I get asked all time what kind of exercise is best. And no I’m sorry, but “chasing your kids around” does not constitute as exercise. And neither does “I have a tough job.”
If you heart rate isn’t elevated to a certain point for a specific amount of time then it doesn’t count! So does that mean you have to spend hours in the gym? What’s the best kind of exercise?
Lets face it: nobody enjoys running on the treadmill for 45 minutes. The Elliptical is no different. And if you ride a bike for 45 minutes you may other problems.
According to research, the high intensity short duration “Burst” training is the BEST type of exercise for just about everyone. Whatever your fitness goals are; lose weight, build muscle, train for an upcoming poker tournament, the high intensity route is the way to go!
But wait, this maybe the best news yet: you can all the benefits of other types of exercise, even more, in just 12 minutes per day! WHHHAAAATTTT?!?!?!?!
By maximizing your intensity and efforts, you can burn fat for up to 36 hours POST workout. This is called the “after-burn effect” and this is great news for those trying to lose weight. By getting your heart rate up to an optimal rate during exercise, your bodies metabolism is kicked into high gear and stays elevated for an extended period of time. This increases lean muscle strength and healthy hormone response. It also has positive effects on cardiovascular health, memory, mitochondrial production and efficiency, and brain function!
Unfortunately, with the classic slow-paced cardio, your heart never makes it to this point and therefor once you turn that machine off, your metabolism slows down quickly. Not only that, but depending on how long your cardio session was, you can also put your body into a catabolic state. This state is also referred to as muscle wasting. By stressing your body during the 45 minute run, cortisol levels increase and growth hormone levels decrease. What does that mean? Lets take a look at the damaging affects of prolonged increased cortisol levels:
Cortisol increases: blood sugar, stress, abdominal fat, cholesterol, acidity in the blood, fat storing, and appetite.
Cortisol suppresses: fat burning, exercise recovery, cognitive function, thyroid function, bone density, and lowered immunity
There are many programs and studios doing this high intensity training: most notably cross fit and orange theory fitness. There are also the DVD versions you can do at home including Insanity, MaxT3, and 10 minue trainer. You can choose which one you like the best. They all have some pros and cons. I’m a big fan of MaxT3 and insanity. MaxT3 is very short (only 12 minutes/day) and the results are amazing! Insanity takes about 45 minutes and is no slouch either! You can also add in some treadmill, elliptical, or bike work but it needs to be in that high intense intervals.
Whatever workout program you do committing to it is the most important thing. Get on a schedule/routine and do it at least 3 times/week. Dedicate time to exercise and ONLY exercise. Leave you smartphone in the car, minimize chatting to others, and stay focused!
Dr. Matthew J. McNabb