Want to get in shape? First, make sure the numbers add up. Hereâ€™s every equation you need to fine-tune your trainingâ€¦
1. Body fat arithmeticÂ
Leave the fat-burning zone to infomercial presenters: for highspeed fat loss, short and nasty is (unfortunately) the way forward. EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, means short, intense intervals will leave you burning fat for hours after you train. Itâ€™s usually measured with specialist lab equipment, but thereâ€™s also a formula for figuring it out, based on how much oxygen 158 athletes burned after exercise lasting anywhere between two minutes and three hours.
ePOC (t) = f(EPOC(t-1), exercise_ intensity(t), dt)
Confused? Donâ€™t be. Essentially, the higher-intensity your exercise, the longer (and higher) the burn.Â Try it with 10-20-30 training,Â which University Of CopenhagenÂ researchers discovered to improve performance and health. To do this, run (or row or bike) at a moderate pace for 30 seconds, pick it upÂ slightly for another 20 seconds,Â then go all-out for a final 10. Repeat four times, rest for two minutes, and then do the whole thing again. Youâ€™ll burn fat all day â€“ no slick heart-rate monitor required.
2. Muscle math
Your 1-rep max (1RM) comes in handy for working out what weights to use during regular training sessions. To find it, use this equation, plugging in a weight you can only handle for 10 reps or less. You should get within 2-3kg of your true max, sans the stress of busting your shoulders on one rep.
weight used x (reps done x 0.33 + 1) = your 1RM
Next, settle on a set/rep count for the day. Use Soviet sports scientist A S Prilepinâ€™s figures for building strength (below) to design your sessions: pick a per cent of your 1RM to lift, then decide how many reps youâ€™re going to aim for in each set. The â€śoptimalâ€ť number is the ideal rep-range for strength: fewer wonâ€™t cause your body to adapt, but more will over stress you.
|Percent of 1RM||Reps/Set||Optimal total reps|
If youâ€™re about to bench 80kg, say, and your 1RM is 100kg, you might want to aim for 4 reps per set â€“ in which case youâ€™d do 4 sets in total (rounding up slightly) â€“ or 2 reps per set, and do 7 or 8 sets. Rest as needed to do all your sets, and let the gains beginâ€¦
3. Fluid dynamics
It may feel great after a workout on aÂ hot day, but does throwing a bucket ofÂ ice cold water over you actually cool youÂ down? Yes, according to researchersÂ at the University Of Sydneyâ€™s ThermalÂ Ergonomics Laboratory. They say byÂ drinking a just-above-freezing 250mlÂ cup of water, youâ€™ll lose nine caloriesÂ of heat, while the pour-and-evaporateÂ method can disperse up to 145. ForÂ best results, use a mix of both.
(9 x D) + (145 x P) = temp loss
Do you need to rehydrate better afterÂ the gym? Weigh yourself before andÂ after a session where you donâ€™t drinkÂ any water. The difference is yourÂ â€śsweat rateâ€ť, or how much you shouldÂ drink during workouts for optimumÂ performance. Add a ÂĽ tsp of table saltÂ for a home-made electrolyte boost.
(Pre-BW - Post-BW) x 1,000 =Â your in-gym HÂ˛0 intake
4. Calculus of creatine
Creatine is the backup generator for your muscles: it lets you lift heavier and harder for short intervals. Most firms recommend a â€śloadingâ€ť phase, then a â€śmaintenanceâ€ť protocol â€“ itâ€™s not strictly necessary, but it will get you results quicker. Hereâ€™s your new regime (creatine sucks up water, so remember to stay well hydrated):
Loading: Take 0.3g/kg bodyweight for 5-7 days.
Maintenance: Then take 5g daily for 3-4 weeks
5. VitaminÂ D
Getting enough rays? Well, 10Â minutes a day is all your body needs to synthesise vitamin D in theÂ summer but â€“ according to researchÂ from the US National Institute ofÂ Health â€“ there isnâ€™t enough UVBÂ radiation in the upper latitudeâ€™sÂ winter sunshine to get the job done.Â So supplement with up to 1,000IU aÂ day â€“ less if youâ€™re out in the sun.
1,000IU + 10 mins of sun =Â your vit D intake
6. Feel the tension
Instead of worrying about 6 reps vs 12, think about how long youâ€™re spending on your set. In a Journal of Physiology study, increasing the â€śtime under tensionâ€ť for leg extensions upped post-exercise protein synthesis, meaning more muscle. â€śAim for 60 seconds per set,â€ť explains trainer James Adamson. â€śSo if youâ€™re doing 10 reps, four seconds down, two up is a good choice.â€ť
reps x tempo = time under tension
7. Number nutrition
Bulking and cutting? So last decade.Â A new McMasters University studyÂ has confirmed that you can lose fatÂ and build muscle at the same timeâ€¦Â if you eat enough protein. Men whoÂ trained six times a week lost anÂ average of 5kg of fat while addingÂ about 1kg of muscle â€“ but only ifÂ they stuck to a high-protein diet,Â defined as 2.4g per kg of bodyweight,Â per day.
2.4 x BW = your improvedÂ protein intake
8. Living to a prime number
Sit on the floor. Stand up. Now the tricky bit: do it without using your hands, knees or forearms. Flexibility, balance and muscle strength are key predictors of longevity, and this mini-test, created by Brazilian doctor Claudio Gil Araujo, assesses all three. Your â€śscoreâ€ť starts at 10: subtract 1 point for each support you use, and 0.5 for every loss of balance. If youâ€™re sub-eight, itâ€™s cause for concern, so fix it with the goblet squat. â€śHold a kettlebell, dumbbell or heavy rucksack in front of your chest, then sit down into a squat until your knees touch your elbows,â€ť says Adamson. â€śDo five reps, then hold the fifth at the bottom and push your knees apart with your elbows for five seconds. Repeat twice.â€ť Donâ€™t worry, it gets easier.
10 - L - (B x 0.5) > 8
9. Get a very good grip
Hereâ€™s one good reason to get a grip, as well as creating a good first impression when you shake hands: itâ€™s a key predictor of lifespan. According to a study published in The Lancet, every 5kg decrease in grip strength in test subjects was linked to a 16% increase in mortality rate, suggesting that it â€śmight be a particularly good marker of underlying aging processes.â€ť Donâ€™t just grab a set of handgrippers, though â€“ the researchers theorized that grip is successful as an overall predictor of mortality, meaning that you need to focus on full-body gains for the full benefit. Deadlifts will cover every base â€“ hit them up once a week to add more weeks to your grand total.
Grip strength = predictor of life
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