Friday, March 12, 2010

Optimize Training to Reduce Body Fat

Here's a recommended read, "Optimize Training to Reduce Body Fat", by Dr. Rick Koutaff.  The reason I'm recommending it is because there are a LOT of athletes out there (myself included) that are trying to lose body fat (weight) while improving their strength/power on the bike.  After all, isn't that what it's all about- a HIGH w/kg?  i.e. increasing "w" and decreasing "kg"?  Well it is! 

The only part of the article I don't buy into completely, is the paragraph entitled "Heart Rate Training" where Rick says, "Outside of any specific anaerobic/high heart rate/speed workouts you are doing, be sure to keep your heart rate in an aerobic zone in order to maximize fat burning."  Yes, keeping your HR in the "Tempo/Endurance" zone will burn the highest percentage of fat (as compared to carbs & protein)..but it won't burn the highest volume of fat.  Additionally, when you stop training in the "Tempo/Endurance" zone (and we're talking L2/L3 zones here) your body stops burning fat IMMEDIATELY..unlike training in the higher anaerobic zones where your body continues to burn fat long after the workout is complete.  That is why you'll read articles professing that High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are good for burning fat.  They are! 

Lastly, I can't stress the importance of a weight training (resistance) program (not just in the off-season but throughout the year)..even if it's only to maintain the muscle you already have.  Lets face it, the older WE get the more the body loses muscle mass just through the ageing process.  I think I recall reading, from a reputable source, that after age 40 our body loses 1% muscle mass per year.  (I'm sure that's for sedentary people)  So, by age 60 you'll have lost 20% of your muscle mass that you had at age 40.  (That's another good reason to stay on-top of a weight training program.)  Think about that for a moment.  Here you are training to get stronger on the bike, and your biological clock is making you weaker.  That doesn't mean you need to run out and join a gym and start doing bench presses, squats, etc. with a thousand pounds on the rack.  There's a lot you can do at home with a swiss ball and a set of dumbbells. 

For the athletes I coach, I have a GOOD weight training program specifically designed for cyclists.  Email me: and I'll send you a copy.  Oh, and the best part about weight training is (just like HIIT intervals) you will continue to burn fat AFTER the workout is over.

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