Category Archives:Training

May. 10.

Fighting Mental Illness with Fitness

Fighting Mental Illness with Fitness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! If you are fighting a mental illness it is nothing to be ashamed of. After training many people over the years I have come to realize most of us fight similar mental battles and the more you can open up about it the more you can overcome.

Most of my life I battled depression/anxiety. Doctors actually told me at one point my brain simply does not produce serotonin like other brains. Serotonin is a chemical that stabilizes your mood and acts as a neurotransmitter.

What does a depressed person look like?

         That is hard to say, 1 and 5 Americas have a mental illness and 1 out of 10 are depressed! Depression is debilitating and in the United States has become the leading cause of disability from a wide age range of 15 to 44 years old.  When thinking of a depressed person you would most likely visualize a sad person who cries a lot. This is how depression FEELS! Yet on the outside depression can look successful and depression can look fit!

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I was an overweight kid, an anorexic teen and a depressed obsessed fitness competitor. On the outside I looked mentally and physically healthy but I was not. Exercise was my “out” and food was what I controlled to help live with my depression and social anxiety. Today I have given up control over food and have come to a point where exercise is not always the answer. I have accepted my mental illness and after 28 years finally learned how to take action to combat it.

Am I depressed today? No, but I could be! The way your brain produces chemicals is not your choice. It is a choice to fight though.  

Steps I take to fight depression and anxiety in a healthy way are:

1.       Using exercise in combination with mental health help. Therapy, talking with friends or a life coach in combination with exercise can dramatically help improve your chances of overcoming mental illness.

2.       Incorporating running back into my exercise plan for endorphins. With an unstable mood the endorphins have always helped bring me back to reality and help me feel accomplished.

3.       Nutrition! Eating a balanced diet will help your hormones stay in balance and give your brain and body enough fuel to properly work. Also viewing no food as “good” or “bad” will help create a positive lasting relationship with food as being fuel for the body and not something that can control your feelings.

4.       Be consistent! A study by Duke University compared the antidepressant effects of exercise on three different groups. One group received Sertraline a popular antidepressant, one group exercised and one group received a placebo. The exercise groups all exercised at different levels and frequencies. The group with the largest antidepressant effects was that of the group who consistently exercised for 3-4 days a week for 40 minutes or more.

5.       Be grateful! On repeat! Depression will tell you your life sucks or that no one cares! You have to fight it and tell yourself otherwise over and over!

6.       Set a 6 month goal to fight. It takes about a month to conquer a new habit and about 6 months for your brain to form the habit to where it will no longer be “new” to your brain.  

7.       If you are depressed and food is your drug of choice, use exercise like an anti-venom to the drug (food.) Find a routine and accountability to help you keep a healthier balance during your fight to overcome.

 

If depression and anxiety are holding you back from your full potential please contact us! We would love to hear from you and help you find an exercise routine most suitable for your specific goals!

 

It is also postpartum depression awareness month! It is very real, if you know someone that has recently had a baby please reach out to them so they know to be conscious of PPD signs and to know they are not alone!

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Mental health is JUST as important as physical health!

Apr. 20.

The Tech-Body Syndrome

The Tech-Body Syndrome

Part 1

 

Does your career require you sit for most of the day?

Today’s   technology is growing at a pace most of us cannot keep up with! The growth has caused an influx of jobs where people are required to sit/drive for most of the day, even personal training can be done completely online.

How many of us sit all day?

86% of Americans drive/sit most of the day!

Majority of Americans spend 13 hours a day sitting (not including the average 8 hours of sleep.)

What does sitting at a desk or in a vehicle do to the body?

Make it tight! In all the wrong places. Posterior muscles relax and anterior muscles tighten causing what we call upper cross syndrome. Unfortunately sitting over time can also cause lower cross syndrome.

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Starting from the bottom; what’s tight? And what can you do to correct it from hours of sitting?

Calves

Due to the shortness of the hamstring complex, calves tend to become shortened at rest. Light foam rolling with moderate static stretching can help reduce this muscle imbalance.

Preventative measure: 1-2 sets of standing calf raises can help bring functional strength to the area.

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Anterior tibialis

Shortened and tight from sitting.

