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Fitness Skating and Training Forum Discussions about on-skate and off-skate training, hydration, sports nutrition, weight loss, injuries, sports medicine, and other topics related to training and physical fitness for skaters.

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Old August 15th, 2010, 06:51 PM   #1
gabi
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Default Fitness (fat burning): interval training, or not?

I read pretty much everywhere that the best way to increase skating performance is interval training. How about when the priority is to lose weight? Is interval training still better than training at a constant effort level? Is there any consensus in this respect, or the answer would be of the "it depends" fashion?
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Old August 15th, 2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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It's simple math, as far as I;m concerned, for the most part (qualifiers come later...)

Work is produced by burning calories. If you want to burn more calories, work more (expend more energy). You can do this by working out longer, working out harder, or both. It doesn't really matter if your sole goal is to burn calories. A calorie burned is a calorie burned, however you do it.

that's the short answer.

then there's the strategy. A trainer will tell you that the best way to burn calories is to build muscle, becuase muscle burns calories long after you're done working out. And it burns it more effectively. So a trainer will take a newbie and start them on some cardio/endurance stuff, but will also get them started building muscle mass, because muscle mass is the big guns for burning calories.

Intervals can come into this quotient in the sense that a total bust-butt interval can break down muscle and promote building more. More so that an endurance workout. So can weights, plyometrics, etc. - any "resistance' workout

There's also different types of intervals, and that can make a big difference, too. Lately, i've been fond of "aerobic intervals" which are a little different than the 30 second on/off intervals.

If you want to lose weight, i'd suggest this, assuming you are not already a hard core skater: do a little bit more on the endurance side, becuase it's a no-brainer weight loss strategy. It will also build your skating skills, won't kill you, gets you comfortable out there, and is a good, solid base to build further skills upon. Do a little intervals once in a while to break it up. BUt you can also just ramp up the intensity of your longer workouts. Do this. It will burn the calories like no one's business. There is simply no substitute for intensity when you work out. WHen you sweat, you are burning energy, burning calories, and it is given off as heat and persperation. The more you sweat, the more calories you are burning, the more weight you are shedding. That heat has to be generated from something, and that's a physiological fact.
Start the fires.
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:17 PM   #3
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Default One more question...

Thank your your reply.
I lost about 20 pounds since December (and it would be perfect to lose 20 more), but now I find that shedding weight has become a lot more challenging (feels like I have to do 5x the previous effort for each pound). I guess sprinkling some intervals in my workout is anyways the best I can do. Intervals make my muscles really sore, so definitely there is pretty hard (and fairly low) limit on the frequency of my interval workouts.
I would have one more question.
I also read pretty much everywhere that an athlete has to take some days off from training (1-2 days per week). Now, I am not at all an athlete (I work out only around 50-80 minutes a day). Am I at any risk of "overtraining" without days off?
It is kind of hard to find advice that does not sound like it is destined for "elite" athletes...
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Old August 15th, 2010, 09:40 PM   #4
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now we're talking.
Great job on the first 20 pounds! That's a lot.
The build muscle mass strategy is really a long term strategy, and quite effective. The ramp up the distance strategy is more short term, and you can see the effects on the scale and waist line much quicker.
Working out 50 to 80 minutes at a time is pretty darn good, if you ask me. Nothing shaby about that!
From my experience, if you can add in a second workout in the day, that yields just tremendous results. But don;t just do the same thing again, build in something that will compliment the first workout. Maybe a core workout at lunch (sit-ups, crunches, leg lifts, etc) and skate after work. Or a bike ride, or run, or even a brisk walk. I can just about guarantee you that if you can do this several times a week, pounds will start falling off, and you might even be able to eat more (but eat good calories, not empty calories).
Also, if you add in a second workout, you may find that you aren't really adding much more total time each day, you may find, instead, that you go at it more intensely for each workout, and only add maybe an extra 20 minutes total time each day.
As for days off, that's debatable. The conventional wisdom has it to take 1 to 2 rest days each week, and i've sometimes heard coaches say 1 to 2 days per 10 day cycle (if you structure your workouts that way). But everybody's different, and some athletes don't need to take a rest day - they may just need to lighten up for a day, or only do one workout on that day, or do a recovery ride, or do a low impact core workout that day, all of which are examples of giving certain muscle groups a chance to recover.
The concept of overtraining: it's my belief that you can train a lot, and if you do it with a sensitivity to giving muslce groups a chance to recover by alternating focus of your workouts, most people can avoid over doing it.
I've found that the degree of impact of the previous workout is very critical in how much recovery/rest i need. A hard day of plyos or weights or maybe even aggressive intervals beats me up, and i need a break, either by taking a day off or maybe doing an endurance skate the next day. That;s something to watch out for.
Play it by ear and try it both ways - see what you need.
For you, i'd add some variety to your workout schedule. Skating is great, but it's not a total body workout, and it's not that easy to make it one unless you are a fairly developed skater. Developing your physique in some other ways can also help your skating.
You know, a helpful, really great book" Faster, Better, stronger" by eric Heiden and Max Testa, which is for begginers as much as elite athletes. It covers everything from diet, injury, injury prevention, training schedules and strategy, etc. It is by far the most comprehensive discussion on all these topics i've run across - and far better than the snippets you get on the internet.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 10:55 PM   #5
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I lost around 70 lbs over the course of about a year and a half and have kept my weight stable for about a year now. Skating has been a big part of my exercise regimen and my primary goal was to improve my overall health and fitness level. My main criterion for deciding how to exercise is that it must be fun, which makes it much easier to get out there every day and to keep to a long term commitment to exercise. Besides, life is too short to commit too much time to that which is unpleasant.

