In the first part of this little blog series Graeme Marsh, one of the few personal trainers who has spent over a decade working with desk bound workers in the City of London, talked about a few general recommendations for health and nutrition when working with the general population. It seemed only natural to expand this into the actual training aspect; what we do in the gym with our clients and why:
First up, to avoid attracting the barbed quills of keyboard-based trainers out there, we should qualify a few things about our typical clients. They are usually over 30, or more commonly over 40 and have more interest in their general health than they do achieving ‘X’ % body fat or ‘Y’ Kg Bench Press. Most of our clients, but not all, do very little ‘training’ on their own, but often enjoy recreational activity. These girls and guys are also really smart, and can smell the kind of bullshit the fitness industry likes to peddle from a mile off, so we keep it simple, direct, and straightforward. Our clients are the definition of the time poor professional, so the training and the advice we give is designed to work with their lives, not against it.
As with the previous post, I haven’t bothered to find references to back everything up. So-called ‘bro-science’ is very out of vogue these days and if you aren’t referencing ten papers per statement you now risk being ostracised for being ‘non-scientific’. I’m all for sports science, I even got an MSc in it 7 years ago, but as usual the pendulum has swung the other way and we are forgetting that training people in the real world is a long way from studying university students in a lab. I spent a lot of time when I was younger writing from a position where my academics outweighed my experience, but with over a decade in the city training clients now I feel confident that a combination of the two is a good place to come from. Besides, you won’t find many studies on how to train a 45 year old banker, so you’ll just have to trust me on some of this. However, that said, I’m reasonably confident most of these conclusions are borne out in what evidence there is.
- Most people do way more than they need to (particularly when starting out) and often way more than they should do when it comes to work sets. This is a double edged sword, not only does it seriously hinder recovery, it is inefficient, tiring, and usually done at the expense of other less-trendy fitness qualities (such as flexibility or endurance)
- There is too much focus on how much weight is lifted and not enough on how it is done. Unless you’re competing in a strength-based event, the actual number on the weights is merely a tool to measure progression. Effective muscle recruitment demands an attention to technique often missing in the average gym member.
- Much like nutrition, exercise is a lifelong habit, therefore long-term compliance to, and confidence in, your methods is of importance.
- It’s really fine to stretch people first. Really, it is. They aren’t about to leap up and try for a 1RM snatch or 30m sprint so if people have restricted range of movement in the hips and shoulders don’t expose their joints to risk by loading poor movements. I’ve been doing it for ages without seeing any negative effects, to the contrary I’ve seen good improvements in clients movements and self-reported feelings of improvement and progress through making flexibility a focus in those that need it. Combined with an appropriate warm up this way seems more effective at building better movements. Once these movements are well established, less work is needed to maintain them.
- The Tabata protocol is misunderstood, overused, and under delivers. If they aren’t on a wattbike hitting 170% of Vo2 max, then it isn’t ‘Tabata’ -Swings and Planks don’t cut it. Conventional interval training, adjusted to target the desired energy system, is though far more time efficient than steady state training both for fitness and body composition. This doesn’t mean that we should discourage people from doing any exercise that they actually enjoy and feel the benefits from. A bit of lower intensity CV work or recreational sport should be encouraged and most people are more likely to do this anyway.
- I prioritise high intensity weight training with female clients, but I do so because it is the thing they are least likely to do on their own due to the atmosphere in most weight rooms around the city.
- The fitter and stronger the client, the better the tolerance of both intensity and volume (and greater the need for adequate recovery when working at higher levels). You’d think this common sense but you still see people with a 4 week training history being pushed to max rep deadlifts……that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen
- Train their arms directly. I know, I know, chins train the arms – if you can do them for sets with good form. Most people can’t – so, if you want to get stronger and better looking guns start close grip pressing and barbell curling. How curls ever got relegated in favour of ‘functional’ training I’ll never know.
- Speed of movement is a really effective training variable when followed, but some people just don’t have the attention span. Slow and Fast works for them. Pick your battles.
- Timing rest periods is a fundamental of any competent trainer or trainee. If you aren’t timing your rest periods then you may as well use random weights and reps for every set too.
- Single Leg and Single Arm stuff can be great, but it doubles workout time and therefore reduces workout efficiency by 50%. I tend to use it sparingly and generally when people are starting out. So-called ‘unstable surface’ training is pointless and ineffective.
- Making someone ‘really sore’ should not be used as a reference for the quality of the training session (same goes for making someone throw up).
