Exercise - Phase 3 (week 9/12)
You will now be building your exercise regime to 5 sessions per week at an average of one hour per session. The increase in exercise intensity has been built on the base of a solid routine that has increased the strength of your joints, tendons, ligaments and musculature. You are now ready for exercise to play a bigger role in your weight loss journey because you have trimmed off the excess calories from your diet allowing exercise to now burn off stored body fat rather than fats you consume. To allow this to happen at a reasonable rate you need to be able to tolerate exercise that is at least 45 minutes in duration and of a moderate to higher intensity. More intense activity in your routine will help you burn more fat both during and after your workout. This increase in your metabolism can in some circumstances last up to several hours after the initial activity.
Interval training is a great way to add intensity to your everyday workout. This boost will help you burn more calories in the same amount of time. It will also help you get fitter...and fitter people burn more fat.
A popular argument is that low intensity exercise like walking burns more fat than higher intensity exercise like running. Many people spend their exercise time religiously walking in an effort to burn off those fat stores even though they could very well be running or some other higher intensity equivalent.
While walking does burn a higher percentage of fat than running it is the total amount of calories that is important when it comes to weight loss. The more calories you burn the greater the energy deficit therefore the greater result in weight loss. It really is as simple as that. Your liver will ‘balance the books’ at the end of the day and if you are in energy deficit it will replace those calories that you burned during exercise with its stores – namely fat. Because most people only have a limited time to exercise then they are better served to use that exercise to burn as many calories as possible.
The table below shows that running for one hour does burn ‘proportionately’ less fat calories than walking (in this example 40% compared to 50%). But importantly it shows that not only does running burn more calories in total but that the total amount of fat is also greater. The total is more important than the percentage.
With this in mind please do not get out there and run and end your healthy weight aspirations in injury. Follow the program - start walking slowly and build duration and frequency before any significant increase in intensity. Once you can walk for 90 minutes continuously and run for 1 minute pain free then it is time to introduce intervals. When you do introduce running - 30 seconds every 5 minutes of walking is enough to get started.
The end result does not have to be running continuously for your hour but the change in your exercise energy expenditure will have you feeling better than you ever imagined and a continuation of your weight loss busting through the inevitable plateaus!