Metabolism & Health
Understand the basics before you begin.
Want to transform your body?
If you are reading this, it's likely that you want to transform your body in some way. You either want to lose weight, improve what you already have, or gain weight. And more specifically, if you want to lose weight, no doubt you want to lose fat not muscle. If you want to gain weight, no doubt you want to gain muscle not fat. And if you want to stay the same, you probably want to lose a bit of fat and gain a bit of muscle at the same time? You know the answer is diet and exercise but are still left somewhat confused as to what you actually need to do to achieve these goals? Don't worry. This is a very common conundrum. And you are certainly not alone in your confusion. But the answers are actually very logical. And the best thing is, you don't need any equipment, gym membership, or fancy diet to do it. You don't even need to leave your house to get it done.
The answers are logical and simple.
Before you attempt to achieve any of these goals, it pays to get a better understanding of metabolism and your body's daily energy usage so that you believe and trust that your actions will actually be successfully leading you towards your goal. You don't want your exercise routine to feel like a random stab in the dark at reaching your goals day in day out. It will get you there if you follow some basic concepts. There is so much confusion on how you go about achieving these goals and yet the answers are actually very straight forward, logical, and simple. The dedication of being able to apply them is the hard part. Hopefully the sections below can clear a few things up for you.
How to get fit.
Getting fit can be summed up with just 4 very basic bullet points.
1.Eat a well balanced diet inside your calorie limit for your goal.
2.Ensure your diet has the optimal protein for encouraging muscle synthesis.
3.Do some form of strength training.
4.Do some form of cardio training.
If you need to know why, which will only benefit you further, then the rest of this page will explain how this conclusion is derived.
The 4 Minute Max Outs has all the solutions.
Basically, The 4 Minute Max Outs app covers points 3 and 4 either together or separately with no equipment required, little space needed, and in a short compact space of time, that can be customised to suit you. It will help you to get the results you want. Fast.
And, The 4 Minute Max Outs web site has information to help you further understand points 3 and 4, and all the information you need to help you with points 1 and 2 to help you to eat well for your goals in a way that fits with your circumstance and dietary preferences.
So in other words, The 4 Minute Max Outs has everything you need to do, and everything you need to know, to get in shape fast. All you have to do, is do it to the best of your ability.
Understand why this will improve your life.
But as promised, the rest of this page will go through some very important concepts that you really should take the time to read and understand to help you to get better results from both diet and exercise. This will enable you to understand and believe that what you are doing really will make a positive difference to your life.
A calorie is a unit of energy. 1 calorie (1Cal or 1kcal) is the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.
The amount of energy the body needs to sustain itself is measured in calories. As is the amount of energy food provides your body. As a general guide for weight control, in the UK it is said that the average man needs to consume 2500 calories daily to maintain his body weight whilst the average woman needs 2000 calories daily to maintain hers. The amount and type of exercise you do will increase this caloric maintenance level, effectively allowing you to eat more and not put on weight. These figures will vary slightly from country to country around the world. But that doesn't really matter as they are a general guideline rather than an exact science. The exact figures will differ slightly for everyone. The logic behind the usefulness of these guidelines, however, remains the same.
Calories and your body.
A calorie deficit is when you consume less calories than your body needs to maintain its size.
A calorie surplus is when you consume more calories than your body needs to maintain its size.
When you are in calorie deficit you initiate catabolic processes (that break apart molecules) in your body that will reduce your size.
When you are in a calorie surplus you initiate anabolic processes (that construct molecules) in your body that will increase your size.
Metabolism is the word for the balance of chemical processes that occur to maintain life. It is the balance of catabolism and anabolism. Our body weight is a result of the amount of energy we release into our bodies (catabolism) minus the amount of energy our bodies use up (anabolism). Or in other words, our body weight is a result of calories in vs calories out over time. It's important to remember the scientific fact that energy is never created or destroyed, only ever transferred. And this is why your body decreases or increases in size. The overall balance in the energy transferred to and from your body over time will inevitably result in a change in your physical size to reflect this.
Catabolism and anabolism.