Preventative measure: planter flex feet throughout the day.  

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Hamstrings

Become tight and shortened in the seated position for extended periods of time.

Preventative measure: Seated on a raised surface using a trigger point ball, perform myofacial release to relieve the tightness. Followed by moderate static stretching.

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Adductors

Loose if sitting with legs relaxed, tight if sitting legs crossed.

Preventative measure- Proper functional leg training.

                                          Legs crossed- Stretch adductors 

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Hips/Glutes

Psoas is typically over tight in Tech-body with weak or under active glutes. Proper foam rolling and moderate stretching can be used to relive the tightness.

Preventative measure- Proper functional leg training and stretch hip flexors.

hipflexor

Form tip: Tuck hips in neutral to spine and push forward, do not lean.

Low Back

The QL (quadratus lumborum) and spinal erectors become tight due to the pull from the hamstrings once in the standing position.

Light foam rolling and moderate stretching to relive tightness .

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Part 2: Upper Cross Syndrome Prevention Coming Soon!

Nothing hinders fitness goals like an injury, most often caused from tightness due to repetitive movements. Take preventative measures to insure your body is as functional as possible while training!

Jan. 11.

What Goals are Realistic for You?

What Goals are Realistic for You?

To lose 20 pounds in one month, to have more energy, to fit into size 8 jeans by spring; these are most of our goals but are they realistic based on the body’s anatomy and your past history? To better give you some idea of how to set realistic goals I have answered some questions about weight loss, muscle gain and strength!

How fast can I build muscle?

First off, genetics DO play a role in all 3 topics (weight loss, muscle gain and strength.) There are three different body types: mesomorph, endomorph and ectomorph. Mesomorphs and endomorphs build muscle at a faster rate than ectomorphs who are hard gainers.

So on average how fast can the human body gain muscle? A 200 study analysis showed that the average rate of muscle increase was about 0.1-0.2% per day on untrained people. That means if you want to add an inch to your arm size it would take at least 2-4 months! Studies show the first week or two all muscles can do is repair and there are no extra resources to build. Therefore it will take at least 2-3 months of consistently training to see any major changes.

Overall muscle growth varies a lot per person. Some can gain 4-8lbs of lean mass in 3 months (this is the majority of people) but some bodies actually can gain at 2 times that rate!

How fast can I lose fat?

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The most important factor in fat loss is your metabolic rate. If you are a serial dieter you metabolism may be damaged and somewhat non-responsive. Every time you lose and regain weight it will become harder each time you try to lose fat unless there is some time given for metabolic repair.

If your metabolism is responsive a good base of how fast you can lose is:

Body fat percentage ÷ 20 = % of your current weight you should aim to lose per week.

Another way to calculate is 1.5 pounds of FAT per week, this could equal more on the scale since we are talking just fat not including water weight. Studies have shown that if more than 1.5 pounds of FAT (not scale weight) is lost that there will also be muscle loss.

When it comes to body types mesomorphs and ectomorphs lose fat at the fastest rate with the least amount of output. Endomorphs can lose fat at the same rate but usually require more output.

How fast can I increase strength?

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The first variable in strength increase is how long you have been working out. Have you ever heard that saying “muscle memory?” Well it’s actually more like central nervous system memory. Your brain will always remember movement patterns that are repeatedly done, like riding a bike or back squatting. Therefore be able to perform better and lift more with each squat session.

Second variable is simply what you inherit. There are two types of muscle fibers slow and fast twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers are used for power and force, the amount of fast and slow twitch fibers you have are actually inherited.

Third variable, who gains strength quicker males or females? Males and females can have equal strength though men will gain strength at a faster rate because majority of the time they will have larger muscles and therefore able to move more weight.

My tip

Write down you overall goal (ex. Loose 20lbs.)

Then evaluate how much muscle or fat you have. Focusing only on scale weight can leave you frustrated and feeling like your body is just broken!

From here make a training plan where you can track MULTIPLE things (ex. How much weight your lifting, how fast you can do an action, circumference measurements,body fat and lastly scale weight.)

*If you are just beginning, a good time frame to have a goal is 6 months, then from there you can further break the goal down.

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Jan. 02.

