Resistance and Cardiovascular Training Basics - Phase 1
fitness and well-being are contingent on many factors such as genetics,
physical activity, and nutrition. As of yet, manipulation of one’s genetic
makeup to encourage fat burning and lean tissue synthesis is not possible at
typical workout facilities. Fortunately, we can alter our physiques to some
extent by engaging in regular, effective physical activity, and making
intelligent food choices. The purpose of this article is to help introduce
the aspiring fitness buff to resistance training and cardiovascular exercise.
This article is directed to non-medical professionals; however, medical
explanations for the principles suggested are explained in small-type italic.
Other explanations are provided in other articles on our website.
discussing exercise, it is often helpful to divide physical activity into two
main categories based on how they create energy: anaerobic and aerobic.
Aerobic exercise refers to exercise in the presence of oxygen, whereas
anaerobic exercise occurs without oxygen present. This distinction is helpful
because fat is largely burned in the presence of oxygen, whereas
carbohydrates are largely the fuel of choice during anaerobic exercise1.
acids are not effectively utilized in anerobic condictions due to inbibition
of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. Specifically, acetyl-CoA is the
breakdown product of ß-oxidation, which is shuttled into the Citric Acid
Cycle to be combined with oxaloacetate and form citrate. If oxygen is not
present, then cytochrome C oxidase (in the electron transport chain) can not
be oxidized by oxygen. Thus, the electron transport chain shuts down,
resulting in a buildup of NADH (which is normally oxidized by NADH oxidase in
the ETC). The buildup of NADH subsequently inhibits the Citric Acid Cycle (which
produces NADH). This results in a buildup of Acetyl CoA, which will then shut
training is considered by most professionals to fall in the category of
anaerobic exercise, whereas activites such as jogging, light swimming, light
biking, and speed walking are considered aerobic. In order to obtain the most
benefit from your workout routine, it is best to participate in both
anaerobic and aerobic exericise.
weight lifting is anaerobic, it does have some potentially aerobic
properties. Specifically, if adequate rest periods between sets are taken, it
can encourage optimal oxygen utilization to synthesize pyruvate from lactic
acid produced during anaerobic fermentation. This process can prove to be
aerobic, but we will still consider weight training anaerobic.
AN EXERCISE PLAN
days, it seems as if the most difficult part of exercising is not the
physical labor itself, but actually finding a workout regimen that fits your
lifestyle and training goals. With all of the bizarre workout equipment and
dieting fads that are available today, it is often overwhelming for even the
seasoned athlete to decide how to exercise. This series will introduce a
training and nutrition schedule that can apply to most individuals who are
beginning an exercise program, or to those who are looking to change their
current program. In fact, I have trained many of my clients in the past using
a blueprint similar to the one presented in this article. The basic goals
here are to lose fat and build muscle.
I would like to clear up some misconceptions and elaborate on some basic
The concept of “Toning”
In my experience, most individuals have told me that their primary goal is to
“tone up” their muscles. Upon further questioning, what they really wanted
was to make their muscles more visible. There are two obvious methods to do
this: burning the surrounding subcutaneous fat (basically fat beneath the
skin, but above the muscle), and making the muscle itself larger. This
program will utilize both methods, thereby maximizing fat loss and achieving
the most “cut” appearance possible.
the traditional belief that doing large numbers of repetitive lifts will tone
the muscle is not entirely correct. A muscle basically has two options: to
hypertrophy (increasing the mass of the muscle by increasing myofiber/muscle
cell size – NOT the # of muscle cells), or to atrophy (the opposite). If a
well-nourished individual stimulates a muscle beyond its normal baseline, it
will hypertrophy. If the same individual stops using a particular muscle, it
will atrophy. In this program, we will try to complete 8-12 repetitions of
each exercise. This means that if you can do 13 repetitions, you need to
increase the weight the next time. Conversely, if you can only complete 7
repetitions, you need to reduce the weight for your next round on that
The idea that performing large numbers of crunches will burn the fat around
your abdomen, thereby giving you the “ripped abs” appearance, is quite
misleading. Basically, when your body burns fat, it will burn fat from the
last place it was stored. Therefore, if the last cookie you ate was stored in
your buttocks, that fat will be burned first; regardless of the type of
exercise you perform. Performing endless numbers of crunches will only stress
the abdominal musculature more, thereby stimulating muscle growth and
As noted earlier, it is essential to incorporate both cardiovascular (aerobic) and resistance training (anaerobic) exercises into your regimen to obtain optimum benefit. When making your workout plan, it is often helpful to think of each type of exercise through the “F.I.T.T.” principle, which stands for: frequency, intensity, time, and type.
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