Sunday, April 12, 2009

VENT- The Truth About Fat Loss for a New Mom

Ok, I rarely do this but I have to vent. I have been cruising around the Internet and reading blogs, getting the posts sent to me regarding mom fitness and pregnancy fitness. A few things confuse me

1. I keep seeing mom fitness posts and programs advertising "Get Your Arms Tank Top Ready"- are you for real?? If you have time to worry about this, you are obviously not a busy mom. What a waist of time. A- you cannot spot reduce .
and B- studies have been done with body builders, one group performing deadlifts only and one group performing biceps curls only. Guess who had the stronger biceps at the end of the program- You guessed it the Deadlift group. Total body is the way to go (like the deadlift). I would rather spend time with my kids rather than worrying about my arms.

2. This is another popular one -Walking on a treadmill is the optimal way for new moms to lose weight. What a load of crap. Walking will not make you lose weight, this is a submaximal effort activity. You need to reach your maximum intensity you can handle to lose weight (anaerobic threshold). Short, maximal burst of resistance training has been proven to be the most effective form of fat loss- period. 4 minute circuts with 20 second work/ 10 second rest intervals otherwise know as Tabatas are the best.

3. Many sites and entire businesses are based on Jogging with a Stroller and again indicate this is a great way to burn the baby fat. NOT, this one is down right dangerous. Most women still have relaxin in their body 4 months post partum and joints are not stable, your abdominals are still weak. Holding onto the stroller handles does not allow proper cross rotation of your body (opposite arm/leg moving in unison). Your arms are stationary and your low body will over rotate to compensate, this condition coupled with an already weak muscle and unstable joints can contribute to back pain. OK, so that is just one point why I don't agree with jogging with your stroller. If you think you will burn the baby fat think again. Jogging is still a submaximal effort activity and yes you will burn calories while you are jogging, but this is not optimal for fat loss. A better option is to do maximal sprint intervals without a stroller- but for new moms stress incontinence becomes more of an issue when performing these.

The truth about fat loss. Short bursts of maximal effort resistance is the best form of fat loss exercise. Lets break this down. There is something called Oxygen Debt (other call it EPOC of Afterburn)that means the more effort you put into your workout the more depleted your energy stores (including oxygen) you have to REPAY to your body. Your heart rate will remain slightly elevated after your workout for this to happen and burns more calories throughout the day. Using resistance training you will be building muscle that has a greater metabolic rate burning more calories. Short burst, because if you if you are working out at your anaerobic thresehold this is all you could manage. Your anaerobic threshold is approximately 220-age (ex. 220-36=184bpm). I also like short resistance workouts, especially for busy new mothers, because they are manageable if you are sleep deprived. You will not be training long enough to suffer from repetitive strain injuries (that you are already extremely susceptible to) and you can make your resistance program a multi directional full body functional workout.

I just think many new mothers are being lead a stray with their workouts. You can probably get your training done in about a quarter the amount of time from home. Fat Loss results can be made with a little as 4-10 minutes per day. 12 minute maximal effort is ideal. So realistically with warmup and stretching you can get a full fat loss workout done in 17 minutes.

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