How’s Your Workout Intensity?

Spring rolls still hanging around? Reason #2: Intensity

Habit #2 – Intensity: So, every once and awhile I hit up one of the main stream gyms for a workout and one of the most common things I see is someone on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical machine flipping through the channels on the television, scanning through their phone, or zoned out in some type of pre-programmed status quo workout that doesn’t really get their heart rate up. And when people are struggling to ditch their spring rolls or lose the last 5-10 pounds, what they most often do is include an additional run, spend more time on the bike, or add another lift day.

While this seems like a reasonable approach to burn more calories, it doesn’t usually work at achieving weight loss. In fact it can work the other way around and can lead to increased stress hormones, fatigue, cravings, poor sleep, and possibly injuries. The problem generally isn’t the training volume (amount you do), it’s the training INTENSITY (effort).

So, what is the solution? The solution is to become more efficient with your exercise. The research is becoming very clear that increasing exercise intensity not only provides 1) superior fat-burning potential compared to steady-state aerobic exercise, but also 2) INCREASES your EPOC (exercise post-oxygen consumption) or the calories you burn after training, 3) your VO2max (reliable marker for aerobic fitness), and 4) is tied with traditional cardio for improving your heart health.

New Habit #2? Swap your steady-state cardio for high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It may sound intimidating, but all it requires is a more intense effort for 30 seconds followed by 60-90 seconds rest. Studies show significant improvements in insulin and blood sugar levels after only 2 weeks. Yayyy! Aim for 4-7 sets, 2-3 days per week on a bike, treadmill, or running outside and watch the POUNDS disappear and your ENERGY go through the roof!