Is fat burning after 50 possible? Yes.
Trickier than when you were 20? Yes.
How do you burn fat, and lose weight without increasing cortisol, making it all backfire on you anyway? Not in the traditional ways you’ve been taught to be sure.
The biggest fat burning mistakes women make are:
I’m hoping that by seeing that list you see that those attempts are often futile and have been for you too.
Five fat burning studies I’m sharing here will give you hope.
Fat burning studies I share with you today include:
Last, I share with you information about the how and why Fit-U was designed. A plan that dumps you off at the end without any idea of how to continue or progress is just wrong. A plan without allowances of unique individual response to foods, exercise, or daily habits, is setting you up for success.
I want you to “get it” and not to be co-dependant after you work through this. I hope you might continue to want to work on something.. but to have these basics under your belt! I hope you have new goals and next goals. Bigger goals that make you grin. Unlike fat loss goals that make most of us grimace. I’ve heard women declare they’re doing a race or taking a trip but never once have I heard an excited woman say I’m going on a fat loss plan. We just don’t brag about that. I want you to have goals you can’t keep quiet about.
Seriously, if you’re ready for a seriously good summer, register now and let’s do it.I’d love to coach you this next two months.
If you’re on the fence about joining Fit-u and you’re a show-it-to me girl, me too, I get that. I’d love for you to watch this webinar to get more clear on what you can do for fat burning after 50 and how to dump your old ideas about it!
Can you burn more fat today without scheduling another workout before the end of the day?
These things are easy and you can start right now. Yes, weight training and yes intervals, and even yoga can help you burn more fat. It all depends on your needs right now. Burning more calories can backfire on you and make you store more fat if you’re cortisol is high and you’re exhausting yourself. Burning fewer calories in yoga, but reducing your cortisol level, may be the right ticket for you. It’s personal. There is not a one-size fits all, and it is in constant flux! So listen to your needs or seek support for your best exercise Rx right now.
It’s one of the ways I adapted to life in the mountains. Women were telling me about their dry, crepe skin and I didn’t get it, until I moved to Boulder, then to 8800 ft. I’d look down while I was running and think, ew!! I didn’t FEEL dehydrated but I clearly was! You should also associate dizziness, light-headedness, or higher heart rate than usual and headaches with dehydration.
How hydration will help you burn more fat today:
If you’re dehydrated your body is stressed. When it’s stressed it slows your metabolism and doesn’t function the way it should. Every cell in your body needs water. The more water- up to a point- the better. Don’t over do it. You can reach a point where you’re losing nutrients. There’s a sweet spot for water consumption, but it’s a safe bet that if you’re reading this and haven’t had a glass of water in the last couple hours you’re dehydrated. Drink to your faster metabolism right now.
Hold the chemicals. No little packets of artificial sugar-sweetened drinks, or “vitamin water” full of sugar, even coconut water, help you’re hydration better than pure, filtered water does. Don’t fool yourself into glasses of Kombucha without acknowledging that there’s some sugar there. Water first.
It’s a simple way to boost the benefit of something this #youstillgotitgirl and smoothie lover hopes you’re doing anyway! If you slip a little magic of matcha powder into your smoothie about 60-90 minutes before intervals, you’ll burn up to 29% more fat today after exercise.
That adds up!
If you’re worried about caffeine, yes there is some, but considerably less than coffee. Plus, it has a different effect. Matcha offers the clarity and focus many of us like without the jittery, anxious negatives other caffeine sources can give you. Added plus – I’m writing this in cold-and-flu season: it’s a big immunity booster and recognized by the NIH as reducing risk of at least 5 cancers.
Most women in midlife know sleep is important. Still though, if you’re sabotaging yourself by staying up late – for good reasons- you want to spend time with your family, think again. (I challenge you, respectfully, that staring at a TV with another electronic in each of your hands, is not quality time. The message you send when you’re taking care of yourself and you’re 100% you the next day is far more positively influencing those loved ones.)
Without you hitting your sleep needs quota (a big part of the 28 Day Kickstart) you’ll sabotage those hormones that boost lean muscle. Lean muscle increases metabolism. A higher metabolism increases the chance you use stored fat instead more often.
