We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, July 28. 2021
There is "cardio", and then there is real Cardio exercise. What many people, especially women, do for cardio is actually endurance work: Swimming a mile, fast walking, stairmaster, treadmill, elliptical. An hour or four of endurance work per week will keep you moving, but it's not really Cardio for a relatively healthy person.
Real Cardio means training the heart muscle (the invisible muscle) and stressing the cardio-pulmonary system. For the Cardio component of our Fitness For Life program, we recommend some endurance cardio but, more importantly, HIIT cardio training.
What does it do? Primarily, it builds cardiac muscle and cardiac vessels. We need those for life exertions (eg mountain hikes), for endurance, for energy, for our sports, and, sadly, to help us survive our first or second heart attacks. Since most of us will die from cancer or heart disease, why not postpone the latter if we can, and have more energy and life vigor in the process? There's some evidence that it might help postpone dementia too.
HIIT entails maximum sprints, 30-45 seconds, integrated in a regular cardio program. You want your heart rate near you max output, 90% or more. This can be done with swimming, treadmill, stairmaster, Jacob's Ladder, rower - whatever. Best not to undertake this without a stress echocardiogram and your doc to clear you first to make sure you do not drop dead in the gym. That would be embarassing for you and for them.
If you do 5-10 fully-intense, max effort cardio sprints on your cardio days, you will feel it. A bit of dizziness means you've done your best. Good calis classes offer this too, and you can, of course, exert yourself to your own best level.
Reminder: Whether you do "long-slow" exercises, or do HIIT, or jus take walks or swims, none of these will offer you any meaningful loss of abdominal fat. Fat is nutritional unless you workout 6 hours/day.
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Good, basic explanation of the body's energy systems and how to program workouts with the Prowler for effective HIIT workouts (once you get past the overdone title) and why HIIT is more effective than long, slow, distance workouts: Death By Prowler
When the Maggie's Farm "experts" talk about LSD (cardio) versus "real cardio" (HIIT) and how the latter trains the heart muscle, they demonstrate ignorance of the energy systems.
Where HIIT has its major effect is in the metabolic machinery of the skeletal muscle cells. HIIT stresses the metabolic pathways responsible for generating energy (ATP) when oxygen isn't plentiful and the muscle cells adapt by forming more of this machinery.
While there is an effect on the heart (it's not all beneficial), the important effects - from a performance standpoint - occur in the skeletal muscle.
Another misconception portrayed in Bliss' post ("none of these will offer you any meaningful loss of abdominal fat") is that we can target certain areas of the body - like the abdomen - for fat loss.
100% agree. HIIT is very specific for training muscles that already have good aerobic capacity to adapt to a more anaerobic workload, ie for more speed in a long road race, triathlons, etc.
It’s another form of muscle workout that also has some minor cardiovascular benefit, and as such it’s not really ideal for most people, and is so difficult and unpleasant (compared to running, biking or swimming at a taxing but still comfortable pace) that few people would keep doing it anyway.
Actually, as detailed in the linked article, HIIT is not specific at all, it's the most general training you can do when it comes to conditioning, as it improves all energy pathways:
"Very simply, training primarily in the anaerobic-glycolytic pathway (i.e., HIIT - RJP) makes ALL the energy pathways more efficient, including aerobic oxidation. High-intensity exercise requires high output of all the energy systems. But this is not a two-way street. Training aerobically for endurance will not lead to equal up-regulation of stored ATP and CP or anaerobic glycolytic enzyme activity because aerobic training does not stress these systems. Training at high intensities, for short intervals, with recovery periods, is king when it comes to conditioning."
And yeah, it's hard. Sorry. Sometimes it's good to get out of your "taxing but still comfortable" zone.
I get the science behind it, and that’s cool — but that has almost nothing to do with the reasons people pick their exercises and stick with them, which is by far the most important factor. Science alone just will not get millions of people out on the track to run 4x400.
People ultimately need to like (or not hate) their main form of exercise or they won’t keep doing it.
Let’s just be happy that people are active and take the win.
My assumption was that (as in the past) most people who do intervals are serious athletes, triathletes, etc, and the goals they have for it are very specific because the “base” is the aerobic training and then the anerobic interval training gets added on top to increase speed for distance events.
HIIT (at least as described in Matt Reynold's article) indirectly leads to "improvements" in all the energy systems. Please note that there are a variety of forms of HIIT.
I know, how can something be high intensity if the work interval lasts 3 minutes? I didn't publish this studies and I didn't label the 3 minutes work/1 minute rest as HIIT, but it's out there and accepted in the sports med and training community. When your normal workout is LSD, I guess 3 minutes is high intensity.
Back in the day when the offsprings were young and our vacation was to a campsite at a lovely small lake with a beautiful beach but no lifeguard, I took a fair few courses on lifeguarding/teaching swimming so I would be better prepared should anything untoward happen while we were on the beach. Well remember one exercise when I was reprimanded for not not getting my heartbeat rate higher. I looked him straight in the eye and said "for my age group, I'm good". Don't think he'd realized just how much older I was than the rest of the class.
Am glad and relieved to report that nothing untoward happened on our holidays. However, my preparedness did allow us to enjoy our time there.
Long slow distance — whether it’s running, jogging, walking, swimming, or biking — definitely does help with meaningful loss of fat on the entire body, in addition to the huge list of cardiovascular and overall health benefits.
Here’s why: if you burn an extra 300-400 calories per day doing long (30-45 minutes minimum) walks or swims or whatever, you also burn more calories at rest because your metabolism runs “higher” during your resting time, meaning that the actual total benefit could be more like 500-600 extra calories per day expended.
This is about a pound per week that will come off, all else being equal. Of course you have to watch your food intake too and not increase that much if at all. But often the exercise itself inspires us to eat differently too, in a self-reinforcing way.
I’ve done it, and so have millions of other people.
My first crossfit instructor used to say "abs are made in the kitchen"