improved focus during the set, technique improvements, more confidence and less apprehension or anxiety. But clearly, there’s more to this than just “psyching up.”

How to Use Mental Imagery Now

Here’s something else interesting. The researchers even suggested that mental imagery could decrease strength loss when athletes are inactive due to injury.

This recent study is a practical one because it gives us one specific technique that you can apply to your next workout: vividly imagine a successful lift for the upcoming set using mental imagery while you’re resting between sets.

NOTE: it’s important to mentally see (visualize) the exercise and mentally “FEEL” the muscle contraction. This is multi-sensory – both visual and kinesthetic.

In some of Toms  previous articles, he talked about density training and superset training as excellent techniques for busy people because these methods reduce rest intervals, making the workout time efficient.

But the rest time between heavy sets doesn’t have to be wasted – now you know what to do with that time…

Instead of chatting with your gym buddies, or scoping out the attractive bods in the gym, you can be mentally rehearsing your next set, using mental imagery… and enjoying the strength increase that follows.

Most fat loss programs only focus on diet or physical training. If you want to learn more about how you can add “mental training” techniques to increase fat loss, muscle growth and muscular strength, then be sure to check out chapter one in Toms ebook, Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle.

Using Visual Imagery is important to your workouts and other parts of your life and I use them a lot, I hope you will now as well.



Using Mental Imagery was originally published at LINK


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High Intensity Interval Training

One of the greatest ways to exercise is to use a very quick and heavy workout with weights. This method is called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT and is one of the greatest ways to have a weight workout. The main advantages to doing this type of workout is that you keep your concentration […]

One of the greatest ways to exercise is to use a very quick and heavy workout with weights. This method is called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT and is one of the greatest ways to have a weight workout.

The main advantages to doing this type of workout is that you keep your concentration for a very short amount of time. You get to have a very punishing workout in 20 minutes. And finally, you get to burn a lot of calories and raise your metabolism.

If you have tried interval training before it is really great and exhausting. If you would like to be like a top athlete and do this style of interval training here are a few tips.

bench press

How To Do High Intensity Interval Training

1. Use machines instead of free weights. You do not want to waste any time putting weights on bars as your break between exercises should only be 20 -30 seconds.

2. Use slightly lighter weights as your muscles will tire very quickly. And you are going to be gulping for breath really really soon.

3. Don’t rush through the exercises, rush between the exercises. Remember you are trying to push yourself during your sets and not rest between so the best method is to really push the weights hard on each set and then move to the next muscle group for the next set.

4. Try to not hit the same muscle group in consecutive sets. For example if you do bench press it will tax your pecs as well as triceps and shoulders so your next set should work your biceps or some part of your legs.

Compound exercises (the ones that hit more than one muscle group) are going to be tough to do in a High Intensity Interval Training session but if you can strategically work it our ahead of time your workout will be much tougher and better for you.

There are many people including me that believe that higher intensity workouts are much better for you than long low intensity workouts.

Give this method a try occasionally or even more often than that and the change up will really help to push your gains (or losses) much quicker than just regular workouts will.

Why Do High Intensity Interval Training?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to both improve performance and to also lose quickly. HIIT is a different way of doing cardio with just a couple of rules to remember:

  • First, your running session should only be 15-30 minutes.
  • Secondly, sessions should have a 2:1 ratio in terms of time. so a session may be something as 60 seconds jog, 30 seconds sprint alternating

An example of a HIIT session may be as follows: Begin with a five minute warm up jog at about a medium intensity followed by a couple of minutes of stretching. Then start with a jog at about medium intensity for 60 seconds and then sprint hard for 30 to 60  seconds. Keep alternating this for 20 minutes or so and then at the end you can do some lower level jogging for 5 minutes as a cooldown.

This kind of workout is very difficult, especially the first few times that you try it and so it would be a good idea to only do it every second day and gauge how you are recovering from the workouts.

There have been a lot of studies on the high intensity interval training over the last few years and they seem to show that this is a very effective method for improving fitness as well as a nice change from regular running and workouts. One of the most important reasons that High intensity interval training works is because when you stress your body at the highest level you will burn a lot more fat then when running at a lower level jog.

Some proponents of HIIT say that to drop weight faster you would want to do this training on an empty stomach and I would have to agree with that. The idea is that since your body has no available calories to burn that it would replace muscle glycogen by burning fat. I would love to see more studies on this since it seems to make sense but there is not much evidence of it except for people saying that it seems to work.

Recently it has been shown that two weeks of HIIT can substantially improve insulin action in young healthy men. HIIT may therefore represent a viable method for prevention of type-2 diabetes.

The other side effect of this high intensity interval training method is that it will give you a much shorter workout.



High Intensity Interval Training was originally published at LINK


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Loss of a specific enzyme boosts fat metabolism and exercise endurance in mice

Sugars and fats are the primary fuels that power every cell, tissue and organ. For most cells, sugar is the energy source of choice, but when nutrients are scarce, such as during starvation or extreme exertion, cells will switch to breaking down fats instead. The mechanisms for how cells rewire their metabolism in response to […]

Sugars and fats are the primary fuels that power every cell, tissue and organ. For most cells, sugar is the energy source of choice, but when nutrients are scarce, such as during starvation or extreme exertion, cells will switch to breaking down fats instead.

The mechanisms for how cells rewire their metabolism in response to changes in resource availability are not yet fully understood, but new research reveals a surprising consequence when one such mechanism is turned off: an increased capacity for endurance exercise.

