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What if I told you longer workouts AREN’T better?
Length seems to be the main reason why people either feel they DESERVE results OR the reason why they think they’ll never get them
All too often people come to me telling me about all the hours they spend in the gym, wondering why they aren’t getting the results they want.
Or they’ll tell me they just will never be able to get results because they can’t spend hours at the gym.
But guess what?!
Spending hours at the gym IS NOT the secret to success!
Actually SHORTER may often help us achieve BETTER results in less time and it has to do with a term that has become very sexy in fitness – the AFTER BURN.
You know the only reason someone may need to workout longer in my opinion?
They are training for something SPECIFIC…like a marathon where they will have to run for hours.
Other than that…You’ll get way more benefit from focusing on your INTENSITY over the length of your workout.
Because upping your intensity is what gets you better results in less time.
You can get killer results from shorter workouts AND they are way easier to fit into even the busiest of schedules!
But intensity doesn’t just mean rushing through your workout and pushing hard carelessly.
You’ve still got to be SMART with your training.
Turning up your intensity means not only using HIIT or high intensity interval training, but also hybrid exercises WHILE focusing on the right muscles working.
Intensity comes from CHALLENGE yourself during the time you do have to workout.
If you challenge your body to “max out” by doing harder variations, taking less rest, adding more weight…you don’t need to go longer! (I put “max out” in quotes as you want to make sure the right muscles are working to fatigue instead of compensating just to make it through.)
Heck, longer workouts can actually sometimes even work against you.
Long steady state cardio can be catabolic to muscle tissue and intensity and length are inversely proportional.
If you are working out longer your intensity has to go down OR has to start lower in the first place. The only way to workout for hours and keep your intensity high is with longer rests between.
So not only can longer, steady state cardio be catabolic to muscle tissue but a focus on length means you CAN’T focus on intensity.
Plus, often when we get focused on the length of our workout, we stop focusing on the muscles that should be working and instead focus on “just getting through the workout.”
And let me tell you, you need to make sure the RIGHT muscles are powering the movements or you’ll just end up injured!
When the right muscles are working, you’ll get more out of the exercises you include AND be able to go harder.
As I mentioned before it isn’t just HIIT and hybrid exercises that affect intensity but also focusing on the right muscles working.
You need to get the right muscles working, and THINK about the right muscles working during your workout. It is a key part of upping your intensity so you can spend less time in the gym BUT get better results.
But why is INTENSITY so key? And how can it help you get better results in less time?
Well…intensity helps us get more bang for our buck not only WHILE we are at the gym, building muscle and burning more calories, but also even AFTER we leave the gym.
By focusing on INTENSITY at the gym, we can create more muscle damage to create more muscle growth (which in turn means burning more calories even at rest). AND we can work more muscles at once, using hybrid exercises, to burn more calories in less time!
Upping our intensity can also help us burn more calories for even 24 hours after our workouts are over.
How can upping your intensity do this?
Through what is sexily called the AFTER BURN!
The After Burn is technically called EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.
EPOC is not as sexy sounding as the AFTER BURN hehe…so we will call it the After Burn.
How does it work?
Basically…The harder you workout the more your body has to work to recover or return to homeostasis after. AKA the higher the intensity of our workout, the more energy we have to expend during the recovery process to return to our resting state.
This means we continue to burn calories even AFTER the workout is over. Hence the name AFTER BURN.
And INTENSITY is the secret to the After Burn.
Remember there are a number of ways to increase your intensity…
You can use HIIT to increase your intensity. Go all out for an interval of work (such as 20, 30 even 40 seconds) and follow that intense bout of work with a short, or even ACTIVE rest periods.
You can’t go all out for long, which is why the rest is needed to keep your intensity up. However, by keeping the rest short or “active,” you can get more bang for your buck in less time. Through HIIT, you force your body to use not only anaerobic but aerobic pathways to create energy, increasing your oxygen debt.
You can use Hybrid Exercises. Working more muscle groups, and larger muscles groups at once, you can not only burn more calories during your workout, but create more muscle tissue breakdown. This can not only help you grow stronger, but will also force your body to expend more energy to recover and repair that “damaged” muscle tissue.
You can CHALLENGE yourself with weights, harder exercise variations and even different tempos. You can place a greater demand on your body by challenging yourself with harder weights, more advanced variations or even more time under tension. All can create more muscle tissue breakdown and increase your energy demands!
You can focus on the right muscles working! This seems like a random one, BUT all too often when we start working out harder and trying to go more intense, we start allowing muscles to compensate as we fatigue, which means we start to perform poor movement patterns.
Not only does this put us at risk for injury, but compensations are also our body’s way of not really engaging and working as hard as they should be. AKA we won’t get as much out of the workout as we want!
For example…a common compensation is our low back working INSTEAD of our glutes and abs. When this occurs not only do we risk low back injury, BUT two important muscle groups aren’t getting the workout they should be getting. AND our glutes are a HUGE muscle group that would only help increase our calorie burn IF they were actually working!
By using these techniques and tips, you can up your intensity so you don’t have to spend as long in the gym to get killer results.
And by increasing your intensity you can get the same After Burn as someone spending hours upon hours working out! Heck, with just a 20 minute intense workout you can get better results than your friend chugging along for hours in the gym!
So by upping our intensity we can increase the AFTER BURN while spending LESS TIME at the gym.
Less time. Better results?!
That means you DO have time to get killer results and can even potentially get BETTER results spending less time in the gym if you are EFFICIENT with your workouts.
Remember it is all about developing a routine and getting consistent as you maximize the time you DO HAVE.
Learn more about how 10-minutes may be all you need to kickstart your results!