Saturday, December 31, 2011

Optimizing the Fung Protocol (Part 1)

Happy New Year to everyone!  I’d like to start the New Year with a follow up post to the Fung Protocol.  One of the most common New Year's resolutions involves a goal for fitness and physical health.  However, all too often fitness resolutions result in demoralizing failure due to poor planning and choosing the wrong type of exercise to pursue your goals.

Previously, we discussed that the original Fung Protocol allows for wide ranges of individuals to safely engage in high intensity exercise which utilizes the body’s muscle building anaerobic systems as well as endurance based aerobic systems for 18 minutes at 90% of Maximum Predicted Heart Rate all while achieving the VO2 equivalent of a brisk jog.

There was, of course, other data revealed in my study which proved very interesting. One such piece of data was uncovered during maximal exertion tests using kettlebell exercise.  I discovered that due to the weight of the kettlebell, the body is forced to work in the anaerobic world unless the weight of the kettlebell is less than or equal to 13% of one’s body weight.  It is at this threshold that the body experiences kettlebell exercise per the Fung protocol at a level of intensity where the Respiratory Quotient (RQ) is less than or equal to 1 – denoting metabolically aerobic exercise.

We also know from exercise physiology that the body utilizes the ATP/PCr cycle for local muscle energy in the beginning seconds of initial exercise. Also, we know that the Glycolytic System lasts less than 2 minutes during initial exercise until the aerobic system picks up around minutes 3-4.  It is around this time during exercise that most individuals begin to reach steady state aerobic exercise.  It was at this point during exercise where another interesting piece was uncovered in my research.  Using the Fung Protocol, individuals reached a steady state kettlebell aerobic exercise in approximately 6 minutes (ranging from 4.5-6.5 minutes). While this is slightly delayed compared to traditional aerobic exercise, it does make perfect sense; kettlebell exercise is not strict aerobic exercise and is more akin to interval training which accounts for the delayed affect.  Nevertheless, with these two pieces of information, we have a hard science formula to optimize the Fung protocol for maximal efficacy.

Coming Up: Optimizing the Fung Protocol (Part 2). In my next, post I will discuss how to personalize the Fung Protocol for maximal efficacy and optimal metabolic results.

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