I did say get to sleep earlier for a good reason. Sleep between 10 and 6 is proven to be more beneficial than sleep between 12 and 8. You may not need eight hours, you may need more but the point is there is a difference in benefit based on time you go to bed.
How sleep helps you burn more fat today:
You’ll release more growth hormone, support higher testosterone levels, and decrease negative interference of cortisol. All with a simple increase of your sleep time.
Skeptical even though you’d love to get more sleep because you can’t? Do one of two things. The 28-Day kickstart walks you through just when and what to do. It’s not just “exercise” that helps reduce hot flashes, night sweats or frequent waking. Its a specific type and timing and the lifestyle habits that support it. If you’ve tried everything, but potentially, randomly – let’s organize it, sequence it, and start romancing the pillow.
Especially at breakfast. Here’s the thought trail. You want to boost your metabolism so you burn more fat today and store less fat today. Metabolism is higher in those with more lean muscle tissue. Muscle requires protein for building blocks. You can exercise all you want to (yet, it doesn’t take MORE, it takes LESS exercise with better purpose to get the best results), but not be able to rebuild and repair fast enough without protein (and rest.)
Protein (and fiber) also kill cravings so you’ll give yourself the best chance of the next way to burn more fat today! Start with breakfast – your first meal of the day sets you up for success or failure. A high sugar (natural or not) and high carb breakfast will increase fat storage and halt fat burning.
A high protein breakfast – one study that’s been published in the Obesity journal found that 35 grams of protein at breakfast voluntarily reduce caloric intake among subjects just because of satisfaction. Now, you have to need to reduce calories for that to apply to you but the message is you’ll be able to go meal to meal without the need for anything. Similar findings have been found with peri-menopause women in follow up studies.
Eat well at meals. Include fat, protein, fiber, the right type and amount of carbohydrates and stop the snacking! Your body will never have a need to burn stored fat if you’re constantly giving it something to eat.
Make sure you’re clear on this point: this is not about diet deprivation or going hungry. It’s about filling up with the tons of foods that you want at every meal so that you’re not ever over hungry.
We want you hungry. Somewhere around three or four hours after a meal you should become aware that you could eat. Yet, there shouldn’t be any feelings of being sick or nauseas. If so, I address those and the why that’s happening with clients before we go forward.
When your body experiences mini-fasts between meals and overnight (stop the snacking at bedtime when your body could be burning fat overnight for you!) your hormones start participating in fat burning and less in fat storage.
A quick invite! If quick tips like this post appeal to you, my friend Heidi Schalk has put together a group of 20 experts for her Fit, Fabulous, and On Fire summit. Heidi and all the experts have struggle through something and reached the other side. They’re sharing their proven tips soon for you.
Register here for your complimentary ticket to listen in, receive simple tools & strategies to help you achieve your health & fitness goals, and claim your free gifts! >> CLICK HERE! I can’t wait to see you there!
The fat burning workout you need now is not the one you used to do! In fact if you’re spending an hour doing low slow work, or even intervals for that long, you’re messaging your body to store fat and your potentially losing muscle. There is a negative cascade of hormone responses that occurs when you’re not exercising optimally. That fat burning workout might be a fat storing workout. Whoa!?
If you’ve been exercising and putting more and more time in, you probably already feel this. Exercise may not give you the “rush” it used to, or you’re feeling flat during and after. You aren’t really looking forward to it or feeling recovered from it.
If you haven’t started exercising yet, lucky you! Let’s start a fat burning workout plan together right away.
First, it’s no what you think! It used to be we’d all go climb on the cardio. Then we’d move to another piece of cardio and do some more. Or maybe you were a class junkie and you’d go to two in a row or do the Stairmaster after class for a little more calorie burning. Sound familiar? (Trust me, I’ve made this mistake myself so I know!)
The secret after 50 to a true fat burning workout isn’t even cardio. You’ll need some, you have a heart, after all. But you need so much less than we ever used to think. We need strength training. We’ve got to keep those muscles, or in some cases, get a little muscle back that we’ve lost. (Muscle development peaks at age 25. If we aren’t specifically doing something to make it stick around we lose that… muscle takes our metabolism with it.)
