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This question is one that many people ask when trying to implement a strategic approach to their new found fitness lifestyle.  Some may not ask this question and just assume they know what to do, while others have been misinformed by a peer or a heap of misinformation in some strength and fitness magazine.  Consider this the next time you plan to put your program together. 

If your goal is bodyfat reduction, then we recommend that you do your aerobic work directly after your resistance training at less than 60% of your VO2 max. If you are doing cardiovascular work on your off days, then we recommend that you train at 75% to 85% of your VO2 max for the first 30 minutes and drop the intensity the remaining 20 to 30 minutes to less than 65% of your VO2 max.  Warming up for five minutes prior to resistance training while beneficial is not considered cardiovascular work. Warming up for five minutes is necessary because, during exercise, blood flow patterns change. Through the action of the sympathetic nervous system, blood is redirected away from areas where it is not essential to those areas that are active during exercise. Only 15 to 20% of resting cardiac output go to muscle, but during exhaustive exercise, the muscles receive 80 to 85% of the cardiac output. This shift is accomplished by reducing blood flow to the kidneys, liver, stomach and intestines. The warm-up allows for this transition to occur.

Keep in mind that the major factor that determines the role of fat as a substrate during exercise is its availability to the muscle cell. In order to be metabolized, bodyfat (triglycerides) must be degraded into three molecules of free fatty acids and one molecule of glycerol. This splitting allows the free fatty acids to be converted to acetyl-CoA and enter the Krebs cycle. Hence, if fat is not available to the muscle cell then it can not be metabolized.

Fat can only be metabolized via Krebs cycle oxidation. It is essential to recognize that a reduction in Krebs cycle intermediates: whether it is the result of (1) low carbohydrate diets, (2) no carbohydrate diets, or (3) excessive prolonged aerobic sessions, resulting in a diminished rate of ATP production from fat metabolism. When carbohydrate stores are depleted in the body, the rate at which fat is metabolized is reduced. Therefore, carbohydrates are essential in the ability to metabolize fat.  It is only the free fatty acids that are metabolized via the Krebs cycle that are used in ATP production that go toward reducing bodyfat levels.

Therefore, when designing an exercise program to reduce bodyfat stores, it is vital to consider both (1) the total rate of energy expenditure and (2) the percentage of energy that is derived from fat metabolism. You must optimize the availability of fat to the muscle cells through selection of appropriate intensity and duration of exercise sessions. Since it takes approximately 20 minutes for lipolysis (fat burning) to occur, the session should exceed 20 minutes in duration for fat to be made available to muscle cells. At approximately 70% of VO2 max the availability of fat to the muscle cells diminish due to an increase in lactate production, which inhibits fat metabolism. Although engaging in activity at 20% of VO2 max will burn 60% of calories from fat as compared to working at 50% of VO2 max which would derive 40% of energy from fat, the total rate of energy expenditure is 2.5 times greater at 50% VO2 max. The absolute amount of fat metabolized is 33% higher during exercise at 50% of VO2 max. The ideal rate of work would be at 50% of VO2 max for duration of 60 minutes. Unfortunately, this physiological actuality has led many individuals to mistakenly believe that because the body utilizes a greater percentage of fat as fuel during aerobic exercise at a relatively low level of intensity, such exercise is more effective for fat loss than high intensity exercise. These individuals ignore two very important facts. First, the absolute amount of fat calories burned during high intensity exercise tends to be equal to or greater than the number burned during low intensity exercise, even though the percentage of calories burned from fat is higher during low intensity exercise. Second, when you eat, you replenish both carbohydrates and fats. As soon as an excess of calories (from either fats or carbohydrates) exists, your body will begin to store them as fat. Once you eat after exercising (including those activities which burn more fat than carbohydrates), you will rapidly replenish any of your carbohydrate stores you may have used up. Once they are replenished, your body will begin to store the rest of your caloric intake as fat. The net result is that your body’s fat stores will be virtually unchanged—if at all. The critical point is that low-intensity aerobic exercise does not (by itself) cause you to alter your body’s overall energy balance. Keep in mind that you lose weight and body fat when you expend more calories than you consume, not because you burn fat (or anything else) when you exercise. By the same token, all other factors considered, the most positive feature of low-intensity aerobic exercise is that it is relatively well-tolerated (orthopedically) by most individuals.

