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Yup. I hear it all the time and I honor the fact that so many of you can’t figure a way to give physical activity the attention you know it deserves. Here’s some food for thought for those of you that are time challenged to make physical activity a part of your life.

Excerpts from Article written by Tina Schwager

Ex Rx: High-intensity, short-duration interval workouts are a new frontier in fitness and sports training.

It’s short-burst training (SBT), a variation of circuit training. SBT uses a series of high-intensity, short-duration exercises interspersed with brief periods of lower-intensity movement. Clients go all-out for intervals of 30–60 seconds (depending on the intensity level and the equipment/apparatus used for training) before entering the recovery phase. This pattern repeats throughout the workout. During short-burst exercise, the body produces metabolic byproducts (hydrogen ions) that have been identified as the cause of acidosis (“the burn”). The cardiovascular exercise following the short burst of anaerobic exercise helps to neutralize or buffer this acidosis. The primary fuel used is carbohydrate with stored fat kicking in later.

By contrast, traditional endurance training keeps the body moving longer at more moderate intensity levels, with the aerobic system maintaining function. The primary energy sources are carbohydrate and fat. There is abundant research verifying the physiological adaptations attributed to endurance training, especially improved exercise capacity—the body’s ability to “sustain a given sub-maximal workload for a longer period of time. For many exercisers, the rewards include improved cardiovascular function; decreased incidence of diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension; weight loss; and reduction of body fat. And those training for competitive sports count on aerobic training to gain needed stamina.

Fat Burning

In old-school thinking, accessing fat both stored and free-floating in the bloodstream required endurance-type “aerobic” training. Aerobic means “with oxygen,” and the physiological pathway initiated in the presence of oxygen utilizes fat for fuel, making it the superior choice. But recent research opens the door for a new theory—that high-intensity training is even more effective. One such study compared the effect of a 20-week endurance-training program with that of a 15-week high-intensity program in terms of body fat loss and muscle metabolism and the results showed that the high intensity group had a larger subcutaneous fat loss ratio.

Endurance Benefits

Training in the “target zone” (65%–85% of one’s maximum heart rate) for an extended duration (20 minutes minimum) at least 3–5 times a week is an age-old exercise formula. However, that formula was challenged in 1995, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) convened to re-evaluate physical activity recommendations for the general public. The panel determined that “every U.S. adult should accumulate 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity” almost every day (Pate et al. 1995). This opened the door for beginners to add small increments of activity to their day and still improve their fitness levels. In line with this physical activity model, data now being accumulated with regard to short-burst training definitely support shorter bouts of intermittent activity.


What are your favorite ways to exercise?  Please start the discussion by commenting below!