MMB – Benefits of Burst Training

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a fantastic weekend!  Did any of you go up to the snow?  How was it?  If you did, I hope you had a blast and felt strong and capable out there on the slopes!  After all, that’s what fitness is all about – being able to do the things you love to do because you can!  So, keep up the great effort in your work outs and keep the momentum going! 

Now that it’s March and the month of St. Patrick’s Day, it’s time to celebrate all things green!  Eating your greens is especially important this time of year to help boost your metabolism and cell function in order to avoid those nasty colds and flues.  Think of leafy greens as the Green Avengers, who are out to seek and destroy invading viruses, so they can bring order to the universe and protect planet earth!  How effective would the  Avengers be if there was only one Avenger?  Imagine the Hulk facing off Lokhi’s space army of the Chitauri all by himself without the help of his team?  Hmm, not really.  So, it’s kind of the same thing with our fruits and veggies because we need a variety and an abundance of them in order to truly fight off the bad guys – free radicals leading to disease.  Greens are also like the Avengers because every super hero is totally unique and different, each possessing an array of unique talents and abilities.  Iron Man has his legion of highly advanced suits of armor, Captain America has…..muscle – lots of muscle :), Hawk Eye has his amazing visual and shooting bow and arrows abilities, Black Widow…well, she’s tough and don’t get in her way.  You get the idea right?  The Avengers are an amazing team because they all bring their unique talents, gifts, and determination to the table. Our colorful selection of fruits and veggies do the exact same thing inside our bodies because of their powerful phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins which attack and destroy dangerous foreign space invaders!  Check out the link to this article to read more about the benefits of greens:

Announcements and Reminders:

  1. March Great Greens Contest – For the month of March, track all of your greens that you consume. At the end of the month, whoever tracks the most greens will win a class card.  For tracking, here are the guidelines:   If you drink green juice or smoothies, 8 oz = 1 serving.  If you eat a green salad, 1 cup = 1 serving.  You can keep track in your phone or in a notebook.  Since I know you’ll be excited to try all of those spring greens recipes, I’ll have another contest on Saturday, March 31st!  At the end of boot camp,  bring your favorite green dish or drink to share so we can taste and judge to find out whose dish will win!  The winner will receive a gift card!  Let’s get excited to experiment with our veggies!

  1. St. Patrick’s Day Boot Camp – Saturday, March 17th.  Wear your favorite Irish Green and come prepared to search for the gold at the end of the rainbow!  Of course, you’ll have to work hard to find it!  Bring a friend to this unique and festive Boot Camp! 

  1. Next Running Boot Camp is Sunday, March 18th at 11am!
  2. Cardio Core at Jen’s Studio Tuesday – There are currently (3) openings at 5:45pm, (1) opening at 6:55pm, and (2) openings at 7:35pm.  Please text me if you’d like to join in the fitness fun!


Thought for the week:  Benefits of Burst Training

I am currently going through a class called The HIIT Advantage by Irene Lewis-McCormick, who is a well known fitness industry expert and educator.  As I am continuing to expand my knowledge of exercise science, I would love to pass on some of my findings so you can understand more about the importance of exercise.  My writing will incorporate some of the research and findings in this book, so let’s learn together!

So, let’s talk about burst training or HIIT – high intensity interval training.  Basically, it’s going all out for a high intensity anaerobic movement combined with low effort rest intervals.  The benefits of burst training are through the roof including improving athletic performance, cardiorespiratory function, muscular strength and endurance, and aiding in weight loss by increasing glucose metabolism and the after burn.   

Perhaps what is most amazing about burst training is that it’s more efficient than its steady state aerobic exercises.  In steady state exercises such as biking or running, oxygen supply meets oxygen demand at a continuous pace where the heart rate stays about the same pace and you do not become breathless.  During a burst training exercise, your vary your energy output and become breathless for short periods of time. VO2 max is achieved because during burst training because you are pushing your body’s upper limit for consuming and distributing oxygen.  It’s the peak power output and your maximal physical work capacity, which is what makes burst training so demanding.

The challenge in repeated steady state exercises is that the cardiovascular system adapts to the aerobic stressors known as pattern overload.  In burst training, the body’s overload is disrupted and the body responds by becoming stronger, more resilient and better able to handle stress.  HIIT training is more effective in improving maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and stroke volume  (the amount of blood that pumps out of the left ventricle each time the heart beats) than steady state aerobic exercises. 

In discussing burst training, the concept of negative recovery is key to understanding its success.  Negative recovery is a recovery time that is either the same amount or less than the burst training exercise.  For example, in Tabata training, the ratio is 2:1, with 20 seconds of super intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest.  With negative recovery, oxygen debt (the acute response to physiological overload including breathlessness and fatigue) and EPOC – long term calorie burn after exercise, follows.  Without negative recovery, breathlessness is more difficult to obtain and so are the benefits. 

There are benefits to both aerobic and anaerobic exercises and I think we need both kinds in order to bring balance to our bodies.  When we are engaging in aerobic activities such as walking, jogging, or biking, we are recruiting more of our Type 1 slow twitch muscle fibers, which are the endurance fibers.  During aerobic activity, the body’s metabolic needs are met by aerobic metabolism, which uses oxygen to convert nutrients  (carbs, fat, and protein) to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) or energy in slow-twitch fibers.  Any kind of endurance sport relies on Type 1 muscle fibers.

Fast twitch muscle fibers, known as Type II, rely on ATP as the immediate source of energy for muscle contractions.  ATP energy is good for about 10 seconds of maximal effort before the body switches to phosphate system, which comes from creatine.  Creatine is about ten times larger than ATP, so it’s like a reservoir for ATP.  This energy pathway doesn’t require any oxygen, so it’s perfect for sudden and powerful movements.  ATP is created exclusively from carbohydrates, which means there is lactic acid as a by product.  Once sufficient oxygen is available again, lactic acid is sent to the liver where it is converted into glucose, creating more energy for the body to use.  We can’t sprint, jump, or leap without recruiting Type II fibers.  Where would we be without those! 

Other research has shown that our mitochondria become more dense as a result of HIIT.  Mitochondria are considered the energy factories of the cell, so after HIIT exercises, we have more mitochondrial oxidative enzymes which leads to more carbohydrate and fat breakdown for fuel.  This equals more energy available for working muscles, and producing more force for an extended period of time.  We have more capacity for longer, more intense effort for extended periods of time.  Our fat burning increases after only six weeks of HIIT style exercises, which is huge in helping people to lose weight. 

To understand how HIIT can improve running, take for example a person who is running three times a week for 3 miles.   You will notice weight loss and changes in your ability to sustain that level of intensity for a while.  However, over time you will burn fewer calories because your body will adapt to the level of intensity and become less effective.  To change the pattern, you would either need to increase the duration or the intensity of the run.  Shorter, faster runs would improve your performance and burn more calories because of the increased energy cost and overload to the body.  Does that make sense? 

So, are you ready to embrace burst training!  Let’s do it!

See you in class soon!