You are leaving a lot on the table if your training does not include high intensity interval training along with metabolic resistance training. Whether your goal is performance or fat loss these variables will unlock performance along with your ideal weight.
Let’s talk intensity first and later we will get into metabolic resistance training.
What exactly is intensity? Okay sweet here’s your answer;
Basically friend, “Intensity” is doing more work in less time, or more accurately as CrossFit.com put it; Intensity, as we define it, is exactly equal to average power (force x distance / time). In other words, how much real work did you do and in what time period?
So what I am getting at here is that intensity is much more beneficial than overall volume. Most people would rather do something for an entire hour than work their ass off for 7 min simply because it is hard work bro. But that longer workout is not going to get you those impressive results you want, intensity will… be impressed by intensity not volume, Glassman is quoted as saying as early as 2002.
So, to explain the importance and benefits of intensity but without getting too involved and into functional movement vs isolation or any of that overly technical jazz, let’s use running as an example.
Most people would follow the thought process that by going out for one long slow distance (LSD) run, working out for one full hour surely I’m getting a better work out than that guy over there working out for only 15 minutes and running 200m at a time with a 2-3-minute break in between. Well, bro those guys are only bullshitting themselves.
Now before you run to the defense of long slow distance running chill… the… fuck out, yeah LSD has its place! And if you truly enjoy it then power to you bro! All I am saying is, that, if you’re looking for high performance or even fat loss then, like I said in the first paragraph, you need to spend at least some time doing high intensity intervals.
Looking at this from a purely performance standpoint, you can refer to CrossFit Founder and CEO Greg Glassman back in 2007’s “Understanding CrossFit”; “Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with maximizing favorable adaptation to exercise,” Favorable adaptation includes improved body composition and improved health markers, such as fasting, glucose and triglycerides. It takes people of varying ability from, sick to well to fit.
If performance isn’t your aim and really you couldn’t give two shits about it, then let’s look at fat loss.
Fat Loss and its hierarchy according to Alan Cosgrove will always start with nutrition (we explore the importance of nutrition in another post), it then details the importance of correctly focusing on 3 different types of exercise. Exercises that burn calories during (almost all exercise), ones that burn calories after (High intensity intervals), and those that burn calories long term (strength training. So, let’s explain the types of training starting with number five and working back to one…
5. Steady State Low Intensity Aerobic Training – this would be something like a 45-min jog or workout on the elliptical. This will only burn calories during the workout. That leaves 23 hours and 15 min in the day that your metabolism is not elevated for.
4. Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training – 5km time trail, basically going flat out on a 20-min run, running so fast you can as if acting like you stole something.
3. High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training – This would be doing 1km repeats with about a 10-min break in between sets, every set as fast as you possibly can.
2. High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training – This would be 200m – 400m sprint repeats, using between 20 and 60 seconds’ max intensity with full recovery between efforts.
Exercises listed in points four, three and two are higher intensity and are going to give you a much better result. While they may not burn as many calories during the activity they will elevate your metabolism for at least 24 hours following the exercise, far exceeding any steady state low intensity effort. If, however, I want to increase my muscle mass (muscle mass being the most metabolically active tissue in the body, elevating my metabolism for weeks, months or years into the future) I need to add some sort of strength training into the mix. This is where Metabolic resistance training comes into it.
1. Metabolic Resistance Training – this can be either high intensity sets with short rest intervals in between; like a metcon if you are a CrossFit Athlete. Or doing some type of circuit training where you may do for example heavy sets of 5 – 8 reps (eg: Squats, presses, pull ups) with short breaks in between.
There is a fair bit of info involved here, so I’ll just wrap this shit up with the main points man. It’s all about Quality not quantity. Big deal if you were in the gym for an hour if you didn’t challenge yourself. If you want to be leaner, faster and stronger you are going to have to add some intensity to your training, along with metabolic resistance/weight training.