Monday, June 21, 2010

Slow and steady exercise vs. short high intensity exercise

Which is better?

Many of you are still stuck doing long duration, low-intensity cardiovascular exercise — YUK!
Here’s the scoop: if you’re looking to achieve maximum benefit from the time you put into your workouts, long duration “slow-go” cardio is NOT the way to go. I will tell you why.

1. Minimal calories are burned — 45 minutes on the treadmill may burn 300 calories if you are lucky, which is the equivalent of ONE TENTH of a pound of fat. Exercise ten hours a week and you might just lose a pound. Seriously? Who wants to do that?

2. Way too much time involved — I don’t know about you, but I don’t have hours and hours of my time to pour into working out each week. As much as I actually like working out, I do want to do other things with my life.

3. SO BORING— Sitting on an exercise bike staring at the wall in front of me or at a re-run for 45-60 minutes? No thank you. It’s worse than watching paint dry.

4. No after burn — Did you know that with higher intensity exercise it is possible to continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout? It’s true. If you take my classes you’ve heard me talk about how important the after burn is. But you know what else is true? Long duration, low intensity cardio provides virtually NO prolonged elevation in metabolism. In fact, with slow-go cardio, your metabolism returns to its normal rate almost IMMEDIATELY following the exercise session.

5. Minimal fat loss — Minimal calories burned during the session and virtually no additional calories burned afterward = very little, if any fat loss results. And let’s be honest, the only reason you’re doing cardio is for the “result”.

So if slow-go cardio isn’t a great solution, what is?
Short duration, high-intensity exercise. Less time, faster results — THAT’S what it’s all about.
And keep in mind, “high intensity” is relative to you. I don’t care if you’re already in great shape or if you’re very overweight, you can exercise with intensity.
So what about it? Are you going to stay stuck doing slow-go cardio or have you accepted the benefit of much shorter, higher intensity sessions? Give it a shot. The only thing you’ll lose is weight, and you’ll instead gain some time back in your life.

Now - I think it is worth mentioning that yoga is STILL a great form of exercise - it is a discipline, and many people practice it, 90 min a day, 6 days a week. I do not think there is anything wrong with that.
It is not overtaxing on the body, vigorous in a way that does not put stress on the joints, and keeps your body young and pliable. It is a big time commitment, and some need yoga more than others. It is absolutely worth adding to your routine, especially if you take away the slow-go cardio. You'll have the time!

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