I wanted to come out of the gate and start with a topic that is controversial to main stream exercisers, trainers and doctors alike. But it has massive amounts of proof behind it showing the long term benefits and fast results that will help you attain your fitness goals in a short period of time.
Performing aerobic training such as long distance running is out and, as far as our physiology is concerned, was never in. We’re not living in the 70s anymore which is when aerobic exercise was founded by Dr Cooper as a measure of physiology – not a measure of over-all health and fitness. Today Dr. Cooper even states that if you’re running longer than three miles per day for three days a week you’re running for different reasons than trying to be healthy and fit. Burst training is what you need to incorporate into your routine to maximize those benefits.
Benefits of Burst Training
Burst training greatly reduces the amount of time required to get fit. Fifteen to thirty minutes per day, four days per week will increase fat burning and fitness levels in a shorter period of time than hours of paced aerobic training. Burst training also increases your growth hormone production which improves recovery and increases your immune system and energy and increases testosterone levels. It can also decrease inflammation which reduces pain and risk of chronic disease.
Helps with Stress
Many people today are stressed. Financial stress, family stress. They eat unhealthy food and don’t get proper sleep. The lack of sleep adds to stress which in turn creates a whole host of issues many are not aware of, including chronic low-level inflammation, which is also further triggered by lack of exercise. This type of inflammation is less detectable by objective or subjective measures, making it more insidious in nature. The lifestyle of humans a hundred or an even thousand years ago had substantial risks, yet their movement patterns (exercise) helped keep chronic inflammation at bay. From sugar cravings and weight gain to disease and emotional stress, our bodies cannot deal with chronic stress and it shows up in these symptoms.
Joggers often say the first mile is the hardest when they get into the zone (or achieve a runner’s high). That zone or high is the body saying “I’m in pain so to deal with this pain I’m going to release endorphins.” The body stress response is not designed to work all day long with the stress I spoke about, or for any length of time longer than one minute. Yes, one minute. When you work against the fight or flight response you create unwanted stress. Burst training has less impact on the adrenal glands – and will improve energy levels and sleep. Consistent pace or aerobic training works against an overall healthy body.
The “Fit and Healthy” Look
For example, look at a long distance runner’s body and then a sprinter’s. Which one looks better? Which looks like they use weights and have a shape rather than loose skin and minimal tone? No doubt some runners look good due to genetics, but that won’t last because they’re breaking down muscle, de-conditioning the body. That statement will really piss off tons of aerobic exercisers, but I’m not God and I didn’t design our body. If your goal is to run a marathon, I will support you 100%. However, if your goal is to be healthy and fit, then you may want to listen to science. Now you may ask why people lose weight when they perform aerobic training. I never stated anything about weight or fat loss. I want to reiterate the goal of being “healthy and fit.” Adding stress, breaking down muscle and becoming weaker, not stronger is not my idea of being healthy and fit.
Helps Your Body Heal Faster
Burst training increases the healing response that couples both inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mechanisms to repair, regenerate, and grow tissue stronger.
High-intensity short duration exercise that is tailored to the individual, uses rest periods which are different for each fitness level, and engages the whole body may be the chief means of attaining anti-inflammatory effects from exercise. That means if you exercise in a gym and perform biceps curls you’re not going to gain the full benefits of burst training since it is not a multi-joint movement.
I came across this way of training by mistake back in 1993 when I was a personal trainer. This prompted me to research it. When a client was going to be 15 minutes late for a training session I would exercise as hard as I could for that time period. Why? The last thing I wanted to do before I went home at night after being in a gym all day was exercise. So I got it in when I could and challenged myself to do as much as I could in that time frame. It later turned out to be beneficial for my clients, especially for ones that were very limited in their time, such as Michael Dell, Mark Cuban and Dennis Rodman. Mark used to tell me ahead of time, “George I only have 30 minutes,” so we would hit it hard for that time period.
Burst Training the Right Way
Perform complex/compound movements only and move multiple joints and use multiple muscle groups (push-ups, bench press, pull-downs, chin-ups, squats, leg press, etc).
Perform rapid movement while maintaining control of the weight.
Complete movements to failure due to lactic acid burn. This should be attained within 60 seconds or less. Then rest 1-3 minutes between sets to completely catch your breath.
The total workout should be 30 minutes or less. No zone cardio training (stationary bike, treadmill, power walking, stair-master, etc.) for 30 -45 minutes.
Perform burst training 3-4 times per week.
Running intervals or sprints with intermittent rest periods, burns three times as much fat as running at slow, consistent speeds according to new research from the University of New South Wales, in Australia.
Do you see a common denominator here?
High intensity then rest. Not high intensity then go to another exercise and keep your heart rate up. Not find a comfortable level and stay there for an hour while reading or watching TV
Another step is to start by taking a baseline measurement of your endurance at high speeds. Head to a track or other measured area with room to run. Sprint for 30-45 seconds and record your distance. Rest for 60 seconds, then sprint again for 30-45 seconds. Those who have built up to this routine and muscular balance can do this 3x/week and measure your progress weekly. However, if you don’t regularly run or exercise DO NOT PERFORM THIS ROUTINE.
Giving Your 100%
Testosterone and especially growth hormone are known to be factors linked closely with high intensity. The best way to exercise is to deplete glycogen, i.e., significantly reduces the bodies muscle and liver sugar stores. Only two types of exercise can produce these effects, long duration exercise lasting hours or short intense sprint type exercise. This type of exercise also creates a hormonal environment that produces sustained fat burning as well as muscle growth.
Now you may think if you are not in the best shape that you can’t do this type of training. Well guess what? You most likely can. If I say give me 100% effort and ask you to bench press with very heavy dumbbells 40 times in 40 seconds and you can only press 15lbs in each hand 20 times and it was an all-out effort, you still gave 100%. Your 100% is the same as mine only I may be moving more weight and/or moving faster.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE PROGRAM
Here are some great burst training workouts that work many muscles in the body
1) Kettlebell training – find a certified trainer for a routine.
2) Martial arts
3) Any sport or movement that contracts every muscle at the same time under force for a short period of time
6) Sprinting on a bike, outside or inside spin classes. Just make sure you have that important rest period so you can sprint again for 20 -30 second.
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