Monday, January 13, 2014

What Kind of Workout are Your Getting?

By: Rob Sarche, red belt, M.D.

As Colorado Taekwondo Institute participants we have all had the opportunity to enjoy vigorous and spirited workouts, but just how good of a workout are you getting?  How does Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, that we practice at the CTI, compare to other forms of exercise?  With this kind of a workout, how can we keep well-hydrated?  These are some of the questions that the Littleton and Westminster CTI Campuses sought to answer this fall.  Willing participants were studied to determine fluid losses, hydration status and caloric expenditures during a typical MSK workout that included sparring.

Participants were weighed after voiding and prior to the workout.  Weights of the two types of MSK uniforms were pre-measured dry.  Those participants who bought their own water had their water weighed before and after the workout, and they did not drink from the water fountain. 

Those who hydrated using the water fountain were timed, and the water consumption was estimated from a formula that was determined by measuring the output of the water fountain, as compared to the average amount of water that users let spill into the basin of the fountain while drinking.  Participants were blinded to this arm of the study so as to decrease the chances that they hydrated differently because they knew the were being observed.  Heart rates were measured at rest and frequently during all phases of the workout.  Caloric expenditures were estimated using a formula that considers participants exertional heart rate, resting heart rate, age, and sex.  Patients were weighed after participation to determine fluid loss, and that value was off-set by the weight of the fluid that each participant consumed in the form of drinking water, and the weight of the post-workout uniforms for black belt uniforms and lower belt uniforms, as measured in select participants and then extrapolated to the average participant. There were 26 participants in the study, with 16 males and 10 females that ranged in age from 12 to 54 years old. 

In typical CTI fashion, we worked out hard.  We sweated...lots.  No fluid was lost in the form of blood or tears.  No participants went into the bathroom during the workout.  The average fluid loss per participant was almost 4 pounds of water.  The sixteen participants that drank water from the water fountain ended the workout with a fluid deficit of 55 ounces each, and drank, on average, a total of only three ounces of water per participant.  The ten participants that brought their own water ended the work out with an average fluid deficit of 11 ounces, and drank an average of 19 ounces of water. 

The formal work out lasted for 105 minutes.  We indirectly measured caloric expenditures and looked at those results as a function of the participant’s skill level and age.  The participant’s gender was considered in calculating the calories burned. 
The white, yellow, orange belts burned an average of 813 calories each.  

The green and blue belts burned an average of 909 calories each.  

The purple, brown and red belts burned an average of 916 calories each.

Adult black belts burned an average of 1,185 calories each.

Adolescent black belts burned an average of 671 calories, where as the adolescent lower belts burned an average of 611 calories per participant. 

The combined classes burned the energy equivalent of 7.1 pounds of fat.

The 26 participants lost a total of 102 pounds of water in the form of sweat and evaporative losses.

The black belts were 32% more effective at burning calories than lower belts, and as the skill level of the participant increased, so did the caloric expenditures.  

The fact that we burned so much fat and lost so much fluid was not as surprising as the finding that participants who brought their own water were 84% better hydrated at the end of the workout, than those of us that relied upon hydrating from the drinking fountain.  Efficiency in burning calories, performance and recovery is expected to be better in well-hydrated participants.

Many interesting observations were made during our study, such as that the participants skill increases, so does the efficiency of the work-out.  The more experienced students were not necessarily better at hydrating than the less experienced participants, even though they had higher fluid losses. CTI instructors are very good at reminding students to hydrate well, but we should all consider the serious need to keep well hydrated when we participate in all day events such as expositions, camp and symposiums. Most participants did not drink enough water. Mr. Murphy was an exception to this, as he was the only participant who replaced all of his considerable fluid losses. He also taught us that hydrating with room temperature water allows for quicker and more comfortable hydration, as compared to drinking ice water.  

The Colorado Taekwondo Institute provides a safe, sustainable and increasingly beneficial exercise regimen.  Though other forms of exercise can allow opportunities to burn as many calories as MSK Taekwondo, such as running and swimming, few of these forms of exercise offer the additional benefits of MSK Taekwondo.  Moo Sul Kwan practitioners have progressive increases in their fitness level while learning practical self-defense, increasing strength, flexibility, speed, and coordination.  Mental benefits include building confidence, cognitive skills, perseverance, discipline, respect, expanding ones horizons and building community. 

Burning calories helps us to maintain healthy body weights and increase our fitness levels, but this is only one of the many benefits of Moo Sul KwanTaekwondo, most of which can not be quantified.

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