Nope, this is not alien talk, it is basically how to use your meals and your training sessions for optimal fat loss. Yes, this is something we are all striving for and we need all the help we can get to get that golden glint in the eye when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

First things first, what is muscle glycogen anyway and why is it so important? Glycogen is a molecule in your body and its main function is long term energy storage. The primary energy stores are in the adipose tissue (fat). You know, we eat too much calories, via long processes it then gets stored in the body as energy and when that energy is not used, it is stored as fat, in all the unwanted places on our bodies.

Glycogen is primarily made by the liver and the muscles. Glycogen basically serves as your energy reservoir for sudden need for glucose. Glycogen is also found in the muscles but in very low concentrations (about 1 – 2%) Now the interesting thing is that the amount of glycogen that is stored in the body, especially in the liver and muscles, will mostly depend on your training and the amount of training you do, your baseline metabolic rate (the minimum amount of energy you need to survive) and of course your eating habits

The important part of glycogen is the part that is stored in the muscles. This is the energy that is immediately available as glucose for the muscle cells. When you look at marathon runners or any other long distance athlete going well in a race and then all of a sudden they just can’t carry on anymore. This is called “hitting the wall” and this happens when they just do not have anymore glycogen in their muscles and it is a struggle to walk up a hill.

But what does this have to do with us and our run of the mill “I only want to burn off the unwanted fat and look fabulous?” They whole idea is to work your body very hard to bring it in a state of glycogen depletion so that you can use fat stores for energy instead of the glycogen in your system. Make sense? We hope so. You can do various workouts to achieve this goal. The big thing to remember is that high intensity workouts = glycogen depletion. So any metabolic conditioning workout (raising the heart rate by doing circuit style training with weights), tabata workouts (interval where you work 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds for 8 rounds – yeah, a 4 minute workout, but give it a try and get back to us) and of course the good old HIIT (high intensity interval training) that you can do anyway you like, you can alternate your intervals with longer work and less rest or the other way around, as long as your work period is an all-out effort you are reaching for the stars.

Remember, the more you deplete the glycogen stores in your body, the harder the metabolic rate is working and that only means one thing – FAT BURNING!

Right, onwards to our little example workouts:

HIIT:

Choose any means of cardio equipment that you like, rower, running, cycling, swimming, it doesn’t matter. Now you are going to choose a timed interval, like 30 seconds. Go like hell for 30 seconds on your chosen discipline and slow down and recover for 30 seconds. It is your choice how long you want to do this for, but make sure you warm up properly before you go all out.

It is also very important to remember that you record the effort level or even the amount of calories that you burn during this workout because next time you want to beat it. This way you will never hit a plateau.

Metabolic resistance training:

These workouts will take the age old slow, boring, long cardio sessions out of your regime for good and good riddance for it as well. The amount of research studies that have been done on the results of this type of training are endless and the outcome for not favourable for it anyway so stop doing it, please!  You basically have an all in one where you burn fat and build muscle at the same time. Now that is what we call a score! So, anytime that you use a superset, triset, or circuit training you are doing your body a favour and don’t think that you have to spend hours in the gym either, you are going to work up such a sweat in no time you will not be able to handle long sessions. You also do not even need the gym for this. Your own body is amazing in creating these tough little sessions for yourself.

Example:

6 Rounds of 25 seconds of work/25 seconds of rest of:

Rocca press

Reverse lunges

Plank

Push ups

Wall sit

Tabata workouts:

We have Izumi Tabata to thank for this little protocol, but don’t look at it with any respect. This little protocol packs a huge punch. It is also called “the world’s greatest fat burning workout protocol.” This protocol is key to depleting the glycogen levels due to oxygen depletion (in other words panting harder than a Jack Russel chasing after…..anything actually)

The original tabata protocol looks like this:

5 Minutes of warming up.

8 Intervals of all-out effort for 20 seconds, 10 seconds of rest.

2 Minutes cool down.

 

With all of this in mind, don’t you think it is time to kick your training up a gear and start seeing some serious results?