Better. You feel more energy after. Even during. I won’t say you’re going to love going as hard as you can for 30 seconds or a minute, or going to fatigue. That’s only because I don’t know you! Here’s what a Flipping 50 Cafe Member said this morning: I love this kind of workout: it makes me feel strong!
This workout is going to focus on strength training with weights. I know I see and love some of my colleagues who use body weight only. I’ll tell you why I don’t love that for those of us over 50.
We have a real and more urgent need to work on posture, especially the upper back. Unless you can do pull ups that’s impossible to do with body weight.
We need to do a little less pushing. With body weight, push ups are a staple. They don’t serve our imbalances very well.
You’ll find it hard to fatigue with body weight in all exercises. Your lower body is where your gold mine for fat burning workouts hangs out! You need to reach fatigue using those muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) though in order to change your change and burn fat. It might take hundreds of reps to fatigue with body weight only and yet your joints are going to complain before you get there.
Enter weight training. Here are the fat burning workout commandments:
These are 10 exercises you do a minute each. The goal is quality, not quantity, so no rapid movements, the slower you go the more your muscles have to do the work. If you fatigue before a minute just rest or switch early. If you don’t fatigue that may be a sign you need a heavier weight next time. Alternatively you can do each exercise for a specific number of reps. This comes from one of the workouts in The Whole Flip. If you prefer a video to put a personal trainer in your living room, you can learn more here.
Are you doing a fat burning workout with weights at home or at the gym?
Thanks for reading and sharing your comments. Stop by and connect with us in the Flipping 50 Facebook community.
It donned on me as I pulled off my high school softball jersey that it’s been 36 years since I had that on.
Tell me I’m not alone. It seems like a couple years ago maybe. Maybe 10. But 35? That happens to other people!
I kind of like that. The fact that so much has happened. Some bad, some sad. So much of it good. And it still seems like yesterday. I still think young. I think it’s part of the secret. And here is the rest of the secret. These really small, but difference-making flips. They are the needle movers. There are things that make these needle movers each possible. For instance, eating the right-for-me food, getting the right-for-me sleep, drinking plenty of water, and getting exercise and exercise. I honestly don’t know which comes first.
Same wake time every day.
I’ve tried “sleeping in.” I’ve tried getting up whenever. I just feel lazy all day. Even if I go to bed late, I love morning. I love getting up early and having the quiet time to create, write, plan before anyone or anything interrupts me. There is one exception: If I have to meet someone early, I’ll get up earlier to have my time first.
I’m a firm believer that the body does best on a pretty regular schedule. If you give it some routine it will respond with predicable results.
Start with a tall glass of body alkalizing lemon water.
This hydration habit is good for so many things. The body does best well hydrated. Metabolism, digestion, and endurance are all better. This first glass is most important to me because of the message it sends. I’m just telling myself, this is something I do, it’s part of my life. And I continue it all day.
Spend time quietly preparing for the day
This is definitely a part of the early wake time – without that this couldn’t happen. But there’s a big difference between getting up and turning on TV or music or jumping right into the shower to head to work and what I do. I write, and sometimes read – doing research on a topic I’m using in a program or presentation. It’s sky time though. Possibilities and creativity define this time. Sometimes I’ll be working on ideas not even knowing what they’ll become yet. It isn’t important that there is an end product after this time daily. The time daily to do that is the purpose.
Who else gives us those moments of “free reading time” or journaling at this point in our lives?
High intensity exercise early
This is the best and only time for high intensity training for me any more. I might hike or do yoga, or golf or play with kids but intervals or runs and heavy weights happen best for me early in the day. I do sometimes lift late in the day. But when I do my work intensity is lower than when I do it early.
Fat burning is boosted all day with early exercise and hormone balance is enhanced. Both are important to me!
High protein breakfast timed right
This piggy-backs right off of the high intensity exercise done early. A high protein breakfast about 60 to 90 minutes after a good exercise session is optimal for muscle protein synthesis. After 50, and for a woman, this is crucial for staying lean, and having high energy to keep moving through life. It doesn’t take tons of exercise, if you’re moving and busy with an active engaged life.