- The Good Morning has to be one of the most underrated exercises out there for people who spend ages at desks and on planes.
- Unless competing in a strength contest, your primary goal with resistance training is to recruit muscle effectively. Too often the movement and the load are given priority over the muscles used to achieve it. This is training for injury not injury prevention.
- It’s better to use exercises with short learning curves. You can often achieve the same results but with less time spent mastering technique than using more complex movements.
- Sure, full squats and deadlifts are great, but new clients have a whole training life ahead of them so don’t feel like they have to be doing those movements from week 1, especially as most people who’ve spent 20 years at a desk will lack the muscle recruitment and movement patterns to perform them in a way that doesn’t make my teeth hurt when watching. Set an effective foundation from the start so when they start with the big movements they can experience success long-term.
- Continually working to failure week-in, week-out is probably the fastest way to stall someone’s training. Time spent mastering reps at a level close to but below technical failure (or as Ian King coined the term, their ‘Technical Limit’) builds confidence and volume at higher loads. Cluster training is brilliant for this as is Progressive Wave Loading.
- Periodisation in it’s purest form is great for Olympians but a sledgehammer to crack a walnut for average city folks. Life itself provides a ton of natural variation. Have a basic idea of what qualities you want to focus on but be prepared to moderate/increase/reduce dependent on nutrition/rest/stress/mood.
- As far as periodisation goes, we will sometimes focus on one quality more than another, but rarely at the total expense of another. Generalised training outcomes (lose weight, tone up etc) don’t require overly specific means.
- Measures of health tend to mean more to us than measures of ‘gym fitness’ ie: body fat %, strength in certain lifts, or overall muscular size.
- When people say their ‘core is weak’ they really mean ‘my back is weak and my glutes need to start working for me’. I barely do any ‘abdominal’ work with people, but we do a ton of back strengthening, particularly before we start squatting or deadlifting heavy. See earlier point on the Good Morning.
- Most guys aren’t as obsessed about ‘getting big’ as the fitness industry itself is.
- If someone struggles to even get to sessions on time due to work and life commitments, don’t bother trying to get them taking supplements – it’s a waste of your time and their money.
- Yoga movements make brilliant warm ups, they’ve now become known as ‘dynamic warm ups’ in an American rebrand.
- Every now and then mix it up and reverse ‘conventional’ exercise order, it creates a stimulus for adaptation and prevents imbalances in training developing.
- High volume workouts tend to leave people too wiped out to go back to their desk, let alone come back and train two days later. Use volume sparingly as it will create a ‘recovery hole’ quicker than other programme variables. Doing large amounts of sets in one line of movement also requires balance with others and this can be difficult to achieve on 2-3 x week schedules. It doesn’t mean I never use it, but right place, right time is key.
- City workers tend to work late, sleep late and poorly, drink regularly, and have high stress loads, but by some sort of Darwinian career choice they seem to thrive on this far better than most. Experiment to find the right balance of volume and intensity for each client. Women tend to tolerate greater volumes but this may be because they generally tend to spend less time training near their max. Performance can ebb and flow, tweak routines accordingly, sacrifice volume before anything else (both in terms of resistance training and interval/energy system work).
- You don’t get to work in a highly paid city job where you can hire an expensive personal trainer twice a week without knowing a thing or two about determination, dedication, and motivation. But, they may not find exercising as fun or interesting as a PT does. It is the trainers job to bridge the gap and find a way to keep the client well-informed, accountable and motivated. Results are a good place to start, as is accurate empathy, honesty, and integrity. The ‘best’ way may not always be what the textbooks, training courses, or even people like me on the internet tell you it is. Find your own path.
Most of this is common sense but quite a bit of it seems to go in the opposite direction to what is currently popular within the fitness industry and media, so that’s about it before this turns into more of an essay than a blog post. . As the Philosopher John Locke said “I will not deny, but possibly it might be reduced to a narrower Compass than it is; and that some Parts of it might be contracted: The way it has been writ in, by Catches, and many long Intervals of Interruption, being apt to cause some Repetitions. But to confess the Truth, I am now too lazy, or too busy to make it shorter.”
You can read the first instalment of this series here: http://www.foundryfit.co.uk/blog/healthdreamsvsreality/
I recently went back to the city law firm where I gave my first ever talk here on nutrition and training, almost ten years ago and while the faces are different the questions tend to remain the same.
