Less is sometimes more when it comes to exercise. Most of you that have followed me for a while now will have heard me say this, which might seem a little odd coming from someone who runs a gym! However, you should know that I am not your standard trainer!
It’s the same principle as the minimum effective dose – the lowest dose that will yield the desired results!
When we talk about exercise, ‘desired results’ usually means weight loss, increased strength, muscle tone and definition, more energy, decreased stress, lowered blood pressure and preventing other health conditions, etc.
Usually when a client comes to me with a specific goal they think the more the better. Surely if 30 minutes of targeted and tailored training produces a positive response, then an extra 30 minutes would provide double the benefits right???
This isn’t the case. The body is not a maths equation. It is a complex (and individually unique) machine significantly influenced by the ways in which hormones respond to different stimuli.
You’ve heard the saying “work smarter, not harder!” Well, we can apply this to exercise also.
That doesn’t mean it won’t be challenging! It has to be in order to achieve sustained results.
However, working smartly will allow us to get more out of less, which is a rare luxury in our time poor society!
The post-burn effect is a positive hormonal and metabolic (calorie burning) response after exercise. The problem with most traditional exercise programs is at best you burn some calories during the activity but as soon as you finish, your body goes back to its normal, baseline state and you get no further benefit until your next workout.
At worst, you actually increase systemic inflammation and with it, stress hormone levels which encourage weight gain thus sabotaging your efforts to either manage weight and / or improve general health and well-being!
For example, after 45 minutes of steady cardio, testosterone levels (anti-aging and muscle building) decline and cortisol levels (weight gain and decreased immunity) increase.
Therefore, every extra minute you think will get you that much closer to your goals, will just give diminishing returns and promote negative hormonal responses long after your workout is over.
Surprisingly, very few people in the fitness community have acknowledged pivotal research in this area and its potential to change public health!
Conventional thinking is that to improve your cardiovascular fitness or lose weight you need to do long, steady cardio as that burns fat and work your heart. This is why home gym equipment, such as rowing machines have become so widely popular – People like the idea of sitting in front of the television and rowing away.
We need to realise it’s actually the other way around! During intense and intermittent bursts of strength / speed / power related exercises you burn more fat and produce positive hormonal response that will keep your body working for you after the gym! And, you significantly increase your cardiovascular fitness to boot!
This article was provided by Jennifer, who contributes to the Melbourne Gym Guide website. Jennifer is also a fitness owner from the EFM Health Clubs Fitness Franchise group in Melbourne.