Fitness tips: Get 1 hour of workout results in half the time

Josef Brandenburg, special to

WASHINGTON – Time is the enemy of fitness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of aerobic and muscle strengthening exercise each week to maintain a healthy life. More is needed to actually lose weight.

These numbers are overwhelming to many, and often keep people from initiating a workout plan, in the first place.

If you’re pressed for time, but still want good results, there’s good news: You don’t have to spend several hours in the gym. You can actually achieve better cardiovascular and weight loss results in half the time with a combination of strength training and high-intensity interval training.

Why does this kind of training work?

First, resistance and high-intensity interval training doesn’t seem to make people as hungry as the traditional, long and steady cardio sessions. If someone burns 400 calories jogging, their appetite will tend to go up by more than the energy expended. Resistance and interval training don’t have the same effect. Yes, you will want to eat afterwards, but not as much.

Another benefit of resistance and high-intensity interval training is that it gives you a post-workout metabolic boost, simulating your body to burn more of its own fat stores than it normally would. This boost lasts for 24 to 36 hours. You can exercise one time, but receive benefits all day long — or at least until your next high-carb meal.

When making the switch from traditional exercise to high-intensity workouts, keep these three key points in mind:

  • Don’t skip recovery breaks between the high-intensity bursts. The body can’t keep up its top speed for very long, so when you skip out on the rests, you sacrifice intensity, and thus, results.
  • Don’t take it too easy. High-intensity workouts require you to push yourself. The level of intensity for your “bursts” needs to be intense enough that you need to stop after your work period is over.
  • Don’t confuse “more” with “better.” Just because something is painful or unpleasant does not mean that it’s working. If you’re doing high-intensity interval training right, then you’ll only be able to get 15 to 25 minutes of quality work. To get maximum fat-loss, focus on quality, not quantity.

Editor’s Note: Josef Brandenburg is a D.C.area fitness expert with 14 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book “Results Fitness.” In 2004, he started The Body You Want personal training program, which specializes in helping you get the body you want in the available time you have. You can also check out his blog, follow him on Twitter, or check out his fitness videos on YouTube. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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