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  1. #1
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    Some weight loss and calorie questions

    Righto, following up a post I made a while ago I joined a gym (yay).

    Now the thing is, on most of the cardio equipment there are the heart rate ranges consisting of 'weight loss range' at around 70% max heart rate and 'cardio something range" at about 90% max heart rate. Add to this I remember reading or being told about the best way to exercise to lose weight was something along the lines of moderate but constant for more than 10 minutes. I even remember someone saying something about being still be able to breathe through your nose but not sing. Basically staying firmly in the aerobic zone.

    So...anyway. I tend to like interval training more than just something constant...constant is boring. This way I would probably be burning more total calories, but going in the anaerobic zone more often. Plus I would be getting more cardio fitness training.

    So, further towards the point. As far as I understand it...a calorie is a calorie right? So that would mean that if I burn more calories during the work out as interval training, I may not be directly burning off fat at the time, because that would be a bit slow for the body. But the fat would be used in recovery hours after as the body would use the energy stored in fat to replace stores used when training as well as general body housekeeping. And because more calories are used overall, more fat is also used overall.

    This would be opposed to a lower intensity work out where less total calories are burnt, but the body is using fat as the source at the time.

    So...finally to the question. Is my reasoning here correct? The only reason I can think of not doing the more intense training is if I start using protein or muscle as an energy source, which I hear isn't good. And of course it's increasing the chances of me overdoing it injuring myself, but I doubt that will happen.

    Thanks in advance.
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    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    I am not a professional anything, but I can tell you that I lost more fat doing interval training then I did doing the slow and longer workouts. Plus my resting heart rate has improved greatly since then also.

    Each person's body will work differently, but I would do what feels good to you and what helps you get better. Not everything works for every person.
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    Member mochapants's Avatar
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    According to this site your reasoning is right on.

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    Here is the attachment containing the study that was summarized in the previous poster's website.

    The figures had to be taken out to upload it.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    According to the Surgeon General and those people, the way to lose weight is to exercise moderately for 60-90 minutes a day. By "exercise" they mean pretty much anything that raises your heart rate which you can maintain for 60-90 minutes. It is pretty vague.

    I would assume that if you can maintain your interval training for 60-90 minutes, that would work.

    However, my suggestion would be to mix it up. Do some 60-90 minute rides at a moderate (but NOT slow) pace ... the fastest you can go and still keep that same pace for the full time. And do some 30 minute interval workouts but then when you get off the bicycle, exercise in other ways for 30 minutes ... take the dog for a walk, jog up and down the stairs, do some weights, or whatever.

    BTW - the idea that you have to ride slow to lose weight was a misunderstanding somewhere along the line which unfortunately became the common understanding. LSD does NOT stand for Long Slow Distance, it stands for Long Steady Distance ... in other words, the fastest you can ride for the full duration of the time without slowing down. So if you start a 90 minute ride at 30 km/h, and by the end you've slowed to 20 km/h because you can't maintain 30 km/h, that's not "steady". But if you start a 90 minute ride at 23 km/h and can maintain that for the full 90 minutes, that's "steady".

  6. #6
    Senior Member telebianchi's Avatar
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    For the gym cardio equipment, I just mix things up from day-to-day or even on the same day. I'm pretty happy on a treadmill for an hour, but I do a mix of running and fast walking at a 10-15% incline. The incline has less impact on my joints, but gets my heart rate up into a good steady range. Other days, I might do 20min treadmill, 20min rower, 20min stepper. Keeps me from getting so bored.

    Also, don't worry what ranges are shown on the gym equipment. I've never understood how/where they get their numbers. I think its done to make users feel happy about themselves. Get yourself a heart rate monitor and learn what your own ranges are. Some gym equipment will pick up your chest-strap and display it which is nice.

    I think that one misconception about the lower heart rate = more fat burned is that at a lower rate you are burning a higher percentage of fat. However, if you burn 100 kcal per X minutes at a low heart rate you might burn 45% fat = 45 fat calories. Push harder and your fat burn percentage can drop to 35%. But if you burn 200 kcal over the same time period you've burned 70 fat calories. So unless a doctor tells you differently, I'd say to work as hard as you can keep a steady pace (see LSD explanation above).

    One last comment about hard intervals....you probably don't want to be doing these every day as you need to give the muscles more time to recover and rebuild. But they are indispensable to getting in shape, getting faster, raising your athletic capacity.

    (PS: Most of what I've written has been learned in the past six months while dropping 30 lbs at a consistent 5 lbs a month while increasing my riding speed & distance and strength through weights. I can't say it's 100% correct but it's worked for me.)

