Tabata Training.

Tabata training has become one of the most popular forms of H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training). It uses a set time of 4minutes, broken down in to eight rounds, 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest intervals.  

Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata and colleagues compared results of moderate intensity and HIIT. The study assessed two groups of amateur athletic males in their early 20’s. The first group pedalled on an ergo-meter for 60minutes at 70% of VO2 max, while the second group pedalled for 20seconds at maximal effort with 10seconds rest for 4minutes.  

Both groups worked out five days a week, 5hrs or 20minutes a week. They continued this for 6 weeks.

 The study found that, as expected, the Tabata-style group increased their anaerobic performance while the moderate intensity group did not. What was more surprising was that the Tabata-style group also improved their aerobic ability in a similar fashion to the moderate intensity group, who were specifically training for that. Showing that the Tabata protocol provides 2-in-1 benefits from the 4minutes.

 Since this paper many have ‘experimented’ with the use of various exercises and moved away from the original research. Although they adopt the same principle, 20s on – 10s off for 4minutes, this is not inline with the research and therefore, cannot claim to have the same effects until further research has been performed.

5 Tips to Starting Your Fitness Journey

It’s the start of a New Year; many of you will have made going to the gym/starting a healthier lifestyle your resolution. In this blog post I will go through five tips that are important to making your resolution successful.

Ease In – When beginning a training programme or nutrition plan for the first time, it is important to make small adjustments. If the changes are too drastic, more often than not, you will quit. For the first few sessions of a training programme, don’t go ‘all out’. Instead, ease yourself in to the training routine and gradually increase intensity, frequency etc as and when necessary. It is a marathon, not a sprint!

Don’t Quit – It is important to remember that changes do not happen overnight. Some people have a greater response to a training stimulus than others. Providing the training programme you’re following is optimal for your goals, the changes will come. Be patient, and keep your desired outcome in mind. You will go through sticky patches, loss of motivation, good sessions, bad session and so on. But, staying focused on that end goal will keep you pushing through the toughest times. If you quit, you will never reach that goal.

66 Days – It is a popular myth that it takes 21 days to form a habit. 21 days, is how long it takes for a simple habit. For something as complex as starting a fitness journey, research shows that it is in fact 66 days before this becomes almost second nature. So, by the first week of March, it should become a little easier for you to maintain the training!

Say ‘No’ to the Yo-Yo – When January comes, it is all too common for people to head straight for the ‘yo-yo’ diets. They get that name from the weight loss during and then the weight gain post diet. When it comes to nutrition, choose a plan that is; sustainable, consistent, flexible and achieves results. A plan that is too restrictive will have you craving the so-called ‘bad’ foods, and more than likely end up with a binge. Following a nutrition plan with the optimal macronutrient intake for your aim doesn’t have to be boring and full of broccoli! Exercise in moderation and, if you and the other half want to go out for a meal, do it. If you’re at a birthday party and got your eye on a piece of cake, have it. Providing you reach your daily macronutrient/caloric goals and you are exercising in moderation, treats won’t hamper your progress.

Enjoy It! – One, if not, the most important factor for beginners achieving their goals is sustaining the lifestyle. It is possible to reach your goals by enjoying what you do; follow programmes that get results but also have you looking forward to training or your next meal. It is possible! There’s no doubt that you will have to work hard to reach your goals, but the minute you see it as a chore is when the motivation/results will start to be affected.

I hope these five tips help you to start and pursue your fitness journey over the coming year. Make 2015 the year you started and didn’t quit!

Good luck!

For Personal Training enquiries, more information on programmes (nutrition and training), or just more advice in general; contact me via Facebook, e-mail: alexmaloney_pt@sky.com or phone: 0794766037.

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a molecule comprised of three amino acids; glycine, methionine and arginine. It is produced in the body and used to produce energy, ATP – Adenosine Tri-Phosphate, to support cellular function.

Creatine is naturally produced in the body and is also found in high protein foods such as red meat, poultry, eggs and fish. It is a natural compound, not a lab synthesized compound!

When creatine enters or is produced by the body, it binds with a phosphate molecule to form creatine phosphate. ATP is the body’s energy source and it is responsible for almost every process that occurs within the body. When a phosphate group is hydrolyzed, energy in the form of heat is given off and this is used to perform whatever process is required, for example a muscle contracting. A phosphate has been lost and ATP is now ADP – Adenosine Di-Phosphate. ADP is pretty much useless to the body; this is where creatine comes in. Creatine replenishes the lost phosphate to reform ADP to ATP. By performing this function, creatine allows you to train harder for a sustained period of time.

Adenosine Triphosphate

One of creatine’s anabolic properties is that it hydrates muscle cells. When a muscle cell is hydrated, there is an increase in protein synthesis. If you’re looking to optimize your gains, then optimizing your muscle protein synthesis is vital and this is where creatine can provide an added benefit.

Creatine is one of, if not, the most researched supplement on the market. So far, there has been no reputable study showing that creatine has any dangerous side effects.

My recommendation for supplementing creatine would be to use a loading phase of 5 days at around 20g p/day in the form of creatine monohydrate. After the loading phase, use 3-5g daily as a maintenance dosage for the remainder. To get the full benefit, your muscle cells will need to be saturated with it, hence the loading phase. This ‘saturation’ can take up to 30 days depending on the individual if the small dosage (3-5g) is used; the loading phase is not essential but will just speed the saturation process up.

HIIT for Optimal Fat Burn

How many times have you walked in to the gym, looked over to the cardio section and seen the ‘daily walkers’ on the treadmill? I’m guessing it’s more than a handful of times. Gyms up and down the country have members that swear by this type of cardio for fat burn; heck you may even be one of them. The diagrams of the ‘fat burning zone’ indicate that a reduced intensity burns more fat, hence  why this type of cardio has become common place.

But, what if I was to tell you that this wasn’t an optimal approach to fat burn? You could be wasting hours upon hours; often seeing minimal results, if any.

A study conducted in 1994 at Laval University (Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada) found that young men and women that followed a 15 week HIIT programme, lost significantly more body fat than the young men and women who followed a 20 week LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) programme. They even found that the LISS group burned 15,000 more calories than the HIIT group!

HIIT uses glucose as an energy source whilst training. Once the exercise has finished, your body switches over from your glucose stores to your fat stores for fuel. There is a significant increase in the calories burned in the 24hr period following the workout when compared to LISS, a 1996 study from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX) reported.

When attempting HIIT, it is advisable to take in to account your current state of fitness and well-being due to the nature of the exercise. The following outline will give you an insight into a modified ‘Wingate’ approach, and is to be performed on a static bike, using 6 x 30s sprints : 90s rest periods.

A warm-up of 5 minutes on the static bike should be carried out prior to beginning the exercise, with the bike resistance to 50% of the maximal resistance. When the 5 minutes is up, sprint as fast a you can for the first 10s. After 10s has been completed, increase the resistance to maximum level, and sprint as hard as you can for the remaining 20s. Then, take the resistance to an ‘easy level’ for 90s. Repeat the sprints 5 more times to complete the 6 sprints, using the same 90s rest periods in between.

Enjoy!