I attended a birthday party the other night and overheard two women talking, or rather lamenting, about how difficult it was to lose weight. One said “I spend two hours at the gym almost every day and I still can’t lose weight.” The other replied “I burn over 400 calories with every workout, am sweating like a pig, and still I have this poochy stomach.” I try hard to leave my trainer hat at home when socializing, but I just couldn’t help myself. I politely interjected that I am a personal trainer and that maybe they should consider that they’re either over training or not training effectively, or both. Either way, “sometimes less is more,” I offered.
Of course this opened up an hour-long conversation, the details of which are repetitive to many of my blog articles – scale weight and weight loss are the wrong things to focus on; rest is just as important as exercise; calories in vs. calories out, etc. But the meat of the conversation centered around my theory that small intervals of precise, properly performed exercises will achieve better results than daily doses of hours-long bodily abuse at the gym.
Why else would HIIT (high intensity interval training), Tabata, and the myriad of 25-30 minute workout DVDs be so popular these days? They offer results in as little amount of time as possible, which is something hugely appealing to our “every moment is jam-packed” lives.
Are you skeptical? Speaking “yeah buts” to the computer screen right now? Well why not give it a try? If you are one of the many who work out at least five times a week for an hour or more and are dissatisfied with your results here’s a challenge for you. For two weeks continue working out exactly as you have been and record (journal) your workouts, meals, rest days, etc. Then for the following two weeks try working out only three to four times a week, for 20 minutes of HIIT (or 10 mins in morning and 10 mins at night). Then document all your workouts, rest days, food, etc. Let the proof be in the results.
Now mind you, for this test to be successful, you have to do two things: (1) make those 10-20 minutes be high intensity muscle exhausting movements that engage your core and work your entire body; and (2) eat smaller meals of healthy choices 5-6 times a day.
If your results do not find less is more, than I apologize for wasting your time. But I have numerous clients’ success stories to say otherwise! Please feel free to share your results with me and my audience.