Tuesday, January 12, 2016

High Intensity Interval Training and Fasted Training

After a couple years away from the gym I recently rejoined the neighborhood Goodlife establishment. To be perfectly honest I am not sure why I left in the first place. I think It had to do with my decision to cease road racing assuming I did not need to train as much? Or perhaps it was simply a time for a change?Regardless my return was much needed as my fitness and weight had suffered in the intervening years since my last racing season in the summer of 2011. One of the incentives was the chance to participate in spin classes again. I enjoyed them in the past and they definitely complimented my road cycling fitness, especially in the winter months.


"Born from the sport of cycle racing, RPM uses simulated climbs and sprints in a workout where you control the intensity"

Goodlife partners with Les Mills and offers the RPM spinning series. Previous spin classes were less structured and often based upon the preferences of the instructor in both content and intensity. With the Les Mills program there is a HIIT methodology behind the exercise.

"High-intensity interval training (HIIT) blends science with exercise to drive phenomenal results. With short, intense bursts of exercise followed by periods of recovery, HIIT drives you to go as hard as you can, rest, and then repeat. It’s a scientifically-proven approach that allows you to keep reaching your maximum training zone ..."

Not only does RPM burn calories but the high intensity of the spin offers additional benefits.....

"...it stimulates the production of growth hormone. The chemicals released during a HIIT workout help your body reduce fat and build muscle and that’s what changes the shape of your body, fast. HIIT also unleashes fast-twitch muscle fibers, taking your strength, power and muscle definition to the next level."

I`ve been participating in 3-4 classes per week since September and absolutely love the workout. I`ve dropped about 18 pounds thus far and have become much stronger on the bike. My ball hockey goaltending has never been better despite a piriformis muscle issue I developed back in the Fall. My endurance between the pipes has improved as has my strength and flexibility. I even seem to have a better focus upon the game. It`s definitely going to prepare me for the 2016 cycling season as well and I am looking forward to getting back on the road bike. It`s a lot of fun too......the instructors all use the same terminology and the music is designed to "flow" with the demands of the class. Once you get familiar with the prompts from the instructors the session becomes second nature. You can just focus upon the effort. Like any situation where you are in control (in this case the bike`s resistance) you get out of the workout what you put into it. The key is too challenge yourself to ride harder and faster. If you do that the RPM workout is a wicked ride! Sweating bullets and kicking chamois!

 HIIT and Fasted Training

What are the benefits of HITT?

"Research shows that HIIT…
  • Increases your metabolic rate for up to 24 hours.
  • Improves insulin sensitivity in the muscles. This helps your body better absorb and use the food you eat (rather than store it as fat).
  • Increases your muscles’ ability to burn fat for energy.
  • Elevates growth hormone levels, which aids in fat loss.
  • Spikes catecholamine levels, which are chemicals that mobilize fat for burning.
  • Decreases post-exercise appetite, which helps prevent overeating. "
What is a "fasted" state?

"When you’re in a fasted state, insulin levels are at a low, baseline level.....when your body is no longer processing food "

Fasted training is all about becoming fat adapted....teaching your body to burn fat. It also enables your body to adapt to training in a fasted state by “learning” to use its glycogen stores more efficiently.

"Fasted training is in contrast to traditional science which dictates that your carbohydrate stores should always be topped up before training and means that you are exercising in a low-carbohydrate state – essentially you are training before fueling to teach your body to use fat as the dominant fuel source."

"The benefit of doing fasted cardio first thing in the morning is it ensures your insulin is at a true baseline level."

On the weekend morning RPM classes I attend them in a fasted state - usually powered on nothing but a cup of coffee. Being unfed does not have a negative effect upon my cycling but rather makes me feel "lighter" on the bike. Incorporating fasted HIIT training forces your body to become metabolically flexible and able to (more) effectively burn stored body fat.

"Training in a state of low carbohydrate availability can enhance the mitochondrial adaptations of our muscles."

Since fasted training should be kept to short hauls (higher the intensity = shorter the effort) it works well in controlled settings like spin classes which usually are 45-60 minutes in duration. I like the "burn" of  RPM classes but (occasionally) doing them fasted really accentuates the effort. I`m not sure if it is the lack of carbs,the endorphin rush of HIIT or a combination of both but the post ride "rush" feels awesome.

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