Catabolism breaks down the molecules in the food we consume into smaller units, releasing energy in the process. The energy released is stored in ATP molecules (adenosine triphosphate) which is used to fuel anabolism. Anabolism uses the energy stored in ATP to construct molecules from these smaller units and synthesizes the things that our bodies need to sustain themselves such as hormones and proteins amongst other things.
If catabolism of food is producing more energy than anabolism currently requires, the excess energy will be stored as glycogen, in the liver and muscles, or as body fat, both as future energy reserves.
If catabolism of food is not producing enough energy for anabolism to maintain the body, the body takes further catabolic steps to release some additional energy by breaking down its energy reserves, reducing its size in the process. It can do this by releasing glycogen back into the blood, breaking down stored body fat, or lastly by breaking down muscle tissue.
Glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver and released on demand when needed to meet the rapid and high energy demands of high intensity exercise. It's usage rapidly accelerates in high intensity exercise as fat cannot be utilised fast enough to meet the energy demands. As such in the absense of glycogen, your performance will be heavily limited. It is also the first thing to be replenished when you eat a carbohydrate based meal and so, although it's usage is thought to be one of several contributing factors to the minor daily fluctuations in weight that people experience, it's usage never results in long term weight loss. Nor would you want it to. It's your performance boosting short term energy reserve for higher intensity exercise and your performance boosting top up energy reserve for lower intensity exercise. Glycogen enables you to work much harder / perform better and therefore burn many more calories in the process. Without it, as your performance is heavily limited, so too is your calorie burning potential from exercise, and your ability to work your muscles harder to promote muscle growth.
Breaking down stored body fat.
It's the breaking down of stored body fat over time that we need to achieve for long term weight loss. The kind of weight loss that you want that makes us slimmer and makes our muscles look more defined, reduces our insulin resistance, keeps our hormones in balance, and massively improves our health, both short and long term. And for this to happen, and not be replenished when you eat, you must be in a calorie deficit for a sustained period of time. As although increased physical activity does cause your body to break down increasing amounts of fat to release energy, if you are not in a calorie deficit, these fat stores will just be refilled again from the excess calories in your diet. To break down stored body fat, you have to be in a calorie deficit over a period of time to signal to your body it needs to take additional catabolic measures.
Misconception on the importance of the 'fat burning zone' for weight loss.
Whether your body uses fat or not as the main fuel source for exercise is more to do with how long glycogen can be used to promote improved performance for an event. For this it is very important to know when you are in the aerobic (with oxygen) training zone, also known as the 'maximum fat burning zone', so you can fuel your activity mainly through oxidizing fat so that you can stretch your performance boosting glycogen reserves out as long as possible in the event. If your glycogen reserves are used up too fast or drop too low, your performance crashes, you drop down the pack, better luck next time, hope you don't lose any sponsors. Everybody's heard of the term 'pacing yourself', and that's what this is all about. Basically, you pace yourself for optimal performance. It's a very important concern for extreme endurance athletes who predominantly need to use fat as the main source of fuel, to allow the slower spread out draw on glycogen to pace themselves in their event. However, when it comes to weight loss the term is always misleading, as weight loss is actually all about calories in vs calories out over time.
Losing body fat is a result of the balance of daily energy expenditure over time.
Exercise or no exercise, you must be in a calorie deficit for a sustained period of time if you want to effectively lower your body fat percentage. Losing body fat is a result of the balance of daily energy expenditure over time - not the type of fuel used to power a workout. This is an important concept that most people either overlook or completely misunderstand. The simple fact is, you burn many more calories in the same space of time when in the 'maximum cardio benefit zone', where the intensity of exercise is much higher, and your body rapidly utilises glycogen over fat to fuel the workout, than you do in the 'maximum fat burning zone'. Whilst if an endurance athlete attempted to perform in the higher intensity zone for their whole event, they would simply burn out way too early and lose (although in training it will provide them with a great many benefits also), the higher intensity zone is by far the optimal training zone for those looking to burn excess body fat and lose weight. Why? Because the higher intensity requires much more energy to perform and so burns significantly more calories overall in the time worked and afterwards at rest where a metabolic after burn effect comes into play. Weight loss is a result of the balance of daily energy expenditure over time. That is calories in being less than calories out over time. Not the primary fuel used during exercise.
