Boooooooooooooo leg day
1.) Dumbbell Squats (Holding 15 lb weights, use stability ball to support lower back against a wall): 3 sets of 15, 30 second rest intervals
2.) Walking Lunge (Holding 10-12 lb weight): 3 sets of 15/leg, 30 second rest
3.) Step up with reverse lunge (using block or bench, step up and then step down to a reverse lunge, holding 10-15 lbs): 3 sets of 12/leg.
4.) Romanian Deadlifts (20 lbs): 3 sets, 15 reps, 30 second rest.
5.) Smith calf raise: 3 sets, 15 reps, 30 second rest.
Cardio: Rest day from HIIT, 30 minutes steady state cardio
Breakfast: 100 cal English muffin with 3 egg whites, 2 jennio-o turkey bacon, coffee
Snack: Protein Shake: 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1 cup spinach, 1 scoop chocolate whey protein, 1 scoop PB2, ice
Lunch: 1/4 cup black beans, 4 oz chicken, 1/4 cup rice, 1/4 cup edamame, 1/4 avocado
Snack: 1 cup Special K protein cereal, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup milk
Dinner: Lean Turkey Lasagna and 1 small salad
Snack: 1/2 apple
Saturday, December 10, 2005. I’m in my second year of college at Oakland University. It’s 6am… I am trying to sleep in after a long week of exams, work, and studying for Mike Stack’s 400 level quizzes in his 100 level class (yes that’s right! I had him as a professor). In my apartment, the wall of my room shared a wall with that of our living room, which proved to have no advantages whatsoever. I was in that perfect sleep position… you know the one! My feet were tightly wrapped under the end of the blanket, a fortress of pillows with just the right amount of fluff surrounded my head. It was shaping up to be a nice relaxing Saturday for me, when all of the sudden…Beep…….Beeeeeeeeep… Beep. Beep. Beep. I didn’t set an alarm clock the night before so I knew it wasn’t that, plus it was coming from the living room! All at once my slumber that previously consisted of “rapid eye movement” transformed into an angry shuffle of rapid foot movement! I charged toward the living room and discovered my roommate chugging away on her exercise bike, punching in her workout numbers on the electronic display-Beep…Beep..Beep. “What are you doing?!” I shouted. She was un-phased and responded, “Didn’t you know you burn more fat doing cardio in the morning?” The rest of the story is really not important, but let’s just say I don’t feel bad for pulling the plug on her exercise bike that morning…and I’ll sleep easier tonight knowing I pulled the plug on this myth for my clients.
Exercising in the morning after an overnight fast is a common strategy employed by individuals of all fitness levels hoping to maximize fat loss. The rationale behind this theory is that upon waking, muscle glycogen (the sugar we store in our muscles and use to perform exercise) is at a reduced level and will force the body into using fat stores as a fuel source. While this sounds like a valid theory and makes sense at first glance it is not supported by any scientific literature.
Studies on performing low intensity exercise (equivalent to walking at 3mph on a treadmill) in a fasted state show more energy is expended from fat after approximately 80-90 minutes of activity. The problem is you have to exercise for almost 1.5 hours to achieve this effect. While you may burn a little more energy from fat as a percentage of total calories burned, the absolute amount of fat you burn is significantly less than if you were to perform moderate intensity exercise. In addition, a percentage of this small increase in fat use comes from fat inside our muscles which has no negative effect on health or appearance.
At moderate and high intensities there is no greater use of fat as a fuel source for exercise in fasted vs. fed state. While it is true that at moderate and high intensities, more fat is readied for use (in a fasted state) it is never actually broken down and used for energy production and therefore is re-stored as body fat. This restoring of fat nullifies any potential benefit from fasted exercise. In addition to any potential benefit of exercising in a fasted state being nullified by the restoring of fat, benefits from consuming calories prior to exercise are not gained. Consuming calories prior to exercise not only increases energy levels (which results in more intense exercise and more calories burned) but there is also an increased thermic effect from exercise when calories are consumed prior to exercise. This increased thermic effect caused by consuming calories pre-exercise would nullify any advantage gained from even low intensity exercise in a fasted state.
