My two favorite types of workouts have always been short and hard, or long and easy. The type of workout I don’t like are those that are in-between or what I like to call “hybrid style”. Hybrid training is when you exercise moderately hard for a long period of time trying to accomplish everything in one workout.
When you go to the gym and spend 90 minutes working out moderately hard you’re most likely spending half the time breaking your body down more than building yourself up. First off, if you think you’re working out really hard you would not be able to do it for 90 minutes. After about 45 minutes you’re most likely reaching a point of diminishing returns besides just burning some extra calories. I call this “hybrid training” because it is like riding a hybrid bike. Its not fast like a race bike on the road nor great off road like a mountain bike but it gets by doing everything just OK.
The best way to train for results is short and hard workouts whether its for muscular strength or cardiovascular fitness. You want to go to the gym and create a response quickly and let the body recover from the workout. The harder the workout, the shorter it should be. A hard workout could be as short as 20 minutes and no longer than 45 minutes. It’s really common sense. If you’re working out really hard (90% to 100% effort) it has to be short or it would not be maximal effort. I can site numerous studies showing the benefits of short maximal effort workouts. Keep in mind I’m not talking about training like an athlete for a sport. An athlete may have to over train at some point to achieve a particular goal. I am referring to the average person who wants to build a lean muscular healthy body.
The only down side of short workouts is that they are short. For a lot of people that’s a plus but for someone like myself who likes to workout everyday and enjoys how exercising makes me feel both physically and mentally, it’s a negative. I also like long easy workouts. I call this type of training non-response training or calorie burning activity. I like to take long easy walks or bike rides for 45 to 90 minutes at a low level of intensity. This type of training does not stress my body in any way and does not require any recovery time. I’m just relaxing burning some extra calories and enjoying myself. To me long easy workouts are like meditating with the added benefit of calorie expenditure.
Try my short hard and long easy exercise approaches and let me know if you like it.
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Best – Mike Cola