By Rick Morris
We live in a fast-paced society. We’ve got that daily battle to juggle business, family and that much-needed downtime. So how do we fit in our workout? It can be a challenge; that time crunch can be made worse when you need to do more than one type of exercise during your session. Do you really need more than one type of exercise? Can you just do a couple of miles of easy running on the treadmill and be done with it? Can’t you just hit the weights for 20 minutes and call it quits? No— not if you’re trying to stay fit and burn that fat! There are three types of workouts you need to do to maximize your fat loss: strength training, high-intensity interval training and long-duration endurance exercise.
Why are those three types of exercise so important for fat burning? Let’s start with strength training. Most fat burning takes place in your muscle cells. So, more muscle equals more opportunities to burn fat. Any type of muscle mass improvements will help you burn fat, but recent research has suggested that strengthening a particular type of muscle fiber may maximize your fat-burning ability. You have two basic types of muscle fibers. Type 2 fibers are very powerful muscles that contract very quickly. Type 1 fibers contract more slowly, but are also more fatigue resistant. A recent study from the Boston University of Medicine has come to the conclusion that developing those type 2 fast-twitch fibers can result in a decrease in body fat levels and improvement in metabolic function because of their ability to increase fatty acid oxidation.
Now, what about that high-intensity exercise? You may be under the impression that low- to moderate-level exercise is best for fat burning. This has been proven to be untrue. High-intensity exercise burns calories and fat at a much faster rate, resulting in greater overall fat loss. A new Australian study backs up that claim. The Australian researchers studied the effects of high-intensity interval training and steady state, moderate-level exercise on 45 overweight subjects. They found that the high-intensity group lost more overall body fat and more trunk fat than the steady state group.
Does that mean that you don’t need long-duration, steady state exercise? Nope— you still need to do the endurance training. Endurance exercise will not only burn a lot of calories, it will also make physiological changes in your body that will make you a more efficient fat burner.
Doing all three of these types of exercise can be time-consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do it all in one workout? The good news is— you can. You can do them all in one workout on the treadmill. Not only is this a faster way to complete your exercise triad, but it’s also a more efficient way to maximize your ability to burn fat and keep it off. Scientists at the University of Kansas found that performing concurrent resistance and endurance training provides a more effective, powerful exercise program strategy than single-mode exercise when weight loss is the goal.
Here’s the treadmill triad fat-loss workout. This workout combines high-intensity interval training, hill running and endurance running into one highly efficient, 40-minute turbo-charged fat-burning exercise session. The high-intensity interval training builds fast-twitch muscle fibers and increases your fat and calorie burning. Hill running is a great lower body strengthening exercise that will also burn a lot of calories. Monitor your pace by using the rating of perceived exertion (RPE). RPE is a scale from 1 to 20 that rates how difficult your exercise feels. Using the RPE scale, a 1 equals no effort and 20 is equivalent to exercising as hard as possible.
Treadmill Triad Fat-Burning Workout
• Warm up by walking or jogging at an easy pace or about 12 on the RPE scale for 5 minutes at zero elevation.
• Increase your pace to a moderately hard pace, or around 15 on the RPE scale and run for 3 minutes at zero elevation.
• Increase your pace to a hard pace or 17 on the RPE scale and run for 2 minutes at zero elevation.
• Slow back to an easy pace or RPE 12 and run for 3 minutes at zero elevation.
• Speed up to a hard pace or RPE 17 and run for 2 minutes at zero elevation.
• Decrease your speed to an easy pace (RPE 12) and run for 3 minutes at zero elevation.
• Increase your speed to a hard pace (RPE 17) for another 2 minutes.
• Slow down to an easy pace (RPE 12) and run for 3 minutes.
• Increase your treadmill elevation to 3 percent and run at what feels like a moderately hard pace (RPE 15) for 3 minutes. Your actual pace will be slower than your moderately hard pace at zero incline.
• Increase your treadmill elevation to 5 percent and run at what feels like a hard pace (RPE 17) for 3 minutes.
• Decrease your treadmill elevation to 3 percent and run at what feels like a moderately hard pace (RPE 15) for 3 minutes.
• Increase your treadmill elevation to 8 percent and run at what feels like a very hard pace (RPE 19) for 1 minute.
• Decrease your treadmill elevation to 5 percent and run at a hard pace (RPE 17) for 2 minutes.
• Decrease your treadmill elevation to 3 percent and run at a moderate pace (RPE 15) for 3 minutes.
• Decrease your treadmill elevation to zero percent and run at an easy pace (RPE 12) for 2 minutes to cool down.
Fast/Glycolytic muscle fiber growth reduces fat mass and improves metabolic parameters in obese mice, Izumiya Y, Hopkins, T. Morris C., Sato K., Zeng L., Viereck J., Hamilton JA, Ourhi N., LeBrasseur NK, Walsh K., Cell Metab, 2008Feb;7(2):97-8.
Concurrent Resistance and endurance training influence basal metabolic rate in nondieting individuals, Brett A. Dolezal and Jeffery A. Potteiger, J Appl Physiol, 85(2): 695-700, 1998.
The effects of high-intensity intermittent exercise training on fat loss and fasting insulin levels of young women, Trapp EG, Chisholm DJ, Freund J, Boutcher SH, Int J Obes, (Lond) 2008 Apr;32(4):684-91.