The public now seem more confused than ever, and it isn’t just them – the over-sciencing of nutrition by those seeking to become gatekeepers of information on this topic is making the waters more muddied instead of less. Meanwhile, the obesity bandwagon marches on, with British women on target to be fatter than American men by 2030.
As with most things Occams Razor can be applied to 99% of nutritional and weight loss cases. Very rarely is their problem down to some kind of spurious ‘imbalance’ or a deficiency in some sort of magical amino acid. In fact, all too often it is their psychology that we need to consider ahead of their physiology in all but the more extreme clinical cases involving specific and diagnosed pathology.
Looking at the folks I’ve worked with here in the City for over a decade now I’ve come to a few fairly solid conclusions. These have been borne out by practical experience rather than studying the books, although I’m reasonably confident that current research into the psychology of behaviour change will back most, if not all of them up.
- Compliance is everything. Consider this first. The likelihood of someone’s ability to change their behaviour to your recommendations is directly related to their perceived ability to do it. If it all sounds too much like hard work then it isn’t likely to happen at all. Personality type is rarely ever considered, but for example, entrepreneurial and very creative people struggle with organised routines requiring high levels of self control, whereas a highly organised lawyer or trader may seek that exact approach.
- Where and how people eat is as important as what and why. The first two tell you a lot about the reasons behind the latter two. Changing diet is about changing habits, eating in front of the TV and social eating are two environments prone to overindulgence, irrespective of actual hunger. Look at where and how people eat first.
- Sleep and recovery drive the ability to train and eat well. Without good sleep both our food and training suffer. It builds reliance on sugar and stimulants, reduces work capacity, impairs how we feel and function, and generally makes us feel crap. It is the first and easiest way to break people down by depriving them of sleep. If sleep is poor then fix it first and if prone to long days travelling then build in strategies to help deal with it.
- Temptation is the hardest thing to avoid and all too often clients are faced with the temptation to drink and eat when if left to their own devices they probably wouldn’t. Try to build in some solid plans of action for when these scenarios come up “If we go for drinks I”ll keep to non-alcoholic till I’ve eaten” or “I’lll ask for a vegetable option instead of chips or pasta”. Keep away from the unhealthy choices, if there is cake in the office, keep it in the kitchen rather than next to your desk where you are more likely to succumb to a piece (and if you are breaking a diet, you’ll probably go right off the rails and have several).
- ‘Dieting’ requires almost constant conscious thought and willpower to maintain, only those with the highest motivation and strictest level of self control are likely to stick to them. Those who fail tend to gain back more weight than they started with. Instead look at simple habits that over the course of a longer period of time (think in terms of months and years rather than weeks) that can be more beneficial. For example, trying to just give up bread consumption can often be achieved and often can bring great results. Once ‘not eating’ something becomes a habit it is much easier to maintain.
- Use simple and easy methods of tracking weight and body. No need for complex measurement systems, regularly measure weight and waistline and you won’t go far wrong. Unless you are preparing for a competition – and even then, how you look will be more important than any numbers on a chart. For my clients in the city I am more interested in their blood lipids, resting heart rate, and blood pressure as a guide to their health.
- Seek out habits that bring happiness. Dieting is miserable, just ask any pre-comp figure athlete or bodybuilder. Instead look for habits that make you happy and your capacity for improving your food and lifestyle will raise too. Dancing, walking the dog, playing sport, or simply taking a stroll with a friend – they may not burn the same calories as an hour of interval training but they bring many other far more wider ranging benefits (and are a lot more fun too!).
- Give yourself a break, you don’t have to eat cake every day but you’re far more likely to stick to your habits if you know that in a couple of days you are out with friends and able to relax and enjoy a piece of cake with them then. This has been proven time and again to be a more effective strategy than total abstinence. It is naive of any trainer working with the population that I do to think that they will live saintly in your absence. They will more likely just hide this information from you, especially if it is received with condescension and a telling-off. Work with what you have got, find solutions WITH the clients that they feel confident and happy to try and over the longer-term you’ll see a progressive improvement in health, fitness, and happiness.
We’ve been working with these approaches for years now at The Foundry, and while we may not specialise in putting people on stage in their swimwear, we do know how to ensure that our clients go to their medicals and achieve results that would look good for people half their age. As with anything, there are universal truths about training and nutrition, but how you communicate these will often need to be measured and delivered differently.