If I had to offer more fat burning tips, that don’t seem at all like fitness tips, they would be these:
Don’t do anything in moderation. Don’t love in moderation. Don’t set goals in moderation. Don’t go for them in moderation. Moderation is like beige. No body notices it or gets excited about it. Most importantly, you. Eat well like your life depends on it. Find movement you love and go crazy about it in short spurts. Sleep like crazy, not when you’re dead. I’ve said that too but I was wrong. You’ll end up living most days like you already are if you don’t get your best rest. If you love someone don’t hold back. They aren’t guaranteed to be there tomorrow. Don’t be politically correct. Stand for something. Go against the opposition – loudly, if you don’t believe in it. Find a cause, a passion. Put your worry into action instead of letting it poison your body.
Now you. I’m sure you’ve got something to add. Let’s go. We don’t live on this planet for 5 or more decades without gaining some wisdom. I’d love to hear from you.
Sleep is the hinge on which swings your ability to make your exercise and nutrition habits pay off. Without quality sleep your hormones are truly “wanky” and your low in ones you need high (growth hormone, testosterone) and high in ones you need low (cortisol, which has negative impact on ghrelin and leptin).
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. You produce less of it as you age. You can take a melatonin supplement and we discuss when and how in my programs. As with most things, food first is the goal. You too may prefer that. Here are a few foods that help boost your body’s level of melatonin by providing tryptophan, B6, or melatonin. Tryptophan can be converted to serotonin (with the help of vitamin B6) and then converted to melatonin. Animal and fish protein are good sources of tryptophan, too. Adding the right carbohydrates to your evening meal promotes relaxation. [Remember, if you’re carb-phobic: if you don’t sleep you won’t be able to maintain lean muscle tissue so it may be a lack of right carbs instead of too many carbs at night keeping that belly fat on or prevent you from maintaining lean muscle.]
The following foods have ingredients that help boost your sleep by helping this process. Include them in your diet all day:
Ironically, many of the books written five or more years ago include instructions to “eat these foods before bed.” In fact, close the kitchen after your evening meal! The less your body has to do the better. Don’t make it choose between digesting and sleeping when cellular repair and memory should be the focus. If you have trouble with digestion as you age, you’ll have less, and look younger potentially with fewer bags under your eyes, when you curb evening snack attacks. Eat a meal rich with good carbs, protein, healthy fats and fiber and you shouldn’t be hungry before bed.
Cherry- Banana Nice Cream
Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse then blend until smooth. Add liquid in tablespoons at a time to keep it thick. Enjoy immediately or freeze and scoop as you would ice cream. Best right after a meal to reduce risk of blood sugar spike. You can add a few cherries and or raw cacao nibs for texture and color at the end, leaving them in larger chunks.
So many of the Flipping Fifty community that reach out to me have a significant amount of weight to lose and are determined that fewer calories and more exercise is the answer.
Stop! If that’s you, you’re potentially driving that result you want further away. You’re messaging your body to slow down instead of increasing your metabolism and optimizing your energy so you want to be more active. Active people are at optimal weight.
Fat burning exercise for women in menopause or post is tricky.
Intense exercise is one of the best ways to boost fat burning during and after exercise for hours. The boost in metabolism during recovery can increase resting metabolism for 15 to 48 hours while the body fully recovers.
OK, so you’re thinking, let’s do intense exercise! Let’s go for 48 hours if that’s the upper level!
One way of achieving “high intensity” is long duration, and another is high intensity interval training. Still another is high intensity weight training. Long duration moderate and high intensity activity increase cortisol. Interval training with less rest between intervals can also increase cortisol.
That’s where the speed bump comes in.
If you’re in menopause your body is more susceptible to the negative impact of cortisol.
That’s where it gets tricky.
If you’re at halftime in your life or in your second half, you need to identify your Goldilocks combination of these three things to do fat burning exercise that negates cortisol:
Because, yes, you do want short bouts of intense exercise to increase your Human Growth Hormone (HGH), and testosterone, as these help you increase lean muscle that boosts your metabolism. But too much of a good thing will backfire on you.
When your body is subject to elevated cortisol levels, or plummeting cortisol, or cortisol levels simply all over the board at the wrong times of day (stare at the ceiling at 2am much?), forcing exercise intensities that would be appropriate for someone we fitness pros have long called “apparently healthy,” will backfire.
