If you’re like most people, you are in a workout rut. Your exercise routine consists of the same workout day after day, cycling mile after mile on the stationary bike while watching the gym TV until you reach a calorie count or jogging day after day to achieve a certain distances. All part of your good 5k training program.
The truth is that many of us are spending enough time working out each week, but we are not working out in a way that is most efficient for reaching our goals.
The first step to optimizing your workout is to forget about watching the calorie counter on the treadmill. The goal is not to burn the most calories while you are working out, but rather to train your body to burn more calories during the other 160 plus hours of the week while you are not exercising.
Cardio workouts can be broken into three primary categories. We’ll call them low, medium and high.
Consider the low level to be a brisk walk on the treadmill, consistently burning energy. This level of workout is optimal for training your mitochondria (the brains in your cells) to burn calories more efficiently.
The middle area occurs when your heart rate is at its maximum while you are still burning energy aerobically. Working out at this level raises your metabolism so that it burns more efficiently when you are at rest.
The high area, working out near maximum intensity, trains your body to efficiently store carbohydrates in your muscles so that you will have an efficient energy system ready to burn when you need to push yourself.
No one of these areas is more or less valuable than the other. The goal is to train using intervals at all three levels to optimize your workout so that you will receive the greatest benefit in the least amount of time.