When you’re committed to your fitness journey, it’s important to give it your all. However, that doesn’t mean pushing yourself to the limit all the time. At Marble Strength, we believe in a balanced approach that yields the best results for your efforts.
For the majority of individuals, dedicating themselves to all-out intensity twice a week is the key. While those exhilarating sessions with your workout partners might make you feel accomplished, consistently going all-out may not lead you to your desired outcomes.
I’ll admit, I’ve fallen into the trap of excessive intensity. Back when we discovered the allure of CrossFit, I was tempted to engage in it daily, even though the original recommendation was 3 days of training followed by 1 day of rest. I often found myself pushing through from Monday to Friday and even squeezing in a Saturday “partner” workout whenever feasible.
HIIT workouts have proven to enhance the body’s ability to utilize muscle glycogen effectively. The stories of individuals reversing diabetes and shedding fat, particularly in their first year of high-intensity training, are indeed true. There’s a wealth of these inspiring journeys out there.
However, it’s worth noting that over time, your body can become accustomed to relying on glycogen over fat. This adaptation makes sense – your body is incredibly adaptive. With consistent high-intensity training, your body becomes more proficient at generating energy to match the demand.
Yet, breaking down fat stores for energy isn’t a quick process. To effectively burn fat during your workouts or even in the hours following, it’s important to moderate your pace.
How hard should you push? How slow should you go to tap into fat burning?
Your heart rate holds the answer.
Different heart rate zones prompt shifts in your body’s metabolism between fats and carbohydrates. When your heart rate climbs, your body requires rapid energy, leading to the utilization of muscle glycogen. On the other hand, when your heart rate moderately elevates, your body begins to gradually burn fat as fuel.
Imagine a blazing fire: quick-burning with dry kindling (sugars), or a steady, enduring flame with a chunk of maple (fats).
Categorizing various intensity levels based on heart rate zones can be beneficial. We’ve created a video on this topic, which you can find here: [Link to Video]
For most individuals, high-intensity workouts are a cornerstone. Two sessions a week, falling within heart rate Zone 4 or 5, significantly enhance your work capacity and cardiovascular resilience.
However, it’s equally crucial to engage in lower-intensity workouts, falling within Zone 2, which encourages fat utilization as your primary energy source.
Zone 3 plays a pivotal role as well, aiding in the regulation and pacing of glycogen usage. This is where substantial strides can be made against diabetes and insulin sensitivity.
So, what’s the right blend for you? Your dedicated coach at Marble Strength can provide tailored guidance. Our coaching team curates a diverse range of exercise intensities in our group sessions and crafts specialized plans for our private clients.
For those venturing on their own, investing in a heart rate monitor can be a smart move. Aim for at least two Zone 2 workouts weekly, couple that with 1-2 high-intensity sessions, and make sure to include about half an hour of Zone 3 activity.
I’ll be honest – many people underestimate the effort needed for effective workouts. If you’ve been consistently pursuing high-intensity training without seeing desired fat loss, consider shifting two weekly workouts into Zone 2.
Lastly, if you’re downing sports drinks during your workouts, it’s worth considering cutting back. The fructose content could be undoing much of your hard work in high-intensity training. Stay tuned for more insights on that topic tomorrow!