Exercise makes weight loss sustainable and massively improves composition results.
What physical activity does for weight loss, is help you to create a healthy calorie deficit by both burning calories, and by making your body a much more efficient machine. It also stimulates protein synthesis to retain and grow muscle mass. All of which increase your metabolic rate. All exercise is good, as what ever you are doing, at what ever intensity, it is burning additional calories and making you fitter and healthier at the same time. But sustained high intensity exercise (HIIT), as it burns the most amount of calories in the time worked, and creates a high metabolic afterburn effect, and stimulates protein synthesis, is the most effective all in one form of exercise for promoting great results from rapid weight loss. For optimal results from exercise, calories and intensity really do matter.
Hang on? What was that about muscle loss?
It's obvious to some but not others, so it's worth mentioning, you cannot convert fat to muscle. It would be nice if you could, but you can't. Muscle never turns to fat and fat never turns to muscle. Losing or gaining either is a completely separate thing. In an ideal world, weight loss would simply be a result of losing body fat. In reality, as the wisdom of any body builder will tell you from experience, or simply by observing the amount of people out there who have lost weight just to become skinny fat, you will lose a large percentage of muscle in that weight loss as well as body fat, unless you take steps to prevent this. Basically, when you lose weight, what your body does is naturally find a balance of shrinking in overall size and strength to adapt, not just in stored body fat reserves as you might hope for.
If you don't use it, you will lose it.
With muscle, if you don't use it, you will lose it over time, and if you deprive it of protein, you will lose it over time. In both instances, a sustained high calorie deficit can accelerate the loss if steps aren't taken to prevent it.
Muscle mass = rate of protein synthesis - rate of protein breakdown.
Consuming elevated protein levels, resistance training your muscles, and HIIT, increase protein synthesis. As does testosterone and growth hormone. When protein synthesis exceeds protein breakdown, you build muscle and when it doesn't you lose muscle. Protein synthesis naturally slows down in a calorie deficit, as your body finds itself in a position whereby reducing its size is required. The larger the calorie deficit, the more it will slow. Your body is an organic machine that adapts over time to best survive the continued stimulus it is put under on a daily basis. It's like a flower that leans to the sun. Basically it will adapt as best it can, inside it's own boundaries and limitations, to better survive the pressures put upon it. Muscle is costly for the the body to maintain. It raises the metabolic rate to a far greater extent than fat, and requires proteins just to be. Fat provides the most efficient long term fuel source for the body. So with this in mind, you can see that there are many circumstances where your body might prefer to cling on to fat over muscle when in a position where it is forced to reduce it's size to better adapt to its environment and the energy demands placed upon it.
The leaner you become the greater the risk of muscle loss becomes.
When you have a lot of body fat to lose, even in a large calorie deficit, muscle loss is negligible as there is plenty of fat to spare. So you can lose body fat fast in a large calorie deficit when you have a lot to lose. This slows the leaner you get however, and your body is much more likely to cling on to fat and shed muscle mass instead. So whilst a high calorie deficit will do good to kick start fast fat loss when you are over weight, eventually you should reduce it to help avoid muscle loss. Also under certain prolonged circumstances, such as longer endurance activities like long slow running or cycling, where muscle mass is largely just added unused weight and where testosterone levels are actually reduced, your body would rather increase the break down of protein and amino acids to release energy and preserve fat. This is a process that will occur under sustained conditions over time without encouraging additional protein synthesis, from the type of pressures your training puts your body under.
Type of exercise and what you consume are important.
