I will be the first one to admit that I am not a book smart kind of guy. I constantly strive to educate myself on the science behind training and fitness but the truth is that my wife is much smarter than I will ever be. I know what works but when it comes to the specifics of the “why”, I will always default to her. I asked her to write a blog post about why workouts like today are so beneficial. This refers to the physical adaptations only, we won’t even get into the mental adaptations that take place when you train like this, as I would argue that the mental adaptations may be more beneficial than the physical. Here is what Jess had to say about workouts like today.
The Value of Lactate Sessions
Many people are under the misconception that when it comes to burning calories and improving fitness, longer duration exercise sessions are always better. But this is simply not the case. High intensity, short duration activities (those lasting 2 minutes or less) are anaerobic in nature. These activities (for example: 3 rounds of 200M run, 6 burpees and 9 moderate weight thrusters AFAP, followed by a 4 minute rest) create an oxygen deficit and this oxygen dept must be paid after the conclusion of the exercise. It is because of this excess post exercise oxygen consumption that these lactate sessions are so valuable. To repay the oxygen debt, our bodies burn more calories for up to several hours after the exercise is over. This does not happen with steady state cardio. You could go out jogging for an hour and still not burn as many calories as would result from the lactate work that we did today. Now don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t just mean going through the movements at a comfortable pace- this means dialing up the intensity, sprinting the run, and doing all the burpees and thrusters unbroken. If done properly, it should have taken you the whole four minutes to recover and your time should not have been faster on the last round.
High intensity, short duration training sessions (in conjunction with a diet rich in protein, low glycemic carbs, and healthy fats) are also the best way to maintain muscle mass and prevent a decrease in metabolism as we age. So before you lace up those sneakers for a 10 mile run, think about how much more efficient and beneficial it would be to do some hill sprints or a specific lactate workout like the one we did today. We are all busy moms/dads/businessmen and women/teachers/doctors/volunteers, ect. and our time is very valuable. So, as long as you have properly warmed up and stretched, don’t be afraid to dial up the intensity and shorten the duration of your workouts. As a result, you will still be burning calories long after you have left the gym, and you will be feeling, looking, and performing better before you know it!