Tag Archives: Interval training

Could your work-out partner be holding you back?

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I know that for some people including a partner in their work-out routine can make it a little more fun and possibly make the time pass faster. When done the right way and both people stay engaged and in constant motion it can be a good thing.

The problem that I see when I look around most gyms though is that usually when one person is working a set or routine the other is often standing around waiting to use the same equipment or perform the same routine. This essentially cuts your productive time in the gym in half and also makes it difficult to maintain the intensity and heart rate that is necessary for a beneficial work-out.

Most studies show that for the best fitness results we need to maintain an elevated level of intensity for 30 – 40 minutes per work-out 3 – 5 times a week. If you are just starting a fitness program you can probably achieve this while including a partner but after a month or two if you’re really sticking to it you’ll find it takes more effort and increased intensity to get to the same heart rate. This is a good thing, it means your body is able to do more with less excursion. Your cardiovascular system, heart and lungs are improving. The flip side to this is that you will have to step up your program to get greater gains, this means either spending more time in the gym or being more productive with the time that you’re already spending there. I prefer the latter.

Interval training is my solution. Interval training involves staying in constant motion during your work-out, alternating between low and high intensity routines. This can be done with a partner or group but it would require the use of two or more pieces of fitness equipment at the same time. This can be difficult to arrange if the gym is crowded unless you’re participating in a class that has the equipment reserved for an hour or so.

Working out alone you can easily move from machine to machine and get a great interval workout in 30 minutes. Some studies show that 15 minutes of interval is just as effective as 45 minutes of a normal workout that includes rest periods between exercises.

So you see while training with a partner is a good way to get started on the road to better health it might be a good idea at some point to cut the cord and go solo. Are you ready?

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Aerobics or Resistance, Which is Best?

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Best Exercise For Over 50 – Aerobics or Resistance?

Often the question comes up about what type of exercises are best over 50 years old. For decades the belief was that aerobics that worked the cardiovascular and respiratory systems were the best. While there is no disputing the benefits of aerobics new studies show that resistance or weight training is more important in fighting sarcopenia, the ravages of aging that decrease our coordination, creates wrinkles and sagging skin and causes stooped posture.

For these reasons I like to suggest that a combination of the two is the best exercise plan for those over 50. This is not as difficult or time consuming as it may seem to be and the rewards are terrific. I had been trying several different routines for a couple of years before I stumbled across this and although by then I was in moderately good condition my workouts had become boring and I dreaded going to the gym.

After combining aerobics with resistance my time in the gym became fun again and I was finally able  to lose those last 5 or 7 pounds that I wanted to and that had been so elusive up till then. As I said I “stumbled” on this accidentally because I just wanted to change things up a bit but after I saw the results I did some research and found that what I was doing is actually recommended by many experts in the medical and fitness fields as the best way to combat aging.

I use a variation of interval training. Interval training involves short burst of moderately intense exertion like jogging, enough to get the heart rate up, followed by active “rest periods” like walking. You don’t actually rest but you lower your rate of exertion to a comfortable level. This is followed by another short burst of intense exertion. These are typically done in cycles of 1 minute exertion followed by 2 minute rest until you can work up to 1 minute cycles of each then 2 minutes exertion and 1 minute rest and so on.   It’s been shown that 15 minutes of this type of exercise gives you the same workout as a 30  minute routine using the regular method of 30 minutes of constant motion. This cuts your time in the gym in half!

My variation on this adds resistance or weight training to the “rest” cycle. Instead of walking I jump on an exercise machine or grab a barbell and do a little resistance training while my heart rate slows down. Now I’m able to jog at a nice pace for about 5 minutes before my heart rate gets to aerobic level (about 123 bpm for me) and then I do 5 minutes of resistance with moderately heavy weights. Nothing heavy, don’t need to because my muscles are already somewhat stressed from the jogging.

This has kept my workouts fun and eliminated the monotony. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

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