Burn Fat and Build Muscle The Right Way
Setting Your Goals
First things first, you can’t start any workout routine and think that you will be
successful without a goal in mind. Just like you can’t build a new building without a
plan, the same rule applies when you’re building a new body. The idea of
getting into shape is a worthy goal but not specific.
Many people have had the experience of joining the gym in order to “get in
shape” only to discover that after a few weeks or months of being diligent with their workouts, they still haven’t achieved the results that they were looking for. And even worse…their bodies haven’t change much at all. And this can be extremely frustrating.
This is often due to the fact that many people only have a small idea of what
they are trying to achieve or how to go about doing it. Not through any fault of
their own, they’re just not experts in human physiology. So knowing how the
body works can help you figure out what your fitness goals are. But you must have a clear cut, defined goal. The best way to do this is to go get some magazines and cut out pictures of what kind of body you want. Write out your goals on a piece of paper and be very specific. The read them aloud three times a day. Also look at those pics when you do it. You will implant a subconscious seed in your mind that will grow very quickly and eventually start to come true.
Science and your body:
In order to get into shape, tone and more importantly lose fat, you should
have a basic understanding of muscle fiber. When you do any kind of
exercise you are using “voluntary” muscles. Voluntary muscle tissue is the
skeletal muscle that moves your body when stimulated by your intention (moving your hand to pick up a glass) or reaction (leg jerking when the doctor hits your knee with a reflex hammer). There are, of course, muscles that you don’t consciously think about using but which help you to stand, sit, walk, etc. Also your heart does not need you to think to work. However the muscles in your legs require stimulation from nerves which received signals from your brain when you decide you want to take a walk.
There are three type of fibers present in voluntary muscle: Fast twitch, medium/middle and slow twitch fibers.
1. Fast Twitch - This muscle tissue is responsible for explosive movements, and responds in demand to high intensity activities such as lifting weights. It is dense and hard, giving that muscular look. These are the fibers that make up the musculature of weight lifters, football players, and sprinters. The primary source of energy for these fibers is blood sugar stored in the muscle cells themselves, as well as circulating in the blood, and in the liver. This type of muscle fiber does not burn FAT as its primary source of fuel. Fast twitch fiber is the strength fiber, but its energy is of short duration and requires a rest period which is why a body builder will rest between sets.
2. Medium/Middle Twitch - Similar to the fast twitch fiber. It also responds to a demand for explosive “high intensity” activities. However it is capable of longer periods of activity and does not have quite the strength capacity of the fast twitch fibers. A boxer, a middle distance runner, and a basketball player would use more middle twitch fibers. These are movements that require explosive high-intensity activity but not of the quick forceful kind like lifting heavy weights. Like fast twitch fiber, middle-twitch is also fueled by readily available sugars and not by fat. Some of these people don’t look like they are in the best of shape despite doing this type of exercise. Not saying that aerobic classes are not good workouts, but you need to make sure that you are keeping your heart rate in the fat burning range. I will discuss shortly on how to do this.
3. Slow Twitch - These muscle fibers utilize fat in the conjunction of oxygen for its fuel. Slow twitch fibers can work for long periods of time. Long distance runners, cyclists, and those people whose physical activity requires long period of consistent activity rely on slow twitch fibers. Note: Think how thin these athletes actually are. This is because they are using their body fat as fuel, burning it during a process known as Krebs cycle. Through this cycle, the body metabolizes fat into energy. This cycle does not come into effect until you have done at least 5 minutes of rhythmic, low intensity activity. This creates a slow but steady demand for more energy. The body will then call on its fat stores and turns the fat into energy. So basically your goal is to use as much as the slow twitch fibers as possible, for as long as possible to increase the rate at which you burn fat.
What is the best way to start burning fat?
Paced walking, slow jogging and exercise classes that you can keep your
heart rate in the fat burning zone, when are doing certain types of exercise
classes you will find yourself out of breath, sweating and completely
exhausted. This may give you the feeling that you are accomplishing your fat
burning goal, but if you are over doing it then you are not utilizing your slow
twitch fibers. You are just burning sugar off; this is where keeping your heart
rate in the fat burning zone comes into effect. Now there are certain exercise programs like P90X, Insanity, and TRX which utilize all these fibers in smaller cycles during a workout session. These workouts, by far from what I have seen or tried, have the greatest effects on the body for burning fat.
How to find your FAT burning zone…
When it comes to finding your fat burning zone, you must first find your
target heart rate. You can figure this out by simply subtracting your age from
220. Example if your age is 34 subtract 34 from 220. 220-34=186, meaning
that 186 heartbeats per minute is your maximum heart rate. Now this isn’t the most accurate way of figuring our your maximum heart rate but it is pretty close and the simplest way of doing it.
In order to burn fat effectively you must keep your heart rate within a
specified target heart rate, which is a percentage of your maximum heart
rate. The optimal range for burning fat is between 55% and 65% of your maximum heart rate but ideally the closer you are to 65% the better. For someone that is extremely heavy or out of shape you should start at 50% of your maximum and work up to 65%. Just try raising it by 5% more each week until you reach 65%.
Does this mean that you don’t lift weights?
NO!!! Weight lifting and using bands to sculpt your body is a crucial part of
your success. Not only does weight-bearing exercises increase your muscle mass,
which in turn will help you burn more fat, but weight-bearing exercises will
strengthen your bones and help fight against aging. At the moment your
current focus is to decrease the amount of fat you are carrying on your body
and slowly add weight-bearing exercises into your exercise routine.
To learn more or to consult with Dr. Stringer, call 941.957.8288.