The Goal Conquering Program

The Goal Conquering Program

Weight Loss, Build Muscle, Run Faster, Play Better, More Energy, Whatever Your Goal Learn to CONQUER!

 

We are not calling this a RESOLUTION but this is GOAL CONQUERING PROGRAM for 2017!

 

Whether your goal is to be a better golfer, to loose 50lbs, to fit into a size 6 OR  just get your mojo back this is the year!

THE TIME IS NOW!

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Why is reaching fitness goals so important? Besides for internal health and increased energy, the motivation and confidence gained will bleed into all areas of your life and help you conquer other dreams and goals!

 

So don’t push off making 2017 your best year, take ACTION and everything else will fall into place!

 

We are offering  a ONE TIME Training and Nutrition SPECIAL!

Guaranteed results for less than $100 a month!! 

What the year of training/coaching includes:

-          Personal FLEXIBLE nutrition plan (no food or drink restrictions)

-          Personal workout programming

-          Weekly check ins

-          Exercise videos

-          Membership to our private group where you will also get motivation and answers to questions and educated on training and nutritional science.

-          Picture transformation timeline updates

-          If you are in the St. Petersurg /Tampa area you can add on 45-50 minute sessions for our LOWEST rate!

OUR TRANSFORMATIONS

 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS SPECIAL BY FILLING OUT YOUR INFORMATION BELOW!

Dec. 26.

Compound Movements to Maximize Results

Compound Movements to Maximize Results!

Stimulate the most muscles for the most results!

There are two types of training, compound and isolation. Compound in my opinion being the most important exercises to add to your training routine no matter if you are 70 years old or 20 years old; whether you are training for muscle size, strength or for fat loss.

Compound movements are classified by movements that require multiple joints to be used.

Examples: Squat, Deadlift, lunges, chest press, running

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Compound movements require more muscle fibers to be recruited, systematically then more muscles will be used and maximum calories will be burned. The squat for example uses multiple joints, the shoulders are engaged (if bar is used), the hips, and knees and all muscles attached to these are engaged including hip muscles and core stabilizing muscles.  

More joints, more muscles equal moving more weight and using more energy/calories!

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There is not just the benefit of more calorie burn with compound movements but the stress that compound movements put on the body increase the hormonal responses post exercise, increasing muscle growth. The hormones that I am talking about are growth hormone, testosterone and insulin-like growth factor which all come in to help repair muscle fibers and grow muscle.

Compound movements can be done by anyone even elderly. The benefit of an elderly individual practicing squatting and deadlifting comes into play when something needs to be picked up off the floor or are doing something like making a bed. Movements do not need to be hundreds of pounds to be affective.

 

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Add at least ONE compound movement EVERY time you exercise!

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Jul. 28.

Posture Perfect

Posture Perfect

Your posture can say a lot about you. As a first impression posture speaks volumes about your confidence. Your posture also tells of your day to day activities. Your daily repeated habits teach your central nervous system to create these habit pathways therefore causing poor posture. These learned pathways often throw the body out of alignment, causing  pain and/or injury.

How to tell if you are out of alignment?

-          The first sign you may notice is pain. Many times clients are in pain and do not realize the pain is not caused by the muscles at the site of the pain. Pain is often and indicator  of an alignment issue caused by muscle imbalances.

-          If you predominately do everything with your dominate side. Meaning you carry bags on one side, you get out of bed with one leg, you pick up things with the dominate hand etc. these all can cause the muscles to become stronger on one side of the body, pulling the skeletal structure out of alignment.

-          How you sleep is a big one. Do you sleep on one side? Do you sleep in the fetal position? Having the body keep this position for 8 hours every day can be causing you posture issues and your pain.

Muscle Relations

The body can be divided into two groups of muscles that work in pairs around joints to create motion: tonic and phasic.

TONIC- These muscles are the flexor muscles and often the more dominate muscles. They can easily become tight due to over use or under use.

Tonic-and-Phasic-Muscles

PHASIC- These muscles are the extensor muscles. They are antagonists to tonic muscles. They tend to be more flaccid and weaker than tonic muscles.

