Even though I teach my clients that movement is essential, it’s not so they will lose weight.
Let me say this another way: exercise is ineffective for weight management.
“Wait a minute,” you’re saying. “Exercise has totally helped me lose weight.”
Notice, I said “weight management,” not “weight loss.”
Here’s the thing- you can absolutely lose weight for a short time by increasing your exercise.
BUT, once you’re 35, things don’t work exactly as they used to. You might notice that the same exercise more/eat less approach isn’t having the impact it once did.
When you turn 40, things are really getting wonky, and you might actually gain weight with more exercise.
So what’s a woman to do?!
Exercise smarter, not longer.
Occasional short-burst exercise triggers hormonal expression that promotes:
- Muscle development
- Fat loss
- Energy increase
- Aging delay
Yes, please to those, right?!
Let me get a little science-y for a moment.
A short-burst, intense session creates a desirable spike in cortisol, and after the workout, the cortisol moderates and adaptive hormones circulate in your blood, which targets specific organs to promote health and deliver anti-aging effects.
Sounds great, right? Makes you all ready to get going, doesn’t it?
Love the enthusiasm, but before you start, I want to go over a few simple rules first.
- Listen to your intuition. Do these workouts only when you feel energized.
- Make sure you have rested enough since the previous workout. You only need to complete a high intensity workout every 7-10 days!
- Vary these workouts. Don’t do the same one every 7-10 days (I’ve got 3 options for you below.)
- Effort should be mostly the same for each repetition in a workout. If your effort starts to increase so that you can reach the time or distance goal you’ve set, then end your workout.
OK, OK, Kathy, we get it! Now, what do you recommend we do?
Here are a few options for high intensity, short duration workouts.
- 5 minutes of walking or slowly jogging
- Dynamic stretches: do 12 each leg
- Pull quads
- Knee to chest, hold
- Open hips- rotate knee up and out
- High Knees
- 2 sprints for 7 seconds building to 90% effort
- Sprint for 15 seconds at 90% effort
- Rest for 1 minute or until breathing is back to normal
- Repeat 3 more times
- If you’re not fatigued, repeat 2 additional times.
- Walk for 5 minutes
If you are not a running fan, then this routine is for you!
Pick your cardio machine of choice, and follow this!
After a 5 minutes warm-up (see above):
- For 3 minutes, accelerate your pace for 20 seconds, then go easy for 20 seconds.
- For 4 minutes:
- Push as hard as you can for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 seconds
- Cool down for 5 minutes with an easy pace.
If this feels too easy, you can add minutes to number 2 (in other words, try the 20/10 pattern for 5 or 6 minutes).
For all of my swimmers, this one is for you. But if you don’t swim, you can totally still do this on land!
Just pick your favorite modality (running, elliptical, rowing, biking, etc.) and GO FOR IT!
After a 5 minute warm-up of light swimming:
- For 30 seconds:
- Swim the first 10 seconds at medium effort.
- Swim the second 10 seconds at hard effort.
- Swim the last 10 seconds at full effort.
- Once your breathing has returned to normal, begin your next rep.
- Complete 4-6 repetitions depending on your fitness level.
- Cool down with a few easy laps.
A few general points for all workouts:
If you feel pain at any point during the workout, then stop.
Once you complete any of the workouts, you should:
- Feel energized, not tired.
- Feel a little sore the next day, but not immobile.
If either of these statements are not true, modify your next workout (after an appropriate rest) so that they are true.
Let me know what you complete and how you feel!