Why TWC-Ibiza will make you better, faster and strongerMarisa van Welzen
If I was to ask you which sportsmen are the most athletic, which type of athletes would you think of? Like most people you are likely to mention athletes such as marathon runners and triathletes/iron man competitors as they are generally regarded as the fittest people on the planet. They run forever, they cycle like no one else and swim for miles. But are they truly the fittest? Look at these two pictures:
The athlete above is the world’s fastest marathon runner ever, Patrick Musyoki (he runs 42 km in just over 2 hours, about half the time it would take you if you were to train like a beast), and below is the world’s fastest 100 meter sprinter Usain Bolt (like a lightning bolt, he runs 100 meters in well under 10 seconds). So they both run and they both run fast. In most people’s eyes the marathon runner is the fitter one of the two, right?
Now, if I was to show you these photos without telling you who these two guys are, and then I asked you the question “Who is the fitter one of the two?” who would you choose? Yes, me too, the sprinter. He has a good muscular physique without looking too buff whereas the marathon runner looks skinny.
Let’s throw the Iron Man world champion Marino Vanhoenacker into the mix. He surely must be built like a brick? Here he is. Not much of super fit looking guy either if you ask me. Again, an impressive cardio but not necessarily the fittest looking man on the face of the earth.
So how is that possible? Surely the marathon runner record holder or the Iron Man champ should be looking like the sprinter and vice versa? And how can someone who runs 42 km, cycles 180 km and swims 4 km be less muscular than someone who runs 100 meters?
Hormones. It’s all about hormones. If you didn’t read my previous post about blaming your hormones for your struggling weight loss, please read it again and then come back to this post as it will all make much more sense.
Humans tend to believe that when something is good for us, more should be better. And this is where your hormones completely disagree with us. Hormones like balance, not too little, not too much. If you are training for more than about 45 minutes constantly your body starts off giving alarm signals. Alarm signals? Yes, alarm signals. From an evolutionary point of view, more than approximately 45 minutes intense exercise is seen as stress. Nothing wrong with stress as it can be your biggest friend (again evolution; you’re standing in the wild facing a lion. Fight or flight? Flight I would say and your stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline will help you run faster than you have ever done). But when your body is coping with prolonged stress it can be detrimental to your health and to your muscular system.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
So if running/cycling/swimming for hours on end isn’t the best exercise to get you into the shape of your life, what is the best type of exercise? In order to use your hormonal mix in your favour and create that physique that you have always wanted you want to do HIIT; High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT is a way of training in which you go full power for a short period of time, followed by a short recovery period, then again full power for a short while and so on. For example, you do a set of 5 kettlebells cleans, followed by 30 seconds rest, then again 5 cleans, followed by 30 seconds rest and again 5 cleans followed by 30 seconds rest. But even a 100 meter sprint, followed by 100 meter walking, then 100 sprint and so on would do the trick.
This type of high intensity rest-based interval training is called anaerobic exercise (as opposed to aerobic exercise such as long distance running/swimming/cycling/jogging etc.) and increases your body’s need for oxygen creating a shortage of oxygen in the process. During your recovery (up to 48 hours after exercising!) a so called after-burning effect in combination with the build-up of lactid acid causes your body to use more oxygen also known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) which consumes more calories and burns fat the whole time. Sounds like the holy grail of fat loss to me.
Studies such as those conducted by Laval University, East Tennessee State University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the University of New South Wales have proven to have the best effect on burning fat and building muscle.
A study conducted by The University of Western Ontario gives us insight into how much more effective it really is. Researchers had 10 men and 10 women train 3 times per week, with one group doing 4-6 30-second treadmill sprints (with 4-6 minutes of rest in between each), and the other group doing 30-60 minutes of steady-state cardio (running on the treadmill at the “magical fat loss zone” of 65% VO2 max).
The results: After 6 weeks of training, the subjects doing the intervals had lost more fat. Yes, 4-6 30-second sprints burns more fat than 60 minutes of incline treadmill walking.
Although the exact mechanisms of how high-intensity cardio trumps steady-state cardio aren’t fully understood yet, scientists have isolated quite a few of the factors:
- Increased resting metabolic rate for upwards of 24-48 hours after exercise (EPOC)
- Improved insulin sensitivity in the muscles (at controlled levels insulin builds muscle!)
- Higher levels of fat oxidation in the muscles
- Significant spikes in growth hormone levels (which aid in fat loss) and catecholamine levels (chemicals your body produces to directly induce fat mobilization such as adrenaline and noradrenaline)
- Post-exercise appetite suppression
As you will have noticed, at TWC-Ibiza this is exactly the type of exercise you are asked to do. Anaerobic exercise dramatically improves power, strength, speed and muscle mass and will benefit also your aerobic conditioning which means that doing HIIT will improve your long distance fitness without ‘eating’ away your muscles the way regular aerobic exercise does. So next time you see the kettlebells coming out, realize that you are one step closer to burning fat and building a lean physique. And when asked who is the fittest athlete in the world, you know the answer: The TWC-Ibiza coaches and one day, maybe YOU!
Now HIIT it!
Patrick Meijer is a Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach based on Ibiza. He is a teacher and educator in the field of holistic health, specialized in fat loss, cholesterol issues, hormonal imbalances, stress management, diabetes type 2 and sugar addiction. Patrick uses a no-nonsense approach to empower you with practical information that is easy to follow and ensures a stress-free, happy life full of energy and peak health.
Patrick can be contacted through his website at www.bodychangenutrition.com or Facebook, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +34 602 494 114. You can also follow Patrick on Twitter @bcnutrition74.
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