Many men have trouble finding time to exercise but high intensity interval training has been shown to be a very effective cardiovascular fitness workout.
Some studies have shown that you can get major improvements in your cardiovascular health doing high intensity short duration cardio training instead of the standard “run on a treadmill for an hour etc” that takes a lot longer and puts more stress on your joints and body.
Twelve weeks of brief intense interval exercise improved indices of cardiometabolic health to the same extent as traditional endurance training in sedentary men, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment.
So while you’ve been spending hours on the treadmill every week jogging you could have been doing a few sprints a day in less than 12 minutes and getting the same results.
A couple highlights from recent research:
- More vigorous exercise increases longevity and reduces risk of death2
- Marathon running may damage the heart3
Al Sears, MD and the PACE Program
Al Sears, MD has been promoting high intensity short duration interval work outs for many years. In the video above he discusses the 12 minute workout (PACE) that can help reduce your risk of diabetes and improve your heart health.
Dr. Sears’ version of high intensity interval training your start off very gradually. His concern is that if you are out of shape or haven’t been exercising much lately then starting with a 100 meter sprint is likely too much.
In his approach to interval training you compete with yourself. Your goal is to increase your heart rate modestly for about 45 seconds then rest and recover. Your repeat this a few times and your done. Some may need to just start with a gently walk and others may need to jog or run. You could bicycle or even do an exercise that only uses your arms.
Be Careful and Avoid Hurting Yourself
Some high intensity interval work outs may be too intense and he thinks it is important to start off very gradually and day by day you’ll see increases in your ability to be more intense. There are certainly other effective interval training work outs available. The key is to start off gradually so you don’t over exert yourself.
CrossFit gyms have become popular in recent years and promote high intensity work outs. The problem is you’re trying to keep up with guys who may be in way more fit cardiovascularly than you are and the way the classes are set up make it difficulty start at your own “pace”. Get it?
Exercise is great but try to avoid having it back fire by hurting your back or pushing your heart too hard. Everyone is different. I won’t even do yoga in a group setting anymore because I get too competitive.
Cardio and Weight Loss
Cardio workouts haven’t been shown have any significant impact on helping you lose body fat in the short term, surprisingly.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) and sprint intensity interval (SIT) training appear to provide similar benefits to medium intensity cardiovascular training (MICT) for body fat reduction, although not necessarily in a more time-efficient manner. However, neither short-term HIIT/SIT nor MICT produced clinically meaningful reductions in body fat.
The most important aspect of weight loss in the short term is diet. There are foods that your body will use for immediate energy and there are foods that your body will store for later use. Balancing these foods is perhaps the most effective way to have energy to exercise while being able to lose weight at the same time.
If you are considering an extreme diet be very careful about exercising at the same time and be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any fitness program or making any diet changes. Check out the link below to learn about the Keto Diet Plan.