Sprinting or Jogging?

Marathon-Runner-or-Sprinter

If you’ve been doing long, slow cardio, such as jogging, cycling, or swimming, for awhile without losing much weight or becoming much leaner even though you keep increasing your workouts, there is a simple explanation: too much cardio actually makes you fat. Excessive cardio increases stress hormones and down regulates the hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, that preserve muscle. In additon, elevated stress hormones make you insulin resistant, which leads to overeating as well as to eating foods that contribute to insulin resistance, such as sugars and starches.

Despite their appearance, many joggers and cyclists are not really lean. They may be slender because they have little muscle mass, but their body fat percentages are often surprisingly high.. In contrast, sprinters are lean and muscular with low body fat percentages. They have high human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone levels–good for both females and males. Think back to the last track meet you saw. Who would you rather look like: the sprinters or the distance runners?

3 Good Benefits of Sprinting

1) Sprinting will reduce body fat and strengthen you far more than long, slow cardio because sprinting requires maximal recruitment of muscle. After about 8 seconds, sprinting sends acid signals to the muscles, which activates the fast twitch fibers. Fast-twitch fibers are thicker than slow twitch fibers, and it is fast twitch fibers that grow in size when activated by the right training.

2) Sprinting strengthens your cardiovascular system with brief bursts of high intensity followed by long periods of recovery. You strengthen your skeletal muscles by doing heavy, low-repetition sets with long recoveries. You should strengthen your heart the same way. Sprinting doesn’t cause the continuous stress on the heart that long, slow cardio does.

3) Sprint workouts are short and a lot more fun than long, boring cardio workouts.

Female-Sprinters

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Cardio Burns Muscle Myth

Cardio-Burns-Muscle-Myth

Sure, it’s possible for you to lose muscle from doing too much cardio, but it’s highly unlikely. Shying away from cardio completely because you think you’ll lose muscle is a huge mistake. Only excessive amounts of cardio would cause you to lose muscle because over-training tips the scale towards the catabolic side. It’s difficult to generalize and pinpoint one specific amount as too much, but I think it’s safe to assume that just about anyone could do up to 45 -60 minutes of cardio a day, 6 to 7 days a week without losing any muscle – as long as the proper nutritional support is provided.

Losing muscle has more to do with inadequate diet than with excessive aerobics. If you suspect you are losing muscle there are four likely causes:

1. You are not eating enough calories to support muscle growth- This is the most common cause of muscle loss. When your calories are too low, your body goes into “starvation mode.” Your metabolism slows down and your body actually burns muscle tissue to conserve energy. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, requiring a great deal of caloric energy just to maintain it. That’s why your body will shed muscle if it thinks you are starving.

2. You are not training with weights- It is a common misconception that if you want to lose weight, you should start with cardio only and add the weights later – another big mistake! It is the weight training that keeps you from losing muscle while you are dieting.

You are much more likely to lose muscle from not eating enough than you are from doing too much cardio. All too often, people are afraid to eat a lot and do a lot of cardio at the same time. It doesn’t seem to make sense. Logically, it seems like the two would cancel each other out – but the opposite is true. Many people believe they must “starve” the fat by drastically lowering calories. Unfortunately, this approach can cause you to lose muscle along with the fat. The only way to maintain your lean mass while losing fat is to feed the muscles with plenty of nutritious calories and at the same time,burn the fat off with cardio.

3. You are not eating enough protein- Protein is the only nutrient that is actually used to build muscle. To stay anabolic you must eat five to six protein containing meals. Each meal should be spaced out approximately three hours apart. Research has proven that if you are physically active, you need a minimum of .8 grams to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.

4. Your carbohydrates are too low- Low carb diets are often used for fat loss, but it is a mistake to cut your carbs too drastically. Carbohydrates are protein-sparing , so even if you are eating large amounts of protein, you can still lose muscle if you your carbs are too low.




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Improving Your Beep Test Score

Beep-Test

Beep Test Summary

The beep test is a test of fitness, and is used as a measure of your aerobic capacity. It is not something that you would normally train for, as you would usually be doing the training for your specific sport and using the test to determine if you have reached your training goals.

However, the test is also commonly used as an important selection criteria for some sporting teams or jobs. Therefore many people need to train specifically for the test in order to reach a desired score.

