As soon as exercise begins, the body down-regulates its need for insulin. The hormone used to carry blood sugar into the cells. Therefore, during exercise sugar intake produces smaller increases of this hormone because muscles become more sensitive to increased amounts of insulin and permeable to glucose, reducing the need for large amounts of insulin that normally are required to escort the sugar into the muscle. This is good news.
These same receptors are exponentially more sensitive for 30 minutes following, and up to 2 hours following exercise. So the good news is that there is a “good time” to consume those yummy simple (sugary) carbohydrate foods. When not participating in exercise, foods should be FAR more protein oriented. This will help to keep those nasty carbohydrate
cravings (and this one’s waistline) controlled.
In 1999 a California scientist made an amazing discovery: Rats that ran on a treadmill for 12 days in a row doubled their number of brain cells. This was considered such an astounding finding at the time that the Salk Institute researchers who made the discovery all took up running.
September’s Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise states that:
~Men burned an average of 190 more calories during the 14.2 hours following exercise, compared to non-exercise days.
~They burned an average of 519 calories during the biking. Hence, they used about 709 more calories on workout days than rest days.
Dr. V adds, at this rate one would burn about a pound of fat after less than 4 workouts. Based on the statistics, I suspect the exercise rate they were training at was above the target heart zone as previously described. This would cause a higher post exercise calorie consumption, whereas training in the target heart zone trains the body to burn fat. Interestingly, training in the zone actually burns more calories during the activity, but less post activity. This is in part, is why it is good to blend both levels of training after one has established the aerobic base via zone training for at least 3 months.
Ideally you will spend at least the first 3 months of your training building the aerobic base by exercising purely in the zone discussed in “The Heart Rate That You Should Train At” post. Then, and only then if you are seeking to perform at a more race type level you should begin to add in some “interval” type training. This is training above, or well above the target heart zone for very specific, intentional, short periods. Training at higher intensities basically breaks the body down to cause growth, strength, or speed gains. This helps the body to become more efficient in clearing lactic acid. The caveat is that the body then needs to appropriately repair, which takes longer depending on life stress levels and age. i.e. At my current work load and age, I do 1-3 higher intensity, interval workouts per week during race season. Being well into my 4th decade of life I also need to balance this with a week of all aerobic exercise (no intervals) at least once per month. Believe it or not, by adding more true aerobic training you will progress and get faster, faster. Enjoy the process. Next we’ll give ways of tracking your progress.
Exercising in the following zone will train your body to burn fat for energy and thus:
Eliminate over training
Reduce the effects of stress
Provide consistent, sustained energy
Significantly reduce the chances of injuries