Thursday, March 04, 2010

60 Minutes a Week

“Heart attacks don’t occur because of a lack of endurance. They occur when there is a sudden increase in cardiac demand that exceeds your heart’s capacity. Giving up your heart’s reserve capacity to adapt to unnatural bouts of continuous prolonged duration only increases your risk of sudden cardiac death.” – Dr. Al Sears, MD

We’ve all been told to do our “cardio” to improve our hearts, but as Dr. Sears has suggested in the above quote, long duration/low intensity exercise may be counterproductive to one’s health. So how does someone go about improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their heart? Well, interval type training has been shown to have many positive results for building strength, improving the cardiovascular system, decreasing body fat and reducing the amount of time exercising. A very simple, yet highly successful approach can be found in using a high level or intensity when you exercise. For instance, when you train intensely (working at a very high level of effort), you can’t go for long periods as opposed to lower level efforts that may be found in endurance training. The key to interval type training is to significantly elevate your heart rate for a short time period then allow for your heart rate to come down a bit by taking a brief respite. This type of training has become more and more popular among elite athletes, high level recreational participants as well as body builders for purposes of improving their sport, activity and/or reducing body fat levels. You can find most individuals performing this type of work on a bike, elliptical, rower or via running/sprinting efforts for instance. There are many benefits derived from this type of training – most of which, however, does little for overall strength building in the traditional terms.

Interestingly enough, an individual can get the best of both worlds by strength training with a high level of intensity and moving quickly through their workout. When you train with a high level of effort your heart rate climbs as you are exerting more and more energy (effort) to perform an exercise. Once you terminate your exercise due to muscular exhaustion or fatigue you then take a brief reprieve (but not too long) and then proceed to the next exercise. This interval type manipulation benefits your muscular and cardiovascular systems to their fullest and can be accomplished in a very short period of time.

Believe it or not, many people thrive on two – three intense training sessions per week with each session lasting 30 minutes or less. This is exactly how we train at Premiere Personal Fitness and if you are interested in getting stronger, leaner and in really, really good condition, feel free to call to set up a free consultation with me.

Fred Fornicola,

Fitness Professional