First I would like to take this opportunity to say Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2014 is the year you achieve all your dreams and goals that you set for yourself. Now is definitely the time to work out exactly what it is you want as if you set no goals for yourself, you will hit them every time! Basically, it means if you have nothing to aim for, you won’t actually get anywhere.
One of our Facebook followers, Chris Beavis, recently asked a question “What type of training runs (along with good nutrition) would help with weight loss? I’m guessing his goal for 2014 is to lose a few pounds.
With so many diets out there teaching you to count your calories, points, days where you cut out certain macro nutrients, avoid certain colour foods etc, it’s no surprise people are quite confused about what they should do. But the simple answer to losing weight is firstly good nutrition. In losing weight, nutrition is 80% of it with exercise only playing a 20% role in it. It’s actually an old saying that you can’t outrun a bad diet!
But what is good nutrition? In my opinion, it is a diet, or eating plan, where your blood sugar is kept stable and at the lower end of the spectrum. Eating high carb foods all day is just a bad idea, even if you do train for a few hours a day. If you are an ideal weight, the high carb foods can be eaten within a 30 minute window after training when the body is in a state to absorb all the sugars and get them into the cells. There is also a period roughly equal to the time of the training session where you can eat moderately high carb foods and still get away with it. Eating high carb outside of these times will only result in an expanding waist line for many people.
Sure, there are some genetically gifted people who can eat whatever they want, day in day out, without gaining any weight, but we aren’t talking so much about that kind of person here. If weight loss is a struggle for you, I would recommend that your only source of carbohydrates come from non starchy vegetables and to a lesser extent fruits. Fruits like bananas can be used in the 30 minute window after training with no problem for that extra boost. Foods like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, parsnips, turnips etc should be avoided until your goal weight is achieved. Then they can be reintroduced to the diet as long as they are used as a recovery food only.
All these high carb foods will do outside this post training window is stimulate our fat storage mechanisms. That is one of the main functions of insulin. To store energy as blood glucose or fat when our glucose levels have reached their maximum.
Fats should play a role in any healthy diet, even though they are more calorically dense than carbs or protein, they tend to keep you fuller for longer. Meaning at the end of the day, even though you may have eaten more calorie dense foods, you will most likely have eaten less calories. The best fat to include is the medium chain triglyceride type. Most commonly found in coconuts and butter, they work to stimulate the thyroid gland (great for boosting metabolic rate) and tend to get converted directly into energy. A win-win situation for us athletic types! Now we don’t need a lot of this stuff if weight loss is your goal, but it is definitely beneficial.
As far as training goes, during long slow runs, we burn more fat as our fuel compared to the higher intensity sessions. So at a glance these would seem to be the logical choice for burning that excess fat away. But studies have shown that a high intensity interval session can stimulate the body to burn fat for many hours after your training session has finished!
You may like to try a hill repeat session where you find a decent hill that takes you 2-3 minutes to run up and after a warm up you hit that hill hard and walk down, then repeat as many times as you can. Maybe an interval session where you run easy for a minute, then hard for 30 seconds and repeat. You could even include a session of our program Bulletproof Legs which in my opinion is the definition of a high intensity workout! 20 minutes of lung burning pain that will have your fat burning furnace going for hours afterwards.
What ever you do, mix it up and do no more than 2-3 sessions in this high intensity zone per week. Otherwise it may leave you burnt out. A couple of longer easier sessions in your aerobic zone to break it up is a great idea.
See how you go with that and any further questions relating to this, feel free to contact me and I will be happy to go through it in more detail for you, or even work out a personalized nutrition plan if that is what you are after.
Hope you achieve many PB’s in 2014