By Coach Rachel
Have you ever been guilty of looking at a workout and thinking that its too short? That something is missing? It can’t be just a 4 minute workout, how can I possibly lose body fat and gain muscle with just a 4 minute workout? Here’s the thing though: Results will come with intensity, or quality, not an amount or time (quantity). Doing more, whether that means working out for 2 hours instead of 30 minutes of hard work or doing additional cardio or strength work, doesn’t always mean we’ll get the results we want. Intensity is the key to the puzzle.
So what is intensity? Intensity is how hard your working and it varies from person to person, meaning that its relative to you and where you’re at with your fitness. Think about it like this: I run 400m in 2 minutes, but the fastest I can run 400m is in 1 minute. The 400m run I did in 2 minutes wasn’t very challenging for me and didn’t push me physiologically. If my body isn’t pushed physiologically, then the changes I want won’t occur. Even though 2 minutes is longer than 1 minute, the 1 minute of all out effort is physiologically challenging for my body and that’s what will promote the changes in my body that I’m trying to make. The other key is consistency. Showing up and bringing the intensity needed to push yourself each week is the other piece to the puzzle of results.
Often times you hear that spending more time at a lower heart rate, or a target heart rate zone is the way to lose body fat. And while it is true that a lower, more steady state heart rate, does target fat stores during exercise more than a shorter higher intensity workout does, it is just that- only during exercise. Almost directly after you stop whatever exercise you’re doing, the metabolic effect stops as well. However, when you perform a workout at a higher intensity, your body requires more energy after exercise to recover then it does for lower intensity longer duration workouts. This energy demand means the body needs more oxygen and so after higher intensity workouts, there is an increase in your rate of oxygen intake. This is called Excess Post- Exercise Oxygen Consumption and this is what keeps your metabolism going at an elevated rate for up to 24 hours after the workout is over. The more intensity you put into the workout, the higher your metabolism will be for up to 24 hours after (depending on a few factors). Here’s where consistency comes into play: The fitter you get, the more intensity you can bring, the more results that will come. Remember: Quality over quantity! Bring the intensity!