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Fast Results from Fast Exercise

When you don’t have an hour to spend at the gym, try Fitness Done Quickly™

Many people who are out of shape, have a battle to wage with some bulging body part(s), lack the strength and energy to live an enjoyable and productive life, are experiencing the signs of premature aging, or have a battle to wage with a bulging body part. For those that believe the only remedy is to commit to an exercise program that drains precious time out of their life, I have great news!

It’s not accurate to tout long exercise sessions as the necessary means for boosting health and fitness. Much of this myth began in the ‘70s with the advent of the aerobic boom, when millions of enthusiastic people jumped onto the fitness bandwagon. Unfortunately, an unusually high percentage of those people began suffering all sorts of injuries. The reason for most of those twisted ankles and knees, strained backs, and painfully sore muscles was largely due to improper instruction and understanding of exercise. Although fitness was growing at one of its fastest rates during this era, it was just beginning its multi-decade learning curve.

Another reason is what many refer to as the “weekend warrior” effect, even though many of these injuries occurred during the week. “Weekend Warrior” injuries targeted those who jumped into exercise before getting in shape or following long periods of inactivity. As we backtrack to the aerobic classes and workout videos of the ‘70s we see scores of colorful, leotard-clad women, and spandex-wrapped men jumping, twisting, kicking, and pounding themselves to fast-tempo disco music. The most populated and fastest-growing activity was referred to as high-impact aerobics. As the name connotes, any form of high-impact exercise is intense and technically demanding. This type of exercise is powered by the fast-twitch muscles fibers of the body.

Facing a tremendous amount of pressure (mainly litigiously motivated), combined with a rise in insurance costs, gyms and fitness centers were forced to switch to low-impact aerobics that offered slower, less intense and less ponderous movements. Decelerating the activity’s pace down-shifted the body into using its other energy system powered by slow-twitch muscle fibers.

The influx of low-impact aerobics really slowed things down. Lower intensity equated to far fewer calories being burned during class sessions. By design, the rate of injuries was reduced, and to compensate for the deficit in results between fast-twitch and slow-twitch aerobics—which was really a deficit in calorie expenditure, many aerobic instructors extended the duration of each class: usually from 60 to 90 or more minutes, while also scheduling more sessions each week. This gave birth to much of the obsessiveness we’ve all heard about or are guilty of, as people began to exercise compulsively. The duration of each exercise session lengthened along with a concurrent rise in frequency. People were simply wearing themselves out.

Although extremely productive, without proper instruction and conditioning, any participant, lay or elite, will have difficulties enduring fast-twitch applications of training. Fortunately, over the last four decades of trial, error and development (with myself serving as a human guinea pig for most of those years), exercise science has evolved to now offer a diverse selection of fast-twitch exercising options for almost everyone to enjoy.

Slow-Twitch vs. Fast-Twitch: Analogy

Envision a person walking the distance of a football field. This task shouldn’t be considered a challenge, especially if it’s regarded as a fat-burning, muscle-toning exercise. Measure how long it takes that person to travel the entire 300 feet. In comparison, time how long it takes another person to cover that same distance but if instead of walking, this person sprints, or runs as fast as they could run.

Let’s analyze these two scenarios:

Even though the walker and sprinter covered the exact same distance, the outcomes are measurably different. The walker uses their slow-twitch muscle fibers to cover the 100 yards, and expends minutes to complete the task. Upon completion, the walker isn’t breathing heavy, nor are they tired. In fact, if they wanted to, the walker could walk for a long time afterward, and if they desired to burn body fat and gain health benefits they’d have to walk a much longer distance than 300 feet, or expend hours of their time to achieve any satisfactory results.

In comparison, the sprinter, who runs quickly, utilizes their fast-twitch muscle fibers exploding huge amounts of energy out of their body. This fast-twitch response quickly depletes blood glucose levels, in seconds. As the sprinter crosses the finish line they’re gasping for air, huffing and puffing, as their cardiovascular and respiratory systems have soared into the higher threshold of max output, and need a rest before proceeding with any other activity.

Two people covering the same distance; however, one does it slowly while the other very fast. The fast performer is the one who burns the most energy during the exertion period. But what’s also amazing is fast-twitch activity ignites an after-burn effect which triggers a metabolic boost that’s simply not possible with slow-twitch training.