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    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    BTW - the idea that you have to ride slow to lose weight was a misunderstanding somewhere along the line which unfortunately became the common understanding. LSD does NOT stand for Long Slow Distance, it stands for Long Steady Distance ... in other words, the fastest you can ride for the full duration of the time without slowing down. So if you start a 90 minute ride at 30 km/h, and by the end you've slowed to 20 km/h because you can't maintain 30 km/h, that's not "steady". But if you start a 90 minute ride at 23 km/h and can maintain that for the full 90 minutes, that's "steady".
    I think there was study done that said that during lower intensity exercise you are burning higher percentage of calories from fat. Now news media being what it is, they turned this in to "you loose more fat by exercising at lower intensity". Which is not what the study was saying. Although it is true that percentage of fat you burn is higher at lower intensity, the total calories you burn is lower. Which in the end is what matters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    LSD does NOT stand for Long Slow Distance,
    Then...errr...whaaaaat *grin*

    Thanks for your help guys. It just didn't seem right and your guys confirmed it.

    Now I just have to get over trying to do heavier weights than the person next to me at the gym. I'm just too darn competitive sometimes and I need to mind my own business.
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  9. #9
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    Yes, you burn more fat as a % during steady riding, but more fat as a total during intervals.
    You've got to be careful when reading articles. Many of these are geared towards the sedentary individual who can easily hurt themselves during 'weekend warrior' activity.

    Everyone in the world is not looking to race, so you've got the self preservation factor.

    One cannot do intervals properly greater than twice a week, so you've got to do both anyway.

    I'd like for people to become more intuitive and see what works for them. (translation: just ride)
    I used to read all the articles, then got enough info to be able to ride efficiently. Then it was a matter of tayloring rides to my needs.

    Everyone has differing goals and levels of fitness. Mix it up. Have fun, and do what it takes to get better and stay refreshed mentally and physically. You know your body better than anyone else.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Intervals are where it's at, as others have said. How often? That depends on how much you push you heart rate. If you're pushing it above 95% of your max, then make sure to give your body a day of rest between training sessions. If you're only going to 85% or so, then you can do it every day, although you would ultimately be better off alternating between interval cardio training and weight training.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    As a long time "LSD" rider, I increased my strength and stamina quickly (4 or 5 weeks) and dramatically by using interval training. An unanticipated benefit was the improvement in my psychological strength and stamina, an effect of pushing myself harder and longer than I ever had before.

    I don't have a HRM, so I went by perceived exertion and a stopwatch. I worked up to three 60 second intervals, done in high gear on a hill. (I timed the intervals from when I got to maximum exertion.) I just went as hard as I could, which meant gasping and panting for the entire 60 seconds. Then I spun until I got my breathing back to almost normal. I did intervals two or three times a week, with "LSD" rides on the other days. I currently do them about once a week for "maintenance" but I'll pick them up again soon as I spend less time riding in the winter.

    A couple caveats: Intervals do wear you out, so don't overdo it at first. I discovered that I wasn't as aerobically fit as I thought I was! Another is that since the volume of training is much less, you probably won't burn as many calories with intervals, although I know some studies show residual effects for 24 hours or more after interval training. And, since being more fit you'll burn more fat, I think you might actually lose more weight if you alternate intervals with "LSD" rides.

    Here are a couple articles on IT from the NY Times:

    The best article I've seen on the research

    How to do it on your own

    Chris Carmichael on Intervals


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    To smmarize some of the above and clarify.

    The cardio machines refer to HR zones and they are correct as to % fat, but if you only had 30 min to do your cardio then Intervals would still burn more fat but a lesser %.

    However, it would benefit you aerobically and for weight loss to do one longe workout a week. 60-120 min at lower intensity ( allow you to go longer ). Food ( carbs ) you take in post wk out will replensih muscles not the fat stored you mention above.

    Lastly - if you have solid nutrition and take a recovery drink or meal you are not going to be burning up muscle as you mention in your post.

    How long do you do cardio and frequency per week?
    What are goals - wt loss, fitness?

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the shark View Post
    To smmarize some of the above and clarify.

    The cardio machines refer to HR zones and they are correct as to % fat, but if you only had 30 min to do your cardio then Intervals would still burn more fat but a lesser %.

    However, it would benefit you aerobically and for weight loss to do one longe workout a week. 60-120 min at lower intensity ( allow you to go longer ). Food ( carbs ) you take in post wk out will replensih muscles not the fat stored you mention above.

    Lastly - if you have solid nutrition and take a recovery drink or meal you are not going to be burning up muscle as you mention in your post.

    How long do you do cardio and frequency per week?
    What are goals - wt loss, fitness?
    A helpful summary, shark.
    Here's my own summary, that might answer remaining questions--realizing that everybody's different, I'm not a professionally qualified person, and all that stuff....This summary is assuming that your goal is primarily weight loss, since that's what the OP specified.

