September 30, 2010

Shorter workouts=Better results

The best way to burn calories, increase your metabolism and fitness level, and keep your workout interesting is interval training.  Interval training means alternating short periods of high intensity exercise with recovery periods of low intensity. There are a variety of ways to do this, and not really a right or wrong way, so you can experiment and find what works best for you. 
Once a physician has cleared you to exercise you can pick any type of aerobics; running, walking, biking, swimming. (You can do this incorporating weights, but right now let’s focus on aerobics.)  I recommend you go by the “perceived exertion scale.” 
  • Level 1: I'm lying in bed, almost asleep.
  • Level 2: I could do this all day.
  • Level 3: Still easy, but not all day.
  • Level 4: I’m getting warm, but I can talk with ease.
  • Level 5: I'm starting to sweat, but can carry on a conversation.
  • Level 6: Sweating more, I can talk but not as easily.
  • Level 7: I can talk, but not for long.  Yes, I am sweating.
  • Level 8: I can barely grunt, can’t keep on much longer.
  • Level 9: Help, I think I may die.
  • Level 10: Am I dead?
So after your warm-up (and no stretching right?), you increase your heart rate until your perceived exertion is about level 5.  Do this for a couple of minutes, then ramp the intensity up to level 7 or 8.  At first aim for 30 seconds, then drop back to level 3 or 4 for a couple of minutes.  And repeat. Try to do this for 8 cycles, then cool down.  The beauty of interval training is you don’t have to exercise for as long. As your body gets stronger try to increase the time of the hard intervals, and decrease the time of the short intervals.  This helps increase your metabolism for hours after your workout, and you will also find in increase in your fitness level.  Aim for at least two interval days a week, you can do your slower steady state training the rest of the week.  Interval training is great, but too much can lead to overtraining or injuries.  Try it, it’s hard work, but the results are well worth it.

Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women

Jason L. Talanian,1 Stuart D. R. Galloway,2 George J. F. Heigenhauser,3 Arend Bonen,1 and Lawrence L. Spriet1
1Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, 2Department of Sport Studies, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland; and 3Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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