Exercising in a fasted state can have a negative impact on the quality of an exercises session. I am sure most clients have seen us handing out glucose tablets to clients during morning or evening sessions. One of the possible reasons for this is because their glycogen depletes quickly, and blood sugar drops, from being in a fasted state (from sleep or from no food since lunch) and they become hypoglycemic. It can take between 5-30 minutes to recover from hypoglycemia and is most situations workouts cannot be finished. Even if you do not experience hypoglycemia your workout intensity is inherently reduced because the main fuel source for any moderate to high intensity training (like WLS, FS, or GRST) is carbohydrate in the form of muscle glycogen. Reduced intensities = less calorie expenditure = less fat loss.
Another important issue that should be noted is the effect of fasted exercise on the breakdown of muscle tissue. Research has noted that muscle tissue breakdown was doubled when training in a glycogen depleted state vs. glycogen loaded state. Over an hour long exercise session at moderate intensities (jog on the treadmill at 4-6 mph) this could account for approximately 10% of calorie loss. For individuals looking to maintain or gain lean mass this would be a major contraindication to fasted training.
Looking at the fuel source used during exercise is shortsighted when trying to quantify the effectiveness of an exercise session with regards to body composition. Most people exercise 4-6 hours during a 168 hour week! The amount of fat burnt during exercise pales into comparison to the amount of fat you burn throughout the day. In order to get an accurate measure of fat loss you must take into account at least an entire 24 hour period. As a general rule, when all else is equal, if you burn more calories from carbohydrate during a workout you will use more fat during the day and vice versa. At the end of the day/week your calorie deficit will be made up for by using fat stores in the body.
Example: 1 week of exercise
Energy expenditure from workouts:
• 3000cals from FAT/ 500cals from CARBS = 3500cals= 1lb fat
• 3000cals from CARBS/ 500cals from FAT=3500 cals= 1lb fat
• No matter how you achieve your deficit your body will use stored fat to make up for it!!!
The “spare tire,” the “arm curtains,” the “love handles…”chances are you’ve used these clever nicknames to refer to your “problem areas” at one time or another. I get it, you want better arms! Now stop waiving those things in my face. Once again, we can blame a wide variety of things for our spot training misconceptions. Pick up the latest issue of Women’s Health, Cosmo, or Shape Magazine and you’re sure to find countless articles on targeting abdominal fat, toning your legs, and tightening your arms. “Lose abdominal fat with these new and exciting moves!” Please, you’d have a better chance selling ice to an Eskimo! The truth is that we’re all guilty of working a little harder on certain areas of our bodies, myself included. It was not until I became educated on the differences between fat loss and hypertrophy of skeletal muscle that I stopped wasting my time. Read on and hopefully you can learn from my mistakes.
First, we need to identify (and come to terms with) why we have “problem” areas. Everyone has at least one area on their body that they are not happy with. For men, problem areas seem to be centered around the mid-section and through the torso. For women, fat mass seems to be concentrated in the hips, thighs, and upper arms. Why? The number one culprit is genetics! Everyone is genetically predisposed to be shaped a certain way. I know this can be hard to hear, but it’s the truth. If you genetically have more fat cells in your lower body, you may never have the legs of the model pictured on the cover of Shape Magazine, and that’s ok! Don’t get me wrong – fitness models work very hard, but they are also “genetically gifted.” That’s why they get paid for it! They look great in pictures because they have very little fat mass, not because they did 8000 bicep curls to tone their arms.
Targeting a specific area on your body through resistance training exercises will work the underlying skeletal muscle; it will do nothing for the overlying fat mass. So what actually happens to the muscle when you “spot train” a certain area? More than likely, you will experience growth of that specific muscle group. The muscle is able to adapt to the stress of exercise by a mechanism called hyperplasia. Hyperplasia is essentially increasing the size and amount of contractile proteins within the muscle fiber, leading to an increase in size of the whole muscle. This muscle growth is a good thing! What people need to realize is that you can increase muscle mass from head to toe, but if you have an inch of subcutaneous fat on top of it, the only results you will see are larger girth measurements. In order to “tone up,” you need to LOSE THE FAT on top of those muscles.
