How are you approaching your workouts? Are you doing “a little of this and a little of that”, or are you doing targeted workouts you know will help you reach your fitness goals? Are you taking into account your metabolic pathways and your body’s methods of producing energy? Just going into your workout haphazard won’t lead to long-term success, but you need to be sure you’re doing it right. Below are the types of exercise you should definitely be doing if you want to see real, quantifiable results in terms of fitness, weight loss, and improved overall health:
Sprints encourage your body to turn creatine phosphate into ATP energy, which is used up very quickly when you need a sudden burst of energy for a few seconds of extreme exercise. Sprint training pushes your body to not only produce more of this ATP energy, but also to store more creatine phosphate inside your body. Thus, next time you need a lot of energy for a few seconds of prolonged burst, you will have more creatine phosphate available for your body to use. You’ll have more explosive power, which translates into better and higher jumps, faster bursts of sprinting, and harder throws.
Nothing beats strength training when it comes to burning glycogen and turning stores fats into muscles! Strength training recruits the slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers, training your body to store more of the energy needed for the lifting and moving of heavy objects. It’s not the sudden burst like you’d get with sprint training, nor is it the sustained energy required for endurance training. Instead, it’s shorter term but requires the lifting of heavier objects. You’ll find that strength training—fewer reps with higher weight—leads to serious muscle growth, which in turn can facilitate fat loss and weight loss.
Longer Interval Training
Instead of switching between short intervals (15 to 30 seconds long), make your intervals last more like 60 to 90 seconds of prolonged high-intensity exercise. This will keep you in the glycolytic pathway, the metabolic pathway that breaks down glycogen from carbs and turns them into ATP energy. During longer intervals, your body becomes much more effective at using carbs for energy, and your energy will be available for the high-intensity intervals. But that’s not all! You’ll find that training with longer intervals will delay your body’s production of lactic acid, slowing down the muscle burning sensation you get when you train hard.
Your body needs that sort of training in order to turn fat into energy that can be burned. This sort of fat-burning is only possible over extended periods of time—after 10 minutes of sustained light cardio, that’s when your fat burning kicks into high gear. While it’s not ideal for muscle-building, it is an important part of your overall fitness and will play an important role in eliminating body fats. Mix in at least 2 cardio sessions per week to see real results.
When you lift less weight but sustain the exercise for longer periods of time, you train your body to turn stored fat into ATP energy. Unlike the blood sugar energy stored in your bloodstream, stored body fat can produce a lot of energy and sustain the production for much longer. However, your muscles also need to adapt to the demands placed on them by endurance training. Performing sets of 20 to 25 reps will go a long way toward giving your muscles the long-term stamina required for sports and other daily activities.