I don?t know about the rest of you, but when I look back upon winter 2014 a few things come to mind: Cold temperatures, snowball fights, and comfort food. Yum! Talk about a change in pace. However, with that change in pace came more excuses to stay inside, to curl up with a book, and to avoid going to the gym. Now that spring 2014 is finally here it?s time to shed some of those extra pounds, to get active and to stay healthy. As a result, we?ve decided to combine our own weight loss goals with our love for a local charity, DC Scores, and have put together the SSR Weight Loss challenge. As a part of this team-centered fun fest we?ll be having an optional web component to help keep you connected and motivated. Included in this is a 3-part blog series (listed below). Additionally, keep an eye out on our Facebook page for additional posts on recipes, weekly exercises, and introductory fitness courses (#ExerciseOfTheWeek , #SSRWeightLossChallenge, #SSAthletics
Three Part Blog Series:
1. Working Out Smarter, Not Harder
2. Wait, what shape is that food pyramid in?!?!
3. Zen, for Dinner.
Working out Smarter, Not Harder
Strength training and muscular development can be a great complement to traditional cardiovascular exercise programs that are recommended for weight loss. Although cardiovascular programs, like Zumba classes, running, or training on the elliptical machine tend to burn the most calories during the work out themselves, increased muscular development from other styles of exercise may have profound effects on increasing our resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is the number of calories we burn at rest. In its most basic form, increasing your RMR may be the difference between burning 20 calories or 30 calories while sitting at work or while watching TV. Not only will this help you to reach your target weight more effectively, but it?ll help you to keep that weight off once you?ve reached that goal. Or, put in other terms, strength training is the key to continually burning calories when we?re NOT working our tails off at the gym.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is currently believed to have one of the best effects on altering our resting metabolic rate. In general, HIIT involves controlled bursts of explosive movement over a short period of time. Kettle bells, plyometric exercises and using free weights, bands and balls may all fall into this category. In the same way that our cars burn more gas while in stop and go traffic than when they are unimpeded on the freeway, our muscles too will burn more calories when they are contracting and resting during our workouts than when they are pushed to fatigue. Preventing nutritional, and biochemical, burn out in this way leaves our muscles in a better position to do things like repair and regenerate in preparation for our next workout. Taken together, all of this has the cumulative effect of building better muscle mass. We?ve all heard the old adage, ?muscle weighs more than fat,? and, well it?s true. What?s more is that our muscles cells also burn more calories than our fat cells. As a result, when we lay down more muscle? thereby building strength?we increase our bodies overall capacity to burn up calories? and yes folks, to burn up FAT.
Don?t believe me? Take a look at three time gold medal sprinter, Usain Bolt. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics Bolt worked out using HIIT exercises like Box jumps and free weights. In this way he improved his overall muscle mass, but also increased the explosive power and force that he could achieve. Compare this to the primarily aerobic exercise routine of 2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi. The difference in physical strength and appearance is obvious. Not only does Bolt have better muscle mass, but he likely has a higher RMR as well.
Similarly this is how you build long lean muscles. By focusing on training functional movements and using your body as one unit, as opposed to following bodybuilding style programs which split the body into isolated parts, you can achieve that long lean and toned look that you see in dancers and yogis alike.
All of this said, it can be easy to get caught up in the allure of strength training trends like Kettle Bells and Cross Fit. In reality, safety should always come before our weight loss or exercise goals. It is for this reason that I can?t emphasize enough the importance of finding a great personal trainer to help you learn proper form. This can be the difference between an exercise routine that takes you to new heights, and one that just leads toward injury. What?s more is that it?s consistently working out within limits that leads toward good result. Take the time and find someone who is educated and experienced enough to help you reach your potential.
If you have questions about this blog post, or something similar in nature, please feel free to reach out to me, Dr. Andi Lubaway at [email protected]; or to our fitness director Brian Wright [email protected]. Creating a healthy, happier you is always our primary goal and we?d be happy to help.
**For Additional Information about RMR in general, follow this lnk:
**For Additional Information about Strength Training and Running follow this link provided to us by the Director of Sport and Spine Athletics, Brian Wright.
Dr. Andi Lubaway, DC
Doctor of Chiropractic
Sport and Spine Rehab of Rockville