Updated: Apr 11, 2020
Intro As most of you probably know, Power is not a massive fan of low intensity cardio work for fat loss. However, for mental clarity and active recovery a long walk is great! When you're trying to build muscle mass, lose fat and/or improve your performance, sadly low intensity cardio work is over rated compared to strength and conditioning work. That does not mean we’re against any type of running work. We believe some form of energy-system work should be included at least once a week in your training schedule. Obviously, depending on your goals, the duration and frequency of these sessions will vary. So, let's review what benefits you can reap from energy- system work!
To become very lean and muscular you must have everything in order, from what you’re eating, rest intervals to recovery and your training schedule. While a proper strength training programme will help you get lean, it's hard to see real definition without some form of "road work" unless you're a genetically gifted freak!
As we already mentioned, we’re not fans of low-intensity cardio work. While it's adequate and can contribute to fat loss, we feel it can have a negative effect on strength and muscle mass due to the promotion of slow twitch muscle fibres. Interval training and/or 400m sprints are optimal to maximize fat loss while retaining muscle mass by working anaerobically. Losing bodyweight is not just about how many calories you burn during exercise but how your body reacts during the hours and days post workout.
No, we haven't contracted Covid-19 and lost brain cells, we really do suggest including energy-system work, even if your main goal is to gain muscle.
The reasoning is simple: to gain a lot of muscle you must consume a lot of calories; this will lead to developing muscle, but also gaining some fat too (which no-one wants). With energy-system work, you'll be able to minimize the amount of fat you gain while trying to pile on muscle mass.
To accomplish this goal, we want to do just enough energy-system work to decrease fat storage, but not so much as to slow down muscle gains. The most important variable to play with in this case is the frequency of training. Check out the ‘Distance’ and ‘Interval’ sections.
Now, we’re going to give you two possible methods to use for getting defined and conditioned: ‘Distance’ and ‘Interval’ running. These methods are very similar (you are both running of course) but have different motivation strategies. With ‘Distances’, you have a target to hit whereas ‘Intervals’ you are just going for max effort, for time. Choose which method suits you the best and stick to that method. This is important for the ‘Progressive overload’ component within the programme. Every week it is more difficult than the last and pushes you a little more without stalling results or making it too difficult, too soon.
400m Sprint Training
A 400m sprint is often one of the best ways to lose fat.
400m sprinters are athletes who have a very low body fat percentage. The high lactic acid production of a 400m sprint is often mentioned as the reason for the effectiveness of the 400m sprint for fat loss. Lactic acid is a by-product during vigorous anaerobic exercise. Especially with maximal demands in the range of 20 to 70 seconds.
We recommend using 400-meter sprints once a week at first as it's very hard work! Then increase the frequency depending on conditioning level and what else you may be doing i.e. strength training or other sports.
Interval training is one of the best ways of burning body fat without jeopardizing your efforts to gain muscle and strength. It combines low- intensity recovery and high-intensity work for a very large fat-burning effect. Basically, you'll alternate between slow-pace running i.e. a jog and fast- pace running I.e. a sprint for time.
This method of training is less demanding than 400-meter sprints. It can be started at a frequency of twice per week, building-up to three or four times per week for maximum fat loss. Try to avoid performing more than two weekly sessions if you're trying to build muscle, as you’ll need to put your time and efforts towards strength training and resistance work.
Along with proper dieting, including these running strategies can help you prepare for that summer body look, improve your athletic performance and even assist you minimize fat storage whilst you build muscle from strength training. Get ready to get fit and lean!