The after-burn effect is partly due to micro-tissue trauma. All exercise traumatizes tissue while depleting hormonal and energy levels to varying degrees, often referred to as the catabolic phase. Once trauma, or catabolism is induced, the body automatically shifts to an anabolic phase. As a natural defense to tissue damage, the brain signals various glands to secrete higher levels of anabolic hormones, including growth hormone and testosterone. These endogenous hormones are critical for repairing tissue. The brain goes far beyond its responsibility of producing anabolic hormones as it also plays a key role in the production of chemicals called endorphins that are responsible for masking pain and assisting in recovery. This catabolic-anabolic cycle is what sprung the saying, “No pain, no gain”.

Fast-twitch exercise quickly depletes energy from the body during the activity while the anabolic phase largely relies on stored energy sources to fuel its post-activity reparation responsibilities. You’ll be pleased to know that much of that stored energy comes from body fat that’s burning away even when you’re sleeping. (Slow-twitch exercise is simply not traumatic enough to stimulate a sufficient anabolic response that utilizes stored fat as fuel during post-workout periods explaining the necessity for longer more frequent sessions).

{Acquiring a healthy catabolic-anabolic system should be the goal for every fitness and life-extension enthusiast. An active lifestyle with adequate fitness provides people with higher pain tolerances who can recover from bruises, colds and injuries much quicker than those who lead sedentary lifestyles and are low in anabolic hormones and endorphins.}
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Benefits of Fast-Twitch Exercise:

  • Boosts overall metabolism by conditioning the brain, endocrine system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system and muscular system.
  • Requires less time to burn an equal number of calories when compared to slow-twitch activity.
  • Sessions are typically under 30 minutes while the more intense sessions expend between 5-10 minutes.
  • Less workout frequency necessary to achieve fitness and fat burning results.
  • Quickly burns up large amounts of blood sugar that, if left unburned, could eventually be transform into triglycerides and be deposited into body fat.
  • Activates your body’s anabolic metabolism that ignites a greater after-burn effect.
  • Produces a higher degree of endorphins that mask pain and assist in restoration of tissues.

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Fitness Done Quickly™: Many instructors and fitness enthusiasts are switching from long slow exercise sessions to short fast ones. Just released for the first time is Fitness Done Quickly a fast-twitch DVD instructional series developed by award-winning fitness pioneer, John Abdo. FDQ is comprised of fast-twitch total body routines that are completed in only 6 minutes. FDQ requires no equipment and can be performed anywhere you like: home, office or hotel room, hence the title no excuses for you to tone every muscle in your body, boost your cardio-respiratory conditioning, and burn loads of fat. And, best of all, each program is completed in less time than it takes you to cook a hard boiled egg!

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Now before you lace up those dusty gym shoes and begin sprinting across the football field at your local stadium, or for those who might be skeptical about getting great fitness results in only seven minutes, here’s a few more points to consider:

• There are two basic nerve-muscle-energy systems in the body; i.e., slow-twitch and fast-twitch. The brain commands both.

• Walking, playing cards and most low-impact aerobic activities activate the slow-twitch system.

• Tennis, swinging a golf club, martial arts, dancing and any high-impact activity are operated by the fast-twitch system.

• Fast-twitch activity rapidly depletes blood sugar and muscle glycogen levels, assisting in the reduction of body fat. (Of course, a well-balanced eating plan with proper nutritional supplementation is recommended.)

• There are many forms of high-impact or fast-twitch exercises and routines. FDQ offers a routine that most people in average or above shape can perform; however we recommend that you confer with your doctor before engaging in any exercise program.

• FDQ requires no equipment. Instead, the resistance of your own body and your levels of flexibility and coordination will challenge you.

• The circuits mentioned above do not need to be performed during the same session. Rather, you can perform a 6-minute routine in the morning then, later in the day, perform another 6 minutes. This is referred to as Accumulative Results Training™ (ART). Until recently, it was believed that exercise had to be conducted in long nonstop sessions for any substantial benefits to occur. Modern exercise science now knows that exercise can be performed intermittently. By spacing your energy expenditures throughout the course of the day or week, you will accumulate fat-burning, muscle-toning and metabolic-boosting benefits. ART complements your body’s anabolic metabolism.

• FDQ ignites your anabolic or after-burn metabolisms allowing you to burn fat long after the routine has been completed, even while you’re sleeping!

• To substantiate all claims, six minutes of the FDQ routine were tested in a controlled laboratory under the supervision of a university physiology professor. The calorie-burning results proved to be nearly 3.5 times more effective than conventional aerobic exercise. (See Charts posted on website)

• Fast-twitch activity doesn’t always have to be performed fast. Start at a slower pace, or at a level of speed that complements your brain, nerve and muscle coordination. As you progress so will your speeds.