There is no one right-way, though there are many wrong ways. As a trainer, I look for every little win and I am sure to do my best to highlight it and focus on it with the intention of creating a habit. I am also realistic about the lifestyles my clients lead and believe that the first stage to achieving better health is an honest appraisal of current health and a desire to want to improve that, without that well-intended advice is too often wasted.
January 2013 – East London’s newest women’s rugby club has received financial sponsorship from The Royal Bank of Scotland as it looks to capitalise on increased interest in the sport from the local community.
The club, East London Women’s Rugby Club (EL WRFC), is based a stone’s throw from the Olympic Park in West Ham and was started in 2012. Run by Dave Thomas, chairman of The East London Woman’s Rugby Football Club, and Fiona Pocock, England international rugby star and now coach of the new women’s team, it shares its ground with its male counterpart, East London Rugby Club. The club has long been connected with promoting equality in sport and giving back to the community and was the base of the world’s first openly gay and bisexual friendly rugby team – The Kings Cross Steelers.
Interest in women’s rugby has gained momentum in recent years – thanks in no small part to the success of Pocock’s England team – and is one of the fastest growing participation sports in the country. The RFU, governing body of rugby union in England, says that more than 13,500 women and girls now play ruby regularly – an 87% increase since 20041. With woman’s rugby confirmed as an Olympic event for 2016, EL WRFC is hoping to help grow the game’s popularity among young women in the heart of London. With 25 members already on the books of the club, the money from RBS will be utilised to purchase new equipment and help promote the side as well as raise awareness of the game among the local community.
Fiona Pocock, head coach of EL WRFC, said “I obviously love the game of rugby and am privileged to play for my country. It’s a fantastic sport for a number of reasons. It helps with your health, your self-belief and your self-discipline as well as much, much more. I jumped at the chance to work with Dave and coach the girls here. It is something I’ve always wanted to do, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the funding from RBS. The main focus for us right now is to grow the club’s numbers, to give the chance to women from all walks of life, from right here in West Ham, to those working in The City. We feel it is important to make rugby accessible for as many women as we can. Local universities have already provided a number of new joiners and with the help from RBS and the local council, I’m proud to see the club and the game continuing to grow.”
Dave Thomas, director of health and fitness business The Foundry and a trustee of the rugby charity School of Hard Knocks, a social inclusion scheme that uses the game of rugby to teach participants crucial life lessons and core values, has seen first-hand how sport can help a community, he commented; “Having played rugby all my life, I’ve been part of many teams throughout the UK, and with my previous work with School of Hard Knocks, have seen how much good the game can do for a community. As soon as this opportunity arose, I got in touch with Fiona and with the financial help from RBS we began this journey to help women play a sport we believe is not just fun to play but teaches you valuable skills that can be utilised in everyday life. We are absolutely delighted that RBS have chosen to support our ambitions – without them none of it would be possible.”
The RBS involvement was spearheaded by Neil Rudge, Managing Director, London Client Coverage who said; “Rugby has always been a sport associated with the bank, given our sponsorship of the 6-nations, but we are always looking for ways to help local communities and rugby clubs are a fantastic way of doing so. The team at EL WRFC are the sort of passionate individuals who we love to work with. They share our goal of giving back to local people who may not have the opportunities available to others. Not only is the club situated in the centre of Olympic territory, but being so close to the City – a place where open sporting fields are so difficult to come across – it is a fantastic place for people from diverse walks of life to come together and participate in a healthy atmosphere. We are absolutely thrilled to be helping the women’s game in the area, to be working with the club and with Fiona, and we are excited about the club and the sport in general continuing to grow.”
Notes to editors:
- Stats taken from official website of the RFU http://cms.rfu.com/takingpart/choose_play/womenandgirls
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With New Year resolutions around the corner Foundry Director Dave Thomas looks at the preoccupation with constantly improving our physical shape and discusses whether this can be detrimental. We also share a wonderful client success story
The Rise of the Body Composition Expert
The current fixation in the personal training industry is with ‘body composition’ and it’s not hard to see why. Our quick fix culture wants immediate results, we are bombarded with carbon copy physiques in the media and as trainers we know before and after pictures are the shop window to our business. We are also an industry populated with bodybuilders and fitness models. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these groups as it takes unbelievable commitment and work to compete in these activities, however it also takes an obsessive preoccupation with the physical aesthetic. Very few clients will ever have the potential or opportunity to show this level of commitment.
