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  • Writer's pictureJulian Molteno

BOGOF, or . . .  Half-Price Calories

At its most basic, fat loss comes down to calories in versus calories out. 

Leaving aside the calories in bit, I want to share a little trick that I have learnt about how to burn calories more efficiently. Apart from my lifting sessions, and running about fetching weights (and water and towels) for clients, I get most of my cardiovascular exercise from the stationary bike.

On the bike, there are two primary mechanisms that influence calorie expenditure; * Speed, Cadence or RPM’s (Revolutions Per Minute) And . . . * Resistance or Level My preference is to keep the cadence relatively high at between 100 and 115 RPM’s, and either increase or decrease the resistance accordingly. Even someone with weak legs can achieve a cadence of 100+, so effectively the “skill” is in selecting the correct level of resistance for your leg strength. There are many ways to manipulate both these variables to achieve a mega-calorie explosion! Here are two programs that I use regularly. My first routine keeps the cadence pretty much constant at 100 RPM’s whilst varying the resistance. After a 5 minute warm up I start at L10, upping the level every minute until I have completed L17. I then drop all the way back down to L10 (in one fell swoop), and start again. I repeat this sequence four times. In my second program I vary both the speed and the level. After the 5 minute warm up I do a minute on L10 at 100 RPM’s followed by a minute on L13 at 110 RPM’s. More often than not I do this routine for an hour. This second program is tough but do-able, and as long as I can listen to Celine Dion belting out something or other about her heart being compelled to go on (as is mine), it is a fairly easy, and profitable, hour. The first program, however, is way harder, with the L17 minute being at my absolute limit, and at the end of the fourth cycle all I want to do is get straight off the bike, give it a hard kick and limp off to the showers. But . . . I have discovered something very interesting - If I continue to cycle, using only a medium resistance, say L12, I appear to burn proportionally more calories than if I used that same medium level at the beginning of the routine!! What does this mean? It seems to me that once you have done the hard work of spiking your heart rate to near your maximum a few times, you can then lower your effort considerably, but continue to burn more calories post max effort than pre!! In other words, less effort with more calorie burn benefit. So this is actually a crucial phase of the workout, and if you can resist the urge to just do an easy warm down and instead push a little harder you can reap some impressive rewards. I feel pretty pleased with myself at this stage of the program as I pedal along with a smug smile on my face enjoying my . . . HALF-PRICE CALORIES!!!

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