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  • Evan McDaniel, CSCS

Less is More

If one is good 100 must be GREAT! That is truly the American way. The typical recipe for exercise is more, more, more. If you start running 5 miles sooner or later you will be running 10 and then 20 miles. A lot of you think 30 minutes is not enough to get in a great workout because we have been brainwashed that more is always better. Let's break down this myth and see how you can save time and see better results.

There are a few simple variables surrounding exercise programs. The first is the mode, or what type of exercise you are performing. Strength, cardio, flexibility etc. The next is intensity, obviously how hard you workout. Then comes the duration of the exercise performed. When discussing intensity and duration they are 100% of the time an inverse relationship. As one goes up the other MUST go down. Think about sprinting. You can only sprint around 100 yards. The intensity is very high and the overall time spent sprinting is very low. Jogging would be the exact opposite the intensity is very low and the duration can be sustained for a very long period of time, think a marathon.

The single most overlooked variable in exercise is the overall intensity. A lot of you only focus on how long you spent at the gym or on the treadmill or how many miles you put in today. To prevent plateaus and even long term injury I highly recommend picking some more intense exercise for a shorter duration. This is why we only perform 30 minute workouts at Fit Studios Bootcamp. We focus on keeping the intensity high enough to reduce the duration but low enough to prevent injury. Finding a good balance of intensity and duration can give you a sustainable program that sees better fat loss (the best long term weight loss) and prevents injuries. This is why we recommend HIIT for our cardio as well. Keep the overall time spent exercising low and you can see better results with less of a time commitment.

Ways to increase the intensity: Reduce the rest. This is the single biggest factor I focus on during our training sessions. I reduce the overall rest interest and even between individual repetitions. Selecting the correct exercises allows you to keep the rest between sets(interest) low which will inevitably increase the intensity and allow you to reduce the time spent in the gym. I watch it way too often when people are plateauing. They walk between exercises and take 2-3 minutes to finish one set that should take 45 seconds. This is a failsafe way to stall out and eventually give up. Now, some days require a slower and less intense workout. I am talking about overall generals of an exercise program here. So when the gas tank is empty take it slow. But the overall focus should be to reduce the rest between reps and sets and keep moving to see better results.

When you find yourself wanting to add more miles or go to the gym longer and longer to see a better result think about the intensity instead of adding more time. You will save time and see better results every single time. After all the single factor people leave exercise programs is generally time. Time away from family or time away from an important job is tough to come by at 90 minutes per day.