If you’re like most people, you’re on a never-ending mission to find a faster way to work out and feel better about how you look. Believe me; I know you’re crunched for time. As a father of five, I can sympathize.
Fortunately, there is a healthy way to get a productive workout without spending hours at the gym. It doesn’t involve an ab roller, thigh master or any of those other gimmicks you see peddled on television at 3 am.
The solution is called “Burst Training” or “High-Intensity Interval Training,” which involves shorter bursts of high intensity activity with rest periods in between each burst. This technique has been around for decades, but it’s gaining in popularity because more and more evidence is showing that it’s one of the most effective ways to exercise.
When scientists compared traditional cardio exercise (20-60 minutes of moderate, repetitive exercise) to burst training (20-60 seconds of high-intensity exercise), they found bursting could burn the same calories in 1/15th the time.
Yes, burst training only requires 4-8 minutes to burn the needed calories for effective fat loss, while traditional cardio requires 20-60 minutes.
How is this possible?
Traditional cardio burns fat during exercise, but after the exercise, your body uses carbohydrates to replace the fat in order to prepare the body for the next exercise session. Burst training burns carbohydrates during exercise and fat afterwards. As a result, you become a more effective fat burner throughout the day, even when you’re not exercising.
Another benefit of burst training is the lower risk of stress injury and the faster healing time for muscular injuries. Cardio workouts like jogging put a constant pounding on the joints, which often leads to inflammation and pain.
High-intensity burst training puts less of a strain on complex joints like the ankle, knee and hip. While this technique demands more from skeletal muscle, muscular injuries will heal faster because of the higher blood supply in muscle compared to joints and ligaments. Like any type of exercise, proper stretching and warming up can prevent most injuries.
Research has also shown that hormones play an important role in weight loss. Traditional cardio exercise produces high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which causes the body to store fat. On the other hand, bursting stimulates the growth hormone, which helps build bones and muscle while burning fat.
Burst training, or high-intensity interval training gives us one more way to take back our health. When properly implemented, along with a nutritious diet, bursting can result in rapid weight loss while improving muscle tone, body composition, strength, endurance and self-image. You can reduce cravings, optimize blood sugar, lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation – and still have time to do everything you need to do over the course of a day.
This is the year of the family, so let’s keep our minds open to new, innovative exercise techniques that help us feel better, function better and live longer. Find a qualified personal trainer who understands the science behind this type of exercise, and give bursting a try!