Ideally, the test should be a true representation of your aerobic fitness. However, due to the nature of the test, there may be inaccuracies and you may not be reaching the level you have the potential to. I see that there are three main areas that can be addressed to maximize your beep test score: mental toughness, pacing strategies and physical conditioning. Depending on what level you are at, one or more of these can be used to help you achieve your potential in this test.

If you follow all of the following suggestions, you should at least reach your potential in the test, based on your current fitness level.

Do Physical Training

The beep test is a measure of your aerobic fitness. If you really want to significantly improve your score in the test, you need to do some aerobic type training. You cannot avoid it, you will have to do some hard work. There’s elsewhere more details about training for the beep test.

If you don’t want to work hard, and/or you don’t have the time to make significant changes to your fitness, here are some other methods to help maximize your beep test score.

Prepare Well

You should be physically ready to perform the test. You should have recovered with at least 24 hours since the last heavy training session,and be free from injury or illness. Make sure you hydrate well beforehand, and have a light meal 1-2 hours before the test. You should also feel comfortable, by wearing loose clothing and by having firm fitting footwear with a good grip. You should also perform a light warm-up before the test.

Be Mentally Tough

The beep test can be a mentally tough test for some, and some good improvements can often be made, without any change in your base fitness, by a more positive state of mind. Pushing through the pain barrier may help you reach a higher level.

Use Sound Technique

Using an efficient turning technique you will minimize any excess energy wasted during the turning phase. As you come in to the turn, time it so that only one foot just touches over the line, and turn sharply, not following a wide arc which will mean more distance traveled. You should drop your hips slightly as you turn, and push off strongly for the first few strides to get up to pace. When you get near the end of a level, try to be on time with the beep, and step up your pace straight away. Run efficiently to conserve energy – run with your shoulders relaxed and breath deeply and smoothly.

Use Pacing Strategies

Also without any change in aerobic fitness, you may be able to improve your score by pacing yourself so that energy is not wasted from end to end. Try and stay relaxed, quickly getting up to the required pace. Running at a consistent pace will be more efficient.

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Doing Cardio Training On An Empty Stomach Myth

Emptystomach-cardio

People have the misconception that by doing so, you automatically start burning fatty tissue.

Solution: Cited in the book The Men’s Health Guide to Peak Conditioning (Rodale Press, 1997), Ellen Coleman, R.D., nutrition consultant with The Sport Clinic in Riverside, California, has this to say about fasting before a workout: “You don’t have to starve yourself, but it’s wise to avoid eating 45 minutes to an hour before exercising. Even carbohydrates take at least an hour to digest. Fats take even longer: two to four hours. When your body diverts energy to digestion, it’s robbing muscles of power and making your workout less effective.”

The bottom line? Don’t starve yourself before a workout and, of equal importance, make sure you are properly hydrated. Training on an empty stomach or with minimal fluids is just like trying to drive a car from point A to point B with no gas. You won’t get very far into your training without any “fuel in your tank” after fasting for 8 hours or more; especially if you want to burn fat with a 20-minute high-intensity workout.

Don’t make the same mistakes professionals and beginners alike have made.

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Doing Moderate-Intensity Cardio For One Hour Is The Best Way To Burn Fat Myth

Cardio-for-one-hour

Many people still believe that since you burn more fat calories during a moderate-intensity session, this is the best way to burn body fat. While it is true that working at a moderate heart rate will make your body burn more calories from fat, the more important thing to look at is the total number of calories you burn.

When you perform high-intensity interval workouts, you burn more calories per minute than when you work out at a lower intensity. Granted, you may not be able to last as long, but the number of calories you burn during both sessions is actually quite similar. But the advantage of interval training is that it causes your body to burn a significant amount of calories after you have finished your workout. This means that you will continue burning calories at a higher rate for numerous hours afterward, thus causing the total number of calories burned throughout the day to be higher, translating into a greater fat loss.

High-intensity interval training also tends to help preserve muscle tissue, whereas long moderate-intensity workouts can become catabolic in nature (breaking down muscle).

However, an important point to keep in mind is that you cannot perform high-intensity cardio every day; either alternate high- and moderate-intensity sessions or space out your high-intensity workouts within the week. If you do wish to perform some moderate-intensity sessions, they should last at least 20 minutes so that your body can get into its fat stores; for the first 20 minutes or so, you will most likely just be burning carbohydrates that you have consumed in recent hours. For your intense workouts, you can see benefits — both from a fat-burning and a health benefit standpoint — from doing short 6- to 10-minute workouts.

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