Health Column: Lose weight quick with this simple exercise tip
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Free Press Health Columnist
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If you are having a hard time losing weight or struggling to find time for a workout, then I’ve got an exercise tip that is sure to help. In as little as 22 minutes, three times per week, you can lose weight, lose body fat, increase muscle tone, increase energy and performance, and boost your sex drive while you’re at it!
It’s called High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is a series of quick intense efforts that will maximize the hormones that build muscle and burn fat. Not only is interval training effective, but this simple form of exercise will also save you hours and hours of time on the treadmill or bike.
A 2010 research study done in the cardiology division at Massachusetts General Hospital examined the effect of exercise on 200 different metabolites. They found that only 10 minutes of brisk exercise will increase 20 beneficial metabolites that work to burn fat and normalize blood sugar. They also found this effect lasted for several hours after exercise. And, they found that high-intensity exercise achieved these results in less time.
Researchers at Auburn University have shown that HIIT will increase growth hormone (GH). As the leader of “anti-aging” hormones, GH will help build muscle, burn fat, and stabilize blood sugar. All this leads to improved insulin sensitivity, which is one of the hallmarks of healthy metabolism and good weight control.
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Regular aerobic exercise, such as walking or running, is important for stamina and cardiovascular health. Regular strength training is necessary for strong quick muscles and bones. But neither will affect metabolism to the same degree as HIIT.
There are three major types of muscle fibers in the body; slow, fast, and super-fast. The slow fibers are red muscle, rich in oxygen and power-producing mitochondria. The slow fibers are in action during aerobic or high-repetition strength training and can go for hours before tiring.
The fast fibers are about five times faster than slow fibers. They, too, are red and can burn oxygen, but about half their energy comes from anaerobic metabolism in which no oxygen is required. These fast fibers are designed for quick activities and shorter amounts of time, such as sprinting and low-repetition strength training. With anaerobic fast fibers, the by-product — lactic acid — will build up and limit the ability to make more energy.
The super-fast fibers are all anaerobic and they are fast! Able to contract about 10 times faster than slow fibers, these babies are for maximum intensity sprinting. HIIT is the only type of exercise that will stimulate the super-fast fibers and produce the high-yield, hormone assisted, fat-busting results.
HIIT is broken down into warm up, workout, and cool-down phases. The warm up is three minutes, the work out is 16 minutes, and the cool down lasts three minutes. Just 22 minutes is all it takes. HIIT may be walking with spurts of walking fast or running. It may also be biking with varying intensity. It doesn’t matter what type of exercise it is, as long as you are getting to peak intensity during the workout phase.
During the workout phase of HIIT, it is critical to reach maximum effort. This is done every two minutes, with 30 seconds of peak intensity, then 90 seconds of recovery. In a 16-minute workout phase, this peak intensity cycle would repeat eight times. Each time the heart rate will zoom slightly higher into the working heart-rate range and stay there until after the cool-down period.
How hard is it? The peak intensity bursts need to be maximum effort. This means all out, as hard as you can go. After a few cycles, you should be sweating. After a single peak intensity burst, you should find it hard to talk due to labored breathing.
When starting HIIT, please be careful. Go at your own speed. Don’t try too hard during the first few weeks and injure yourself. If you have medical conditions such as heart disease, by all means do HIIT. But get your doctor, trainer or therapist involved to monitor your progress. Our office has a staff health coach available for private consultations, and the local hospitals have outstanding rehab departments to assist with exercise programs.
A few other fat-burning tips include watching what you eat after a workout and what time of day you work out. Research has shown that consuming too much sugar or fructose after a work out will negate the increase in growth hormone and obliterate the blood-sugar benefits. Watch out for the “energy” drinks that are soaked in high fructose corn syrup. Instead hydrate with plain water or specific recovery drinks.
Many studies show the benefits of post-workout intake of recovery drinks, which contain some carbohydrates, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Most of these have some (too much?) fructose and whey protein concentrate. My homemade recovery drink is 12 oz. of cold water, 10-20 grams of whey protein isolate, and a handful of frozen berries thrown into the blender.
Work out whenever it works for you! But, some research shows a quick workout in the morning, before breakfast, will produce the best fat-burning results. I notice that patients will usually get into a more consistent routine by working out in the morning as most of us are tired and ready to rest when we get home from work.
Don’t forget stretching, aerobic and strength training. They are all important for overall fitness. But for high-yield results in no time flat, get going on the 22-minute HIIT routine!
I guarantee you will feel better right away and see results in just a few months.
GJ Free Press health columnist Scott Rollins, M.D., is board certified with the American Board of Family Practice and the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. He specializes in bioidentical hormone replacement, thyroid and adrenal disorders, fibromyalgia and other complex medical conditions. He is founder and medical director of the Integrative Medicine Center of Western Colorado (www.imcwc.com) and Bellezza Laser Aesthetics (www.bellezzalaser.com). Call 970-245-6911 for appointments or more information.
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