Losing weight, gaining muscle definition, getting ripped, whatever you want to call it - it's all basically getting your body to do the same thing. Break down its fat stores, that are really just potential energy stores, to release energy and reduce your size. This process is a catabolic marathon. It wont happen overnight. It involves you being in a calorie deficit over time. However, the catch is, being in a calorie deficit over time also means you will be in a sustained condition over time where protein synthesis is naturally lowered by your body. So the the type of exercise you do and what you consume are important not just to help create a sustainable calorie deficit to signal to your body to burn fat, but to also positively effect the rate of protein synthesis over this time so you don't lose muscle. Or in other words, they will help you lose weight and effect the amount of muscle you may or may not lose whilst losing weight. For best results during weight loss you want to maximise the amount of body fat lost, and minimise the amount of muscle lost, or even better build muscle. This is what will make you to look better, and keep your metabolic rate high, helping you keep the weight off long term. To do this you need to ensure you are intaking a balanced diet with enough protein for your size and activity levels and doing the right kinds of exercise. Exercise wise, endless bouts of low intensity jogging or cycling in the aerobic 'maximum fat burn zone' on their own will make muscle loss matters worse. You can do that of course, jogging and cycling are excellent ways to keep fit, but you should really couple them with some form of strength training if doing it to lose body fat, as opposed to lose weight, which will include muscle too. HIIT is a much more effective and time saving way to achieve this goal as it rolls aerobic and anaerobic training into one, and creates the highest calorie burn in the time worked. Remember that term 'maximum fat burn zone' relates to a concept for training for endurance events, that enables you to pace yourself for longer at a higher pace by spreading out your glycogen usage over a longer period of time. It is not a term directly related to weight loss.
HIIT is the best type of exercise to speed up weight loss.
The best type of exercise to do to speed up weight loss, with the emphasis on losing body fat and not muscle, is a form of exercise that has a very high calorie burn, that raises your metabolic rate by making your body a more efficient machine and that continues to burn calories for up to 24 hours after your workout. The type of exercise that works both your aerobic and anaerobic systems at once, and that provides strength training to stimulate muscle growth and retention, and also stimulates a greater response from hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, that can hugely assist this process. And that can do all this in much less training time than other forms of exercise with no equipment needed at all. And this is basically what a good bodyweight HIIT workout can do for you. Bodyweight HIIT routines, like The 4 Minute Max Outs, performed regularly on a sustained calorie deficit diet over time, are incredibly effective for rapid weight loss whilst retaining, and potentially building, muscle. They will also give all round usable full body functional fitness and strength through total body conditioning.
Increased Metabolic Rate.
When your metabolic rate increases, the amount of energy required to sustain your body mass increases. You can voluntarily promote this yourself by undertaking regular exercise, or else it may occur involuntarily from hormonal responses in your body. An increased metabolic rate makes it easier for you to lose weight and harder for you to gain weight as your body needs more energy to sustain its current body mass.
Reduced Metabolic Rate.
When your metabolic rate reduces, the amount of energy required to sustain your body mass reduces. This occurs from involuntary hormonal responses in your body normally as a response to not eating, skipping meals, prolonged lack of activity, a prolonged high calorie deficit, prolonged lack of sleep, or prolonged stress. None of which are advisable. A reduced metabolic rate makes it harder for you to lose weight and easier for you to gain weight as your body needs less energy to sustain its current body mass.
Calories and exercise.
Exercise will increase your metabolic rate. That is it will increase the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your body's size. It does this by both actively burning calories, and by naturally increasing your body's metabolic rate by making your body a more efficient machine, influencing hormonal release, and adding more muscle mass to your body. It's hard to accurately gauge the amount of calories exercise will add to your daily calorie maintenance level as there are so many factors that can determine how many calories a person will actually burn during exercise. But there are ways of making a good estimate and then adjusting as required from your body's feedback. Read the calories & exercise section for more detail on this.
Is diet really that important for optimal results?
In a word, yes. Diet sets the scene for how your body will adapt to the type of activity you are doing. Doing the exact same activity will get you different results for your body size and composition depending on what you are eating AND how much you are eating. Diet on it's own is not enough. And exercise on it's own is not enough. Work them in synergy and what you are actually doing is programming your body for positive results. Work them separately, and what you are actually doing with out realising it is programming your body for either completely random, or negative results. But don't take that to mean there is an absolute golden rule or ratio. There isn't. There are some rules, but they still need to be adjusted to what works for you. Listen to your body's feedback and find the balance that best suits you, your circumstance, and your goals / results.
Rule 1 - Quantity matters.
