Exercise and weight loss. Questions & Answers
Exercise and weight loss are frequently discussed on message boards. I occasionally venture into these fitness forums and answer questions.
Q: I recently began a workout routine and have been doing my cardio mostly on the elliptical machine. Over the course of the last month, my endurance and stamina have increased along with the incline, resistance, and overall time of my workout on the machine.
My question is about the different pre-set workout programs offered on the machine. I am working out for weight loss and overall health and have been experimenting with different courses.
Is it better for fat burning/weight loss to do one of these programs or simply set the machine to manual and increase the resistance and incline as you can handle?
Again, I am just looking to maximize my workout(currently doing 60 min.)
Any suggestions would be welcomed. Thanks
A: Your best bet for aerobic exercise is to use interval training. It maximizes your time by never giving your body/nervous system a chance to adapt to your workout. If you’re not varying your workouts on a micro level (within a single workout) and on a macro level (varying the workouts over time, scheduled by weeks) your body will get used to whatever you’re doing. I find the most effective method of cardio interval training is to use heart rate based zones. Once you know your 4 heart rate zones, you need an 8 week plan of workouts. You’ll do one specific workout each week then change your workout every week, following the plan.
So although i have used every rep range(2-5, 6-10, 12-15, etc), I was wondering if there is a rep range that would be best for keeping muscle mass while severely cutting calories…
Would sticking to 8-12 be best, or should I raise the weight and lower the reps, 4-6? Any ideas? Should i alternate my rep range often, sometimes doing 4-6 reps, other times doing 12? I’m serious about achieving a low body fat, but DO NOT want to sacrifice a lot of muscle in the process……?
A: Your rep range has nothing to do with your caloric intake. Your rep range is determined by what phase of training you’re in and what your weight training goals are. For example, if you’re goal is endurance strength, your rep range should be 12-16 reps. If you’re goal is hypertrophy, your range should be 6-10 reps. For maximal strength training, your rep range should be 1-5 reps. However, if you’re drastically cutting your caloric intake, now is not the time for either hypertrophy training or maximal strength training. Healthy eating also means eating the right amount for your physical activities levels. Make sure you’re not lowering your caloric intake too much. If you do, you stand the chance of your metabolism going down as your body tries to conserve its resources. Find out what your resting metabolic rate is (I recommend New Leaf testing). Then figure out what your caloric intake should be based on that and your physical activity levels. Don’t make giant changes without a little research. Your entire goal could be compromised.