Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Tag: interval training

Why are shorter workouts so effective?

Beachbody has released information about their newest fitness program called Insanity Max :30. This is yet another product in a recent string of fitness programs from Beachbody targeting that 30 minute exercise window. Notable others include: P90X3, Focus T25, 21 Day Fix, etc. So why are workouts becoming shorter and shorter.

Well, as I have discussed in the past, I believe shorter workouts are more appealing to people  wishing to start their fitness journeys. Let's face it, it is much more attractive for folks to think of starting a new workout program that is just 25-30 minutes a day as compared to either 45-60 minute home workout programs or even longer trips to your traditional gym.

Oh, trust me, I know. The video seems quite cheesy. Some people like that kind of "flare." It feels like I am watching a trailer for a Hollywood movie. Let's not forget that this is a fitness product, and products have to be appealing to sell more. As cheesy as this trailer can seem, I will not deny the fact that I am extremely excited about this program and will be purchasing it on day 1 for my wife and I.

I have been through Shaun T's original Insanity program. I have also done Insanity: The Asylum, his more sports-themed, punch-you-in-the-face workout program. I have to admit, however, that I much prefer lifting weights and working on increasing my muscle size and strength, so doing 45+ minute mostly-cardio-based routines is not that appealing to me.

Having said that, cardiovascular exercise is important for brain and cardiovascular health. Sure, it burns calories (more, the more intensity you bring), but the main focus, in my opinion, about doing cardiovascular exercise is to improve your heart and lungs and overall health.

I have tried Focus T25, and it is ok. The workouts are challenging and some are actually quite fun to do, but it just isn't the same as Insanity (let's be honest). So, when I heard about Insanity, but in short 30 minute workouts, my interest in home-based cardio routines suddenly piqued again.

So why shorter workouts? Can they still be as effective? You bet they can, here's why?

Take this study, for example:

"While other low volume HIT protocols have reported non-significant (Burgomaster. 2005, 2006) or small (below 10%) increases in aerobic capacity (Burgomaster. 2008; Hazell. 2010) the current protocol induced rela- tively large increases in both VO2peak (+19%) and an- aerobic performance (+12% - 14%). These findings con- firm the results of Tabata et al.(1996) who reported ele- vated VO2peak at both 3 and 6 wks of training, and demonstrate that increases in VO2peak occur following 2 wks of training. Interestingly, while VO2peak is traditionally believed to be determined by cardiac output, a recent report demonstrated increased VO2peak without an accompanying increase in maximal cardiac output following treadmill sprint interval training (MacPherson. 2011)."

So what does this mean? Well, basically, something that I have stressed time and time again. Short bursts of intense exercise is very effective at keeping you "fit" and improving your VO2Max. VO2Max, basically, is how effective your body is at utilizing oxygen. The more efficient and effective your body is at utilizing oxygen, the harder, faster, and more effective your exercise and everyday activities can become. Not only that, but your body then becomes a far more efficient machine at burning body fat stores as a primary energy source, lowering your body fat percentage.

The study had participants using Tabata-style exercise (similar to what will be used in Insanity Max :30), which is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training). The study subjects completed 4 workouts per week, each consisting of 4 minutes of exercise (8, 20 second intervals, 10 second break between. Total time = 4 minutes). Yes, you read that correctly. In just 16 mins of exercise every week, these individuals improved their VO2Max, but maybe more importantly for many of you, they also had an increase in mitochondrial protein.

If you remember back to your high school biology days, mitochondria are considered the "power plants" of your cells. They have a number of functions, but the function that is most important to those exercising, is the production of energy through aerobic means.

So, with intense exercise, your body becomes more efficient at burning body fat as a primary energy source, leading you to be more effective at everything else you do throughout your day, burning more body fat during every other activity that you are doing.

So, we know that short, intense intervals are great for improving aerobic conditioning. But what about burning calories and dropping body fat?

A study done by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada found that men who performed sprint intervaltraining for a total of 2.5 hours (including recovery) over the course of 2weeks has the same results as the group who performed endurance training for atotal of 10.5 hours over the same time period.

Yes, its alright to go back and read that again. 1/5th of the time for the same results! Another study following a group of 15 women found that high-intensity exercise (40 to 45 minutes approximately four times weekly at a mean HR of 163 bpm) reduced body fat by about 5 percent over the course of 15 weeks versus a virtually unchanged percentage in the group that performed exercise at a lower heart rate (132 beats per minute).