 

Common Posture Imbalances

-          Upper- cross syndrome

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Tonic- Stenocleidomastoid, Scalenes, Levator Scapulae, Upper Trapezius, Pectoralis major

Phasic-Neck flexors, Rhomboids, Serratus Anterior, Lower Trapezius

Postural Change- protracted shoulders, winged or abducted scapula, increased cervical lordosis (curve/”sway” in neck), forward head, thoracic spine curvature increase

-          Lower- cross syndrome

 lower-cross-syndrome

Tonic (tight)- Gastroc-soleus, tibialis, posterior hip adductors, hamstrings, rectus femoris, Iliopsoas ,tensor fascia lata, Piriformis, Quadratus Lumborum

Phasic (weak or inactive)- Peroneus Longus, Tibialis, Anterior Vastus Medialis, Lateralis, Gluteus Maximus, Medius, Minimus, Rectus Abdominus

Postural Change- anterior pelvic tilt, increased lumbar lordosis, lateral leg rotation, knee hyperextension

 

         Forward Head

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Tonic- sternocleidomastoids, anterior scalenes

Postural Change- The head is forward. A correct posture the middle of the should is directly in line with the middle of the ear.

 

-         Uneven Shoulders

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Tonic- Trapezius on elevated side

Phasic- Serratus anterior on elevated side

Posture Change- When standing in the anatomical position one shoulder appears to be higher than the other. Scapula distance from spine is different on one side.

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Posture imbalances are due to either trauma or repetitive behaviors that teach the  central nervous system to react a certain way when controlling or stabilizing posture. Computers, sitting at a desk, video games, cell phones, purses or repetitive movements due to one’s occupation are common causes of posture imbalances.  Sitting at a desk on a computer without proper posture  is one cause we most often see that causes imbalances throughout the entire body.  A quick exercise to help check your posture throughout the day is the Brugger exercise.

 

Brugger exercise

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  • Sit towards the edge of your seat; this will naturally place your lower back into a curve
  • Separate your legs to 45 degrees each side with your feet turned out slightly
  • Your shoulders are relaxed and down with your chin tucked in
  • Fully extend both elbows. Make sure you keep your shoulders down and imagine your shoulder blades are pushing down then together .
  • Turn your thumbs out, palms up and separate your fingers.
  • Hold for 10 seconds repeating a few times a day.

Correction

1. Implement posture exercises such as the Brugger exercise throughout the day.

2. Side sleepers, grab a large pillow to keep your shoulders and hips open throughout the night.

3. Strengthen the phasic muscles and stretch the tonic muscles.

4. Strengthen your core

 

Pain free training starts here.  

Listed

“Another Example of a Postural Evaluation.” Breddyorg. N.p., 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 July 2015.

Dalton, Erik. “Strategies to Address Forward Head Posture.” Strategies to Address Forward Head Posture. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2015.

Nagelkirk, Jessica. “Dr. Nagelkirk: 4 Exercises to Improve Your Posture.” Dr. Nagelkirk: 4 Exercises to Improve Your Posture. N.p., 19 July 2013. Web. 27 July 2015.

“Lower Cross Syndrome.” Coast Clinic. N.p., 04 Apr. 2012. Web. 27 July 2015.

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Jun. 29.

Soreness & Effective Training

Soreness & Effective Training

Is DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) a true indicator of an effective workout?

Word on the streets is that there is this boot camp that will make you incredibly sore! They must be good trainers and constructing an effective workout right? …..wrong. Let’s go over some basics of what is actually taking place when these actin and myosin are at work.

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What is muscle soreness?

Muscle soreness post exercise should hit a peak around 24-48hours and why DOMS is named delayed onset muscle soreness.  DOMS is not related to lactic acid but is an inflammatory response. In an inflammatory response the body produces metabolic waste which then stimulates nerve endings to communicate to the brain there is pain. The body does as it would with any injury, it sends neutrophils to the site of the muscle damage to begin repair.

 

Who can get DOMS?

Anyone, at any fitness level.  Someone who has just begun an exercise regiment can expect DOMS but should communicate with the fitness professional about the severity of soreness.

 

Does soreness indicate a good workout?

