Research on the beneficial fat burning boost of interval training is abundant.
There’s a significant boost in fat burning after exercise with intermittent, or interval, exercise as compared to steady state kinds of exercise.
I wrote in You Still Got It, Girl! The After 50 Fitness Formula For Women about the hormone-balancing boon of interval training and included science-based evidence that this is true provided the frequency and duration are reasonable (low).
There are few arguments about interval training’s benefits.
There are valid concerns about rate of injury with interval training. Increased use of speed is known to increase rate of injury. Inadequate recovery between high intensity exercise sessions also increases damage while blunting benefits of fat burning. When inflammation and stress are present fat storage increases and fat burning decreases.
Simply, there is a sweet spot for interval training. It’s best at 1-2 times a week frequency with several days between to allow for recovery. Duration is best kept to short sessions.
Assuming (though always dangerous) you were following a smart interval training protocol 1-2 times a week, would there be another way to further increase your fat burning benefits of exercise?
It appears the answer to that question is yes.
Green Tea Benefits
Green tea has long been a favorite source of antioxidants. Catechins in green tea may increase fat oxidation by inhibiting an enzyme that makes your fight-or-flight response slow or stop. When you’re system is revved up longer as during a stressful situation or by exercise, you will expend more energy and fat.
The amount of green tea required to boost metabolism is about 10 cups a day however, so at the least, a little prohibitive for most women.
Matcha, however, makes ingesting that amount of green tea extract easier.
Taking matcha about an hour and a half before exercise with a bit of caffeine (20 mg used in studies) increased both resting and exercise fat oxidation by 24% and 29% respectively. Studies using decaffeinated tea did not result in any change in body weight, BMI, or measurements.
Diet alone results in a loss of weight but also an unfavorable decrease in lean muscle tissue. In the long term, this reduces metabolism and results in weight regain when diet changes resume under the traditional “go on a diet” methodology followed by too many. In one study where diet alone was tested 15/16 in the diet only group lean muscle mass was reduced. Exercise paired with energy reduction (fewer but higher quality calories) resulted in 50% less chance of muscle losses.
How Much Matcha and When
About 90 minutes before interval training exercise, have a tsp. of matcha in your pre-exercise shake.
We also know that adequate protein for adults over 50 in combination with regular exercise and especially with any reduction in calories is crucial to spare muscle losses. Research I included in You Still Got It, Girl! stated that 24 grams of protein before moderate to vigorous exercise and about 40 grams of protein within about 90 minutes post exercise were optimal for helping older adults retain lean muscle mass.
I often have a pre-exercise shake that includes protein and matcha that leaves out fat and fiber that may interfere stomach clearing before my workout. Post-exercise I may have a more full fat, fiber, protein, fruit and veggie rich smoothie or sit down to a high-quality protein rich meal.
In summary, the simple combination of matcha, protein, and interval training may help you boost your fat burning potential, to a level that’s 30% greater than what you’re doing now. Though studies have yet to include matcha’s influence on fat burning post resistance training, since we know that the post-exercise oxygen consumption with resistance training is higher than cardiovascular activity, the suggestion is there that matcha prior to your weight training session would also boost your fat burning benefits.
Dostal AM1, Samavat H1, Espejo L1, Arikawa AY2, Stendell-Hollis NR3, Kurzer MS4. Green Tea Extract and Catechol-O-Methyltransferase Genotype Modify Fasting Serum Insulin and Plasma Adiponectin Concentrations in a Randomized Controlled Trial of Overweight and Obese Postmenopausal Women. J Nutr. 2016 Jan;146(1):38-45. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.222414. Epub 2015 Nov 18.
Gahreman D1, Wang R2, Boutcher Y3, Boutcher S4. Green Tea, Intermittent Sprinting Exercise, and Fat Oxidation. Nutrients. 2015 Jul 13;7(7):5646-63. doi: 10.3390/nu7075245.
Kim JH1, Park Y2. Combined Effects of Phytochemicals and Exercise on Fatty Acid Oxidation. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2016 Dec 31;20(4):20-26. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2016.0053.
Miller CT1, Fraser SF1, Levinger I2, Straznicky NE3, Dixon JB4, Reynolds J5, Selig SE1. The effects of exercise training in addition to energy restriction on functional capacities and body composition in obese adults during weight loss: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2013 Nov 25;8(11):e81692. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081692. eCollection 2013.
The best way to boost your fat burning is to stick with a program that’s designed to progress and keep challenging your body, while still remaining safe and sane so it fits into your life. If you have at least 25 pounds to lose and you want to learn more about the Flipping 50’s Fit to Burn program this spring, send me an email at [email protected] with Fit to Burn in the subject line. We’re limiting this program to a small group so we can help you track your progress and give you special attention, so don’t wait if you’re ready to invest in yourself.