As most of you know, fat loss comes from a calorie deficit. It does not come from crunches, curls, squats or push-ups – it comes from eating less energy (calories) than you expend during the day. Just because you have very sore arms after a workout does not mean you burned extra fat in that area. The burning sensation you feel in your arms while exercising is due to a lack of oxygenated blood getting to your muscle tissue. That burning is not a magic oven that melts fat away from your arms (in fact, the burning you’re feeling is the breakdown of carbohydrate, NOT fat, and the more burning you feel, the more carbohydrate you’re breaking down). The consequent soreness is due to the damaged muscle fibers and lactic acid that builds up during exercise.
If you are in a calorie deficit, you can expect to lose fat mass consistently from head to toe. This does not mean that you are going to visibly “tone up” from head to toe at the same rate. For example, if you have a 10mm triceps skin fold and a 40mm abdominal skin fold, you are going to notice a 3mm drop in the triceps site before you will notice a 6mm drop in the abdominal site. Here’s why: picture a snowman slowly melting in the sun. It always seems like the head of the snowman is melting at twice the rate of the bottom snowball. We know this is not true. They are melting at the same rate, but since there was less snow in the head of the snowman to begin with, it appears to be melting much faster. Same goes for your body. You are going to lose fat mass consistently, but the areas with less fat at the start are going to SEEM like they are changing at a faster rate. Make sense?
Now that we have established that you cannot target one specific area for fat loss, let’s talk about the potential dangers of spot training. Spot training can lead directly to overuse injuries. Take a teenage male for example, who does “curls for the girls” every time he steps into a weight room. Over time, he does not give his muscles the proper amount of time to rest and repair. This can lead to cramping, muscle strains, muscle tears, tendonitis, or even worse, the complete rupture of the biceps muscle or the surrounding connective tissue. An injury to this degree could potentially set him back months! Worth it? I think not!
Another thing to consider when trying to “spot train” is the size of the muscle group you want to work. If your goal is weight loss, the absolute best thing you can do is burn the maximum amount of calories in a specific timeframe. People often ask me, “Why so many squats?” or “Why are we doing more lunges?” or “Why do we do wall sits all the time?” The answer is to burn calories! The more muscle fibers you can activate during a workout, the more calories you are able to expend. You will not find a larger group of muscles than your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes (all of which are worked by squats, lunges and wall sits.) You can have two people side by side with the same height, weight, age and gender. Person #1 is doing bicep curls and triceps extensions; Person #2 is doing squats and lunges. They both appear to be working equally hard, but who do you think is burning more calories? Person 2! He/she is working a larger muscle group, which requires the body to use more stored glycogen and burn more calories.
In a nutshell, if your main goal is WEIGHT LOSS, spot training will not work for you. If you reach a point where you have no more fat to lose, you can spot train certain underdeveloped muscles to enhance their appearance through muscle growth. Until then, you are not doing yourself any favors by doing extra sets of curls, extensions, crunches, or the most notorious – hip adductor/abductor machines at your local gym. Want leaner arms? Try a squat! Need to blast that tummy fat? Try a lunge! Want to battle the bulge in your thighs? Eat less and move more… Sound familiar!?
egg whites, smoked salmon, asparagus, goat cheese
Pre/During/Post Work Out
4 oz grilled chicken
1 cup whole grain rice with mixed veggies
Warm up—speed bike
Romanian Split Squats
Plie Squats with calf raise
30 minutes alternating sprints
Total Work Out time: 1 hour
Cals Burned: 500
A growing trend in the fitness industry is the use of unstable surfaces during resistance training. Walk through any local gym or personal training studio and you will see BOSU domes (both sides up), air disks, and balance boards. Some fitness professionals claim that unstable surface training increases balance, proprioception (ability for the body to know where it is and how it is moving), and core stability.
