I have long been an advocate of the Conjugated Method of training during my time in elite sport and it is from this basis that I recommend exercise for fat loss. The Conjugate Method is a form of periodisation that incorporates maximal effort strength, dynamic strength and work capacity training throughout the training cycle and sometimes in the same training sessions.
In order to maximise fat loss from exercise you must ensure that you are using exercise to firstly burn energy but also increase mitochondrial efficiency, increase muscle mass and to produce a subsequent hormonal cascade that is conductive to fat loss.
One of the most time efficient ways of getting benefits from you exercise is using high intensity interval training (HIIT). Research has shown that HIIT enhances the metabolic machinery in muscle cells that promotes fat-burning and blunts fat production. A Laval University study discovered that the HIIT subjects’ muscle fibers had significantly higher markers for fat oxidation (fat-burning) than those in a steady-state exercise group.
And a study published in a 2007 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology reported that young females who performed seven HIIT workouts over a two-week period experienced a 30% increase in both fat oxidation and levels of muscle enzymes that enhance fat oxidation. Moreover, researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim) reported that subjects with metabolic syndrome – a combination of medical disorders that increases one’s risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes – who followed a 16-week HIIT program had a 100% greater decrease in the fat-producing enzyme fatty acid synthase compared to subjects who followed a program of continuous moderate-intensity exercise.
Although the exact mechanisms of how high-intensity cardio trumps steady-state cardio aren’t fully understood yet, scientists have isolated quite a few of the factors:
– Post-exercise appetite suppression.
– Increased resting metabolic rate for upwards of 24 hours after exercise.
– Improved insulin sensitivity in the muscles.
– Higher levels of fat oxidation in the muscles.
– Significant spikes in growth hormone levels (which aid in fat loss) and catecholamine levels (chemicals your body produces to directly induce fat mobilization).
Remember though HIIT is obviously very intense and if you have not exercised for a while build up your exercise tolerance before you start smashing out the intervals. And for HIIT to work so MUST you to the point of 100% exhaustion.
My favourite session is randomised or instinctive training where I mix HIIT/resistance training and aerobic training in one session. And in my new upcoming book which will be published December 2014 I give examples of a number of these workouts which have had a great effect on dropping my body fat%.
But, what I do before training is equally important as the training session. For example, training after you have consumed large amounts of carbohydrates will just result in you burning all of the stored glycogen that you have in your system. But, while training on an empty stomach can mean that you are tapping into those fat stores for fuel, you also start to use your muscle protein.
So, what’s the answer?
Before training, I take 1-2 scoops of Amino Work Capacity which contains branch-chain amino acids to help reduce muscle protein breakdown and 1-2 scoops of Cardio Fuel which fuel the mitochonria and speed up ATP regeneration. Mitochondria are known as the powerhouses of the cell. They are organelles that act like a digestive system that takes in nutrients, breaks them down, and creates energy for the cell. So, the more of these you have and the more efficient they are, the more energy you can burn at any given time.
CoQ10, L-carnitine, D-ribose, and magnesium (in Cardio Fuel), individually and collectively help increase energy, or ATP, production in your body by supporting mitochondria within cells. D – Ribose helps fill the body’s energy tank while L-Carnitine and CoQ10 help the body convert fuel to energy. Magnesium is a vital mineral used by the enzymes that make energy synthesis and recycling possible.
If you are taking any prescribed medication or have any medical conditions ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist BEFORE taking vitamins or supplements. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. If pregnant or lactating, ALWAYS consult your doctor before use. Or if you have any queries about any supplement ALWAYS consult a QUALIFIED medical professional.