Featured Exercise: Burpees

Featured Exercise: Burpees

Primary Muscles: You name it, it’s working.

Ok, I think the name says it all.  Don’t ask me the etymology of the word, but the image you’ve conjured up in your mind probably fits the bill.  If you’re not familiar with the Burpee, it is a great total body exercise that does not require any equipment, yet leaves you feeling like you’ve just completed a full gym workout.  There are a few variations for all fitness levels, which you will find in the video below.  Give this one a try, if you dare…

Workout of the Day: Circuit

Circuit:
Modified Pull-ups x 10
Push-ups x 20
Abdominal Crunches x 30
Squats x 40
Mountain Climbers x 50
(perform each exercise back to back with minimal rest, then rest for 90 sec and repeat 2-3 times)

This is a great full-body, circuit-style workout.  Get the heart-rate up and boost the metabolism with this workout that’s sure to leave you soaked and spent.  Enjoy!

J

Featured Exercise- Mountain Climbers

Featured Exercise: Mountain Climbers

Primary Muscles:  Abdominals, Hip Flexors, Cardiovascular System

Secondary Muscles:  Shoulders

The Mountain Climber is a great, multipurpose exercise.  In addition to stressing the abdominal muscles, it is an effective exercise for getting the heart rate elevated.  The abdominal muscles engage to drive the knees towards the chest, with the hip flexors assisting in the movement as well.  The shoulders act to stabilize the upper body during the active movement of the lower body.  Due to the vigorous nature of the exercise, the heart rate is also elevated, making it a great for anaerobic conditioning exercise as well.  Kick-start that body fat loss with this one!  Here’s how it goes:

Starting in a prone position on hands and feet with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, right foot back with leg extended and left knee drawn up to the chest, switch feet in the air, driving the right knee forward and driving the left foot back until you have completely switched foot positions. Repeat this movement at an elevated pace, engaging the abdominal muscles as you drive each knee towards the chest. Keep a regular breathing pattern as you perform the movement.  Perform the exercise for time or repetition number.  Start with 30 seconds without stopping or 50 total repetitions and work up from there.  Make sure that there is no discomfort in the shoulders or lower back.

This is how you create a strong, stable core and burn body fat at the same time.  Enjoy!

J

Cardio Is Not the Best Way to Burn Calories-Part 2

Question of the Week: What does your pride keep you from accomplishing?

Nugget of the Day:  Cardio is not the best way to burn calories- Part 2- Anaerobic exercise burns a higher total amount of fat calories and carbohydrate calories combined.

In my previous post on this topic, I told you that for lower intensity, longer duration activities, fat is the predominant energy source.  Proportionately more fats are burned versus carbohydrates while participating in exercise that keeps the heart rate at a lower level (50% of maximal effort or below).  It is this fact that led to the “aerobics” craze of the 80’s, and it has still been a driving force in the minds of exercisers when choosing an activity to help them reach their weight-loss goals.  Hence the seemingly endless rows of cardio machines at the gym.  And this all sounds good.  Why not?  I want to burn body fat, so naturally I should choose this style of activity, right

Here is where that logic falls short.  I’ll go back to my dinner plate analogy.  If you looked at the energy burned in an aerobic-style activity like a dinner plate, a typical cardio workout “plate” might hold 3 Twinkies, and 1 granola bar, with the Twinkies representing fat and the granola bar representing carbohydrates.  This 3 to 1 ratio of fats to carbohydrates is the most effective way for the body to provide the energy it needs to complete the task.  (Understand that protein is also used as an energy source, but for the sake of clarity I have left it out for now).  As the intensity of exercise goes up, the proportions present on the plate changes.  In a highly anaerobic (“without oxygen”) workout, it may be 3 granola bars and 1 Twinkies instead.  Carbohydrates do not require the presence of oxygen to be used as energy.

So why can a higher intensity, anaerobic exercise be more effective for body fat loss than aerobic exercise?  The important thing to understand is that while the proportions may have changed at a higher intensity, the anaerobic workout requires more overall plates.  You may have to have 3 plates worth of food to provide the energy necessary for a higher intensity workout.  9 granola bars and 3 Twinkies at the higher intensity workout, and only 1 granola bar and 3 Twinkies at the lower intensity workout.  You can see from this analogy that the same amount of fat is burned at both workout intensities.  However, with the increase carbohydrate usage comes increased calorie burning altogether.  The result?  Assuming the nutrition is dialed in, and without going into too much detail about the biochemistry of it all, the body uses fat stores post workout to replenish the energy lost during the workout and the overall body fat loss is higher than with the aerobic workout.  Understand that time plays a factor here.  5 minutes of high-intensity exercise is not going to necessarily negate an hour of low-intensity exercise.  But minute for minute, the bang for your buck is much higher.  The game you are trying to play is calories in versus calories out.  And any time you can maximize the calories out, like with a high intensity workout, the more effective body fat loss you will achieve.

J

(Note: Always consult your physician before engaging in a high-intensity exercise program)