Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Walkman versus iPod

Do you remember when you were out on the road and needed to make a phone call ... you actually had to stop at a gas station and hope you could find a quarter? 

What about when you booted up your first computer that ran on windows, you had to type in WIN/ (and hit enter) at the DOS prompt?

(Maybe you don't remember ... and I'm just getting old.  :)

Or you'd actually have to drop off your 110 or 35mm film at PhotoBug in order to get your 12 or 20 pictures back 3 days later?  

And if you wanted to listen to your favorite music, you needed make sure your 9 volt batter was fresh in your Sony Walkman Auto-reverse cassette player with the BIG yellow wrap around your head earphones (actually called headphones back in the day).

For some of us this was a fun trip down memory lane. 

But for those that are still working out like it's the 1980's or 90's (or even the 2000's) ... it's time to leave that old school approach in the past.

Just like payphones, gone are the days of slow cardio and starvation for weight loss.  

Using traditional strength training machines today is like snapping a photo with a Kodak 110 camera - very slow, and very poor results at best.

Welcome to 2012.

Now, exercise is exercise.  I'm VERY happy when people move their bodies.  You can still listen to some GREAT old school music on the Walkman ... but it's just not as current, as functional, and as effective as the iPod.

For example, the leg extension machine isolates the quadriceps mucle ONLY.  And it's done in a seated position.  Nowhere in life to do actually do that movement (except for a gym, or sometimes in rehab).  It's a very low return movement.

The Squat, on the other hand IS highly functional, we squat every day in life.  The squat uses the quadriceps, the glutes, the hamstrings AND the core to perform.  And it elevates the heart rate.  It's a much more effective movement and gives us a high return on our exercise time investment.

Then when we add a squat and an overhead press together ... now we're REALLY taking it up a notch.  Lots of muscle, and even MORE heart rate elevation.

And we can go even further by adding the Squat/Press to pushups ... and then burpees, ... back to back to back to get the BIGGEST BANG for our EXERCISE BUCK!  That's what we call Metabolic Training, much like anticipated iPhone 5 - it comes with all the bells and whistles and the latest technology.

Here's one of the KEY reasons why Metabolic Training is so important ...

As we use multiple functional movements (squats, lunges, single leg exercises, sprints, etc) the body continues to require oxygen at a higher rate than before the exercise session began.

And when we sustain oxygen consumption for a period of time, once the workout is finished, we then experience excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) ...  or the different events that occur as the body restores itself to homeostasis, (or works to get back into balance).

During EPOC the body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise state, and thus is consuming oxygen at an elevated rate. This means that energy (calories) is being expended at an elevated rate.

The following occurs during this process:

1) Replenishment of Energy Resources:  I'll spare you the boring science, but the phosphagen system, lactate, and muscle glycogen (a stored form of glucose) all needs to be restored to pre-workout levels. 

2) Re-oxygenation of Blood and Restoration of Circulatory Hormones:  During exercise metabolism, large amounts of oxygen are used to break down food substrates for energy. Therefore, the body continues to expend energy after exercise to re-oxygenate the blood. In addition, in the postexercise period, the body restores the levels of circulatory hormones, which increased during exercise, to normal.

3) Decrease in Body Temperature: As energy is liberated from the exercising muscle tissues of the body, heat is produced. Thus, during EPOC, the body must expend energy (calories) to return to the normal core body temperature.

4) Return to Normal Ventilation and Heart Rate: Energy expenditure is greatly elevated as the body returns to a normal breathing rate. Heart rate is also returning to a pre-exercise rate.

Because the body continues to expend energy after exercise to resore the body back to balance, EPOC plays a key role in calorie expenditure, and body fat reduction. 

The evidence suggests that high-intensity strength training and high intensity cardiovascular intervals have a significantly HIGHER effect on EPOC than lower intensity strength training and steady state cardio.  In a nutshell, the more intense you work, the more calories you burn AFTER the workout.  And this can last for 12 - 24 hours AFTER the workout is finished. 

Essentially high-intensity exercise disturbs the body's homeostasis to a MUCH greater degree than low to moderate training.

The Bottom Line: We know so much more today about the most effective protocol to get fit and healthy, and to develop a lean body.  The more intensity that we bring to a workout, the more fit we become, and the more calories we can burn, up to a point.  I say, "up to a point" because there's always a balance.  If we were to go "all-out" every day, eventually the body cannot restore itself to balance ... and we stay in the fatigued state, and then we see negative returns. 

The Take Home:  Workout at your personal best, while listening to your body.  On days that you feel very sluggish, and the workout doesn't feel like it's energizing you, dial it back to a moderate or low intensity.  Lower intensity days (in this case) are just what the body needs to rebound and get stronger!

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

HealthStyle Fitness, Inc. | 4325 Red Bank Rd Cincinnati, OH 45227 | 513-407-4665, x-105 |