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Diet Talk from the Doc

by Dr.Diet, Diet.com's Medical Director

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A specific type of interval training has been found to have greater fat-burning effects, according to research studies. In one, forty-five overweight women were put through a 20 minute stationary bike routine where they sprinted for 8 seconds followed by 12 seconds of light cycling. After 15 weeks, these women lost 3 times more weight than the women who exercised at a regular, continuous pace for 40 minutes.

To read the full article, click here:
Eight Seconds Key to Weight Loss

Dr. Diet weighs in:

We've known about the benefits of interval training for quite some time. Interval training involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with a less intense activity without "burning yourself out" so to speak.

The results here are quite impressive, though we don't know how much weight was actually lost and I question that this method can actually "spot reduce" troublesome areas, as mentioned in the article.

Nonetheless, this study brings up a topic I'm asked about frequently which is, "How can I get the most bang for my buck when it comes to exercise?"

Since the number of calories burned is a function of exercise duration (length of each exercise session) and intensity (a more subjective interpretation of the vigor or pace of your workout), getting a better handle on the intensity of your workouts is recommended.

There are 3 ways to monitor the intensity of your exercise:

--The talk test

If you are working out at the right intensity, you should be able to talk but only in broken up sentences.

--the perceived exertion scale

Use a subjective rating scale ranging from 0 to 10, where 0 = how you feel at rest and 10 = how you feel if you were working as hard as possible. You want to work at an exertion rating of 6 or 7 where you're walking like you're late to catch a train or bus.

--wearing a heart rate monitor

To figure out your target heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and then multiply that number by 50 % to get your lower target heart rate and then by 80% to get the upper level of your target heart rate. For someone at age 40 (for example), your target heart rate is between 90-144. People who are not fit can strive to be in the lower zone and as you get more fit, you can strive to be in the higher zone.

The target heart rate zone is recommended for individuals without any health problems. If you have health problems or are on medications that affect your heart rate, you should check with your physician regarding your exercise intensity goals.

Interval training, as shown in this study, is another way to take your workout to a higher level.

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