So, in my opinion, the question you need to ask is "do you enjoy interval training?" Exercising at a level where your core body temperature becomes elevated is sufficient to gain a great many of the health benefits of exercise. As online inline points out, higher levels of exertion will result in a greater rate of calorie expenditure, but if you come to dread the pain associated with the intensity, that can be a problem.
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Old August 16th, 2010, 11:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coomes View Post
I lost around 70 lbs over the course of about a year and a half and have kept my weight stable for about a year now. Skating has been a big part of my exercise regimen and my primary goal was to improve my overall health and fitness level. My main criterion for deciding how to exercise is that it must be fun, which makes it much easier to get out there every day and to keep to a long term commitment to exercise. Besides, life is too short to commit too much time to that which is unpleasant.

So, in my opinion, the question you need to ask is "do you enjoy interval training?" Exercising at a level where your core body temperature becomes elevated is sufficient to gain a great many of the health benefits of exercise. As online inline points out, higher levels of exertion will result in a greater rate of calorie expenditure, but if you come to dread the pain associated with the intensity, that can be a problem.
I lost 40lbs last year. I did not do it by skating but the above quote makes a tremendous amount of sense. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, you will drop it once you reach your goal. That is just an invitation to revisit old and bad habits.

The people I know who have failed in their weight loss goals or failed to keep it off have simply failed to make changes to their life style. Get it - its a LIFE style change.

Truly - it does not matter who intense your work out is, it does not matter how many times a week - what matters is if you can sustain what you are doing. If it takes you a few weeks longer, so be it.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #7
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Are you trying to change the shape of your body or are just trying to lose body fat?

If the answer is just lose body fat and get skinnier then longer more steady (example a marathon runner).

If the answer is change the shape of your body, then it would be interval training combined with weight training.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 02:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susu View Post
I lost 40lbs last year. I did not do it by skating but the above quote makes a tremendous amount of sense. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, you will drop it once you reach your goal. That is just an invitation to revisit old and bad habits.

The people I know who have failed in their weight loss goals or failed to keep it off have simply failed to make changes to their life style. Get it - its a LIFE style change.

Truly - it does not matter who intense your work out is, it does not matter how many times a week - what matters is if you can sustain what you are doing. If it takes you a few weeks longer, so be it.
This is an absolutely great post.

We are so much of an immediate gratification society we most of the time forget that Rome wasn't built in a day. We do xxxxxx for years and we become unhappy with it then we think if we just do this that or the other for a couple of weeks or a month or two that the body will revert back to how it "use to be".
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:12 AM   #9
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Are you trying to change the shape of your body or are just trying to lose body fat?
I just have fun skating, and if that helps me lose body fat, it's excellent. At 42 it is probably kinda late to start changing the shape (beyond losing fat), but anyways I am not (and I never was) interested at all in anything like bodybuilding or close relatives of that. Lifting weights is way too boring for me.
I cannot do any workout that will not allow me to enjoy an audiobook or watching some TV (those elliptical machines with TVs are a magnificent invention). Now, if there would be some workout that would allow me to read a book during that time, that would simply be too good!
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:21 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gabi View Post
I just have fun skating, and if that helps me lose body fat, it's excellent. At 42 it is probably kinda late to start changing the shape (beyond losing fat), but anyways I am not (and I never was) interested at all in anything like bodybuilding or close relatives of that. Lifting weights is way too boring for me.
I cannot do any workout that will not allow me to enjoy an audiobook or watching some TV (those elliptical machines with TVs are a magnificent invention). Now, if there would be some workout that would allow me to read a book during that time, that would simply be too good!
One it is never too late. I am not talking about "bodybuilding" I am talking about supplementing your skating with some weight resistance. Weight training can pay big dividends down the road as you get much older.

What I eat every day is boring but I made a choice. You will never be able to do anything saying "I cannot". Simple fact is you can-but you are choosing not too. Question is how bad do you want it? And if you say I want it real bad ask yourself "am I willing to do what it takes to get it done"? Tough love I know, and I am not trying to give you a hard time, only make you think.

Since you like reading have you ever read the book Body For Life by Bill Phillips? If not I STRONGLY suggest it.
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Old August 17th, 2010, 04:14 AM   #11
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...
What I eat every day is boring...
That would help me immensely to reduce body fat, but I choose more interesting food. :-)
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Old August 17th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #12
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Once again we are back to LIFE style change. How long can you realistically sustain a boring diet before you crack? How long can you realistically abstain from junk?
You have a whole life ahead of you - its much better to seek a dietary balance that takes into account good health AND what ever junk food is your personal poison.