    As I understand it, if you're exercising primarily to lose weight, you probably need to do at least 60 to 90 minutes every day. This will, in many cases, sustain a weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week, if you don't modify your diet. You should exercise at the maximum intensity that you can maintain for the daily 60 to 90 minutes. This is considered moderate exercise, but you have to be honest with yourself, and really work as hard as you can each day for the full period.

    If you do intervals, the intensity is much higher, so you probably won't be able to sustain anywhere near 60 to 90 minutes of exercise. So intervals (or any very intensive program) can be counterproductive IF you're exercising primarily to lose weight.

    If, OTOH, you don't have the time to exercise for 60 to 90 minutes, then it probably is productive to do intervals, even if your goal is to lose weight. Obviously, a 20 or 30 minute workout will burn more calories if it's very intensive, as in interval training. Also, there's the suggestion that interval training is the best way to increase fitness, which would mean the body is burning fat more effectively even when you're not working out. However, it's probably unrealistic to think that you'll burn as many calories in 20 minutes as you would in 90 minutes, regardless of intensity. I think you might lose less than one pound a week if you did interval training three times, and didn't change your diet.


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  14. #14
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    The "fat burning zone" on gym exercise equipment is BS.

    It's designed to allow folks who don't like to sweat or exert themselves to feel good about their "workout"...even though they spent the whole time without breaking a sweat while watching Oprah.
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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP View Post
    The "fat burning zone" on gym exercise equipment is BS.

    It's designed to allow folks who don't like to sweat or exert themselves to feel good about their "workout"...even though they spent the whole time without breaking a sweat while watching Oprah.
    Yes, you have to be honest with yourself. Whatever time you have allotted for exercise, you should work as hard as you can for that time period. The shorter the time period, the harder you work. And, as you get fitter, you need to work even harder to keep progressing. I just don't get why the government and the health organizations have conned Americans into thinking that walking from your car to the table at Applebee's counts as exercise. The only health organization I trust to give good advice about exercise is the American College of Sport Medicine.


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    Quote Originally Posted by the shark View Post

    How long do you do cardio and frequency per week?
    What are goals - wt loss, fitness?
    How long? I am trying to get myself out at least once per day, even if it's late at night. This year has just been unpredicable and so full on that I really didn't get out much except for my martial arts twice a week although this has a break over Christmas. Although I haven't lost a lot of weight (a couple of kgs if any) I feel a hell of a lot healthier and fitter for it. Starting now life should be more predicable so I can get up a plan. At the moment I am thinking gym 3x a week and alternating between cycling and swimming other days. Gym is normally 30min weights and 30min cardio. Bike and swim I make sure I go for at least 30mins. I'd probably want to increase this though.

    Goals - Primarily weight loss but I know it's not that simple. In reality, I am carrying too much fat, and I would like to become healthy. And hey, if I can lose weight and become fit at the same time, why not hit two birds with one stone, hence liking intervals for fitness.
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    Triathlon in my future??? flip18436572's Avatar
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    When I first wanted to lose weight, I thought I would do the 30 minutes a day and eat the same thing. It was not enough, because I did what we heard on news casts. 30 minutes 3 days a week of walking will blah. blah blah............

    I did my own type of research and changed my diet and my work outs as I improved I worked out harder and/or longer. I have lost over 100 pounds and my resting heart rate went from 72 to 52 in less than a year. The weight took a little longer than that.

    Do what works for you in your schedule, but I found that I had to "MAKE" time, as it wasn't going to come to me. I have two very active daughters so, my workouts are at 5:00 a.m., as that is the only time that was going to be mine, as everyone else was asleep. So, the YMCA sees me everyday at 5:00 a.m. when I am in town.
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  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnable View Post
    How long? I am trying to get myself out at least once per day, even if it's late at night. This year has just been unpredicable and so full on that I really didn't get out much except for my martial arts twice a week although this has a break over Christmas. Although I haven't lost a lot of weight (a couple of kgs if any) I feel a hell of a lot healthier and fitter for it. Starting now life should be more predicable so I can get up a plan. At the moment I am thinking gym 3x a week and alternating between cycling and swimming other days. Gym is normally 30min weights and 30min cardio. Bike and swim I make sure I go for at least 30mins. I'd probably want to increase this though.

    Goals - Primarily weight loss but I know it's not that simple. In reality, I am carrying too much fat, and I would like to become healthy. And hey, if I can lose weight and become fit at the same time, why not hit two birds with one stone, hence liking intervals for fitness
    .
    I guess you're discovering that exercise is a pretty inefficient way to lose weight. Almost everybody also has to eat less (fewer calories, regardless of the type of food you eat).


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