Get the best fitness results with shorter workouts

Fitness experts are debunking the myths that you have to spend hours slogging it out in the gym to get results.

It turns out that you can be just as effective if you do shorter bursts of high intensity training.

Fitness author and former NRL player Adam McDougall shed some light on the topic.

In a regular Q&A column with, he says you don’t have to spend as much time at the gym as you think you do.

“I find myself getting busier and busier, and the first thing to drop off my schedule is exercise. How long do I really need to spend in the gym to see results?” asks a reader.

The answer will surprise you.

“The one thing I hear more than anything else is that someone doesn’t have time for exercise, so let me blow that argument right out of the water. Research has proven that just 60 seconds of high-intensity training can be as beneficial as up to 50 minutes of cardio,” McDougall says.

“Professor Martin Gibala’s research found that 10 minutes of interval training (in which you’re only working hard for one minute) three times a week produced the same results as 150 minutes of traditional exercise.”

It’s great news. And supports the theory of another fitness expert, Drew Harrisberg.

Harrisberg previously told that as little as seven minutes a day will get you going.

“If you’re just a regular guy or girl looking to put on some muscle, lose some body fat, and improve your fitness then I’d go as far to say that you can get the results you want in as little as seven-45 minutes just a few days a week,” Harrisberg says.

“When it comes to training there is an intensity-duration trade off. Basically, if you want to train really hard – you won’t be able to do it for very long. If you perform sprints or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) properly, you simply won’t be able to do it for very long.”

Sprinting and HIIT are effective because:

  • It increases the number and function of our mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell responsible for burning fuel). More mitochondria mean greater fuel utilisation and fat burning capacity.
  • It depletes muscle glycogen stores making more room for incoming dietary carbohydrates and it improves your insulin sensitivity, both of which are a recipe for building a lean body. There’s a scientific term in the exercise physiology world called ‘EPOC’ (excess post oxygen consumption). In layman’s terms, it means ‘The Afterburn’. Basically, the substrates formed during your workout are metabolised for 24-48 hours after you’re done with it.
  • Yes, the 10 minutes you spend destroying yourself on the assault bike will pay off in the form of fat-burning for the next couple of days! Research has shown that HIIT can also promote protein synthesis and help you gain some muscle.

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