HITT or LISS
I was asked in a comment on one of my social media posts if HIIT was best for fat loss, specifically for losing belly fat. And this is a common assumption, that going all out on some high intensity cardio must be the best option for losing fat. I think it comes from the no pain no gain mentality of training. The one that says the more something sucks, the better it must be.
But here is the thing, there is no difference between high intensity and low intensity cardio when it comes to fat loss results, when they are matched for calories burned. None, zero, nada.
However, and you knew there would be a however, didn’t you… the time taken to do them is different. When calories out are matched, the high intensity option will get you the same result in about 50% of the time that low intensity exercise would. And interestingly, the cardio fitness improvements (increases in VO2max) are about the same between the 2.
So if time is a factor, HIIT is probably the option you should go for but ultimately your choice is going to be based on a combo of your goals, ability and preferences.
I decided this week that I’d start tracking calories again for a couple of weeks in order to get a better idea of where I am and what I need to improve. Like most people, I get into some less than stellar habits, reach for more comfort food than I probably should and I was starting to feel a little sluggish, my jeans were a touch tighter around the waist and I needed to make improvements.
Tracking calories is often seen as obsessive, as a way to exert more control over your diet than is normal. And while I don’t believe it should be a long term strategy, I very firmly believe that it can be a hugely useful tool in your arsenal to help get a better understanding of calorie intake, and help you make more informed decisions about your diet.
The issue as I see it, is that telling someone to “just listen to your body” when it comes to food, may be a well-intentioned piece of advice, but if you have no idea what you’re supposed to be eating and are constantly surrounded by hyper palatable, high calorie, low nutrient foods, how on earth do you go about improving your food choices?
Tracking is simply a way to collect data on the foods you eat, helping you build a better awareness of the calorie contents, nutrient values and portion sizes you are currently eating, in order to make a few small adjustments to get closer to whatever your health, performance and body composition goals are.
Tracking calories, like checking your bank balance, is just a way to assess your current habits and give you ample opportunity to make the adjustment you want to keep you on track. And once you’ve built a bit more awareness, or recalibrated a little, you can ease back on the tracking and start eating a little more intuitively.
Banded partial shoulder shockers
This is a banded variation of the partial db lateral raise that I use in several of my clients programs and a favourite of mine. It is designed to hit the delts without having your upper traps take over on the movement.
The combo of vertical(ish) and horiontal pulls from the band load up the shoulders like crazy and the burn is wicked. But it makes for a great exercise to target the shoulders. You want to stop the raises at the point where your upper traps are just about to kick in to help out. For most people this will be around 45º from your torso. Keep the tension in the band and keep your shoulders down away from your ears.
Start in the 20-35 range and build up to 50s from there…