The amount you eat signals to your body whether to accelerate catabolic or anabolic processes. If you want to burn fat, you have to be in a calorie deficit, and while you can still build muscle in a calorie deficit provided you are consuming enough protein and training well, it is considerably more effective in a calorie surplus. Just remember, the catch with a calorie surplus is that the net result is you won't burn any fat at all. And, if you overshoot it and eat and train poorly, you will actually just get fat. This is why it's safest to start at your maintenance calories and add more calories each month if progress is too slow to find a balance that will minimise fat gain and promote faster muscle growth. And the catch with a calorie deficit is, although you will lose fat, if you overshoot it and eat and train poorly, you will also lose muscle too. So you need to adapt your diet to your goals as they change over time to get the best results.
Rule 2 - Quality and balance matter too.
While it's all very well and true continuously stating 'Always ensure you are eating enough protein for your size and activity levels as part of a well balanced diet'. Why? And what does that actually mean? It means not all calories are equal.
What is a balanced diet and why is it important?
Not all calories are equal. The calories in the food you consume all breaks down into 3 main macro nutrients. Protein, carbohydrates, and fats. A simple way of looking at it is that protein repairs and builds muscle whilst carbohydrates and fats both provide fuel and both provide important nutrition. It is important to have a good balance of all of them. Excluding any one macro nutrient is not recommended, however there are recommended percentage ranges of each, that actually allow a lot of leeway for personal preference, and that are regarded to make up a healthy diet. The Balanced Diet section explains this in greater detail.
Do genetics play a part in getting results?
Listening to your body's feedback and finding the balance that best suits you, your circumstance, and your goals / results is the best path to take. And that's your body, not someone else's. Genetics do play some part. Of course. Some people find it easier than others to lose weight or build muscle. Some people have a naturally more athletic build than others. Some people have a greater exercise ability than others. You don't have to look very hard to see other peoples digitally tweaked body images and faces plastered over every health product out there to sell it. In fact you can't really avoid it. The truth is, other people's body images or egos are not important here at all. The important thing is to focus on your journey to get the best results that you can from your current circumstance and to find a balance that you are happy to healthily sustain and maintain over the long run. Everyone has role models that inspire them, of course, but if you must compare yourself to anyone, make it who you were yesterday. Despite what the media may portray, that is all that matters.
Eat for your exercise goal.
Use the calorie calculator to find out how much you can eat for you size. To start assume 'Mid Activity' for your activity levels for working out.
If you are exercising for general maintenance eat at your caloric limit for your size or just under.
Caloric intake for maintenance = Maintenance calories (inclusive of exercise) x (0.9 to 1)
If you want to burn fat, to either tone up, get ripped, or simply to lose weight in general, you need to be in a sustained caloric deficit. The different approaches of aggressiveness towards weight loss can be summed up as follows.
Caloric intake for long slow weight loss = Maintenance calories (inclusive of exercise) x (0.9)
Caloric intake for fast weight loss = Maintenance calories (inclusive of exercise) x (0.8 or 0.75)
Caloric intake for maximum weight loss = Maintenance calories (inclusive of exercise) - 1000 calories
Be mindful that while the maximum weight loss approach can kick start fast weight loss, the greater your calorie deficit and the longer you are in it, the harder you will find it to build muscle and the more your body will try to preserve body fat as you lose weight. Weight loss is a marathon ranging from a few weeks to several months depending on your goal. Take a break from it back to maintenance levels for a few days every month or so to reset your system.
If your main goal is to accelerate an increase in muscle mass it is beneficial (faster although not necessarily compulsory) to be in slight caloric surplus. You will put on weight in this scenario gradually over time.
Caloric intake for accelerated weight gain = Maintenance calories (inclusive of exercise) x (1 to 1.1)
You must be strength training in some way and eating enough protein for your activity levels as part of a balanced diet if you want a greater gain in muscle than fat in a calorie surplus. 2lbs a month gain is a good target gain although be wary of only using the scales. Be sure to use the mirror, and occasionally the tape measure around your waist, not just the scales. As the old saying goes, 'If it jiggles, it's fat!'