• Once you reach a high level of fitness that you’re satisfied with it’s recommended that you stagger your workout intensities. Give your first workout an 80% effort. Then, on your next workout, kick it up to 90% or 100%. The following workout should be reduced to 70-80%. Staggering intensities (speed and efforts) from workout to workout prevents over-training, is mentally motivating and refreshing, complements your post-workout restoration metabolism, and promotes consistency.

• The sciences of slow-twitch, fast-twitch, and high-impact exercise are complex and diverse. This article briefly explains some, but certainly not all of facets of these fascinating applications of exercise. It’s always wise to diversify your fitness menu by performing a variety of fitness activities, slow and, when you’re capable, fast. FDQ is clinically tested and approved by a university professor.

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The Benefits of Fitness

Physical fitness has really skyrocketed within the last decade. There are greater numbers of individuals performing various activities in attempts to enhance physical appearance, athletic performance, psychological states of well-being, and the overall quality of life. Clinicians of all sorts, athletic trainers, physical therapists and body sculpturing specialists are prescribing the fitness lifestyle as the remedy for obesity, muscular weakness, stress, fatigue, insomnia, hypertension, immune system dysfunctioning, headaches, joint ailments, depression, metabolic disorders, skeletal imbalances, poor circulation, and many others. These professionals have become aware of the benefits an active life grants its applicants. 

So with all the enthusiasm that surrounds us in the media, and especially the gym, I can honestly say that Fitness is for Everyone! 

Solving the problem 

Every physical and psychological function requires energy. If we had no energy we simply could not exist. We obtain our energy from the foods we consume while they supply varying levels of energy. Food energy is calculated in measurements known as Calories. When we eat we supply our bodies with caloric sources of energy. We release this energy by: 1) Moving; all physical activities, 2) Thinking; all psychological functions, and by, 3) Metabolism; the operational and recuperative functions of the body. Of these three, Moving, "physical activities", requires the greatest supply of energy to conduct its chores. Metabolism, on the other hand, burns plenty of calories after the body has been stimulated with intense activity relying on additional calories to fuel this reparation process. "Thinking" is also an energy burner. Our minds require energy to operate, but those who are experiencing the effects of being overweight cannot merely rely on this activity source for ample caloric elimination. People who are depressed, angry, bitter, and easily agitated, burn a tremendous amount of energy. Most of the time you can see it in a person's face when they're suffering from some sort of mental turmoil; their weightloss manifests itself by shrunken cheeks--among other areas. There are those however, who while imprisoned by these negative psychological thoughts try to combat, and/or alleviate, their negative emotions by gluttoning on pleasureful tasting [junk] foods. So even though they're burning calories while being stressing-out, the amounts of foods they are forcing down their throats simply overloads their systems. 

Metabolism

[We need to keep a clear understanding that food is fuel and fuel is energy in the form of calories. So whenever I'm talking about food, fuel, energy, or calories, basically, they all mean the same]. Each of us have a specific rate of metabolism which converts food into energy for activity, the operational functions of life, and the repairing of damaged tissue. This conversion/reparation process is always operating whether we're active or sedentary. The goal then of the athlete and fitness enthusiast is to periodically expend the effort to exercise then allocate ample time to recuperate. This cyclic process allows us to burn more calories both during exercise and metabolic periods. So those who believe the fat-burning, strength-building, health-promoting benefits of fitness are confined to the actual times they are exercising are in for a big surprise! The benefits of exercise extend well beyond cooldowns as metabolism takes the baton and runs its operation of repair that is fueled by calories. In other words, we can lose fat while we're doing nothing at all; that's sensational! 

Benefits of fitness 

Those who partake in an active lifestyle develop a greater number of benefits than initially expected. Even though their intentions may be to reshape their bodies and lose some excess bodyfat, fitness will not confine itself to just these two benefits. The fascinating fact about activity participation is that it produces a positive psycho-physiological chain-reaction influencing the entire being. 

Energy

Many individuals engaged in physical fitness for the sole purpose of increasing their levels of energy. The process of energy enhancement is scientifically complex, but a relatively simple one to apply. All one has to do is perform an adequate amount of activity--without overdoing it--and eat correctly; mother nature takes it from there. Since muscles are metabolically active, while fat is inert, those who are more physically fit and stronger muscle tone are those who develop higher metabolic rates turning their bodies into fat-burning machines. 