At The Foundry we are sportspeople first and foremost. As such we often find our core values differ to others in the industry. Take a quick look at our testimonials and you’ll see international sports people, Olympic gold medallists, world champions and leading fitness professionals and coaches. You won’t see many celebrities or models. A cursory glance at social media will tell you this is an industry which spends half its time criticising other trainers’ physiques, whose members have topless profile pictures on their business profiles and which, worst of all, actively belittles the very people it’s supposed to help, all in the name of ego. If we treat our potential clients like this is it any wonder society is so dismissive of anyone who doesn’t confirm to a physical ideal? We then top this off as a collective by creating completely unrealistic expectations through the use of performance enhancing drugs and photo-shopped pictures.
The Foundry Philosophy
As I have said before, “Size is not a component of fitness”. Our job is not to judge our clients’ goals but it is also not a trainer’s job to project their/society’s physical ideals upon clients. We can help people change their shape to feel better about themselves, benefit their health, play with their children, improve their sporting performance and (I say this with no hyperbole) extend their life. But we should also recognise that being slightly overweight or unable to put on significant muscle mass is not prohibitive to these goals. In fact several studies have demonstrated that carrying some padding as we age is correlated with longer life and better health. I know I would much rather my clients were fitter and fatter than thin and unfit.
Take a look at our transformation pages and you’ll see we have many clients who have achieved quick and dramatic results. We don’t populate our website with these pictures (we have 100s we haven’t published yet) because they do not always explain the context. They are a strong visual sales tool which inevitably elicits an emotive response, however it’s not always realistic or ethical to recommend that this is what every client should aspire to. (We’ve often had to refer people to our affiliate psychologists before commencing training as it would be unethical to ignore the underlying reasons for wanting to change their body shape.) This is why we try to include such transformations as blog posts or with a write up explaining our clients’ motivations, whether just wanting to look good on the beach or training for a wedding, a photo shoot, an approaching sports event, rehabbing an injury or suffering from a serious illness. Our role as a coach very rarely finishes once these photos have been published.
Which is the perfect link to showcase the 2012 Foundry transformation of which I am most proud. I was very cautious about not exploiting this story to shout about our company but I felt it was a very powerful example with which to make a much wider point.
A Remarkable Story
Meet John. 4 years ago he was a young sporty individual with whom I had played rugby for many years. John was such a good athlete that in 2009 he ran the infamous 150 mile Marathon de Sables through the Sahara desert. In doing so John raised several thousand pounds for charity but also nearly became one of its victims. After completing the race he suddenly fell very sick with Guillain–Barré syndrome. This is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages their nerve cells. John ended up paralysed in ICU.
The first thing to highlight is the amazing treatment he received from the often maligned medical profession, in particular at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. I visited John and despite being his usual chipper self it was clearly a traumatic and difficult experience. He eventually made steady progress and with the support of his neurological physiotherapist and his family and friends he moved first to using a wheelchair, then crutches and finally ankle supports.
This is where we come in. I was very impressed with the tremendous progress he had made but at this point John was feeling a little down about hitting a plateau. He has permanent nerve damage in his lower legs which means he cannot dorsiflex his feet (lift them towards his shins). This means he is unlikely to ever be able to participate in many of the sports he used to. It would have been very easy to give up and settle at this stage but after lunch one day we made a plan to take his training to the next level…from rehabilitation to performance.
John initially started working with the brilliant team downstairs at The Foundry: Victory Health & Performance. Here he had regular sessions with rehab director Nell Mead and the sports therapy team who are absolutely essential to our clients’ success and are amongst the most principled therapists I know.
It’s always interesting deciding who clients should train with, however I realised Fiona Pocock, our resident England rugby international, not only had the patient personality for the job but also the requisite personal experience after rehabilitating herself from a career threatening 20 month injury.
Like many clients John also wanted to drop some weight, particularly as he’d been in great shape before his illness. Initially however there was the job of relearning individual muscle contractions so we all agreed body shape would not be a main goal. When I saw John’s first workout with Fiona in May, the primary work sets were gentle one leg knee bends using a squat rack for support. From there to now has been nothing short of astonishing.
With careful guidance and reassurance from Fee and Nell, John has not only made remarkable performance gains but also dropped several kilos of body fat. This incredible story conveniently saw him deadlifting over 50kg for reps in November, just before I decided to write this article. 3 years ago he was paralysed. I have been humbled by the hard work Fiona and Nell put in with John, the brilliant medical team who helped him initially and also his excellent commitment to continually refusing to accept his circumstances.