Long-duration cardio sessions have a place in your training block if you are training for something specific like a marathon in which you wish to improve your overall time. However, when it comes to aerobic conditioning, calorie burn, and overall health, about 30 minutes of intense exercise is really all you need!





How effective is P90X3?

I came across this article a few weeks ago, and have been excited to share it with all of you. With the hype and excitement surrounding the release of P90X3, not to mention my own vlogging of my progress through the program, I have yet to get a chance to write about this important bit of information. However, now is as good of time as any, as many of you will be starting X3 soon, or will be contemplating starting in the near future. Inevitably, I will be getting numerous questions about the "effectiveness" of P90X3.

Before we discuss the study's findings, let's have a quick discussion on how the body operates. Keep in mind that this is a very brief synopsis, and if you have any further questions, make sure to comment below or e-mail me (t.robbins.fitness@gmail.com) to discuss things in greater detail.

Everybody consumes food. Food contains macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates), and micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, nutrients). Food gives us energy, which is generally measured in calories (kilocalories, actually).

Your body needs energy (calories) to function. Thinking, breathing, walking, digesting food, building tissues, talking, having sex, etc. All of these daily processes and the energy needed to function are known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). Although there are great variations in individuals' BMRs, most people average around 1500-2000kcal/day. This number varies greatly beyond this baseline based on how much fat-free mass you have (muscle), not to mention your activity level, types of foods you eat, how stressed you are, what type of occupation you have, genetics, etc. Basically, there are so many factors involved in calculating exactly how many calories you actually burn in any given day, that being attached to any specific number is an estimation at best. Sure, you can try and ballpark the number of calories you use in a day, but do not think that this is all that accurate.

The way your body uses energy is based on your level of fitness as well as what type of activity you are performing. Low-intensity activities such as walking (for most people) is relatively easy to accomplish, and is considered "aerobic" because the body can fulfill the energy demands through oxidative metabolism.

Body fat (adipose tissue) can only be used as an energy source when oxygen is present. So, if you respire fast/quickly enough, and your heart can pump blood to your working muscles efficiently and effectively, then the more "fit" you become, and therefore more efficient your body becomes at utilizing body fat stores (adipose tissue) as a primary energy source. What a lot of people seem to forget, is that the "fitter" you become, the more effective your body becomes at using adipose tissue (body fat) as a primary energy supplier, lowering your body fat percentage with less "effort."

Anyways, back to calories. Too many individuals become very attached to counting calories. I definitely recommend that my clients track their food intake from time to time to get a basic idea of exactly how much they are eating, and in what macronutrient ratios, but don't believe that this is something that is sustainable for most people, nor is it the most accurate.

I also try and point out the fact that the number of calories that your heart rate monitor tells you that you burn during a workout should not be something that should be stressed over either.

Despite all of that, this question will be raised time and time again, as I have already been asked a number of times since programs like P90X3 are out on the market. "How many calories are you actually burning during a P90X3 workout?"

Back to the study.

"While other low volume HIT protocols have reported non-significant (Burgomaster. 2005, 2006) or small (below 10%) increases in aerobic capacity (Burgomaster. 2008; Hazell. 2010) the current protocol induced rela- tively large increases in both VO2peak (+19%) and an- aerobic performance (+12% - 14%). These findings con- firm the results of Tabata et al.(1996) who reported ele- vated VO2peak at both 3 and 6 wks of training, and demonstrate that increases in VO2peak occur following 2 wks of training. Interestingly, while VO2peak is traditionally believed to be determined by cardiac output, a recent report demonstrated increased VO2peak without an accompanying increase in maximal cardiac output following treadmill sprint interval training (MacPherson. 2011)."

So what does this mean? Well, basically, something that I have stressed time and time again. Short bursts of intense exercise is very effective at keeping you "fit" and improving your VO2Max. VO2Max, basically, is how effective your body is at utilizing oxygen. As we discussed earlier, the more efficient and effective your body is at utilizing oxygen, the harder, faster, and more effective your exercise and everyday activities can become. Not only that, but your body then becomes a far more efficient machine at burning body fat stores as a primary energy source, lowering your body fat percentage.

The study had participants using Tabata-style exercise, which is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training). The study subjects completed 4 workouts per week, each consisting of 4 minutes of exercise (8, 20 second intervals, 10 second break between. Total time = 4 minutes). Yes, you read that correctly. In just 16 mins of exercise every week, these individuals improved their VO2Max, but maybe more importantly for many of you, they also had an increase in mitochondrial protein.

If you remember back to your high school biology days, mitochondria are considered the "power plants" of your cells. They have a number of functions, but the function that is most important to those exercising, is the production of energy through aerobic means.