In a study published in the Aug. 4 issue of Cell Metabolism, Harvard Medical School researchers identified a critical role of the enzyme, prolyl hydroxylase 3 (PHD3), in sensing nutrient availability and regulating the ability of muscle cells to break down fats. When nutrients are abundant, PHD3 acts as a brake that inhibits unnecessary fat metabolism. This brake is released when fuel is low and more energy is needed, such as during exercise.

Remarkably, blocking PHD3 production in mice leads to dramatic improvements in certain measures of fitness, the research showed. Compared with their normal littermates, mice lacking the PHD3 enzyme ran 40 percent longer and 50 percent farther on treadmills and had higher VO2 max, a marker of aerobic endurance that measures the maximum oxygen uptake during exercise.

The findings shed light on a key mechanism for how cells metabolize fuels and offer clues toward a better understanding of muscle function and fitness, the authors said.

“Our results suggest that PHD3 inhibition in whole body or skeletal muscle is beneficial for fitness in terms of endurance exercise capacity, running time and running distance,” said senior study author Marcia Haigis, professor of cell biology in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS. “Understanding this pathway and how our cells metabolize energy and fuels potentially has broad applications in biology, ranging from cancer control to exercise physiology.”

However, further studies are needed to elucidate whether this pathway can be manipulated in humans to improve muscle function in disease settings, the authors said.

Haigis and colleagues set out to investigate the function of PHD3, an enzyme that they had found to play a role regulating fat metabolism in certain cancers in previous studies. Their work showed that, under normal conditions, PHD3 chemically modifies another enzyme, ACC2, which in turn prevents fatty acids from entering mitochondria to be broken down into energy.

In the current study, the researchers’ experiments revealed that PHD3 and another enzyme called AMPK simultaneously control the activity of ACC2 to regulate fat metabolism, depending on energy availability.

In isolated mouse cells grown in sugar-rich conditions, the team found that PHD3 chemically modifies ACC2 to inhibit fat metabolism. Under low-sugar conditions, however, AMPK activates and places a different, opposing chemical modification on ACC2, which represses PHD3 activity and allows fatty acids to enter the mitochondria to be broken down for energy.

These observations were confirmed in live mice that were fasted to induce energy-deficient conditions. In fasted mice, the PHD3-dependent chemical modification to ACC2 was significantly reduced in skeletal and heart muscle, compared to fed mice. By contrast, the AMPK-dependent modification to ACC2 increased.

Longer and further

Next, the researchers explored the consequences when PHD3 activity was inhibited, using genetically modified mice that do not express PHD3. Because PHD3 is most highly expressed in skeletal muscle cells and AMPK has previously been shown to increase energy expenditure and exercise tolerance, the team carried out a series of endurance exercise experiments.

“The question we asked was if we knock out PHD3,” Haigis said, “would that increase fat burning capacity and energy production and have a beneficial effect in skeletal muscle, which relies on energy for muscle function and exercise capacity?”

To investigate, the team trained young, PHD3-deficient mice to run on an inclined treadmill. They found that these mice ran significantly longer and further before reaching the point of exhaustion, compared to mice with normal PHD3. These PHD3-deficient mice also had higher oxygen consumption rates, as reflected by increased VO2 and VO2 max.

After the endurance exercise, the muscles of PHD3-deficient mice had increased rates of fat metabolism and an altered fatty acid composition and metabolic profile. The PHD3-dependent modification to ACC2 was nearly undetectable, but the AMPK-dependent modification increased, suggesting that changes to fat metabolism play a role in improving exercise capacity.

These observations held true in mice genetically modified to specifically prevent PHD3 production in skeletal muscle, demonstrating that PHD3 loss in muscle tissues is sufficient to boost exercise capacity, according to the authors.

“It was exciting to see this big, dramatic effect on exercise capacity, which could be recapitulated with a muscle-specific PHD3 knockout,” Haigis said. “The effect of PHD3 loss was very robust and reproducible.”

The research team also performed a series of molecular analyses to detail the precise molecular interactions that allow PHD3 to modify ACC2, as well as how its activity is repressed by AMPK.

The study results suggest a new potential approach for enhancing exercise performance by inhibiting PHD3. While the findings are intriguing, the authors note that further studies are needed to better understand precisely how blocking PHD3 causes a beneficial effect on exercise capacity.

In addition, Haigis and colleagues found in previous studies that in certain cancers, such as some forms of leukemia, mutated cells express significantly lower levels of PHD3 and consume fats to fuel aberrant growth and proliferation. Efforts to control this pathway as a potential strategy for treating such cancers may help inform research in other areas, such as muscle disorders.

It remains unclear whether there are any negative effects of PHD3 loss. To know whether PHD3 can be manipulated in humans — for performance enhancement in athletic activities or as a treatment for certain diseases — will require additional studies in a variety of contexts, the authors said.

It also remains unclear if PHD3 loss triggers other changes, such as weight loss, blood sugar and other metabolic markers, which are now being explored by the team.

“A better understanding of these processes and the mechanisms underlying PHD3 function could someday help unlock new applications in humans, such as novel strategies for treating muscle disorders,” Haigis said.

Additional authors on the study include Haejin Yoon, Jessica Spinelli, Elma Zaganjor, Samantha Wong, Natalie German, Elizabeth Randall, Afsah Dean, Allen Clermont, Joao Paulo, Daniel Garcia, Hao Li, Olivia Rombold, Nathalie Agar, Laurie Goodyear, Reuben Shaw, Steven Gygi and Johan Auwerx.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants R01CA213062, P30DK036836, R25 CA-89017 and P41 EB015898), Ludwig Center at Harvard Medical School, Glenn Foundation for Medical Research, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Fondation Suisse de Recherche sur les Maladies Musculaires.



Loss of a specific enzyme boosts fat metabolism and exercise endurance in mice was originally published at LINK


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