Last night I completed the first set of my 4 week program based on the results of my Active Metabolic Assessment I took last week.
The charts I got from my assessment are quite nice. It's very educational and helpful to see the information laid out in clear terms. Here are samples:
Might not be readable due to the upload scaling, but you get the idea. My heart rate zones, anaerobic threshold and fat/carb burn are illustrated. These are personalized specific to me - no more guesswork.
Warning: Numbers incoming! If you glaze over with numbers and stats, skim this, then skip below to the bottom line summary.
As a recap on the zones and what they mean:
- Burns the most fat.
- Should be 80% of cardio.
- Improves cardio strength.
- Improves workout endurance and stamina.
- Should be 20% of cardio.
My personalized tested values:
- 113-153 bpm
- 7.5 calories per minute
- 51% Fat / 49% Carbs: 450 calories per hour
- 154-162 bpm
- 8.3 calories per minute
- 41% Fat / 59% Carbs: 498 calories per hour
- 163-178 bpm
- 9.6 calories per minute
- 38% Fat/62% Carbs: 576 calories per hour
- 179-186 bpm
- 10.7 calories per minute
- 0% Fat/100% Carbs: 642 calories per hour
- 187-206 bpm
- 12.6 calories per minute
- 0% Fat/100% Carbs: 756 calories per hour
My anaerobic threshold is between Zone 3 and Zone 4, which is 179 bpm. This is the point at which I am no longer burning fat and 100% glycogen and glucose.
My weekly workout schedule is alternating days of peak interval training (Z4), resistance training, base intervals (Z1-2), resistance training, and moderate interval training (Z3). For my personalized goal, I am attempting to increase my workout endurance and trim off fat. As of today, I have lost a total of 23 pounds since I started my health and fitness reboot earlier this year, but I still have more work to do.
I've lost weight, but I need to recondition my body to be stronger and leaner. I plan to do some skiing in the next few months, and hiking in the summer months. Cardio conditioning and endurance training will make these activities more enjoyable as I want to be able to do them for longer.
Last night I performed my "peak interval training". Using my heart rate monitor and an app with the values from my test plugged in, I followed the program:
10 minutes warmup in Z1
2 minutes Alternate Z4:Z1 5x
5 minutes cooldown Z1
Here is the graph of my results:
During my 36 minute workout I spent the following time in each zone:
Zone | Minutes | Percent of total time
Z1 | 18:11 | 50.4%
Z2 | 4:47 | 13.3%
Z3 | 6.02 | 16.7%
----- Anaerobic Threshold -----
Z4 | 6:53 | 19.1%
Z5 | 0:13 | 0.6%
Below AT: 80%
Above AT: 20%
Calories from Fat Burned: 95 kcal
Total Calories: 272 kcal
I haven't talked much about my nutrition plan yet. The advice in the old days was to 'carb load' before a heavy workout, or a marathon. I am pleased that sports nutrition has advanced beyond that. Carb loading trains your body to ONLY use glucose during exercise. People who burn primarily glucose with a high carb diet will only lose fat in Zone 1. I burn fat in Zone 1-3, all the way up to my anaerobic threshold. I eat between 60-130g carbs per day, compared to 220+ back when I followed a high carb/low fat diet.
Here's the nutrition advice that my trainer gave me:
Carbs and Starches: Limit carbs and starchy veggies to 1/2 cup servings at meals. Why? Reducing carbs will help blood sugar control, cholesterol levels, and daily energy.
Berries are Best: Limit fruit to 1-2 servings per day, preferably berries. Why? Fruits other than berries tend to have a high sugar content, and berries are a great source of antioxidants and fiber.
Lean Protein at Each Meal: Protein at every meal. Why? Protein is needed to maintain and build muscles.
Unlimited Veggies: Fill half your plate with non starchy vegetables. Why? Veggies are low-calorie, low-sugar, high-fiber, and nutrient-rich. The antioxidants and phytochemicals they contain may reduce your risk for cancer and inflammation.
Eliminate Processed Foods: You decrease exposure to preservatives, artificial ingredients, and toxins that could interrupt your endocrine function of your metabolism.
I admit when I met with my trainer, I was dreading the nutrition discussion. I was afraid she was going to tell me to carb-load before a workout. I was quite surprised and pleased to find we were totally on the same page!
Bottom Line Summary:
The Spark exercise calculator for an elliptical machine estimated I burned 263 calories, but there is no way to know how much percentage of that is from fat, unless you have been tested like me. Above the anaerobic threshold, no fat is being burned, even though the calorie burn is very high. Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint Rule #2 Move Around A Lot at a Slow Pace and #4 Run really fast every once in a while is scientifically sound. This works for me. Now I know definitively why.
My recommendation if you have a lot of weight to lose, or are not getting good results with your weight loss with exercise, is to stay low and slow. Believe me, workout performance will naturally improve once you aren't carrying around an extra bowling ball or two in your gut and butt!
Eat a very low sugar diet. Starchy carbs and grains are processed in the metabolism as glucose. Experiment to find the level that works for you. Some people tolerate more or less, but if you struggle with weight loss, chances are you are taking in too much glucose in some form.