The Mind & Nerves

The relationship between fitness and knowledge blends nicely especially when one understands how their own body performs under various conditions. Consistent participation in activities develops a harmonious communication between the mind and body. And with our nervous system headquartered in our brain, this intricate system relays electrical mental impulses messengering this data to various body tissues. When an action is requested or required, the brain will consent to the demand, and command an immediate impulse. For those who are unfit, the deliverance of such commands have no assurance for accurate delivery, or may become delayed by weak mental signal-sending abilities. Dullened reactions could lead to a hazardous situation, ill-fate may be inevitable if your not coordinated. Thinking makes us smarter, and activities get us thinking. When we're having fun performing our activities, we are happily thinking, and developing higher levels of fitness at the same time. The better fit we are the better we can think and concentrate. 

Muscles & Bones

Our bodies are literally held together by a network of muscles and their relative tissues (i.e., tendons and ligaments). Weakened muscles cannot hold our skeleton (our boney network) in proper alignment as the body shifts out of its natural position. If we had no muscles at all our skeleton would fall right to the floor. So as our muscles strengthen with activity the better our bodies will be held together. 

The Heart

You're aware that the heart is a muscle? It is! In fact, the heart is a muscular pump responsible for the distribution of blood to all areas of the body. When we are involved in activity, our hearts beat at accelerated rates. This acceleration stimulates strength benefits to the heart similar to other muscles. 

The Lungs

We already know that the heart beats faster while we are active-so does our rate of breathing. Oxygen is our life-supporting gas which we cannot do without for very long. We can go without food or water for days, but without oxygen we can't last more than a few minutes. As our respiration (breathing rate) increases, our lungs expand and contract beyond normal [or resting] capacities. The lungs are two elastic-like sacks which collect the air we breathe. As we inhale, the lungs absorb usable oxygen, then as we exhale, eliminates toxic gases. Millions of tiny holes called alveoli allow the oxygen to seep into our bloodstream feeding the body with this most precious life source. 

Your Looks

Looks? Certainly! When you become active the benefits don't stop below your chin. Your face receives a tremendous number of benefits as well. Since sedentary muscles become weak and sag, facial muscles are no different. When your body muscles are strong and firm, your facial muscles often follow the same pattern of progression. While you exercising you'll notice that your facial muscles acquire a great workout--take a snap shot and show that around the disco. To prove my point, try looking someone straight in the face while they're running or lifting weights. They don't look very appealing while they're in a state of exertion. But as their faces contort during their energy releasing periods of exercise, their facial tissues are toning and firming themselves at the same time. 

Don't stop!

Every once-in-a-while I'm asked, "John, when I reach my goals, can I quit?" Or, "If I quit, will I get fat again?" I promote fitness as a lifestyle, not a short-term plan. A way-of-life that enhances each of your days for the rest of your life. Always maintain an active lifestyle. If you've reached your goals, be glorified with your accomplishments then shift over to a maintenance mode or set new challenges; but don't ever quit.

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LEARN YOUR BODY

Body toning, fat reduction and muscular strength development --by way of exercise-- has always been more effective (and safe) when the applicant understands the technical aspects of each movement incorporated into their workout routines. One doesn’t have to become a biology professor to attain fitness success. But rather, the [basic] capability to identify and understand the muscles --and their physiological responsibilities-- is important to maximize results.


On that note, I must emphasize that exercising your body begins as a mental process, not a physical one. It’s the mind that operates and controls the body. And the better the mind understands the individual components of the human anatomical machine the better that machine will perform. Plain and simple; anatomical knowledge is an integral part of health and performance success.
Think about it (now that’s a real mental pun), it’s your mind that gets you curious, frustrated, depressed, excited, motivated, aroused, educated, disciplined, confidant, and a plethora of other psychological characteristics. And its those characteristics that drives us into doing things physically. Whether it’s brushing our teeth, throwing away the garbage, taking the dog for a walk, or exercising, all physical actions [must] begin with a mental thought and command.


Some folks are very familiar with many of the aforementioned mental emotions. Others, at one time or another, have experienced these negative feelings then, with education and proper conditioning, applied themselves to attain positive mental traits. The ideal state to strive for in developing a supreme state of health is to 1) Analyze your weaknesses (the mental and physical ones), 2) Design practical (and sensible) routine/s that will address those needs, then 3), Perform the routine/s with eagerness using a wise methodical approach.


All three steps are mentally associated. The 3rd, and final, step is the only phase that requires physical actions, unless you had to jog each day to the classroom where you acquired your knowledge. Using rock and moutain climbers as an example, they first study photographs of the mountains and rock formations they're planning to climb, then they sit at a distance from their aspiring ascent in contemplation. It’s the mind that develops the “know how” and “want to” to reach those peaks, and it's no different when you want to hit your peak physical potential.
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Anatomical knowledge is an integral part of health and performance success
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Learning your body can be a simple systematic procedure which brings science into the exercise room --and dinner table-- adding wisdom to your lifestyle. This article is not meant to educate you on all you need to know to get into terrific shape --there’s simply not enough room. But rather, I’m writing this to commence my participation as consulting fitness editor with Healthy & Natural and to disclose some valuable information that can positively change your lives. All you need to do is listen, learn and apply.