So, with intense exercise, your body becomes more efficient at burning body fat as a primary energy source, leading you to be more effective at everything else you do throughout your day, burning more body fat during every other activity that you are doing.

The name of the game is intensity, however. You need to be pushing yourself extremely hard during the intervals of work. This is one common problem that I see with many individuals, especially when it comes to shorter P90X3 workouts. If you reach the end of a 30 minute workout and feel as though you have "more in the tank," then you simply did not intensify enough.

The style of P90X3 workouts is such that it focuses on power and performance training. Power refers to contracting a muscle as quickly as possible. In the Agility X routine, for example, every single movement should be done as fast and as powerfully as possible. Power training is about going from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

Too many people miss this opportunity and believe that this routine is just a "cardio" routine, so they can just follow through the motions. Instead, every single agility sequence, every single jump, every single movement should be done with as much force and power that you can muster. If you are not exhausted by the end of the 30 minutes, then you need to jump with more force, move with more purpose in the agility sequences, etc.

If you do this, 30 minutes of exercise is more than enough time to get a tremendous workout in, improving your aerobic efficiency, keeping you "fit", and allowing your body to maintain a much healthier body composition.






Weekly Newsletter

Hey Everybody

Wow, what an opening day for P90X3 yesterday! I know for a fact that the Team Beachbody website is still reeling after the amount of traffic it saw yesterday. Things should be better today for those of you who had troubles ordering yesterday. The initial rush should be slowed down now, although there is still going to be a HUGE demand in the coming days/weeks/months!

I want to personally thank all of you who not only purchased (or are going to purchase) P90X3 through me, but any other purchases you make through me as well. That is how I make a small return for the hard work I put forth helping all of you stay motivated, accountable, and in my mind, the most important part (and one fact that a LOT of Coaches miss) - educated on everything health and fitness!

With the holiday season underway, or almost underway, we now start to look ahead to the New Year and the goals/improvements we all wish to make. I know for a fact that I am going to be chomping at the bit to get going with X3, so I will more than likely start it as soon as it arrives - hopefully no later than December 22nd. Yes, for those of you asking, I will be doing LOTS of video updates along the way.

Let's cover this week's topics:

1. If you tried to order P90X3 yesterday and were bogged down by the website, make sure you try again today. There should be a lot less traffic now that the original rush is slowing. Please remember, if you did NOT receive a confirmation order and e-mail at the end of your purchase yesterday then your order probably did not go through. If you are uncertain, let me know and I will check my records to see if your order went through. Here are your P90X3 purchasing options.

2. Make sure you check out all of the latest news about P90X3. Yesterday I added the various training schedules as well as the workout sheets - a good idea of what you're in for!

3. If you are still mulling over what P90X3 option to get, let me convince you on how great of a deal the P90X3 Challenge Pack is. You get the Base Kit, your first month of Shakeology, a free 30-day trial membership to a Club Membership as well as the option to upgrade to Coach status for free ($39.95 value). For those of you interested in not only that, but also joining my 60-Day Coach Training Academy, let me know as my next class starts on Monday January 6th 2014. It is a great way to learn the ins and outs of the business and hit the ground running.

4. If you haven't already, make sure you check out our P90X3 Challenge Group. This one will be rockin' with excitement/motivation in the coming weeks as everyone gets their copy of X3 and gets ready to do battle. We're currently sitting at 25 members strong!

5. One of the best reads about Crossfit you will find!

This week's blogs:

Neural Adaptations and more - What does this mean for you?
John's Awesome Body Beast Results

From the blog archive:

Tough Mudder Tactics: Mud Mile
Introduction to the Glycemic Index
Tough Mudder Tactics: Spider's Web
Interval Training
Tough Mudder Tactics: Trench Warfare

And 2 favors that I ask:

1) If you like the hard work I put into writing my blogs and videos, PLEASE help me out by sharing them.  Click the share links below them and share them on FB, Twitter, etc.  It really helps me get more exposure and grow our team!

2) Also, as always, remember that the way I benefit from being your coach is that I earn a commission from any Beachbody products that you purchase, as long as you buy them through my site, tylerrobbinsfitness.com. It helps with the amount of time I spend answering all your questions, writing my blogs, filming my videos, and helping you out. Thank you! I really appreciate it!

Everyone have a great week!

-- 

Tyler Robbins
Independent Team Beachbody Coach
tylerrobbinsfitness.com
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2013 Challenge Group - Team Fitness for Life





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