So how does this fit in with your New Year resolutions?
If you want to look like a fitness model in 12 weeks we can help you, as can the majority of excellent personal trainers out there, because despite what the industry tries to convince you with hormonal based supplement plans, renaming age-old workouts and pseudo-science aplenty, the truth is that the key to getting the kind of impressive transformations which training websites have is mostly down to choosing the right client: one who is prepared to follow some form of strict nutritional intervention and a challenging training regime and who can manage this commitment around their current lifestyle and circumstances. Not everyone can do this at every point of their lives and this is a reality which should be embraced.
However if you also want to achieve something truly remarkable, be it patiently spending a year gaining the flexibility to squat, (another article coming soon) running up the stairs without being out of breath, or deadlifting 50kg 6 months after you couldn’t bend your knees, and still drop a few lbs then please give us a call.
CHRISTMAS DISCOUNTS ON PERSONAL TRAINING, GYM MEMBERSHIP AND FITNESS PRODUCTS
To celebrate the festive season we’re going to be giving you the chance to grab some unbelievable offers for personal training, membership to Foundry:east, great fitness shop products and gift vouchers for your friends along with some of our favourite workouts and tips to beat the holiday indulgences.
All these great diScounts are available on our Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/PersonalTrainingLondon but we’ll be updating this blog post to include all our great Christmas offers.
“On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 33% off Fat Gripz from The Foundry”
Our first Foundry Christmas gift is a whopping £12 off a pair of Fat Gripz from Shop @ The Foundry. Fat Gripz give you the benefits of thick-bar training – at a fraction of the price. They instantly turn any bar, dumbbell or cable attachment into thick bars. To claim this offer please enter the discount code Sickswans2012 at checkout.
“”On the 2nd day of Christmas The Foundry gave to me a filter for my Bobble for free”
Buy any small or large Bobble and receive a free filter worth £6.99 from Shop @ The Foundry. Want the benefit of filtered water out and about but without the price tag and environmental impact of bottled water? The Bobble is a BPA free reusable water bottle which which filters tap water into better tasting healthy water at a fraction of the cost of bottled water. The perfect gift for yourself or someone else. To claim this offer please enter the discount code H2O at checkout.
There probably isn’t a personal training company or studio in London that hasn’t already written about interval training and cardiovascular training for fat loss. That drum has already been soundly beaten, although there is all too often a bit too much spurious information out there disguised as science that is distorting exercise prescription.
In this blog post Foundry Director Graeme Marsh looks at a recent study on interval training for fat loss in men and gives us his views on the topic.
So, it’s over to Graeme…
Here is an interesting little study from the Dean of research into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Stephen Boutcher and his colleagues from the University of New South Wales. Boutcher has produced some fairly convincing evidence over recent years that has shown the overall superiority of HIIT over the more conventional methods of ‘cardio for fat loss’ and its led to a vilification of steady state exercise within the industry. His latest paper, published in the Journal of Obesity this summer is unsurprisingly no different.
- Over 12 weeks subjects lost a total of 2kg of fat training 3 x week for 20 minutes per session (not including a 5 minute warm up and cool down). 8 second sprints were performed at 80-90% of maximum heart rate with a 12 second recovery bout in between.
- Reductions in body fat came from both fat under the skin and that around organs, showing a positive impact on cardiovascular disease risk factors. There was also a significant reduction in waist circumference.
- There was an increase in fat free mass over the course of the study and improvements in aerobic fitness alongside the reductions in fat mass.
- These results were achieved without any changes to dietary habits.
- Interval training is psychologically tougher. It requires a high level of motivation, despite the shorter duration, the intensity must be high for it to be effective.
- The leaner you are, the less effective this method seems to be for losing fat. This to me suggests that lean people may well already be adapted to this style of training. However, it’s benefits for stimulating muscle mass retention during dieting should not be ignored.
- Long duration cardio such as jogging or cycling for 40-60 minutes offers poor return for fat loss and may also stimulate appetite (although this seems to vary a lot between individuals). It is best used either for those who require it for specific endurance sports or used as recovery and/or recreation.
- Instead of simply ‘burning calories’ HIIT seems to work more through stimulating hormonal changes in the body that favour increased fat oxidation.
- Overall HIIT offers a more efficient solution to improving body composition, CV risk factors, and aerobic fitness than conventional steady state methods.