Now, it’s not my objective to become your fitness guru. Actually, I always hated that title because I would feel so obligated to placing a turban around my head, burn incense and chant as I taught exercise. Rather, I want to become your “go-do” --I give the advise and design the plans then you go do it.
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Great athletes, even the ones who are physically training 6 to 8 hours every day, study. They strive to learn their bodies searching for a continual fortification of what they already know and aspire to learn as much as they can to gain the edge over their competition.


Okay, if you don’t have any athletic aspirations let me ask you this. Do you want to look and feel great? Of course you do. If you don’t, stop reading this right now, you’re wasting both our time. In actuality, looking and feeling great is far less stressful than competing in sports. The pressure of competition often times stresses athletes out and depletes their immune systems. But for the fitness enthusiast striving for optimal health, competition related stresses are nonexistent making exercising fun, casual and self-relying, while providing plenty of remarkable benefits.
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I believe many of the exercise routines being sold today are missing the target and only focus on exterior results --ignoring inner health. Since so many people have let their physiques and attitudes get very out of shape, they fall easy prey to elaborate marketing ploys. However, out of embarrassment and frustration, many acquire that “I’ll do anything at any cost” attitude in attempts to regain better health and appearance.


I’m not saying that many of the current exercise routines on the market yield no results, rather, I feel they overemphasize one [or a few] points ignoring a holistic approach. But, as we all know, or worse yet, have experienced, many of these routines just don’t last, and the progress often rebounds returning us back to our original [poor] state. The reasons is that every routine, even the best ones, have their time limits and, if they are not changed or adjusted periodically, burn-out is probable, but more likely inevitable.


By learning the basic fundamentals of exercise, and looking at the body holistically, then expediting this knowledge into performing physical (fitness) activities, you’ll develop a stronger and longer lasting foundation building your castle on rock, not sand. And if you’re constantly using the scale or mirror as indicators of your progress --and no results on either are appearing-- think for a moment and determine if you feel any healthier or stronger. Chances are, if you have been exercising, you certainly have become stronger, more energetic and healthier despite the absence of any exterior indicators.


Learn your body and develop the mental attitude first then all else will fall into place (maybe a few pounds will fall out of place!). This is the basic pursuit for those who truly live the fitness lifestyle. This methodology is not a fly-by-night quick-fix-then-rebound system. This is the beginning of an entirely new you. So, if you’re out of shape and wanting to change that condition with exercise and nutrition, don’t be overly concerned [at first] to only acquire exterior results. Better stated, don’t be obsessed with an immediate external physical transformation as this has proven time and time again unsuccessful for long-term benefits. The goal is to condition the controlling (or operating) system of your body --the brain-- then navigate that knowledge which will ultimately turn your aspirations and goals into reality.
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I realize this article hasn’t given you any real specifics. What I’m hoping tough is that it ignites a flame of desire which can develop into a productive relationship between you and I --remember, I’m your “go-do”. In my classes, I inform my students how amazed I am that people will read manuals for their VCR’s, PC’s, 35 mm cameras, hire consultants, even take evening classes to learn how to efficiently operate these material objects. But what do people do to educate themselves to themselves? Most of them, nothing at all! The human body is a very neglected and abused organism, statistics prove that.


So as I conclude this article, I encourage you to submit your questions for my suggestions and commentary. The publisher and editorial staff here at Healthy & Natural have demonstrated an immeasurable concern for their readers and have assigned this column to myself to service your personal needs. So please write, I’ll enjoy hearing from you.
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LEARN YOUR BODY. If our financial leaders are preaching knowledge is the key to success, then athletes, coaches, fitness and longevity enthusiasts alike can use the same formula to attain their fortunes of health. So let’s begin the pursuit toward a healthy, productive and long life. Get it in your head first and watch your body take the shape of your thoughts. See you next issue!!!

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained on this site, or any of its links, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, condition or illness, and should not be construed as medical advise. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, please visit a qualified licensed medical professional. No copying, transferring or any duplication, in part or in whole, is permissible unless agreed to in writing by the developers of this site. Penalties for such violations will be enforced to the fullest extent of the law. Copyright ©, Abdo, All Rights Reserved, 1994 -2009.