That is a hint that while jumping into a bootcamp, or extreme program with all ages and levels can be fun, if you’re beginning to feel tired, frequently or chronically injured, not fresh when the next workout comes around, one or more of those three components isn’t right for you. Another hint you aren’t in the exercise routine? You feel great during…shortly after… but you’re not losing weight, feel like a truck hit you the next morning and you just keep trying to overcome it.
Your Personal Flip: If you can extend a rest period between exercises or lifts and still do the session, or you can skip a day without penalty or losing the day so you can recover better, these may be ways you can make a program fit you instead of trying to make your body fit the program.
Flipping clarity: Resting more does not indicate you’re any less fit. It might, yes. Beginning exercise you do need more rest. However, in the second fifty most adults at every fitness level need a bit more recovery. We can go hard (if by choice we want to), but our much-loved, a few-more-miles-on-them, joints-ligaments-muscles will perform better (and burn more fat) if we give them recovery they need. Break down again too quickly with a repeated exercise bout slows or stops lean muscle growth and may lead to muscle losses.
Heavy weight training, if you can tolerate it, has a much greater impact on fat burning than does circuit training. Check out the blog I wrote recently that addresses the difference between being fatigued (tired after a session of frenzied-pace movements) vs. true muscle fatigue.
Do you observe younger fitness pros using body-weight only exercise? Bodyweight training is still trending in 2017 among fitness professionals polled. This is a part of the gap between what you need and what’s available when you seek programs. The change in lean muscle and in bone density is limited by fatigue-inducing exercise of simply moving exercise-to-exercise quickly with body weight exercise.
Use of weight training that causes true muscle fatigue, and it may be body weight, but there are limits to exercises you can do with body weight-only that feature your major muscle groups. Starting younger to work with weights can help you prevent muscle losses that average about 0.5 pounds of muscle a year. That’s 5 pounds of muscle loss a decade. That’s average. Some will lose more than that and some less.
If you’ve cut calories and kept protein intake too low frequently since you were age 30 your losses are most likely greater than average.
If you haven’t done resistance training to fatigue, your muscle losses also were increased. We know that you can’t “outrun” or out Zumba, or ____________ (insert your favorite cardio exercise) muscle or bone losses.
You must use resistance training to help avoid muscle and bone losses.
It’s never to late.
If you haven’t been resistance training its never too late to start. You can change your body composition (to increase lean and lose fat) within weeks. According to research by Wayne Wescott in 2009 average increases in lean tissue in four weeks are 3 pounds, and average loss of fat is 4 pounds. So, no, the scale is not going to change much. She’s a liar, anyway. She doesn’t tell the whole story. Your clothes are going to fit better. You can actually change your shape and proportions with weight training in a way you can never do with aerobic only conditioning.
Let’s clear up one more thing. It’s not about how many calories you burn during the exercise. It’s about the hormone activity. So yes, when you can add intensity, it’s smart. When you first need to balance your hormones you can’t skip ahead. If you’re torching calories and causing more stress from higher cortisol levels you will feel tired but not better. You may be fatter not fitter.
Walking, yoga, stretching or stand up paddle boarding, are activities that have never been known to be big calorie burners. Yet, if you enjoy them and they decrease your stress levels, they may help you shed weight that cortisol is causing you to hold onto.
So, while you’re adding one or more of the following higher intensity exercises to your routine, don’t skip these lighter activities and the stress hormone reduction that they do to aid your fat loss. The Journal of Physiological Anthropology published an article in March of 2007 about walking outdoors in nature’s ability to reduce cortisol levels. Get out of your dark basement and away from city streets if possible.
We’ve fallen into the trap of more is better. If interval training for 20 minutes is good, then 40 minutes must be better, right? Not so fast.
When you truly go hard, you’ll need to go short. When you begin to extend your time, you will increase risk of injury as you lose form, get sloppy, and the overall contrast between “high intensity” interval and recovery interval will disappear. When this happens you’re missing the benefit of interval training. Push hard on the accelerator and then slow for the red light. Repeat it over and over and you know that compared to your gas mileage on the open highway you use way too much gas. You want that effect on your body during intervals. You want that ineffective way to exercise because it uses more fuel, burns more energy. When you do that during exercise, the pay back and “after burn” is much greater.
