Low Intensity Workouts
How you burn fat: the science
Using energy comes from breaking down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules -- this process is called glycolgenolysis. Your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.
In the fat cell, other types of lipases (enzymes) work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose. Once the glucose has travelled through the blood stream and through the body they remove the lactic acid which turns in to carbon dioxide and out through the airways, so ideally the better you are at breathing and passing oxygen through the body, the better your body will be at burning fat!
Low Intensity Cardio
Walking, swimming, running and jogging fall in the category of low intensity cardio. When trying to keep a slower pace your body focuses on your aerobic system to produce energy from fat stores and your oxygen. We don’t really need large stores to explode like phosphate energy does, so this means that it is localised to burning fat. Just because it burns fat doesn’t actually mean that it is the better option for losing weight, but mainly an optimiser for increasing your cardio abilities, so in turn your body can use its energy better. Low intensity cardio is a good option for getting fit, rather than using it just to burn calories. When doing any long periods of exercise your body goes in to a stressed state that releases a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol plays a part in catabolism (the body eating it's own muscle) and is a reason why some people don’t see muscle gains and can stereotypically explain why you don’t see too many bulky runners or joggers. The ideal length of time for a low intensity cardio session is between 30 and 45 minutes.
High Intensity Workouts
High Intensity Interval Training is the complimentary option to getting your body looking fit and toned, but most importantly healthy. If you want to improve your lifestyle and feel better throughout the day increasing your cardiovascular system is a no brainer. HIIT will enable the burning of glycogen and fat at a rapid pace by increasing your heart rate. Lactic training works your cardio vascular system by pumping blood throughout your body to fuel the muscles. When the muscles get tired they create a by-product of lactic acid, which then turns to carbon dioxide and leaves the body. Each week during ERL12 we are aiming to increase our V02 (the volume of oxygen that gets transferred around the body), which means better oxygen delivery to the muscles. In a perfect world we would love to be able to do HIIT for long extended periods of time, but building up a tolerance to lactic acid takes time and consistency.
For more HIIT ideas after ERL12 check our eBook: My HIIT Guide
Macronutrients are nutrients which your body requires in very large quantities in order to function. The three macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (lipids). Each of these macronutrients contain a different amount of calories, and fuel different tasks throughout the body. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, proteins contain 4 calories per gram, and there are 9 calories per gram of fats.
In a standard diet carbohydrates are what humans require the most of (provided you don’t have some kind of health condition which inhibits the use or effectiveness of carbohydrates). Carbs are the most easily metabolised nutrient, which means that your body is able to break them down quickest, making them a viable source of energy, brain fuel, as well as for tissue growth and repair.
Proteins create the majority of your cells, and while it is important, having too much can lead to excess fat storage. It’s important to aim for around 1.2g-1.5g of protein per kilogram of body weight, which is easier to achieve than you might think. Proteins are used to produce new tissue in the body, as well as regulate digestion, protect your immune system, and maintain other bodily functions.
Fats are necessary for survival. The average recommendation of healthy fats in the diet is 20-35%, but the ratio of fats to carbohydrates can be adjusted depending on any pre-existing health conditions, or any weight loss goals you may have. Fats are a high density energy source, and can help you feel full for long periods of time. Because they are slow-burning, they help your body maintain more stable blood sugar levels. Fats are incredibly important for brain function, eye health, good skin, and correcting hormone function.
Macro breakdowns we suggest (by body type)
Please note this does not take into consideration health conditions which may alter your requirements.
Tall/lean body type/has difficulty gaining muscle
70% carbs / 20% protein / 10% fats
35% carbs / 35% protein / 30% fats
Usually shorter, has difficulty losing and keeping off weight
20% carbs / 30% protein / 50% fats
Download the worksheet here