Notes on eating for your goal:
You can burn fat fast doing daily HIIT. It is not uncommon for those adhering to a healthy calorie deficit to lose up to 5lbs a week, or sometimes even more. But don't be disheartened if you don't, or when an initial rapid loss rate suddenly slows down. Which it always will do eventually. People respond at different rates to weight loss and exercise and of course the rate also depends on how much fat you have to loose in the first place. Great inspiring results like this are always hard earned. They can also give the additional effect of very fast muscle growth too as definition is gained. However, although you will see actual growth too, the 'rapid growth' is largely a very desirable optical illusion created from the layer of fat rapidly lessening above your newly strengthened muscles. In terms of actually increasing muscle mass naturally, with the exception of the genetically fortunate, the young, the beginner, and those that have been there before (muscle memory) that can see a fast initial growth spurt, increasing muscle mass is always eventually a much slower process than burning fat. Even for those that religiously lift heavy weights optimally. And it's these huge differences in the rates to your goal why it's often optimal to separate the goals of burning fat and increasing muscle mass in order to get to your end goal faster than trying to do both at the same time and seeing little change at all.
In all instances of the above, whether wishing to lose or gain weight, remember they are just guides. It is important to listen to your body's feedback to ensure you are on the right track and make adjustments to your food intake accordingly.
So many options! Where do I begin??
On the path to health and fitness, unless you are already in great shape, although after your first full 28 minutes session of The 4 Minute Max Outs, you will realise that you were not as fit as you thought you were, it's recommended that you always start on the calorie deficit approach for a month or two, or as long as you need. Make the focus of your workouts primarily full body cardio and strength training, or if you struggle with the strength moves, just cardio. This will burn your excess body fat, whilst building functional and dynamic muscles, fitness, and strength, and improving your insulin resistance, circulation, blood pressure and overall cardio capacity at the same time. It'll also make you look and feel fantastic. Remember you can't turn fat into muscle. So at some point you are going to have to go into a sustained calorie deficit if you want to ever lose that body fat. It's best to totally condition your body before you even consider eating more to get bigger, and possibly accumulating even more fat, for health reasons. Think of it like laying solid foundations before you build a house. Once you have done this, you can up your calorie intake back to maintenance levels for day to day working out to maintain and slowly improve your new healthy body. Then, if you feel you want to try to accelerate muscle growth, you can raise your calorie intake slightly further and add more focused strength training to your workouts and schedules. Then anytime you want to trim down a bit of fat again, start the above process over with a calorie deficit for as long as you need.
You are what you eat? No. You are what you eat AND what you do.
So, to simplify the above, if you eat less you will get smaller and if you eat more you will get bigger. What you eat however, along with the type and intensity of your activity levels, will have a crucial influence on the quality of your results in each scenario. When it comes to body composition, it's important to remember the following.
Increased protein levels, strength training, and HIIT encourage anabolic processes in your body that favour the retention of, and building of, muscle over fat.
And that holds true in a calorie deficit or a calorie surplus. In other words, they enable you to lose a higher percentage of fat than muscle when losing weight, and enable you to gain a higher percentage of muscle than fat when gaining weight. And so for improving your body composition, along with your desired caloric balance depending on if you wish to increase or decrease your body mass, and at what ever rate, they are always paramount to great results in any scenario.
Diet sets the scene for how your body will adapt to the type of activity you are doing. Doing the exact same activity will get you different results for your body size and composition depending on both what you are eating AND how much you are eating. Diet on it's own is not enough. And exercise on it's own is not enough. Work them in synergy and what you are actually doing is programming your body for positive results. Work them separately, and what you are actually doing is programming your body for either completely random, or negative results.
Don't neglect the hidden factor.
So whether your goal is to increase or decrease your size, already we can see a few key common factors for obtaining optimal results.
1.Eat a well balanced diet inside your calorie limit for your goal.
2.Ensure your diet has the optimal protein for encouraging muscle synthesis.
3.Do some form of strength training.
The above overview of metabolism refers to skeletal muscle and body fat only. The visible health factors if you like. But it's missing something very important. The parts you can't see. Your heart, lungs, arteries and entire circulatory system. The most important muscles if you like. The ones you literally cannot live without. To make these bigger, stronger, and more efficient you need to do cardio exercise that raises your heart rate and oxygen consumption for prolonged periods of time and, as always, eat a well balanced diet.
So the forth essential factor you should consider for optimal health results is :-
4.Do some form of cardio training.
Actively burning calories is what improves your health not just avoiding them.