It’s about the after-burn. Higher intensity exercise wins compared to lower or steady state exercise in the amount of energy expended and total fat burned.
That said, it’s also about your ability to recover. The following are research-proven ways to exercise and boost fat burning after exercise modified for higher cortisol levels true of midlife women. If you’re belly fat is telling you that cortisol is changing the game for you, shift your exercise plan for better results. Say yes to these and in between, add some joy-factor moves to your day. Yoga, gardening, anything outdoors… are all a part of your big plan.
Increase the Fat Burning Effect of Exercise Long After Exercise with these:
Thanks for sharing this blog. Let’s Flip 50 together!
There are myths and mistakes all around when it comes to fat. What exercise makes you burn more fat? What foods make you store more fat? What lifestyle habits do lean women share? I’m going to focus today on the fitness and fuel part of the equation. If you want the full story on all things fat storage, fat burning, and you flipping 50 … join me Wednesday night (if you’re reading this in real time) Wednesday night this week. Details at the bottom of the page too.
1. Do you burn more fat exercising:
A. at lower intensity?
B. at higher intensity?
2. Do you burn more fat with:
A. cardiovascular exercise?
B. resistance training exercise?
3. Do you burn more fat if you exercise:
A. in a fasted state (before breakfast)
B. in a fueled state (something in your stomach)
4. Do you burn more fat:
A. on a low calorie diet
B. on a high calorie diet
C. on a low protein diet
D. on a low carb diet
E. on a low fat diet
5. Do you burn more fat during resistance training with:
A. light weight and more repetitions
B. heavy weight and few repetitions
6. What influences total fat burning more?
A. duration of exercise
B. intensity of exercise
7. Which is more important?
A. Fat loss
B. Weight loss
8. How do you measure fat loss?
B. Body composition testing
If you have ANY confusion about which answer to pick on ANY of those questions… don’t be surprised, embarrassed or shocked! MOST women get many of these wrong, or are confused.
The right answer to many of them is truly, IT DEPENDS. And in some cases, both answers are “right.”
You see, for one, that myth about the “fat burning zone” is not a myth. You DO burn more fat for fuel at low intensity exercise. For instance, are you sitting down reading this? You’re burning 99% fat for fuel right now.
How well is that working for you? Are you skinny mini? The problem with low intensity exercise when you say, go to get on the treadmill, is that it burns energy so slowly it just isn’t going to matter even if what your burning is mostly fat.
You can take advantage of that kind of burn by being a more active person all the time. Walk the dog more. Garden. Golf. Clean your house. These are better than rest for sure, and if they set the foundation for your life and you also get exercise (and eat the types of food that help you burn more fat), you are on your way. Yes, at your age.
Want more information? Register for the webinar Wednesday, March 8. It’s (fat-) free and you can get the recording if you can’ make it.
Q: Should you do movements in all three planes?
Q: Should you do a Turkish Get Up?
A: Not necessarily.
Q: Should you do Pilates? on a Mat or a Reformer?
Q: Should you do one legged movements?
Q: Should you only exercise with body weight, suspension tools, balls or props?
Q: Should you use machines, free weights, and or cables?
A: Yes. (to all of the above, that wasn’t a question of picking between)
“Functional exercise” is defined by so many personal trainers in the way they each individually define it. I then, am no different. What matters is what you determine as functional. You should co-create this definition with your trainer, coach, or for yourself before you begin.
Exercises that help you get to the end goal and results you want are, for me, “functional” for you.
For a woman who has hunched posture, has been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and is beginning an exercise program, machine weights that offer a stable environment where she can safely exercise, learn the proper form, and begin to recruit more muscle fibers is functional.
Trainers who walk a strict line for body weight, staying away from machines, sometimes are creating a self-serving way of causing your dependency on them. There are only so many options on a machine weight, for instance. Teaching you proper technique in a session or two, means you no longer need them for this task.
We know thanks to studies performed by Wescott in 2008 (along with many other studies done using machine weights because they minimize variables in movement), using machine weights with a traditional exercise program can decrease fat an average of 4 pounds in 4 weeks, and increase lean muscle by 3 pounds in four weeks. That isn’t a change on the scale, but is definitely going to impact Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).
