Top Fitness Myths Debunked: Longer Workouts are Better

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In a consumer-driven world, we are constant targets to false marketing and bad information. As a
personal trainer and health enthusiast, I see how this affects the fitness world in particular. The role of exercise in overall health is critical, but between magazines, TV, social media, product labels, and word of mouth, we are continually flooded with information and unfortunately – the wrong word gets out.

I decided that instead of standing on a cyber-soapbox to complain about all of the false claims
circulating, I would touch on some of the major fitness myths – in hopes that by de-bunking them for
you here, the right information will start to catch fire.

Let’s start with number 1…

#1 – Longer workouts are better workouts.

When it comes to fitness, more is not always better. It’s time to stop slaving ourselves to hours at the
gym. Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to working out for longer periods of time – especially if
you’re training for something in particular. However, studies have found that shorter workouts with higher intensity (HIIT) can provide just as many, in fact, MORE benefits than their longer endurance
counterparts.

Here’s why:

  • The #1 reason people don’t exercise regularly? Time. Or lack thereof. Now I will have you know there is one thing I never let myself say and that is that I “don’t have time” for something. You always have time, it’s how you choose to spend your time. So, to reword this – people choose not to spend their time on exercising. But being able to get a great workout in, in 30 minutes or less? Exercising regularly is now doable.
  •  You’re still burning calories and fat the next day. Putting your body through such intense, high intervals, puts your body in repair mode far past your time at the gym.
  •  It can help lower your blood sugar levels and reduce abdominal fat. Studies are backing that HIIT sessions do a better job of controlling the spike in blood sugar that usually occurs after a meal than a continuous moderate-intensity workout would do.
  • Anti-aging benefits. Recent studies have shown that muscle protein and mitochondrial function are greatest with HIIT-related aerobic training than any other avenues of exercise.
  • Builds endurance. Could it be that short amounts of exercise could actually prepare you just as well as long, steady-paced workouts when it comes to your endurance? Absolutely. Switching between periods of high intensity and short resting periods, your body learns how to efficiently use energy and breathe more effectively.
  • Boosts metabolism. Really? YES! As long as you’re pushing yourself during those high-intensity intervals, you’re consuming more oxygen after interval training than you ever would doing a
    longer, steady-paced workout. More oxygen consumption ultimately leads to a higher metabolism as your body works to bring itself back into a resting state and repair.

And these are just a few. Convinced? What now?

Well, one of the great parts of HIIT is the flexibility. You don’t have to use equipment, you don’t have to
get crazy…you just have to work hard and know how to piece together a workout.

Three Short and Effective Workout Styles

1 . Tabata-style training:

Traditionally consists of 20 seconds work/10 seconds rest, for 8 rounds totaling 4
minutes

Example workout:

Movements:

  • AIR SQUATS
  • PUSH-UPS
  • PLANKS
  •  BURPEES

Format:

  • Option 1 = :20 on/:10 off x 8 EACH (32 rounds total but must complete
    all 8 rounds of one movement before moving to the next movement)
  • Option 2 = :20 on/:10 off x 32 (continuously cycling through the
    movements one after the other)

2. Weight + Cardio Bursts

  • Perform weight sets (or resistance of some sort), followed by bursts of high-intense
    cardio movements. Remember, weighted or resistance exercises are meant to be
    difficult! Challenge yourself.

Example:

  • 5-10 back squats -> 1 minute max effort bike/row/run
  • 5-10 deadlifts -> 1:30 minute max effort burpees
  •  5-10 push press -> 2 minutes max effort jump rope

Repeat for 2-3 rounds

3. Tempo Intervals

Varying effort level, or tempo, with defined interval segments

Example:

  • 20 seconds slow-tempo/20 seconds fast-tempo (all out)/20 seconds rest of:
    • PUSH-UPS
    • SQUATS
    • V-UPS
    • BENT OVER ROW
    • BURPEES

Repeat for 6 rounds (24 minutes total)

Get creative and substitute the intervals, number of rounds, and movements/exercises. Variety is
essential to not only success with your training, but to preventing boredom, burnout, and overtraining.

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