Avoiding calories can help you maintain your weight and lose weight. Sure. You can lose weight without doing any exercise at all. You can lose weight and retain muscle without doing any cardio at all. But it is highly recommended that you diet, do strength training, and do cardio if you want good health. You need to promote protein synthesis if you want to build, or even retain, muscle as you lose weight, and if you want a healthy heart and cardio vascular system, you should do cardio. If you're worried about the time this will take up, HIIT routines, like The 4 Minute Max Outs, can combine strength training and cardio training into one routine to get great efficient results in a short space of time. It's always better to actively burn calories so you can do a little less avoiding and actually become fitter and healthier too, whilst allowing your body to get more nutrition by eating more. Exercise helps make weight control much more sustainable by raising your metabolic rate both by burning calories during exercise, and potentially, after, as your body works hard to repair itself and build itself up stronger. This all allows you to eat more. But that's eat more, not overeat. Quantity still matters. As do training types.
HIIT can provide aerobic and anaerobic training in the same workout.
Strength training trains your skeletal muscles. It works your anaerobic systems (without oxygen) and burns additional calories after your workout with an afterburn effect from the protein synthesis stimulated. Along with enough protein, it will help you build muscle This raises your metabolic rate and daily calorie intake to sustain your own body weight. Strength training promotes anabolic effects in your body to increase your muscle size as they are under direct pressure from the event.
Cardio training trains the muscles you literally cannot live without - your heart, lungs etc. It works your aerobic (with oxygen) system and, when performed for long enough, can burn a lot more calories than strength training. It will also improve your health a lot more than strength training. Long bouts of lower intensity cardio can promote catabolic effects in your body to reduce your muscle size as it is just unnecessary baggage/energy expenditure for the event.
You should work both aerobic and anaerobic systems regularly for good health. One form of exercise isn't enough. You shouldn't neglect either.
HIIT, works both your aerobic system optimally and also your anaerobic system at the same time. It's the most effective form of cardio training to strengthen your heart and lungs. It burns even more calories than standard steady state cardio, amazingly in half the time, and has a much larger calorie burning after effect than any other form of exercise. Unlike other forms of lower intensity cardio that can actually reduce testosterone output, HIIT actually increases it promoting greater protein synthesis for muscle growth. As with any kind of exercise, the greater extent of strength training the routine incorporates, the greater the extent of protein synthesis is generated. The 4 Minute Max Outs can be focused to work cardio and strength together, or either separately. Basically, HIIT routines, like The 4 Minute Max Outs, cover all the bases for great health and total body conditioning, but in a fraction of the time of traditional workout methods, with no equipment needed at all.
Exercise enables you to eat more.
So what does a greater calorie burn mean for your metabolism and for losing or gaining weight? A greater calorie burn from exercise basically means that your body is using much more energy per day so you can eat more calories per day and still obtain excellent and healthy results. Or the same thing from a different perspective, you can create a bigger calorie deficit by changing your eating habits less. Eating more means more nutrients, vitamins and minerals, more energy, improved recovery and more fuel for your workouts. And crucially, less of a psychological burden abstaining from food. This helps you to remain more motivated and happier whilst achieving your goals and so is especially beneficial when creating a calorie deficit to lose weight. While it's vitally important to create a calorie deficit when losing weight, nobody should be starving or mal nourishing themselves whilst losing weight. The harder you work out, the more energy you use, the more you can eat and still get excellent results, and the healthier you will be for it.
High calorie burn Vs weight gain?
Whilst the benefits of a high calorie burn seem obvious when losing weight, what about when gaining weight and muscle? Won't the higher calorie burn shift you towards greater catabolic body processes rather than the desired anabolic body processes? That depends on if it leads you to an over all calorie deficit, how great that deficit is, and whether or not you are eating enough protein to promote muscle synthesis or performing strength training to promote anabolic processes to counter this. If you've done a high intensive calorie burn workout and you don't want to lose weight, the simple solution is to eat more. Again, all that means is more nutrition, more energy, and better recovery. You still receive all the same muscular and cardio vascular benefits of the exercise that you were doing. The 'it's just a number that cancels out another so what's the point in the first place' attitude, or the other common one, 'you've just wasted that workout by eating that' nonsense, misses the entire point of the huge short and long term health benefits of exercise that you still receive. It's important to see the bigger picture. You still receive all the benefits of exercising over not exercising, and weight loss or gain is still a result of the balance of daily energy expenditure and not simply the meal you eat after your workout. In actual fact the best time of the day to eat a big meal is in the hour after your workout as the energy from the food will be used primarily to refill your depleted glycogen stores, making fat storage from this meal highly unlikely, whilst also massively speeding up your recovery time.
