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Let's talk about endurance and weight loss

Updated: Apr 23


How to mobilize and improve our cardiovascular system?

The first physical activities that come to mind are running, cycling and cardio machines available in fitness centers. More specifically, the type of training constantly put forward in order to improve our endurance and use our fat reserves is continuous work, of medium and long duration.

Doctors, nutritionists, the media and the fitness industries consistently highlight the need to perform this type of training through the physical activities listed above.

In the early 1980s, we saw a huge enthusiasm for sports activities such as jogging, group aerobic activities such as step classes.

What are the reasons why these activities became so popular during this time?

During the 1980s, many studies were carried out on the use and improvement of cardiovascular qualities during physical activities. At that time, measuring devices made it possible to collect information only on continuous efforts of medium and long duration. It was by no means possible to perform these evaluations on short-term or intermittent efforts.

Of course, continuous training optimizes endurance qualities, and will help to use up fat reserves.

But, is this the only way to develop our cardiovascular qualities and use our fat reserves?

It is important to take into consideration that originally the studies carried out were carried out on only one type of criterion, "continuous effort". These studies were quickly used and brought to the fore, leaving little or no room for new studies based on different points of view.

Are there other ways to improve our cardiovascular qualities and use up our fat reserves?

During the 1990s, new measuring devices appeared and made it possible to carry out research on the use of cardiovascular qualities during intermittent and short-term exertion.

In order to simplify this information, I am only going to talk about one investigation, because all the studies essentially describe the same phenomenon, and the results obtained speak for themselves.

1996, Tabata et al.

This study examined the effect of six weeks of training on two groups.

Group 1:

Continuous training of moderate intensity.

70% VO2 max (aerobic capacity).

60 minutes a day.

5 days a week.

Group 2:

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

170% VO2 max (aerobic capacity)

7‐8 sets of 20 seconds with 10 seconds recovery between each sprint.

5 days a week.

Both training methods increased VO2 max (aerobic capacity).

However, continuous training had no impact on anaerobic capacity, while HIIT training increased it by 28%.

This study highlighted:

1 - Interval training (HIIT) improves endurance qualities (aerobic) but also anaerobic characteristics. "2 for the price of 1"

2 - Extensive comparative research shows that high intensity interval training improves both aerobic and anaerobic qualities.

In addition, this type of training is extremely effective, as the exercise times are much shorter. (4 minutes compared to 60 for a classic workout)

Knowing that our modern life leaves little room for activities related to personal development, this method therefore adapts perfectly to the demands of our current life.

There are other advantages in addition to this.

High intensity interval training requires little or no equipment.

It can be done anywhere, both at home and in nature.

It is accessible to all and allows you to challenge yourself in order to progress.

Finally, these interval exercises will be extremely effective for the use of fat reserves and weight loss.

We will now talk about using our fat stores during physical activity and find out another way to engage in a weight loss program.

Use of our fat reserves during endurance training.

In order to create as little confusion as possible, I will simplify and try to be as clear as possible.

During physical activity, our bodies will use different energy substrates. Depending on the duration and intensity of the exercise performed, the reactions will be with or without oxygen, so we will speak of aerobic or anaerobic exertion.

Intensive physical efforts lasting less than 60 seconds will be done without the presence of oxygen and will primarily use energy substrates that are easy and quick to use.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), creatine phosphate and glycogen are some of these energy substrates.

Take, for example, a maximum effort of 30 seconds: about 50% of the energy comes from the use of creatine phosphate, 40% from glycogen and the remaining 10% from the aerobic reaction.

All of these energy channels operate at the same time, but depending on the duration and intensity of the exercise, their level of participation varies. (see table above)

During anaerobic exercise, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), creatine phosphate and glycogen will be used up quickly because they can provide immediate energy without the presence of oxygen. ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and creatine phosphate are substrates used predominantly from the start of exercise.

These energy channels can only be maintained for a few seconds, due to their low reserve. The glycogen will in turn be consumed during these anaerobic efforts. This is the key energy substrate during physical activity. It has a very important role during anaerobic exercise, and will also be able to be used during aerobic activities. The glycolytic pathway will predominate during the start of an aerobic effort, then give way to the lipid pathway. The lipid energy sector predominates when an effort is carried out over a period of more than 60 minutes. The premature depletion of glycogen stores linked to poor physical condition will not allow you to continue the effort long enough to make optimal use of lipids.

Their use will therefore be limited. In order to be able to use lipids more substantially during exercise, it will therefore be necessary to be in good physical condition.

Can we use our lipids differently?

Knowing that the practice of an aerobic training allows the use of lipids only under certain conditions and that that of glycogen predominates at the beginning of the effort, it is clear that it is not so easy to use in an optimal way our lipid reserves during physical exertion.

The question: Can we otherwise use our lipid reserve remains unanswered.

The answer: YES.

For this, excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (ECOP: Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) comes into play.

When we exert supra-maximal efforts, that is to say efforts requiring more energy than the body can provide, we accumulate a debt of oxygen. Just like the recovery processes associated with the efforts made, the repayment of this debt will take place a few hours after the activity. It will then use the aerobic lipid pathway. We will thus speak of an “afterburn effect”.

During high intensity interval training (HIIT), the afterburn effect will be greater than that created with continuous exertion. Thus the impact on our fat reserves will be much greater. Finally, it is important to mention that during intermittent high intensity exercise, hormonal changes take place, and can be maintained for 24 hours. These changes relate to the increase in the level of testosterone and HGH (Human Growth Hormone). These hormones make it easier to use body fat. Of course, the increase in these hormones has other benefits which are not discussed in this document.

What strategy should we adopt in order to achieve effective weight loss?

First, we are all different. As a result, strategies, program changes and adaptations vary greatly from individual to individual. We tend to base our decisions on standard data, typical training concepts with little or no regard for the physical condition of the person performing the exercises. Multiple aspects related to it will interfere and have a significant impact on his training.

In addition, lifestyle, stress, traumas and emotions create blockages. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to achieve weight loss without considering these multiple aspects. Finally, it is important to consider that the person is on the front line, and above all, the main actor in their physical activity. His involvement, his level of understanding and interaction will first and foremost determine the effectiveness of his training. It is essential to recreate close links between body and mind, in order to allow each person to consciously regain control of their body and the workouts performed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I hope it has provided you with some useful information.

Editeur: Pascale Lapostolle

Merci Pascale

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