Interval Training Vs Traditional "Cardio"
Hi team, I have written this blog post mostly for the people who already train with us at PEPT and Original Bootcamp Redcliffe however even if you're not yet one of the converted i'm sure you will find it very useful. Please read with an open mind because it is going to challenge what many of you have been told over and over by the so called "experts" of yesteryear. You have probably been told to burn fat most effectively you need to perform low intensity exercise for long periods of time. Perhaps something involving a complex equation in which you’re supposed to find a fat burning “zone”? Maybe you have been told you should be able to hold a conversation while exercising? Well unfortunately if you want to get rid of body fat two things need to happen and neither of them involve talking while exercising. Both of them do however require getting off your butt and getting out of your comfort zone. First of all you need to put the right fuel in your body or you are wasting your time (read “High Protein Diets- Do They Work?” for some nutritional information). The second thing you need to do is train at a relatively high intensity. That’s relative to your fitness level not relative to your perception of high intensity. As with all things you should always consult with someone in the know before jumping into the deep end. If you havn’t exercised in a while start out slow work your way up and before you know it you will be fitter and stronger than ever before. It is true that working at low intensity burns a higher percentage of fat relative to total energy expenditure. Where this theory falls down is that the total energy expenditure is very low so that high percentage of a small number is still a small number eg: 50% of 100 calories is still only 50 calories. On the other hand when we increase the intensity the percentage of fat used for energy relative to total energy expenditure decreases. This time however our total energy expenditure is much higher. So we now have a smaller percentage of a much higher number, eg: 40% of 200 calories is 80 calories. Get the idea? On top of this the amount of fat we burn during exercise is not the be all and end all. What we are trying to achieve is an energy deficit. To achieve this we need to expend more energy than we consume. So keep it simple, energy in – energy out = weight loss/ weight gain. In order to increase intensity what I recommend you do is incorporate interval training into your workouts. Interval training in its most basic form is working for a set period of time followed by a set period of rest. An example may be performing squats for 20 seconds followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated eight times. There are several other reasons why using interval training for fat loss will help you achieve better results in less time than traditional “cardio” training. Here they are!
- Gain and maintain a higher level of muscle mass. Due to the higher intensity you are able to train at you will be able to gain and maintain a higher level of muscle mass. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue so it requires energy to live. In short, as a consequence you will be burning more energy every second of the day thus increasing your energy expenditure.
- Workout in less time! The increase in intensity means you can shorten your workout time and still get the results you are after. This will allow your exercise regime to fit into your lifestyle and therefore mean you will be more likely to continue it!
- Burn energy after you workout. Because you’ve taken your body out of its comfort zone it is going to take quite some time (up to several hours) to get itself back to normal. During this time your body is going to be burning energy at a much higher rate than usual.
All of this starting to sound pretty good? There’s more! Interval training has been proven to not only make you stronger and faster than lower intensity aerobic training but it will also help you when it comes to that long distance effort as well. Training for a fun run or triathlon? Incorporate interval training. Save yourself time and get incredible results! How do I do it? When talking interval training there are literally thousands of possible combinations and routines. If you are new to the concept it is advisable to seek the help of a fitness professional. They will help ensure you are able to train safely and reap maximum results. If you live in or around the Northern suburbs of Brisbane you know who to call, if not make sure you ask questions and look around. Dedicated to your health and fitness, Jacob McLuskie