Larger mitochondria in greater numbers, increased levels of aerobic enzymes, coupled with increased blood flow all boosts the fat burning capabilities of the muscle fibers. Aerobics can lead to more routes for blood to reach working muscles and more oxygen, which is needed for oxidation of nutrients within the mitochondria. The more massive a bodybuilder becomes the more routes in the form of blood vessels are needed to supply these working muscles. From fat burning to improved cardiovascular health to improved recovery abilities, aerobic work should be an integral part of all training programs.

Once you deplete glycogen in your body you will no longer maintain an adequate level needed for resistance training.  You simply do not have enough energy to tackle the intense demands of strength training.  In short, aerobic should succeed resistance training.

LIFT HARD!  TRAIN HARD!

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I genuinely enjoy posting and exposing these controversial myths.  Part of my reason for becoming a personal trainer was, I was tired of getting conflicting answers on how to train and how to diet.  In other words, I had to put down body-building magazines, stop watching workout shows on ESPN, stop listening to steroid junkies in the gym, and stop watching infomercials.  Needless to say, I have become extremely careful with what I read and who I listen to.  Anybody can argue anything and the best salesman is always going to gather the larger audience, however, beware of false “teachers”. 

Myth #3: The best indicators of a good workout are how tired you are after the workout and how sore you are the next day.

This is a myth my most dedicated athletes still have a tough time dismissing. Most hard-working individuals equate a good workout with being exhausted and sore. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had athletes say, “You didn’t even make me puke” after a workout. My response is usually, “I didn’t make you puke because I didn’t want to make you puke. Making you puke would be easy. Getting you stronger, faster and more flexible actually takes some work.”

Puking is one of the most catabolic things you can do to your body. If your goals are increased muscular strength and/or muscular hypertrophy, you should do everything possible not to puke during your training!

Fatigue is another popular indicator people use to rate the productivity of their workouts. Remember that the goal of your training session should dictate how you feel after your workout. For example, if you’re going to perform a plyometric workout with the goal of improving your vertical jump, you shouldn’t be exhausted after the workout.

Actually, a properly designed plyometric workout should stimulate your neuromuscular system and you should feel better than when you started the workout. On the other hand, it’s good to be exhausted after a tough practice that was designed to get you in “game shape” for your given sport.

Finally, I’ve never read any research that links post-exercise soreness to strength gains, hypertrophy gains or improved athletic performance. Who the hell wants to be sore anyway? Think of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) as an unfortunate side effect of training, not a goal of training.

Remember that it’s easy for a coach to make an athlete tired, but it takes a true professional to get an athlete stronger, faster, more flexible and better conditioned.

J. Defranco           #3 of Top Ten Traininig Myths

LIFT HARD!  TRAIN HARD! 

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EVIDENCE, CONSPIRACY, URGENCY, TRUTH, WHO KNOWS?  Is there any surprise these days that health care costs are at an all time high?  DECEIT, MISDIAGNOSIS, MANIPULATION, LIES, WHO KNOWS?  Has anyone ever questioned how or why when we need costs to be at an all time low, they are at an all time high?  TRUST, ILLUSION, SECURITY, VULNERABILITY, WHO KNOWS.  Are we all frustrated with how things are going in the medical field in regards to care, treatment, prescription costs?  DESTITUTE, WEAK, HUNGRY, FIEND, WHO KNOWS?  Are we all going to take care of ourselves by exercising, eating right, resting, avoiding stress, managing stress, encouraging others, or, are we going to depend on the institution to do it for us.  FREEDOM, ACCOMPLISHMENT, JOY, SUCCESS! 

LIFT HARD!  TRAIN HARD!

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It’s all good, I think!   