No. Due to media and ignorance (to be frank) people have begun to chase soreness and rate a workout good or bad based on soreness. This is a dumb idea and will lead to injury. One can perform the same exercise frequently and not get DOMS and still make progress in their program. Extreme DOMS can also be an indicator that the individual over did it, which also indicates that their muscles are not yet capable of proper repair at that training intensity. Multiple studies have indicated that DOMS can cause injury due to compromised kinematics, reduced focus and motivation in lifts and hinders ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production.

 

How do I prevent DOMS?

We are all subject to DOMS, especially those fitness enthusiasts. The best treatment is the full treatment. Meaning make sure your training is progressive and smart, listen to your body while training and don’t ignore flexibility and mobility in your program.

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Does DOMS affect hypertrophy?

No study has shown that it does. DOMS is predominately caused by the eccentric contraction therefore some people will contract slower during the release (eccentric), training this way will not increase hypertrophic gains. Training a muscle group more often will lessen the chances of you getting DOMS and still produce hypertrophic gains.

 

Soreness, is part of the process but does not equal the process.

 

Contreras, Bret .., and Brad J. Schoenfeld. “Is Post Exercise Muscle Soreness a Valid Indicator of Muscular Adaptations?” Is Postexercise Muscle Soreness a Valid Indicator of Muscular Adaptations? 35.5 (2013): 16-19. Nsca-scj.com. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Oct. 2013. Web. 19 June 2015. 

Mercola, Dr. Joseph. “Decreasing Post-Exertion Muscle Soreness: What’s the Best Way?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 19 June 2013. Web. 23 June 2015.

 

 

 

 

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PERIODIZATION
Feb. 01.

Fundamentals of Training: Periodization

Fundamentals of Training: Periodization

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Not all of us are trying to become power lifters but all of us can benefit from an increase in strength. Whether you are an intermediate gym goer, a mother, an athlete or a 70 year old woman the benefits of muscular strength help with every day activities.

How does someone gain strength? Strength is gained by stressors put on the body and adaptations occurs.  Like a baby adapts to the new stress load of their body weight, it does not take long for adaptation to occur and the child start running around the house. The same occurs in a grown individual’s body when lifting weights at the gym. It is quite a bit more advanced than simply adding more and more weight;  that is where periodization training can help you get to the next level.

Periodization is a system of training where training is broken into periods of time, each period has is a specific goal set for strength, power or hypertrophy gains.  When adding stress to the neuromuscular system there are phases the muscle goes through. First the neuromuscular system has an alarm response where energy out put is high as the body recognizes it is being challenged, then there is resistance where the body is adapting to the stimulus and lastly the exhaustion phase where energy is depleted and no adaptation occurs. There are two forms of periodization training linear and non linear. Using these methods of training help avoid the exhaustion phase and use all valuable energy in the adaptation phase until a peak performance or competition.

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Linear is where training is broken down into weeks or months (mesocycle) where each period has a specific goal and rep range. This is best for the beginner lifter where training phases are broken down into 4-6 weeks. It is easier to track and can allow slower progressions to avoid injury.

Nonlinear periodization training is for the more advanced lifter and is a daily change in either volume or intensity (intensity=%1RM, Volume=sets x reps.) The most commonly known of this form of training is DUP or daily undulated periodization training because daily the adaptation mechanism is changed.

Which is better?

There is no evidence that one program works better than the other.  Different athletes should consider which program is most beneficial based on when and how often they need to perform optimally.

 

Challenge your abilities!

 

Hoffman, Jay R. “Periodized Training for the Strength/ Power Athlete.” NSCA’s Performance Training Journal 1.9 (n.d.): 8-11. Web. 30 Jan. 2015.

Wathen, Dan, Thomas R. Baechle, and Roger W. Earle. “Periodization.” Famu.edu. N.p., 26 Oct. 2011. Web. 29 Jan. 2015

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Oct. 02.

The Mobility Issue

The Mobility Issue

Increasing the mobility of the kenetic chain to get the most out of your squats.

Mobility is usually an issue for beginner lifters or those who sit majority of the day . The initial assessment done by a fitness professional should cover all mobility issues with muscles and what tendons and joints therefore are being affected. Most individuals don’t realize there is an issue until too late and injury occurs.

What & why is it important?

