Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Latest Skinny on Weight Loss

By Gary Giamboi

I know there are many recent articles on High Intensity Interval Training. However, I think most of them do not fully and/or clearly explain this training modality. I hope this article will help remedy this situation.

I know most of us were told that when we are in an aerobic state which raises our Heart Rate (HR) to over 70% of our maximum Heart Rate (MHR), we can not burn fat for fuel. This was simply based on our understanding of the nature of the chemical processes our cells use to replenish their supply of fuel.

However, lots of new studies with well documented results indicate that we obviously don't know exactly what is going on at the cellular level, because this research shows that we burn more calories from fat at these higher HR levels than we do at lower ones. And this is on top of burning more carbohydrates as well. One study with 17 participants conducted over a 20 week period showed that the HIIT group lost over three times the amount of measured body fat as the endurance training group!

What is clear is that HIIT is the way to go to burn fat and conserve muscle mass. This is because if we do just high intensity training, we will burn through our stores of carbohydrates and not burn fat. Thus, we will start to breakdown our muscles to make carbs for fuel inorder to cintinue exercising. Somehow, training with Intervals avoids this muscular breakdown and allows the use of Fats for fuel instead of muscle.

Perhaps this is do to the fact that during the lower intensity training periods our body uses fat for fuel; and somehow, it also uses fat to replenish our stores of ATP which we burned through during the High Intensity periods. Then, when we do our next HI interval, we have the fuel we need, in the form we need it. This will spare our muscles and allow us to keep working.

As also pointed out in almost all of the HIIT articles, much of the additional burning of calories occurs after we have finished exercising. This fact can allow us to burn more total calories from a shorter HIIT workout than from a longer Steady State (non-Interval) exercise workout. This is important for all of us (not just those with limited time to spend) because unless we are extremely fit to start with, we will not be able to perform HIIT for as long as non-HIIT.

Remember, HIIT is very physically demanding. You must make sure your are fit enough to handle the additional stresses it will place on your body. If you have any doubts, consult with your doctor.

Although there are many variations of HIIT, here are some (which I published in my Newsletter) that are not as physically demanding as most of them and will still get you on the road to the results you want:

This program can be done on any form of cardio equipment or even jogging outside or swimming laps:

* Start with an easy 4 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, sky rocket your intensity for 30 seconds.

* Return to your normal pace for the next 30 seconds and then sky rocket again.

* Repeat this 30-30 interval for 6 minutes and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

After your HIIT session you can expect to burn more calories due to an increase in your metabolism - sounds good, right? If you aren't fit enough to jump into a full-fledged HIIT session, you may consider trying one of the following modified HIIT workouts:

Modified HIIT 1:

* Start with at least a 5 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, increase your intensity for a full minute.

* Return to your normal pace and remain here until you have recovered enough to go again.

* Repeat this 1 minute interval with full recovery time between each one for the full extent of your workout and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

Modified HIIT 2:

* Start with at least a 5 minute warm up, casually increasing your pace to the one that you usually maintain for your workout.

* Once you are sufficiently warm, change your speed and intensity for 2 minutes.

* Return to your normal pace for 2 minutes and then change your intensity and speed again. The key is to keep your body guessing - you aren't doing full intensity work, but you also aren't staying at the same pace for the entire length of the workout.

* Repeat this 2 minute interval for the full extent of your workout and then gradually decrease your intensity as you enter a cooling off pace.

Of course, as you become fitter, you can increase the time of High Intensity and lower the Recovery Periods to match your increased Aerobic capacity to the point where you are using a 1:1 ratio of HIgh Intensity to Recovery.

For more information about many kinds of training, please see my website at
For subscriptions to my Newsletter, just go to my contact page and send me an email requesting to be put on my mailing list.

Gary Giamboi is a NASM certified Personal Trainer, an E-500RYT, holds the rank of Kyoshi (Teaching Master) in several Japanese Martial Arts from the Genbukan World Ninpo Federation and the Kokusai Jujutsu Renmei and a Master's License in Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Qigong.

He is available for Private Training and Consultations, as well as, seminars and the 200 hour Yoga Teachers Training courses.

He can be reached via his website,

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The Principles of Natural Weight Loss & Management

By Gary Giamboi

There are certain principles which every normally functioning human body uses to process the food he/she eats and which determine how it will use the nutrients it extracts from this food. I have listed some of the more important ones below.

For this article, let's focus solely on the Caloric content of the food we consume. This reduces food to just the fuel or energy for our bodies.

  • Consuming less energy than we burn we result in our needing to burn stored energy (sugar or fat) to make up the difference. Conversely, consuming more energy than we burn will result in our storing the additional energy in our liver or cells as either sugar (Glycogen) or fat. Glycogen is stored in the Liver and Muscle cells, while Fat is stored in Adipocytes or Fat cells.

  • Our body's Primary and Preferred source of Energy is Glycogen or Sugar. In fact, some processes can only use Glycogen (Anaerobic exercise, Brain, Nerve, Red Blood and White Blood Cells can only use Glycogen as fuel). Therefore, we must use up our stored Glycogen before we can start burning stored fat. However, once Glycogen stores have been exhausted, glucose will start to be synthesized from proteins in a process called Gluconeogenesis. This means we may be Eating our own Muscle cells to make Glycogen. The only way to prevent this is to consume adequate amounts of Protein to convert into Glucose. This process continues for about 24-48 hours until our body can begin the process of Ketosis. Ketosis is a chemical process which results in the Brain being able to stored Fat as fuel. It is designed to help save our Vital Muscle Mass, such as our Heart!

