Damien Kelly: fitness expert

After extensive education and many years of personal training experience, Damien Kelly has become one of Sydney's most sought-after trainers. Here are some of his top fitness tips...



Training styles rated

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Last week, we chatted about the need to ramp things up with your training by adding intensity to your work-outs. I promised to take you through the four main training styles so you'd know where to dedicate your exercise time.

This week I'll start by taking you through the most popular style and in the coming weeks we'll work through the others.

Low-intensity, long-duration cardio (LILDC)

LILDC is probably the most popular form of exercise especially for those trying to lose weight. It's safe, it's boring and it's ineffective.

Here are some examples:

  • 45 minute single paced jog; or
  • 60 minute cycle; or
  • 1000m swim; or
  • Gym — 20 minute treadmill, 20 minute bike, 10 minute rower

The problem with this form of training is that the stress on the body is constant and focused on the same areas for long periods of time. This means you have to keep the intensity low to continue. This really engages the quality versus quantity debate. LILDC is simply quantity training.

The lack of intensity in these work-outs means the results can be very slow and for many, they'll never come.

The reason results are slow from a fat-burning standpoint is due to the lack of "after burn". If you do steady-state cardio for 60 minutes, you burn body fat for 60 minutes.

With high intensity strength training, you burn higher levels of fat during the work-out (due to the high volume of work you can get through), plus the metabolic after-load on the body (due to the repairing of micro tears in muscles) means you're burning fat for hours and hours afterwards.

The other factor here is the atrophy of the muscles that occur with LILDC. The fact that your muscles get smaller with long duration cardio means that you'll lose strength and reduce your long-term ability to burn fat at the optimum level. And remember it's at the muscles where fat is burnt so exercising for fat loss needs be all about increasing or maintaining muscle mass.

Lastly, the constant stress on the body caused by LILDC can also easily lead to overuse and chronic injuries. It's generally why runners get shin splints, runner's knee and sore lower backs; why swimmers get injuries to shoulders; and why rowers and cyclists get back pain. It's the "rubber hammer" syndrome (read last week's blog post for details): if you choose the most ineffective method to do something, you'll eventually damage the tools you're using.

LILDC rating:

  • Fat loss: C-
  • Fitness: C+
  • Muscle definition: D
  • Feel-good factor: B+

Next week, I'll take you through the most common strength-training program and why it simply doesn't work.

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