-For proper muscle contraction and eccentric contraction. Muscles work in antagonistic partnership, therefore when one contracts the other will relax; a simple example is the bicep and tricep. In a mobility assessment I would quickly be able to assess that you would not be able to safely complete a tricep extension if your bicep does not have the flexibility to fully extend in an eccentric contraction; therefore not allowing the tricep to fully contract. Mobility is a partnership between muscles and joints to attain the full range of motion in a movement.

Mobility and the Squat

Almost everyone that starts exercising incorporates squats, yet aren’t getting the most out of it. During the squat movement it is easy to tell where an individual lacks mobility because form and center of gravity are compromised.

The perfect squat form.

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Mobility issues in 4 main areas:

Ankles- Ankles should be able to dorsiflex in a squat position.  Many people start working out by doing cardio which tightens the calves and anterior tibialis, then if you sit all day the muscles and tendons don’t allow the ankle to fully flex therefore also tightening the joint. Some will never get full flexion but mobility exercises with the ankle do help and allow you to fully get low in a squatting position.

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Angle of ankles in a dorsiflex position with feet not at an angle.

Thoracic spine- In a previous blog spinal flexibility was discussed. If your thoracic spine is not flexible in the extension, center of gravity is compromised therefore the weight will not stay loaded on the quads through the movement. You will almost always notice lower back pain following squatting if you have little to no flexibility in the thoracic spine (this though may not be the only reason for back pain following lifts.)

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One of many exercises to increase thoracic mobility.

Hips –One indicator to noticing that your hips are tight is lack of gluten activation. Your hips are your body’s center and any issue related to your hips affects the body’s whole kinetic chain. Those individuals with desk jobs, I recommend you stretch regularly for hip mobility issues are often seen with those who sit all day. Three muscles that tighten while you sit: quadratus lumborum, mediums gluteus and the piriformis. If hip flexors are tight, hips will be seen to have an anterior pelvic tilt causing you to have an excessive forward lean in the squatting position.

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quadratus lumborum stretch

Knees- Knee mobility can be helped through working on short and long abductor flexibility as well as making sure tendons around the patella are not tight. Knees in a squat should not go far forward past ankles.

Besides the exercises shown there are many others to help correct mobility issues in these areas.

 A body in motion staying in motion.

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Sep. 08.

Cardio for Calories

 Cardio for Calories

Four ways to maximize cardio for fat loss!

How do you stop spinning your wheels during cardio sessions? These are four ways to maximize your calorie output:

Integrate cardio with weights

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Short on time? Circuit style training is great for keeping your heart rate elevated for a length of time while still obtaining the benefits of resistance training.

 

 

 

 

Do cardio on a separate day, or time of day from lifting

Cardio is just like lifting in the sense it is always best done when you have the energy to push yourself to the max. Therefore, it would be more beneficial to do cardio on a separate day from other training than it would be to give your cardio training 50% effort post training.

Eat prior to cardio

Contrary to the myth, there is no proof of long term fat loss during fasted cardio. There are benefits at certain times for certain goals using fasted cardio. Most clients want to gain lean muscle while loosing fat therefore fasted cardio would not be most beneficial.

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There is room for argument that fasted cardio has benefits. And I would agree using fasted cardio for performance based gains can be a useful tool when integrated properly.  But from my experience for the benefit of fat loss, I have found an individual can push themselves harder, allowing their heart rate to be elevated to a fat burning zone when they have ate at least a few hours prior to cardio. If muscle loss is the goal, fasted cardio may be an alternative cardio option.

It’s all about the heart rate!

cardioEver seen those gym goers who do cardio daily while still holding a conversation… and continue to look the same?  One factor why they may never gain results is because they are taking cardio lightly. Cardio for fat loss should be quick an intense! A study by the University of St. Thomas, shown that maximal fat oxidation occurs between 60 to 80% of one’s maximal heart rate. When the heart rate is elevated so is oxygen consumption. The most fat oxidation occurs around 54% of the body’s maximal oxygen uptake, or VO2max.

Can you burn fat with moderate intensity cardio? Sure.  Low intensity cardio at long durations may burn more calories than a short high intensity cardio session during the actual activity but you will not expend energy post exercise with low intensity cardio. Therefore cardio training must be integrated based on one’s goals.

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