  • Our body likes stored energy, especially fat. Our body's mechanisms and processes have not caught up to life in a modern 21st century society. It is always preparing for the famine it still believes can happen at any moment. Therefore, if we cut the Calories we consume by about 10% or more for more than 2 days in a row, our body will believe there is a Famine and it will go into starvation mode. This means our body will start to cut out processes it considers non-essential for survival and lower our overall Metabolism (the rate at which which burn energy or Calories) by about 10%. Our body will also begin to burn Muscle into Gylcogen at approximately the same rate it burns Fat. So until we enter Ketosis, for every pound of Fat we burn, we can lose up to 1lb of Muscle.

  • Our body can either store excess energy primarily via the action of the hormone Insulin or it can release stored energy via the hormone Glucagon.

  • Our pancreas will secrete either Insulin or Glucagon. It can not do both. So we will either be storing energy or releasing energy.

  • When our blood sugar rises, our body produces Insulin to facilitate the uptake of the excess blood sugar and blood fats to our muscles and liver. When this happens our body will not be able to burn any energy stored as a form of Glucose or fat. So it will be impossible to lose fat while the level of our blood sugar is high and this process is occurring.

  • In order to get our body to release stored energy, our level of blood sugar must remain below the level necessary to induce the production of Insulin. This will stimulate the production of the hormone, Glucagon. Glucagon facilitates the release of stored sugars (Glycogen) and fats from our cells and liver.

  • Eating infrequent large meals or meals containing a high percentage of simple carbohydrates will cause the level of our blood sugar to rise very high, very quickly. This will cause Insulin to be released.

  • There is only one natural way to get rid of fat. That is to burn it. Without going into Ketosis, there is only one place to burn fat and that is in a Muscle cell.

  • Keeping your body in a state of Ketosis for an extended period of time is not considered Healthy by many leading health experts. Therefore, Low Carb diets are not recommended by them.

Therefore, we can help ourselves burn fat by working with these very principles which regulate its Storage and Release in the first place. All we have to do is be Mindful of Why we are Eating, When we are Eating and How we are Eating. And do the Following:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals (every 3-3 1/2 hours).

  • Eat foods that have a High Thermic Effect or take a lot of work to digest.

The Net Amount of Calories (NAC) we consume is the total amount of calories we actually consume minus the total amount of energy (calories) it takes to transform that food into usable calories. The NAC varies with the type and frequency of the meals we eat. Eating foods which require more energy to be converted into one of the usable forms of energy our body can process will result in a lower NAC for that meal than a meal which is easier to convert. Protein can yield a NAC of only 77% (This means if we eat 100 Calories of Protein, our body will ony get to use 77 out of those 100 Calories). Complex carbohydrates can yield as little as 88%. While fat will yield a NAC of upwards of 96%.

Eating this way will help keep your level of blood sugar more constant throughout the day and avoid Ketosis for extended periods of time. Further, making sure each meal consists of approximately equal portions of complex carbohydrates, protein and high fiber vegetables will help insure your blood sugar does not spike. This will make the continued burning of stored energy possible.

Another problem with Spiking our Blood Sugar is that when Insulin is released to lower the levels of Blood Sugar, it does Too Good a Job. By this, I mean it will tend to lower your bood Sugar to a point so low it may trigger the sensation of hunger, even though we have just eaten a large meal.
Also, there is research which shows that eating the exact same amount of the exact same foods, but in more frequent, smaller meals will actually cause us to use more energy (calories) in the process of digestion the greater nember of meals. Thus lowering your NAC.

  • We can increase the number and size of our muscle cells. This will result in increasing the number of fat burning furnaces we can use 24/7. This can only be accomplished by exercise.
  • Aerobic exercise will increase the number of calories we burn not just during the exercise but for several hours afterwards. The exact number of Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) will be determined by our existing level of fitness and the intensity of our exercise.

  • Strength training will create more and bigger muscle cells, thereby increasing EPOC.

  • If our goal is to lose Bodyfat (vs. preparing for a marathon), we must make sure we never exercise for longer than 90 minutes at one time. If we do, we run the risk of breaking down Muscle Mass to convert into fuel in order to continue exercising. This will cause us to burn less calories during the day, everyday. Remember, our body loves Fat and will try to conserve it.

There are obviously a lot of complex facts and figures which go with the concepts I have presented here. If you wish more detailed information on these processes, just do a Web Search on whichever topic interests you: Insulin, Glucagon, EPOC, Muscle cells, Fat Cells, Metabolism, Blood Sugar, etc.

However, it seems obvious to me that based on the facts as presented above, we can safely draw the following conclusions:

Always Remember: Everything is Connected. The amount of Fat we can store is not just proportional to how many Calories we consume. How we Consume our Food, When we consume our Food, How we Combine our Food, How much Activity we Perform, What kind of Activity we Perform, How much Muscle Mass we have are All Important Factors in Determining how much Bodyfat we will have.

While the whole Scenario may seem complicated, the individual chemical processes involved really aren't. For sure, the exact amounts of Carbohydrate and/or Protein Consumption which are necessary to start or stop these processes is not clear on an individual, day-by-day basis.. This is because the amounts depend upon your present weight, body composition, activity level and fitness level. Without exhaustive testing, it can be a process of trial and error in order to get it Right for you. Many times it takes an Expert to get it Right quickly and keep it Right, since the variables will change as you lose Fat, gain Muscle and increase your Metabolism.

Of course, Fasting for Spiritual reasons or for Detoxifying your body will not change any of these processes. However, since their primary goal is not just Fat Loss, they have their own set of rules to follow, which are not addressed here. If your goal is to Fast for these reasons, you must seriously consider consulting an Expert in those matters whom you trust.

If you feel you need an Expert's Help in sorting All of this out and some Guidance to get you on the Right Track, Feel Free to Contact me.

Just go to my Website: for more information and to contact me.

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