This is just one question out of many! View the full listing of FAQs here.
Cardio and Fat Loss Questions
NOTE: This female wrote in several questions. I thought that they were good questions at that. I answer each one separately below.
Visitor: Hey Dino, how have you been? I have a few questions for you to answer whenever you can. 1. What is a set point and can I change mine?
My Response: This sounds like it may be some type of level of training that you would be trying to achieve. Bill Phillips uses a similar type-training program in his book "Body for Life." But he attempts to reach a "high point", not a set point. A similar theory is AST's Max OT cardio regimen. Both programs focus on reaching a high level of intense training. The Max OT version focuses on increasing your previous cardio session by either working at a higher level or accomplishing more distance. Basically you can change your "set" point by working harder each session. It is simple to do too.
Just keep a cardio log. Lets say that you run for 16 minutes and you manage to make 2 miles. The next time you run for 16 minutes your goal is to try to do better than 2 miles. Worse case scenario you try to equal your last session. I am not sure, but I think that this is what you were asking.
Visitor: 2. Should I be counting my grams of fat, sugar, and calories? Sometimes I feel that I barely make 1200 calories a day.
My Response: I do! But for the most part it is not necessary. I am just really meticulous about my protein consumption. I always want to assure that I get at least 300 grams in each day so I do count fat, protein, and carbohydrates. I have been doing so for years and it is sort of habit now. I like seeing what I consumed at the end of each day. I do not let it rule my life in the off-season though. It does control my life when I am preparing for a contest. Like I said right now the only thing that I absolutely must get in is the protein.
I also like the log for documentation of great growth, leaning out, or maintenance periods. I go back and see what I was eating at times to see what food I was eating and how the body was reacting to those macronutrient ratios and kilocalories etc. It is a great piece of documentation and if you have the will to do it then do so. Particularly in your case because it sounds to me like you tend to feel that 1200 kilocalories is not sufficient. This will by all means allow you to bump it up. Set a time schedule and eat every 2-4 hours. If you are not getting all of your kilocalories than you may have to eat even when you are not hungry.
Here is how you do it. Take your desired number of kilocalories and divide them by 6. You will be eating 6 meals each day so that will give you the amount of kilocalories you need for each meal. Just assure that you are eating that many kcals each meal and you will meet your desired kilocalorie intake.
If you do not know how much calories are in each macronutrient then read on. There are 4 kcals (calories) for each gram of protein, 4 kcals for each gram of carbohydrate, and 9 kcals for each gram of fat. This should get you on the right track.
Visitor: 3. Is there a difference between losing fat and losing weight?
My Response: Yes! There is a huge difference! Losing fat will reduce your fat stores. Losing weight could mean anything. I can lose weight by dehydrating myself. I could lose weight by losing muscle. I could lose weight by getting in a horrible accident and becoming an amputee. You see the difference now? Weight is not necessarily fat!
Analogy time. I drink 2 gallons of water each day. That totals out to 16 pounds of water. In the morning when I wake up my body has been flushing all night long and I am dry. I will obviously weigh less than I would during the midday to evening hours. At this time I have been drinking water all day long and I have eaten food that is not out of my system yet. So I will weigh much more. Tomorrow morning I will have lost most of that water weight, but I have not necessarily lost fat.
Visitor: 4. To lose fat how long should my cardio sessions run for?
My Response: I have read that you need to be in your target heart rate zone for at least 10-13 minutes. But, if you are on a low carbohydrate diet I do not believe this. Low carb dieters that are in ketosis for periods of time are burning fat all of the time. Fat is their primary source of energy. So this really all depends on what type of environment your body is in. In general, I would just concentrate on doing cardio. Try not to stress out on how long you should be doing cardio or what your hear rate should be and all that stuff. Find an activity that you enjoy and do it. Just moving around will allow you to burn kcals.
Visitor: 5. In September I am running a 4 mile race across the Crescent city connection. I have started running 2-3 times a week to prepare myself for this race. Should I use ankle weights when I practice to get my legs ready for the incline and decline of the bridge. I have done this race many times in the past, but always lose time in the incline and burn out in the decline because I am moving too fast coming down.
My Response: No-no-no-no-NO! Do NOT use ankle weights for running! This will increase you chances for shin splints. You can wear them around all day long if you like, but not when training. Use an incline on the treadmill for uphill training. This will give a similar effect of the bridges incline. For downhill training there are some treadmills that have down hill slopes. If your gym does not have this equipment then try to find some downhill terrain in your area. Also, just overall increasing your cardiovascular endurance will help you to surpass last year's race performance!