Interval and Spot Training
Should one work out on an empty stomach?
It is not advisable to exercise in empty stomach. Our body needs energy when we exercise, and that energy usually comes from the food we eat. When we exercise on an empty stomach, our body starts using energy from our muscles. This will lead to muscle loss and will slow down our metabolism, which in turn, will increase chances of injury. Furthermore, when we lose muscle mass, the rate at which our body burns fat also decreases since muscles are the “fat-burning machines” in our body. Hence, working out on an empty stomach not only increases chances of injury, it will have a reverse effect and slow down the fat-burning rate in our body.
Is spot training a myth?
Many people have the misconception that they can burn fat from certain areas of the body by following exercise regimens that target just one or two parts of the body. Such targeted exercise regimen of one part of the body—known as spot training—does not work and is a myth. When we work out, our body burns fat from all over the body, and not from just one or two selected parts. Spot training works only to tone the muscles underneath the fat layer, but not to burn the fat. When we do crunches, it does little to burn the fat around our stomach. Exercises like running, swimming and cycling are better at burning fat. Once the fat is burned off, then you can do spot training to tone the muscles underneath.
Tell us about interval training.
Interval training is combining high intensity exercises with low intensity ones. Such training is excellent for burning fat and building up stamina, and can be applied in running or cycling in the gym. High intensity means running or cycling in high speed, while low intensity means doing the same at a slower pace. The actual rate depends on the fitness level of the individual.
There are two types of interval training: standard and pyramid. In standard interval training, you repeat the same combination of high and low intensity periods; e.g. 60 seconds of high intensity followed by 120 seconds of low intensity, repeated 5 to 6 times. In pyramid interval training, the high duration of high intensity part increases to a peak and then decreases to the starting rate while the low intensity period remains the same; e.g. 45 / 120 seconds, 60 / 120 seconds, 75 / 120 seconds, 90 / 120 seconds, 75 / 120 seconds, 60 / 120 seconds, 45 / 120 seconds.
One should start with standard interval training and then do the pyramid after few weeks. Doing interval training 2 to 3 times per week will give good results in terms of burning fat and building stamina.
Do you agree that exercise without weight loss is also good for diseases like coronary artery disease, hypertension, etc.?
Yes, regular exercise will help normalize blood pressure and cholesterol level in our body even if you do not see weight loss. Furthermore, exercising will decrease the chance for heart diseases and even certain types of cancer because it helps decrease bad body fat and controls blood pressure even though you may not be losing body weight.
What are the actual disadvantages of junk food?
Junk food contains high calories and high saturated (bad) fat, both of which increase the risk of heart diseases and weight gain. Furthermore, junk food does not contain nutrition required by our body. When we eat junk food, we become unhealthy and we gain a lot of weight. Weight gain also puts pressure on our lower back and knees, and causes injury.