LESS CAN BE MORE
Although a study conducted by John Jakicic encouraged a lot of discussion in 2008 about the exact amount of exercise one needs to maintain weight (150 minutes/week) and lose weight (275 minutes/week), there is much to be said for reaping benefits from less exercise. Shorter, more efficient workouts (i.e., high intensity) are now being acknowledged by many experts as an effective means of weight control when combined with monitoring diet. Exercising for excessive hours may not actually pay off (or be worth it)!
There is some evidence that exercising for over an hour a day may actually result in “diminished returns.” In other words, your body adapts to the stress and will figure out a way to conserve energy, expending less energy as a workout progresses compared to when it begins (again, typically for workouts over an hour).
Ultimately, if you are time pressed and looking to seriously burn calories then you have two options:
1) Lift heavy. This will increase the calories your body continues to burn after the workout.
Calorie burning analogy: After a red hot fire the embers burn for hours.
2) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This kind of training will increase the number of calories you are burning in a short period of time because you are pushing yourself to exercise near your max heart rate. With quick recovery intervals between explosive/intense/energized bouts of effort, you will burn calories faster and be able to leave the gym sooner.
Calorie burning analogy: Think of a bonfire that roars ferociously for a short time before getting extinguished.
NOTE: If you are not conditioned for cardio or weight lifting exercises, or have never been taught proper form and recovery techniques, it’s best to set an exercise foundation before getting acquainted with these more advanced techniques. Check out Before You Hit the Gym to learn how to get yourself there. And don’t forget, I’m here if you have questions or need help!
Yours in health and wellness,