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Tuesday, 6 March 2012

H.I.I.T v L.S.D ? Why not use both.

A Smart answer to the HIIT versus LSD Debate

Like Ford versus Holden or Audi versus BMW the debate has long raged about what is better - High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or Long Slow Distance (LSD).  Like the car analogy both work. But when it comes to fat loss they work in different ways hence the debate continues to rage.

HIIT increases the metabolism after the exercise session through what is called EPOC - Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption.  During the workout, due to the intensity, glycogen or ATP is the primary fuel source however fat is burnt AFTER the session.

LSD uses fat as it's primary fuel source meaning you are burning fat whilst you are working out - if you exercise for 40mins then you are burning fat for 40 mins.  Actually this isn't quite true as it takes sometime for the body to start releasing fatty acids.

HIIT workouts are typically shorter but not everyone likes the intensity involved hence the preference for LSD however too many people confuse Long Slow Distance with Long STOPPED Distance and don't exercise at enough of an intensity to burn fat.

So far we have introduced HIIT, LSD and EPOC and here's another acronym - S.A.I.L which stands for Specific Adaptation to Implied Load.  Basically if you do the same exercise each morning like going for a brisk walk or bicycle ride your body, over time, becomes more efficient at it and requires less energy (fat) in order to complete the task so LSD becomes less effective.

But rather than debate which is more effective - HIIT or LSD why not leverage the metabolic benefits of both ?  

Huh ?

HIIT triggers the sympathetic nervous system (aka the Fight or Flight response) which causes the release of fat burning hormones like catecholamines.  These becomes the catalyst for free fatty acids to dump into the body at a steady rate.  So far so good.  But what happens to these free fatty acids ?  If they are not consumed then they are stored.  For men, fat is most easily stored around the abdomen, for women it's the buttocks (both of these are a throw back to primitive man) so HIIT can literally move unburnt fat to the area where you least want it.

So lets go back to LSD.  What does LSD use as it's fuel source ?  Free fatty acids.  Like bring a dog in to clean up the crumbs off the carpet LSD can 'clean up' the free fatty acids released by HIIT to prevent them being stored.

Here's how it works...

1.  An easy warmup to facilitate blood flow to the muscles and balance insulin.  This is vital as it's nearly impossible to burn fat in the presence of insulin.

2.  A short, intense HIIT work out.  This can be done using a treadmill, bike, elliptical trainer or even kettle bells or body weight.

3.  A strategically timed rest period to enable the dumping of free fatty acids and prevent re-esterification.

4.  A short low intensity (but not NO intensity) workout to 'clean up' the free fatty acids and prevent their storage where you least want it.

1 - 4
HIIT Burst

30 seconds Hard/30 seconds easy x 5-10
9 / 1
Strategic Rest
Steady State Cardio (LSD)

Intensity Level

Warmup.  Brisk Walk or slow jog.
Power Walk.  Should be able to hold a conversation but still feel like you are working.  Don't go too hard though or you will start burning blood sugar (glycogen) instead of fat.
Flat out.  As hard as you can go.  It's only 30 seconds so give it all you've got.  

The key with the hard reps is to make them as hard as you can.  It is better to start with 5 reps (that's only 2 1/2 minutes of actual 'work') and build up to 10 reps (5 minutes) than to do 10 at 80% intensity.

If time permits increase the Steady State Cardio to 40 mins for even more benefit.

Do this work out 3 times a week and your total workout time is 2-3 hours (which out of 168 hours in a week isn't much).  Leave two days at least between sessions.  Why ?  Well you 'A' Type personalities may want to do this every day but this can be counter productive.  Firstly it is hard to maintain the same intensity and focus every day so you may not get the benefit from the HIIT.  Secondly the HIIT sessions can cause muscle breakdown - muscle burns energy so less muscle means less calories burnt which means more fat stored.  I don't think I need to explain why that is a bad thing…

Try to do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach as insulin levels are low first thing in the morning.  If you can't do it then try and do it at least two hours after eating again when insulin levels are lower.

Disclaimer (sorry - has to be done)
This information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor and this is not meant to be taken as medical advice. The information provided in this guide is based upon my experiences as well as my interpretations of the current research available.
The advice and tips given are meant for healthy adults only. You should consult your doctor to insure tips given in this course are appropriate for your individual circumstances.
If you have any health issues or pre-existing conditions, please consult with your doctor before implementing any of the information provided below.
This article is for informational purposes only and the author does not accept any responsibilities for any liabilities or damages, real or perceived, resulting from the use of this information.

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