Tag Archives: resistance exercise

Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat

13 Jan

fats-and-meats[1]About 25 years ago, the American Heart Association (and lots of other health and wellness organizations) offered dietary guidelines highlighting a low-fat diet, in hopes of reducing our country’s alarming incidence of obesity and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease.  Turns out they had it wrong, as virtually all the follow-up research has failed to demonstrate a definitive link between dietary fat and obesity.  In fact, during that time the U.S. obesity rate has doubled and among children it has tripled!  Eating fat won’t make you fat, any more than eating money will make you rich.

The reality is, calories make you fat and most “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods actually have just as many calories as their full-fat versions, because of added sugar, chemicals, and low-quality (processed, refined) carbohydrates.  Although the concept has been very well marketed, “low-fat” and “fat-free” are often code for “loaded with sugar.”

The way our bodies work makes it much easier to store dietary carbohydrates as fat than either the protein or fat we eat.  When you consume carbs, they are quickly converted to glucose (our body’s main energy source).  The body provides the brain and muscles with the glucose they need, and stores the rest as fat for your long-term energy needs.  Strength training can increase your body’s muscle demand for glucose, thus reducing your body’s potential to store these calories as fat.  Additionally, research has shown the metabolic effect of resistance exercise to persist in your muscles for up to 48 hours, post-workout.  However, if your caloric intake significantly exceeds your metabolic outgo — over time — you will get fat regardless of the source of your calories.

A University of Alabama at Birmingham study found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent of total calories were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates.  That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.

Dietary fat is necessary for many bodily functions:

  • Fats are needed for cognitive function (the brain is 60 percent fat).
  • Fats protect and insulate nerves.
  • Fats keep the heart beating in a normal rhythm.
  • Fats keep the lungs from collapsing and cushion your internal organs.
  • Fats slow digestion.
  • Fats provide a source of (long-term) energy.
  • Fats help to satisfy the appetite for longer periods.
  • Fats enable the absorption of vitamins A,D, E, and K.

When thinking about dietary fat, limit consumption of foods high in saturated fats and include more foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and nut butters, dairy, and cold-water fish like salmon.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Improve Performance With Contrast Sets

21 Jan

hex-bar-girl[1]One of the goals of athletic performance training should be to increase athletes’ work capacity while improving (reducing) their recovery time. Contrast training is a highly effective method for improving many physical attributes involved in athletic performance, including strength, power, speed (acceleration) and agility — if implemented properly.  Contrast training involves performing a set of a heavy resistance exercise, immediately followed by a set of a biomechanically similar power exercise (for example, a barbell back squat, immediately followed by a squat jump).  Complex training is a similar approach, which involves performing 3-4 sets of heavy resistance training followed by 3-4 sets of the biomechanically similar power exercise.

The benefits of contrast training include:

  • Effective in producing results
  • Highly efficient
  • Allows for high work density
  • Time effective
  • Allows athletes to complete fewer training sessions in order to yield the same or greater results
  • May have implications for injury prevention

Here’s an example of a simple contrast model for athletes to build explosive power:

  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Barbell Back Squat — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Box Jump — 1 rep
  • Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 2-4 sets

Incorporate this superset into your workout for speed development:

  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep; rest 20 seconds
  • Hex Deadlift — 1 rep 65-80% 1RM + Hurdle Hop — 1 rep
  • Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 2-4 sets

And finally, a superset using two explosive/plyometric exercises:

  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep; rest 15-20 seconds
  • Squat Jump — 25-30% (body weight) load + Depth Jump — 1 rep
  • Rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat for a total of 1-3 sets

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Eating Fat Won’t Make You Fat

4 Feb

low-fat[1]About 25 years ago, the American Heart Association (and lots of other health and wellness organizations) offered dietary guidelines highlighting a low-fat diet, in hopes of reducing our country’s alarming incidence of obesity and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease.  Turns out they had it wrong, as virtually all the follow-up research has failed to demonstrate a definitive link between dietary fat and obesity.  In fact, during that time the U.S. obesity rate has doubled and, among children it has tripled!  Eating fat won’t make you fat, any more than eating money will make you rich.

The reality is, calories make you fat and most “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods actually have just as many calories as their full-fat versions, because of added sugar, chemicals, and low-quality (processed, refined) carbohydrates.  Although the concept has been very well marketed, “low-fat” and “fat-free” are often code for “loaded with sugar.”

The way our bodies work makes it much easier to store dietary carbohydrates as fat than either the protein or fat we eat.  When you consume carbs, they are quickly converted to glucose (our body’s main energy source).  The body provides the brain and muscles with the glucose they need, and stores the rest as fat for your long-term energy needs.  Strength training can increase your body’s muscle demand for glucose, thus reducing your body’s potential to store these calories as fat.  Additionally, research has shown the metabolic effect of resistance exercise to persist in your muscles for up to 48 hours, post-workout.  However, if your caloric intake significantly exceeds your metabolic outgo — over time — you will get fat regardless of the source of your calories.

A University of Alabama at Birmingham study found that meals that limited carbohydrates to 43 percent of total calories were more filling and had a milder effect on blood sugar than meals with 55 percent carbohydrates.  That means you’ll store less body fat and be less likely to eat more later.

Dietary fat is necessary for many bodily functions:

  • Fats are needed for cognitive function (the brain is 60 percent fat).
  • Fats protect and insulate nerves.
  • Fats keep the heart beating in a normal rhythm.
  • Fats keep the lungs from collapsing and cushion your internal organs.
  • Fats slow digestion.
  • Fats provide a source of (long-term) energy.
  • Fats help to satisfy the appetite for longer periods.
  • Fats enable the absorption of vitamins A,D, E, and K.

When thinking about dietary fat, limit consumption of foods high in saturated fats and include more foods with healthy, unsaturated fats, such as olive oil, nuts and nut butters, dairy, and cold-water fish like salmon.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Get Fit or Get Fat

19 Oct

Today, in the United States, more than 2/3 of adults are overweight and more than 1/3 are obese.  Research indicates that the overweight and obese (specifically those with excess fat weight) have a higher risk of chronic disease and premature death.  Increased exercise/physical activity is a recommended strategy for individuals seeking to effectively reduce and manage bodyweight.  In the past, exercise recommendations have focused on aerobic exercise, such as walking, biking, and swimming.  Research suggests that incorporating resistance exercise can also be beneficial to long-term weight management.

Benefits of Resistance Exercise

  • Promotes improvements in muscle mass and strength.
  • Improves flexibility and range of motion.
  • Improves cognitive function.
  • Improves energy level.
  • Decreases fat mass.
  • Increases lean body mass.
  • Increases resting metabolic rate.

“A weight management strategy that combines a reduced calorie diet, aerobic exercise, and resistance exercise may be the best combination for reducing unhealthy body fat while attenuating the losses in lean body mass and resting metabolic rate that commonly occur during periods of weight loss.” (David Sword, PT, DPT, CSCS; Strength and Conditioning Journal)

Want to get started on a resistance exercise program but don’t know where to begin?  Check with your doctor to ensure it’s okay, and enlist the help of a qualified, experienced Strength and Conditioning professional.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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