A moment please
What I write is aimed at men and women who don’t need to be convinced that exercise and nutrition are keys to the fitness vault, but also know that fitness is not all that mysterious or complex.
I never try to make it sound like the ancients have given me the secrets. I presume you already know a lot about fitness, but you look at my stuff because you are hoping I might have stumbled across something new.
So as I write something like the following, I avoid over-explaining, but tell you if a longer or better explanation is available somewhere else so you can go there if you want more proof.
Okay, so here we go.
This week’s workout
Unless the weather is horrible I walk or ride my bicycle to the gym, which is about half a mile, This is a good warm-up for me.
- Two days a week I do eight or nine sets of 40 second wide open throttle (WOT) intervals on a recumbent bike.
- Intervals are separated by 60 seconds rest.
- Then I do weight training for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Racquetball for an hour if time permits and a partner is available.
- The other three days include weights and racquetball as noted above.
- All five days usually include an eight-minute abdominal routine, and an eight minute lower body routine – hips, butts, legs. These are calisthenic type exercises that may or may not be intense enough to qualify as cardio.
The remainder of the day I’m usually sitting though I’ll take an early afternoon walk to the grocery store which is about five minutes each way. This is done as a break for my brain (which needs all the help it can get), and to get up and move around a little.
Okay, I admit I obviously don’t have much of a life, but I still don’t want to spend all day in the gym so I look hard for ways to streamline my wokrouts and still get results that make me look and feel good.
Smarter than harder
If you look at my workouts they aren’t much, and the cardio is especially brief. I don’t spend a lot of time working out, but the point is most people have been, over the last decade, trending away from big muscles and killer workouts and trying for the new ideal, which is to look like a fitness model for both males and females.
Workouts have become streamlined. Guess you’d call it working smarter instead of harder. Streamlining means more efficient, and that tends to mean shorter though somewhat more intense training.
Okay, that’s not very earth-shaking news.
But wait there’s more
Newer research points toward it being better to work really hard for short bursts than it is to work moderately hard for long periods. This applies to both cardio and resistance training.
In particular I wanted to tell you about a piece of research that showed a possible link between long cardio training and heart scarring. Elite meaning long-distance runners.
The research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology studied a group of extremely fit older men that had completed a minimum of 100 marathons; so obviously they had been training for some years. Their ages ranged from 26 to 67.
And there was a control group of 20 healthy men over age 50, none of whom were distance runners or elite athletes.
Results showed none of the younger runners or older non-athletes had fibrosis in their hearts, but half of the lifelong runners had some heart muscle scarring.
Researchers concluded that more research was necessary before strong conclusions could be established, but a greater likelihood of heart damage was associated with lifelong strenuous exercisers.
A lot of people will pooh-pooh and disagree with the study. Indeed many studies tend to be inconclusive and vague as all get out.
But another reason the results won’t be taken seriously by elite runners, I think, is that just about everybody that is into fitness is addicted to some degree. Runners, from my experience, are probably more addicted than the average gym rat. But all I mean by that is it very hard for them to slack off from their sport.
I don’t care at all about the study because I decided some time ago that short but intense intervals are better for me than distance running. Not only is it faster, but the science behind it is more in line with my ambitions — looking and feeling good, anti-aging, and less wear and tear on my body.
Wide Open Training redux
You may not even consider yourself a remote candidate for classification as a strenuous exerciser, but if you would like to get some good results from a small investment of time then this cardio program that I wrote about a few months ago should interest you. The concept or some variation of it seems to be catching on as more people from the weight room are moving from running laps to doing intervals. The time saving is huge, and the hormone boost is all about looking good.
Source end notes
This link is to a New York Times article about the above study.
This link is to an article by Dr. Joe Mercola about the study. Mercola is also in the videos associated with the article I wrote at this link. I hope you’ll take a look if you have not yet seen it.
This link is to an abstract of the article published in Circulation Journal.
Remember to get an annual physical. Information presented by Thomas Amshay is for education only and not meant to cure, guide treatment, or take the place of a licensed health practitioner. Consult your health care team before starting any exercise program or supplement.