Less is more with workouts

December 19, 2010
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Everyone knows that exercise is valuable for maintaining health. But in this busy fast paced world, many people find it difficult to find time to exercise on a regular basis.  And, many people believe that a good workout takes an hour, 90 minutes or even more.

But, there is some good news! Some new evidence suggests that performing short, intense workouts can provide better overall results than longer workouts. In fact, according to experts, the best way for an average person to get bigger and stronger muscles and for an athlete to have high sports performance is to have shorter, more intense workouts.

Studies have found that short intense workouts result in caloric burn lasting longer than with the longer less intense workouts. Usually, the caloric burn lasted up to 3 days for the very intense workouts. While for the less intense workout, it basically stopped at the end of the workout.

A recent study made in the American Journal of Physiology explains the advantages of practicing a time-efficient exercise routine called high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a type of cardio training which usually lasts about 20-30 minutes and involves a 2:1 rest to workout ratio. This means your recovery intervals are twice as long as your workout intervals. It is actually one of the most effective training techniques both for fat loss and for cardiovascular fitness. Interestingly, such interval training does not only improve athletic performance, but can also benefit the average exerciser.

The Crossfit approach to workouts is a great example of HIIT training.  They recognize that shorter, intense workouts and enough recovery time are important in making your body in shape and healthy.  They also take advantage of research that shows that working the larger muscle groups – stomach, quads and back – in this way can yield the best overall results.

Most Crossfit athletes know that getting enough rest after a tough exercise is essential to high-level performance. The body repairs and strengthens itself in the time between workouts. Continuous training can lead to weakening in the strongest athletes.

An athlete must know the significance of recovery to the body. Such conditioning allows the body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissues. Recovery time varies by individual strength characteristics. Thus, 48 hours between workouts for the same muscle groups is recommended. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are considered the best days for one’s workout routine. Having three days a week schedule allows enough time for the athlete to have muscle recovery from the hard workout and to let the bones grow stronger.

References:

Rennie, L.S. The Advantages of Short, Intense Workouts. Retrieved on from

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Advantages-of-Short,-Intense-Workouts&id=3856901

Short workout gives long-lasting benefits, McMaster’s study.

http://thepulseottawahealth.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/short-workout-gives-long-lasting-benefits-mcmasters-study/

Leong, K. (2008). Why a Short Workout is More Effective.

http://healthmad.com/fitness/why-a-short-workout-is-more-effective/

Bragg, R. The Benefits of Short and Intense Workouts. Retrieved from

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Benefits-of-Short-and-Intense-Workouts&id=3863342

Research shows HIIT Reduces Risk of Heart Attack, Improves Insulin Action, Increases Good Cholesterol. Retrieved on December 17, 2010, from

http://hiitprofessor.com/blog/why-hiit-interval-training/update-from-research-hiit-reduces-risk-of-heart-attack-improves-insulin-action-increases-good-cholesterol/

High Intensity Training versus High Intensity Interval Training. Retrieved from

http://baye.com/hit-vs-hiit/

Longer Workouts vs. Shorter Workouts for Weight Loss

http://www.livestrong.com/article/330145-longer-workouts-vs-shorter-workouts-for-weight-loss/

Ellis, K. (2010). Short intense workouts vs longer less intense workouts. Retrieved on December 16, 2010, from http://ulocal.wisn.com/_Short-intense-workouts-vs-longer-less-intense-workouts/blog/2425763/63262.html?b=.

Rest and Recovery After Exercise – Improve Sports Performance.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm

Want to Know How to Boost Your Gains in the Gym?  Workout Less!

Retrieved on December 16, 2010, from http://www.dr-natural-bodybuilding.com/offer_pages/recovery_page.htm.

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