Ben Franklin famously said "all things in moderation". I think he meant EVERYTHING. Including that boring diet we think will be our saving grace.

Good health does not depend on never having treats. Good health only demands that we do not over do those things that are not good for us. I am out to save the world from diet food!! lol
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Old August 17th, 2010, 03:00 PM   #13
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Once again we are back to LIFE style change. How long can you realistically sustain a boring diet before you crack? How long can you realistically abstain from junk?
For me, Mon-Fri, it has been 13 years now. My meals are as follows:

1. Banana, cottage cheese
2. Protein shake
3. Healthy sandwich
4. Egg whites, carrots, apple, and fig newtons and 2 small Peppermint patties (to cure my sweet craving)
5. Yogurt, cottage cheese
6. Dinner which most of time is a piece of grilled meat and a veg
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Old August 29th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #14
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FWIW - you might want to Google Tabata Protocol. Wicked fat burner...also very challenging and easy to use for personal goal setting.

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Old August 29th, 2010, 07:52 AM   #15
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Gee, thanks! The self proclaimed "World's Greatest Fat Burning Workout". It tells you to do it three (3) days a week with a rest day in between. Each workout including warm up and warm down is seven (7) minutes.
So, let's run some numbers. That would make...... 21 minutes of exercise a week! Gee whiz, i can just see those pounds flying off from less than a half hour of exercise per week!
Come on, bro.
You're on a sports website. If you want to learn something about exercise and training strategies, you came to the right place. But you've brought some pretty questionable literature along with you. There's much better resources to be found. And ones that don't make preposterous claims.
There's a place for a tabita workout, but one has to wonder why this one feels the need to over-sell itself.
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Old August 29th, 2010, 01:45 PM   #16
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At 7 minutes of intense exercise, you're going to burn through muscle glycogen pretty quickly, then switch over to liberating liver stores of glycogen (released to the blood as glucose--glycogen is a storage form) first before you switch over to fatty acid oxidation...

...which is to say that I take issue with the gross oversimplification presented in the article.

I thought supra-aerobic exercises were designed to increase power and therefore speed more than anything, but I could easily be wrong.

If the goal is weight loss, increasing physical activity will certainly help, but must be accompanied by careful attention to what and how much one is eating. Neither by itself will get and keep you there.
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Old August 29th, 2010, 01:54 PM   #17
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So, let's run some numbers. That would make...... 21 minutes of exercise a week! Gee whiz, i can just see those pounds flying off from less than a half hour of exercise per week!
I guess if you only had 21 minutes a week this would be a good way to spend it...
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Old August 29th, 2010, 05:14 PM   #18
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I guess if you only had 21 minutes a week this would be a good way to spend it...
And i guess that if you were to read only one source for "weight loss", this wouldn't be it.
And even if you only had 21 minutes, this is crap. Of the 21 minutes, 12 minutes are warm up and warm down. That leaves 9 minutes, Bill. That's 9 minutes a week.
Do you think this is a good way to focus readers on a weight loss strategy? If so, I guess our countries obesity epidemic could be solved in a matter of minutes!
Next, the genius who wrote this article could take on the next weighty issue, say... world hunger. Here it comes, that one can be solved by.... eating more slowly!!!! And we could do that one in 21 minutes a week, too!
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Old August 29th, 2010, 06:24 PM   #19
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Or - as Barry Publow and countless other luminaries will tell you, you can integrate it into your workout. It does have a place, along with proper diet and other targeted exercises to help achieve your goals. Tabata is a proven method. The article may have been over-promoting, but it's not the only source. Get Barry's the Science of Speed - that's where I first learned of it. As far as reporting the components of the workout regiment, this article was consistent with others I've read (several - including Barry's.) Also consistent with discussion with World-class skaters. When you're starting out, it's actually about 8 minutes of solid work, the rest is warm up and cool down.

You could also check out "Super Slow" workouts. Build muscle, increase metabolism, lose weight. Balance your program, eat to live, and set yourself up to be a life-long learner, that's what I do at least...now, does anyone know where the nearest McDonald's is?!?!

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Old August 29th, 2010, 06:55 PM   #20
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Cross training has been good for me. I use a set distance, generally 15 miles for skates and 17 miles for the bicycle, alternating between the two during the week. On one week I will ride the bicycle 30+ miles and the same for the skates on the next week. Time, distance and frequency seem to do the most for me. I do a series of sprints on both the bike and skates at certain parts of the trail generally towards the end of the workout although I do it whenever the mood strikes me. Once a week I pay homage to my quad roots and skate 2.5 hours in circles at the rink. I don't know how much weight I have lost as I do not own a scale. My loose clothes are a good measure though. I don't follow a particular diet although it makes sense to stay away from McDonalds and that kind of stuff. I always carry water with me using a waist mounted bottle for the 15 mile skate and a camelback for the longer skate. The old war chassis (body) seems to work better when hydrated. These are some things that have worked me, hope it helps.
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