I woke up early on Sunday morning as I was due to catch an 830am train to King’s Lynn to see my daughter, Mia, for the day. I felt good so decided to go to my local park for a workout before breakfast. (work out to follow)
I jogged to the park which took about 5mins and started warming up with a few stretches. I had planned to do some sprints and possibly some body weight exercises in-between and as I was stretching I noticed that there was about 10-15 people jogging around the park, mostly all with headphones on. The sun was shining, it was warm and it was still only 7am. I decided to do one more warm up lap of the park before I got into my sprints and as I jogged around I noticed that most (not all) of the joggers were fairly overweight. It would be fair for me to say that they were jogging with a view to lose weight. I think that’s an assumption that most of us would have made. These people were not competitive runners putting in the early morning miles. A couple of the park joggers were really quite over weight so were sweating profusely and I admired their determination and the fact that they were there at 7am, whilst many were still in bed from the night before (well it was Sunday)
So the scene is set.
The joggers continued around the park as I started my workout which is below –
A1 – sprint @ 80% effort with distances of 50-75m (approx) into….
A2 – 20 push ups
Repeat 5 times so 5 sprints into 5 x 20 push ups. Recovery time was the walk back to the start.
B1 – sprint at 90% effort with a distance of 40m (approx) into….
B2 – 20 jumping lunges
Repeat 5 times. Recovery times was walk back to the start.
Total workout time approx 15 mins, excluding my warm up. I decided to do one more lap at a very light paced jog to cool down slightly and lo and behold, all the park joggers are still jogging and obviously sweating a lot more now. Still at the same pace and still with the same determination.
So what’s my point here?
Consider the joggers workout. Lets say they ran for about 30-45 mins with a total distance of anything from 3-6km depending on their pace. Of course this is an estimate on my part but the figures don’t really matter. Calories expended could range from 250-600kcal which doesn’t look too bad initially but are these calories from fat? The answer is no. More on that in a bit. What is most important to know is that the body will stop burning calories the minute the workout is over. The metabolism will go back to its normal rate. The body will actually go into a state of catabolism meaning it will use its own muscle tissue for fuel which is exactly the opposite to burning body fat. Weight loss can occur but the workout will actually weaken the individuals muscle and lower the metabolic rate over time. Steady rate cardio will do this to you. Not good.
Lets examine my workout.
Multiple sprints with body weight exercises on the end. My heart was very high hitting a maximum of about 180bpm and only dropping to 150bpm during the recovery walk. My muscle mass will be preserved and in fact, sprints can put your body into an anabolic state meaning muscle and strength gains are common. Calorie expenditure is reasonable but more importantly, over the next 24hrs my metabolic rate is working over time so I continue to burn calories and FAT rather than burning muscle and making me fatter over time. My VO2 max will also go up which means I will get fitter and still be able to run a 5km if the need arose.
The jogging workout is inefficient and ineffective for fat loss. A longer workout by far with less results? Who wants that? Certainly not I as I had a train to catch in less than an hours time. It’s very frustrating to see these people who clearly are determined to lose weight but are just misguided or misinformed.
The bottom line is this (pun intended)
Make your workouts short, sharp and intense. Keep the body guessing as it loves routine. You results will come far quicker by mixing things up. If you are a fan of running then do intervals within your run/jog. Pick a tree or a distance and sprint to it then recover for about 60 secs. Repeat as many times as you can in your jog. It won’t get boring and it will improve your results much quicker. Better still, skip the jog and do some sprints and get out the park within 20 mins and enjoy the rest of your day.
That’s what I did.
Gavin @ UCF