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Aerobics

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Also listed as: Diet, Zone
Related terms
Background
Theory/evidence
Safety
Author information
Bibliography
Technique/equipment

Related Terms
  • Adequate protein diet, Barry Sears, carbohydrate, diet, fat, low carbohydrate diet, protein.

Background
  • The Zone diet is an unproven dietary regime, which has been popularized by Dr. Barry Sears through sales of his 1995 book, The Zone. Despite claims made in the book, there is little available research to support its overall benefit.
  • The Zone diet is a calorie-restricted diet that provides adequate protein, moderate levels of carbohydrates, essential fats and micronutrients spread through three meals and two snacks that approximately maintain the protein-to-carbohydrate ratio throughout the day.
  • Proponents believe that the Zone diet promotes optimal metabolic efficiency in the body by balancing the hormones insulin and glucagon. Insulin is responsible for converting, in the blood, incoming nutrients into cells. Glucagon regulates glucose in the liver. Overall, the Zone's food plan consists of a dietary intake of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 30% fat.
  • Under this diet, recommended foods include fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen), oatmeal (whole grain), protein powder (e.g. soybean isolate), chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, low-fat cottage cheese, soy food, nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, macademia, pistachios), extra virgin olive oil, natural sweeteners, such as fructose or stevia.

Theory / Evidence
  • Recent research seems to indicate that a low total caloric intake is associated with longer life expectancy. Based on animal studies, animals eating calorie-restricted diets may live 1.5 to 2 times as long as animals eating high-calorie diets. Theoretically, similar effects may occur in humans. The caloric restriction recommended by the Zone diet is below that of the average American and may be of benefit in weight loss and if maintained over decades in increasing life expectancy. On the other hand, athletes in training will likely suffer from decreased performance if restricted to the low calorie diet recommended by the Zone.
  • Despite proposed benefits, currently there are no high quality clinical trials available about the Zone diet or similar diets consisting of the recommended 40% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 30% protein. The Zone diet is quite complex in terms of caloric restriction, ratio of carbohydrates/protein//fat, spacing of meals, preferential intake of certain fats, and avoidance or inclusion of a few specific foods.

Safety




Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Cheuvront SN. The zone diet and athletic performance. Sports Med. 1999;27(4):213-228.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
  3. Sears B. The Zone Diet and athletic performance. Sports Med. 2000;29(4):289-294.

Technique/equipment
  • Step aerobics: The height of the step depends on the individual's aerobic fitness level, leg length, stepping skill and coordination, choreography and music tempo. Individuals should use the lowest possible step height that will allow the individual to stay within an appropriate aerobic training zone (60-75% of an individual's maximum heart rate).
  • Beginners usually start with a four-inch step. As this height becomes easier, risers can be added. It is recommended to increase height at two-inch intervals to a maximum of 10 inches.
  • Choreography can also increase the level of difficulty of the workout. Intermediate and advanced step classes will include a series of jumps and hops, also known as power moves, to increase the aerobic intensity.
  • Kickboxing: 12 or 16oz. gloves may be added to the workout for additional resistance and protection and for sport specific training. Once gloves are added, the duration of punches needs to be reduced. Continuous punchingfor longer than 10-15 seconds is not recommended with the same arm.

Copyright 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.