When lean muscle increases, RMR goes up. When lean muscle decreases, RMR goes down.
Your goal then, then if you want to lose weight (fat), is to do what BEST increases your lean muscle mass.
Lifting weight to fatigue is necessary for increases in lean tissue to occur.
Lifting with free weights, or body weight, in order to fatigue the muscles and truly overload would be limited by joint issues, the number of exercises any one individual can perform (body weight limits major muscle group exercise selection that’s due to overload and relies often on speed: not the same resulting muscle increase). For a beginner moving to intermediate exerciser, free weight use at a level in order to reach fatigue may not be possible. Safety for joints if you’re exercising alone without a spotter, or access to heavy weight can be a problem for some.
That, again, makes machine weights, functional.
Fatigue is key in recent studies (or not so recent but recently increasing in circulation again). That was a relief for those wanting or needing due to joints to use smaller weights. One problem with “functional” only exercise sessions is the fact that there is no fatigue of the muscle. There is often breathlessness and fast movement from one exercise to the next and during each exercise. You are fatigued. But it’s not the same as temporary muscle failure.
Take a step backward with me. We all know rules are meant to be broken and science and statistics can be manipulated to change the appearance of anything. But time under tension is a component of strength training that can’t be ignored. Slowly lifting a 5 pound weight vs. quickly lifting it, the exact same number of times, would feel very different. The overload of the muscle would be far greater done slowly. Try it.
To do it authentically in your comparison you’ll need to do this two different days this week. One day use something light for you – maybe it’s not 5 pounds. Do a chest press and do 15 repetitions at your “normal” tempo.
Wait two days and then use the exact same weight. Slow down so that if you were taking 1-2 seconds to lift and 3-4 to lower (few people go this slowly even!), double your time so that you take 2-4 seconds to lift, and 6-8 seconds to lower. Attempt the exact same amount of repetitions.
Feel a difference?
There are all kinds of “right” methods of lifting. Adding power for instance, is a part of You Still Got It, Girl videos because it increases energy expenditure, support a metabolism boost, and increases bone density results over traditional slow lifting. However, the eccentric, or lowering phase of exercise is always slow in power. You are always in control.
Back to functional-only exercise. Looking at bootcamp exercise. Solely doing rapid movements keeps you from fatiguing the muscle in such a way you recruit more fibers, and enhance the lean tissue. Is using a battle rope “good for you?” Yes, it can be. It can be fun and a way to incorporate variety. Yet, if you’re goal is weight loss, boosting that lean muscle done by lifting a weight to cause overload will have a greater impact on your resting metabolism.
Seek balance, not just on one leg, but in your overall program. I encourage you to write down your goals in descending order.
Then review your exercise program to see if you’re spending the largest percent of your time on your #1 goal, a smaller percent of time on goal #2 and so on. Yes, they should all be present and they can co-exist happily. But if your goal is fat loss, be sure you aren’t spending 80% of your time increasing your agility, reaction skills, and balance. Read more in You Still Got It, Girl! the book. I address the three most common goals women present to me in 32 years: weight/fat loss, bone density, and performance (for golf, running, or swinging grandchildren!)
(Can’t make it? Register if you’d like the recording. Sent to all registrants).
I’ve done the research on fat burning and fat storage. Not for “anybody” but specifically for women peri and post-menopause. I’ll share the most common mistakes so you can flip them and turn “off” fat storage and turn “on” fat burning.
If you want more information about Fit U (a by-application-only) fat loss program for women with a minimum of 20 pounds to lose, contact me now while the pilot program is accepting registrants at 50% off. This live coaching event is for those ready to invest in themselves and work with a coach and community of professional women who want the energy and confidence to make a difference in the world.
Reviewing a variety of interval training protocols (and yes, I share two with you here) to use for a new Flipping 50 Fit U program [designed for women who have more than 20 pounds to lose, and between 50 and 100 pounds is the sweet spot] I’ve been reminded of interesting phenomenon that continues to be buried in programming and marketing of fitness programs.
I invite you to examine these two interval training protocols:
If you do the math (as I do as a conditioning coach) on volume of work the two protocols are identical. During each session you would be doing 16 minutes of high intensity exercise.