After going through the glycemic index with a friend of mine and explaining how it works, what foods to stay away from, then adding a post on the subject, today I get an email with an attachment.  Don’t get me wrong my friend wasn’t questioning anything we discussed, however, the article was extremely confusing and could have raised concern and credibility issues if she didn’t fully trust me.  Earlier in the day, I receive an adverse comment to my glycemic-index post, and what made that so bad was this person was missing the entire point of my article.  Here’s the comment.  Did I mention I got up at 5:30 this morning.  🙂

Imagine how many people have read this article and had questions regarding this misinformation.  The title itself will give a person a preconceived judgement of the entire article, not to mention, it is somewhat difficult to follow.  Articles like these are the reasons why people are confused and do not know who to trust in the weight-loss industry.  Understand how the media has misguided people into believing what they want you to believe.  It’s amazing, and it’s the reason why I will not post inaccurate information.  

This post is not about the glycemic index, just a quick tutorial in regards to processed foods. 

LIFT HARD!  TRAIN HARD!

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I have been inspired to write this post from a person I don’t even know who told me I was wrong in my thinking on myths.  There is no way I am wrong because if you notice at the bottom Joe D. is the author.  Occasionally I will use other sources to add other reliable information to my blog.  However, I always acknowledge where these articles come from.  I will start out by saying that not only is Joe D. correct, I am also correct or I would have never posted his myth. 

Let me first explain that in order to do any type of aerobic conditioning (plyometrics) you have to have some sort of muscle development.  For example, think of the time you or a person you know broke a leg and had a cast put on it.  What happens to the muscle?  The muscle begins to atrophy (loses muscle), right!  Depending on how long the cast was on or how long a person has gone without using this damaged limb, will determine what a person can or cannot do after the removal of this cast.  Let’s say the cast was on for 8-weeks.  Who does a doctor send you to after the removal of this cast?  A physical therapist right! (Which most people fail to follow through on).  Does a physical therapist have you go out and jog (plyometrics) a mile before they have you do resistance training to rebuild the muscle.  Of course not, even though the bone is healed (and in most cases stronger than before, due to the calcification around the break area), you must develop a level of strength to engage in any high impact plyometrics (running).  We have all seen the knees buckle on a baby that is learing to walk and using the coffee table to hold themselves up? 

Knee pain, joint pain, and lower leg muscle tension is a common concern for most runners, especially if you haven’t developed any level of strength (not in all cases).  Now, take into consideration that both legs have been inactive for a prolonged period of time and are weak in comparison to a person’s overall bodyweight.  Please consider, if you’re overweight or just beginning a fitness program, beware of any type of high impact plyometrics (especially running off/on concrete) before building a solid foundation of strength.   

 LIFT HARD!  TRAIN HARD!

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pizza.jpg  At least once every month I slack off for multiple days by not training, eating right, or participating in any type of physical activity.  There used to be a time when I would feel totally guilty with this type of behavior, almost to the point where I would become discouraged and turn a few days off, into a few weeks and even as long as a month.  Naturally, I would justify this behavior by saying things like;  “I needed the time off”, “rest is good”, “I’ll get back on track”.  I could do that in my twenties, but unfortunately, I am  no longer youthful, energetic, and as resilient as I once was. 

My downfall started on Saturday when I decided to play in a fundraiser Texas Holdem tournament, where I thought I would be a favorite to win a 96 player tournament.  Ha!  I lasted a total of 1 hour 20 minutes and found myself on the rail eating another piece of fried chicken.  I had already eaten 4 pieces, a slice of pizza, and drank almost 4 cans of coca-cola (ugh).  Oh, I forgot the jo-joes.  🙂  I didn’t mind the amount of food, because I figured I would train Sunday and everything would be fine.  Needless to say, I forgot it was Mothers Day and training was not an option.   

My point is, I still have these weekends where I engage in this type of inactivity, overeating, and ignoring healthy food choices.  What’s even more mind boggling is once I get started, I cannot stop.  I continue to make unhealthy food choices and I always find a way to justify my behavior.  On another note, today is a new day without distractions and justifications.  Nobody is perfect and as long as we all realize that, then even if we have a few down days we can still rebound if we stay positive and our focus remains on our goals.

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LIFT HARD!  TRAIN HARD!

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