Catabolic cardio? Do HIIT instead.
Muscle mass is required for strength training, so when you apply sufficient resistance to your muscles, this causes your body to send signals to promote anabolic body processes to preserve and build muscle. Muscle mass is not required and actually detrimental for long distance running, so long bouts of steady state cardio will send signals to promote catabolic body processes that reduce muscle mass instead. As said, your body's like a flower that leans to the sun over time. It's an organic machine that has evolved to best adapt itself to the stimulus you put it under for optimal survival. If you are concerned long bouts of cardio will halt muscle growth or reduce muscle mass, ensure you are doing suitable strength training too and eat a bit more. Again, that means more nutrition, more energy, and better recovery. However, it does also mean more training time. So, even better, do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) rather than long bouts of steady state cardio which gets better cardio results in half the time and promotes anabolic processes to stimulate muscle growth too. Either way, make sure you don't neglect your cardio. You will gain unparalleled health benefits of a stronger heart and lungs, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and particularly with HIIT, vastly improved speed and agility as well. Another long term health benefit of HIIT is that it greatly reduces your insulin resistance. When increasing your body mass, cardio is just as important as when losing weight as you will need a bigger healthier heart and lungs to efficiently pump blood and oxygen around your larger growing frame. And also you will want to ensure your LDL cholesterol levels are kept down and arteries kept clear whilst eating more to get bigger. Health is more than just big skeletal muscles and low body fat. Calisthenics / bodyweight based HIIT routines in particular, like The 4 Minute Max Outs, by using your whole body in so many different ways each workout will ensure your fitness gains always remain functional. Having big muscles is one thing. But being fit and agile enough to use them is another thing altogether. This is one of the many unique benefits that calisthenics / bodyweight based HIIT routines have over other forms of training.
The 4 steps to sustainable good health. Again.
So, going right back to where we begun, there are 4 key factors to consider when wanting to lose or gain weight healthily with great results.
1.Eat a well balanced diet inside your calorie limit for your goal.
2.Ensure your diet has the optimal protein for encouraging muscle synthesis.
3.Do some form of strength training.
4.Do some form of cardio training.
Some people want to diet without exercise, some exercise without diet. Some only like to strength train, others only like to do cardio. The 4 Minute Max Outs can take care of both strength and cardio training, either together, or separately if you prefer, with no equipment required. You don't even need to leave your house. Truth is your body has evolved so that these things all work best in synergy. If you treat diet and exercise as separate you will find it hard to get the sustainable results you are after from either. As the old sayings go, 'You can't out train a bad diet' and 'If you don't use it you lose it'. Both statements are true and both also work in synergy with each other.
How many times have you heard of people going on this amazing diet and losing loads of weight only to put it all back on again within 6 months or so after coming off the diet? How many people have you seen going to the gym day in day out or going on long runs every day that never seem to get any thinner or any more muscular? Truth is, even if you still see results, if you neglect any of these 4 points you simply won't be getting the best healthy sustainable results that you can for your body.
The 4 Minute Max Outs app covers points 3 and 4 either together or separately with no equipment required, little space needed, and in a short compact space of time, that can be customised to suit you. It will help you to get the results you want. Fast.
The 4 Minute Max Outs web site has information to help you further understand points 3 and 4, and all the information you need to help you with points 1 and 2 to help you to eat well for your goals in a way that fits with your circumstance and dietary preferences. Be sure to take a look at the handy diet guide, use the nutrition calculator, and read the dieting guide, food guide, and the wealth of other free information on The 4 Minute Max Outs web site. It's all there to help you to make good choices towards getting healthy and getting the body you want.
Basically, The 4 Minute Max Outs has everything you need to do, and everything you need to know, to get in shape fast.
All you have to do, is do it.