Fat Burning

Author: Melissa Hart, CPT II, Fitness Instructor, Fitness Appraiser
Yes, the two are related. Weight training, if done properly, can be a great aid in weight loses. So often I see women in the gym sitting down on the floor mats doing crunch after crunch for 20, 30, 40 minutes at a time. I ask them why they are doing so many abdominal exercises, and they reply that they want to lose weight around their tummy. I actually had one women start to cry when I told her the truth about why she was completely counter acting her weight lose goal by doing so many abdominal crunches at one time. Your not helping, you are making it worse, I told her.

You are walking on the treadmill, 20 minutes into your workout you body begins to release hormones (cortisol, epinephrine, etc), which the body uses to break down fat. 40 minutes into your treadmill workout, your body actually starts releasing these hormones are a regular rate. This means you have a good steady fat burn occurring. This is why it is recommended that a low intensity workout last 50-60 minutes. What does this have to do with weight training? A lot. When you do your weight training, and you do it proper (there is a catch), the body releases these hormones, therefore, when you do your aerobic training after your weight training (and we always do it after), you body is ready and set to start burning that fat, you don't have to wait that 20-40 minutes.

Now what is the catch? The catch is lactic acid. We all know about lactic acid, that pain we feel when we think we are having a good workout. This couldn't be further from the truth, unless you are training for body building purposes. If your goal is weight loss, and strength gain, lactic acid is your enemy. All lactic acid does is tear the muscle, fatigue the muscle, and cause you a great deal of pain. Most of the time you can't even
n complete you last set because you are too tired. A good rule of thumb, your first repetition should be just as good as your last repetition of your last set. Why bother with that third set if your technique is sloppy and you can't lift 4 let alone 10. Your total volume (reps x sets) is about 22, when it should be 40. Who is going to get more gains, the person with 40 great reps of one exercise, or the person with barely 22 of the same exercise? Here is the kicker, all this lactic acid that your body is building up will come back to haunt you with your aerobic workout. Not only will it be very painful and extremely tiresome, but it will also hinder fat lose. The body will burn lactic acid as a fuel as a defense mechanism. It will flush away most of that lactic acid instead of burning that fat that you desperately want to get rid up. Now you can see why that woman doing 20 minutes of pure abs to lost weight is kicking herself in the behind.

So how do we make sure that we don't create lactic acid? This solution is very easy, lots of rest, and remember, 15 seconds. The body will only create lactic acid after 20 seconds of the same activity. If you keep all your repetitions under 15 seconds, which usually can be done in 8 reps, you will not be creating lactic acid. Also, the muscle must rest 2-3 minutes before performing the same activity to ensure no lactic acid build up. Whole body-circuit type workouts are great for this. Perform one set of an upper body exercise followed but a lower body. Repeat this pattern for the entire body.
You should finish this work out energized and ready for anything. This workout can be done 2-5 times per week, and because there is no pain, there will be lots of gains. Remember, a fitness program won't work if you won't do it.