SFH #126: Getting Lean - Part 2
The Simple and Fun Way
Last night we unwrapped the straightforward way to evolve our physiological form through our nutrition habits. The highlights included intermitting fasting and a plant-forward diet minus sugar and alcohol, in case you missed it. 😉
Tonight we are going to look at the other essential category of developing your body, fitness. Or my preferred description: physical activity.
We start with the prevalent barrier to our physical development, overtraining. We dove into the "more is better" complex around working out when we visited the concept of periodization in blog entry 25. In short, high loads of training sends your body into the danger zone.
We activate the stress response (fight or flight) when employing the evolutionary signal to move our bodies and apply resistance. When we regularly push our limits, cortisol (the stress hormone) starts to engulf our system, leading to muscle weakness, insulin resistance, and a propensity to store weight quickly. What does this mean as it relates to optimizing our physiological gains? In a nutshell, high-intensity training should be executed with the focus on raising the output level in shorter periods.
I like to keep my power workouts somewhere between 30 to 45 minutes, making sure I get all the bang for my buck. If you shift yourself to faster, harder, and shorter, I'd be willing to bet you will see more impactful results in less time.
On the other end of this spectrum is the long and slow fat-burning state. As a former endurance athlete and coach, I got to see the power of primed aerobic metabolic engines. It is an art to keep ourselves at a low hum when we desire to push for more results. Though, keeping our heart rates at around 70 to 75% of our maximum capability, we teach our bodies to lean into our fat stores as fuel. We can achieve these aerobic endurance workouts in many forms. Even a walk or a hike can serve us well. One of the many reasons I love walking so much!
My preferred way to incorporate each end of our rainbow here is to have dedicated workouts for each at least one day each week. If your fitness baseline is a bit more advanced, you could be doing two days of intensity and two to three days of easy endurance. Just be sure to look out for that overtraining creep!
In the end, if a defined lean form is your principal goal, there's nothing more practical than curbing your cortisol and maximizing the application of fat for fuel.
Brian (aka Coach B) 😉