Monday, 7 January 2013

New Year's Resolution - Getting Fitter

OK, so this post isn't exactly about personal finance per se, (there are obvious parallels if you look for them), but from chatting to my work colleagues I thought it might be relevant. It seems the three of us have kicked off the New Year, with different personal fitness training regimes.
Colleague A has decided to plumb for the P90X program, colleague B has gone for something called, "Cardio!", and I read and decided to try something called the "Afterburn Effect".
It's all part of that New Year's resolution thing of course, so my posting on this blog also means I can be held accountable to it!!
So, first things first, what are they?
Well colleague A (a young lad of 20 with a very slim physique), has decided to take the tortuous route. P90X is a variety of different workouts and exercise programs done over a 90 day period. The basic idea is that your body would get used to certain exercises so you are never doing quite the same thing with any great regularity, and thus you never "plateau" and continue to make gains for the whole 90 days. He has to follow this for an hour, each and every night. Being a young lad and full of energy, if anyone is going to be able to complete this, he is.
Colleague B isn't particularly tall, but he's a big lad in his early 30's. He's decided to go with "Cardio!", which funnily enough, involves a lot of cardio. He's chosen this route to fitness because he wants to lose weight and keep it off. He considered the P90X but sensibly, didn't think he'd be able to stick with it.
Myself, I heard of something called the "Afterburn". What it entails is doing short exercises so vigorously that you continue to burn calories off after you've stopped working out. Yes, you heard me right there, and in my (limited) experience, it makes sense.
Many people, including myself, think/thought that doing an exercise for long enough, was the key to losing weight, but after a year of swimming twice a week, although I am fit, I still have a bit of belly fat left that just won't shift. Part of the problem is because of my fitness. Now when I go swimming, I can easily plough up and down the pool quite quickly for long periods without really stretching myself. I could swim for much longer periods, but with a young family, I just don't have that kind of spare time anymore (too busy blogging!!) - hence the "Afterburn" project.
Now the plan is to do shorter exercises that are physically hard to do and require strength more than endurance, with very little recovery or rest periods in between. By working my muscles much harder, muscle fibres are actually broken down. Now, I'm not talking about pulling or straining a muscle, but rather doing something so intesively that you can't do it for a long period, but doing it to the point of "failure", where your strength gives out. For example, if you keep doing pushups until your arms go wobbly and you can't physically lift yourself anymore, (always best on a carpet rather than a hard floor...).
What this means is that during your short workout you will of course burn calories as you normally would, BUT, after your workout, your body goes to work building and strengthening those muscles, and that uses a lot of calories too. In essence, you continue to burn calories! By burning more calories and keeping a careful eye on what I eat, I will hopefully finally zap that belly fat :) I'll let you know how I get on...

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