I've had this conversation with several members recently and wanted to share one of my comparisons to help people understand how to burn calories more efficiently. Now a days, a lot of people don't have more than 30 mins to an hour that they can dedicate to exercise with the demands of work, family, and a social life.
What if I told you that's ok? What if I told you, you don't need to spend more than an hour at the gym doing cardio or running for miles around town?
Think of your body as a car, and gas as calories. Calories are used by our body as energy to perform any and all functions of the human body from breathing, digesting food, to exercising at the gym. Lets face it we NEED calories to survive just like our car needs gas to start and take us from place to place. In regards to this article we are going to focus on calories/gas as it relates to their roles during exercise.
Cars get better gas mileage when driving on the highway (at a constant speed) versus city driving (starting and stopping). Why is this? It's because when we start and stop our car has to generate enough power to put our car in motion only to slow it down again. For example, it takes more energy to create power to put an object into motion versus sustaining an object in motion. In turn, when it comes to exercise you will be able to burn more calories by revving up your engine (spiking your hear rate) and letting it come down only to rev it up again (vs. setting your car on cruise control for a longer duration similar to getting on the treadmill and setting your speed at 6 mph for 30 mins).
By setting your body on cruise control your heart rate will peak temporarily, then plateau and stay at a consistent pace as your body finds the most efficient way to conserve calories (energy).
The point I'm trying to make is that we want to burn calories unlike we want to burn gas. We want to rev our engines(increase our heart rate) over and over again to burn calories more efficiently. Some great ways to do this are lifting weights, performing circuits, and various intervals.
At Swagler Strength & Performance, our Bootcamp, Tabata, Core & Cardio, and Strength & Conditioning classes all have various ways of incorporating this same theory. If you're trying to lose weight, burn body fat, and cut down on the time your spending at the gym, try increasing your intensity or your workouts, not the duration. If you're training for an endurance event or race that is different however, interval training still has its place for endurance training; we will save that for another article.
The best way to implement this theory is to invest in a heart rate monitor and use it to monitor your heart rate. Make sure to pay close attention to how high your heart rate is getting in order to track how your body is functioning during your workouts.
Jamie Swagler,Performance Coach at Swagler Strength & Performance.