Today’s Blog post follows on from yesterdays Oxygen TV episode. It’s about Interval Training and why it’s better for your physical wellbeing, fat loss and performance compared to longer duration, steady-state aerobic work. Another important spin off is the effect on your mental wellbeing from the point of view that it’s less of a time commitment and also quite empowering to push your body to higher and higher levels of intensity.
Learn to love intensity, not duration!
There is actually a tone of research that shows that steady-state aerobics doesen’t work for fat loss, and interval training does. Let’s review some of it.
* The landmark study on interval training pitted 20 weeks of endurance training against 15 weeks of interval training. The energy cost of the endurance training equaled 28,661 calories, while the energy cost of the interval training came to 13,614 calories (less than half). Yet the interval training group showed a nine times greater loss of fat than the endurance group.
* In a study done in 2008, Australian researchers had 18 women perform 20 minutes of interval training three days a week: eight seconds of sprinting followed by 12 seconds of recovery. The women lost an average of 5kg over 15 weeks, without dieting. Similar groups performing 40 minutes of steady-state cycling three days a week actually gained a kilo of fat over the same period.
IT WORKS, BUT WHY?
One reason intervals are more effective is that they target more of your muscle. During endurance exercise, you use a lot of slow-twitch muscle fibres and too few fast-twitch muscle fibres. It’s those fast-twitch muscle fibres that give you firm muscles and fast-tracked results.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy heading out for a run occasionally, but I don’t do it for fat loss. I do it because I enjoy it. Think about this. If you do a 30 minute walk at a steady-state, moderate pace, you’ll burn about 150 calories. If you mix in eight 30-second sprints, you’ll burn closer to 200 calories. But the biggest factor is that after an interval session, your metabolism can stay elevated for a full day, and you’ll end up burning two to three times the total calories you’d expect to burn through lover-intensity exercise. That is the goal of our training programs at Oxygen.
It’s time to bury, for good, the myth that long, slow, steady-state cardio will burn fat. No more spending hours and hours running long distances to burn fat. Push your intensity up if you want to lose it!
Now, I know what you’re thinking – what about Saturday RUN SQUAD? That’s longer distance steady state cardio.
You can run because you like to run, but don’t run to accomplish your goal of losing fat.
Running is actually a very advanced exercise. I mean it takes a pretty advanced exerciser to complete 1000 reps of a one legged plyometric (jumping) exercise and they’d need to build up a good base level of strength. Running for 1km is exactly that – 1000 reps of a plyometric exercise. Running provides forces in the area of two to five times your body weight per foot contact. So now we’re talking 1000 reps with two to five times your body weight on each rep. Pretty advanced stuff hey?
Sixty five percent of all runners have to stop running and seek treatment due to overuse injuries. But if someone has been working out consistently, building strength and is fit enough, then they can add some longer running sessions to their program.
“You can’t run to get fit, you need to be fit to run” Diane Lee
Which brings me to my final point. What is your goal?
If your goal is to complete an endurance event like City 2 Surf or Saddleback Smash, then by all means run. Your training needs to include running, but you’d better make sure you’ve done some strength training too. Over the next few months, we’ve got some great STRENGTH sessions for you at Oxygen that’ll get you ready for our City 2 Surf Saturday Training program. In the meantime though, know that Interval Training is a smaller time commitment for better fat loss results and a stronger mental wellbeing.