In a Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published study comparing the two protocols, the energy expenditure had to be the same, so researchers had subjects do the 1-minute intervals at 94% of their max and the 4 minute intervals at 90% of their max.
To give you some relativity… you’re most likely to choose a level at about 60% to do steady state exercise. You’re intervals during a class or session might reach 85% if you can still talk through your breathlessness. In other words, 94% gets out of your comfort zone.
If I asked you to guess –before reading further – which of these two protocols was most effective for increasing fat burning and energy expenditure… what would you say?
Actually, both are equally effective in boosting metabolism, fitness level, and perceived as fairly similar in intensity. Specifically, the longer intervals at 90% were more comfortable for subjects than 1-minute intervals at 94%. So while you might be thinking let’s get these things over with and do 1-minute bouts, because they’re so high intensity, you may prefer the 4-minute bout if you were held under heart rate conditions and your intensity were actually measured.
Short recovery between work intervals prevents complete glycogen restoration which is a part of the theory behind intervals. Depleting glycogen then supports the pathway that makes exercise more exhausting and thus increases fat burning afterward to restore. In a sense, you dig a deeper hole, it takes longer to fill it back up.
The high intensity of shorter intervals required to provide such post-exercise recovery makes exercise extremely uncomfortable. So much that before you might see results you would quit or be injured.
If you have over 20 pounds to lose, exercise itself, let alone high intensity exercise, is tricky to maneuver. Any trainer can tell you that you should be doing high intensity intervals but the 50% dropout rate still true of new exercisers suggests that self-selected exercise intensity especially if you’re more overweight, is a better way to stick to it. If you apply a specific intensity to your intervals as indicated by someone else vs. you self-select, the chance you’ll drop out rate is far greater.
A prime example of high intensity interval training is the popular Tabata intervals. Exercising hard for 20 seconds to recover for 10 seconds before repeating a total of 8 times in four minutes prevents real recovery. The research done on Tabata was done with elite cyclists (whose backsides are about as wide as a 2 x 4 and who spend hours cycling regularly up steep climbs). Few of us mere mortals choose to work that hard, or even are willing to when told this is the direct path to increased fat burning metabolism boosting.
Faulty Form, Faulty Results
By the time an exerciser – you or me – is at the 6th, 7th, or 8th repetition of the intervals – often doing exercise such as a “burpee” which requires zero creativity and prevents form and technique cueing – they have often lost good form. To pick on the burpee specifically, jumping to weight bearing on shoulders in a push up position, with head down to heart level then returning upright with a jump all the while under a zealous trainer’s coaching to go as fast as possible is an injury waiting to happen.
We’ve gone full circle. From large group exercise in the 80s to personal training in the 90s meant to get more specific and direct answers to clients’ questions, back to big boot camps and group training that focus on fast movements and Workout Of the Day (WOD), or posts to social media that list a series of exercises that you should do without every asking what your goals and status are and that suppose every one of us is the same.
Twenty-five years ago research was looking at the use of arms during aerobic dance exercise. Did arm work falsely elevate heart rate? That was the question. In my estimation, a ‘burpee” falsely creates “work” that elevates heart rate with a flurry of activity without actually providing movement that has benefit to real life or that encourages good posture in getting to the floor or rising (the action of a burpee).
The same is true for boot camps that suggest you get strength and cardio in the same session. Moving quickly from one exercise to the next you are forced to reduce the amount of weight you lift compared to a focused strength training session. You may have an elevated heart rate but is it productive toward the goals you have? Or is it simply causing breathlessness and fatigue so you have the impression you’ve “worked hard?” And is it potentially setting you up for risk of injury by supporting more momentum. While you’re flipping tires are you being cued to use your legs and not your back, for instance? Or are you being encouraged to get the task done as quickly as possible?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Have you begun interval training programs only to drop out? Have you experienced any increase in injury from participating in boot camps or fast- moving workouts? On the flip side, have you experienced good results?
If you or someone you know has a significant amount of weight to lose and you’re interested in applying to Flipping 50’s Fit U click here for more details. We’re currently holding a 50% off enrollment offer.
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 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.