At first glance, it is easy to see why the majority of the population would believe such claims. If you can balance on an unstable surface, why wouldn’t you be able to balance better on a stable surface? If your core is constantly contracting to maintain your center of mass, why wouldn’t your core stability improve? While these claims seem valid, current research does not support these conclusions.
Let’s start by exploring the claim of increased balance. There are few, if any, studies to date that show that the type of increased balance and core stability developed through exercises performed on unstable surfaces transfers to stable surfaces. Therefore, while performing exercises on unstable surfaces may increase an individual’s ability to perform the exercises on that specific surface, it does not necessarily transfer to stable surfaces (ground, grass, court, and even ice). Optimal balance is gained by performing a given task on the surface on which it will be performed in everyday life. Many researchers also believe that performing exercises or sport skills on unstable surfaces could DECREASE the ability to perform the same tasks on a stable surface. As individuals begin to master movement patterns (swinging a bat, bench pressing, squatting, etc.), specific communication pathways between the brain and muscle are created for each movement pattern. When performing the same movement pattern on an unstable surface, it is possible that the individual could interfere with the original pattern created in a stable environment. In addition, since the unstable surface is not specific to the movement being practiced (different surface), the time spent in an unstable environment could have been better spent mastering the movement pattern in a stable environment.
Another popular claim made by proponents of unstable surface training is an increase in core stabilization. As with balance, any core stabilization that is possibly enhanced by activity on an unstable surface has NOT been shown to transfer to stable surfaces. In addition, the ability to provide progressive overload (gradual increases in stress that force adaptation to deal with the stress) is hindered. As an individual increases strength levels, the only way progressive overload can be achieved is either by a further decrease in the surface stability or an increase in resistance. Could you imagine doing a 95 lb. overhead press in Fitness Solutions on a half ball? Most research even shows that performing resistance training exercises on stable surfaces requires MORE core activation and stabilization than performing the SAME exercise on an unstable surface. When performing an exercise on an unstable surface, the weight has to be reduced to such an extent that less overall activation of core musculature occurs. Instead of doing your squat and press with 95 pounds, you would have to do it with 50 pounds while standing on a BOSU ball.
One population that unstable surface training is extremely popular with is athletes. The same issues discussed earlier arise when training athletes on an unstable surface. There is not a significant transfer of skill when you move from performing sport skills (swinging a bat) on unstable surfaces to solid ground. In addition, the time spent performing sport skills on unstable surfaces could be better spent enhancing the same skill on solid ground. Another disadvantage of performing athletic skills on unstable surfaces is the resulting reduction in strength. This reduction in strength is caused by co-contraction of opposing muscles on either side of a joint. For example, when performing a calf raise, the calf muscle is doing the work, while the muscle on your shin is opposing it. When performing a calf raise, you want maximal activation of your calf and minimal activation of your shin muscle. If your shin muscle is significantly active it will reduce the strength you are able to produce with your calf muscle. Simply put, when you perform a calf raise on an unstable surface, you basically confuse the muscles, resulting in less strength (less strength = less speed, less jump height, etc.). This reduction in strength is extremely detrimental to athletic performance.
Based on current research, the use of unstable surfaces outside of a rehabilitative setting (physical therapy) is not recommended. Exercise performed on unstable surfaces does not transfer well to stable surfaces (our everyday life) nor do the risks outweigh any beneficial adaptation. In addition, some experts believe there may be a reduction in stable surface performance for the same exercise. When developing training programs for clients, fitness practitioners must incorporate the principles of exercise science into a program that will allow their clients to reach their goals. Unless your goal is performing in the circus, or doing a great job balancing on top of a ball, don’t waste your time training on unstable surfaces!
Kashi Go Lean
Pre/During/Post Work Out
3.5 oz turkey
2 cups steamed veggies
4 oz. rotisserie chicken
1.5 oz whole grain pasta
1 oz goat cheese
Apple w/ Cinnamon
5 min warm up on speed bike
40 mins lifting upper body
20 mins cardio: jump rope/treadmill
Calories Burned: 562