How Old Is Ellie In The Last Of Us 1 Fitness Part 2: Why Long Cardio Sucks

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Fitness Part 2: Why Long Cardio Sucks

Fast fat loss, and broad physical fitness – Why looong cardio sucks.

Most people are under the false impression that you need to go on looong, painful 5km/10km/20km runs to lose weight and get fit. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Moderate intensity cardio like jogging, cross-trainers and long-distance runs are not only boring and inefficient ways of getting fit, but can even be detrimental to your health (Something I will cover in a future post on overtraining).

I know, shocking right? Let me explain…

The three metabolic pathways

In your body you have three ‘engines’ or metabolic pathways that provide the energy for all human actions. These are called the phosphagen pathway, the glycolytic pathway, and the oxidative pathway.

The phosphagen pathway dominates the highest powered activities that last less than ten seconds. In phosphagen pathway activities athletes are generally using almost 100% intensity, such as an Olympic weight lifter.

The glycolytic pathway dominates moderate to high powered activities that last from ten seconds to a few minutes. Examples include sprinting up to about 200 meters. Here athletes are using about 70 – 100% intensity.

The oxidative pathway dominates lower powered activities that last in excess of several minutes. The intensity of these activities is generally less than 40%. An example of an oxidative activity would be running a marathon or a triathlon.

Long (1 hour +) cardio sessions (oxidative pathway) in excess can exhaust the body, making it cling on to fat stores, stress the heart, and suppress immunity (ever wonder why triatheltes and marathon runners get sick so easily?)

On the other hand, short intense sprint/interval training in the phosphagen and glycolytic pathway not only have a greater impact on fitness, but also have what I like to call a ‘spill-over’ effect and improve longer distance, oxidative fitness.

Intervals are a part of life

When we watch kids play they naturally fall into intervals. Tag, hide and seek and most organized sports all fall into this category.

Animals are the same; watch your dog when he’s off leash.

When you consider the millions of years over which our ancestors evolved to sprint upright for the purpose of ending a hunt or to evade being hunted themselves, you can appreciate how humans are DESIGNED and well†equipped to sprint anaerobically (all†out) for short distances. The problem is that many of us have become so unfit that we’ve lost this most elementary of skills. There is probably no more effective weapon in your modern fitness arsenal than sprinting.

High intensity workouts – not just reserved for fitness freaks

Research has shown for a long time that higher intensity, shorter workouts have a greater impact on fitness and fat loss than slower/lower intensity long cardio workouts, and yet still today the vast majority of people and trainers are still recommending these to most clients. As a result people are getting discouraged by their lack of results (and lets face it, jogging on a treadmill for an hour is about as boring as it gets!).

You will get vastly better health AND fitness results if you cut your workout from 60 minutes to 25 minutes and double the intensity. Especially since this training carries over to ‘longer distance’ aerobic fitness anyway. An occasional series of short, all-out bursts of effort has a far more profound effect on fitness-especially on fat loss-than a medium- paced jog lasting many times longer.

Sprint-type training (which uses your phosphagen/glycolytic engines) helps develop speed, muscle mass, bone density, cardiovascular health, aerobic capacity, Human Growth hormone, and even boosts immunity.

Conversely, excess training past the oxidative threshold (that is, long distance) is not only less effective but is actually deleterious to your health and fitness. It exhausts your body, lowers you immune function, and makes your body think it needs to cling on to every ounce of fat because the workouts are so exhausting.

“But Ellie! I love running!”

OK. So does this mean if you absolutely LOVE running for hours then you should stop completely? Absolutely not. Doing things you love are as vital a part of life as anything. Just make sure you are aware of the effects it has and you are supporting your body accordingly by following all the other Life By Design steps, especially Power By Design. This way it has the best opportunity for healing, repair and recovery.

This is especially important though for those of you trying to lose weight and are slugging it out on the treadmill each day, hating life – I just want you to know that there are far more fun, effective options.

And you don’t have to sprint – you can bike, swim or use a cross-trainer. Just do it for half the time and at high intensity. And make sure you try it under the supervision of a trainer first!

Who do you know out of your family/friends/colleagues who would benefit from improved health or more enjoyable workouts? Please share this with them now, (Seriously, I’d really appreciate it).

Like I always say, this is health education at the grassroots level – it’s sharing by people like you that make us visible to those who need us most.

Until next time!

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