Would you rather look like a lean, powerful sprinter or soft long distance runner?

I have heard Roman Fortin, local trainer and former NFL player, ask his Fast Twitch clients this question for years now.  He always gets into a super intense and convincing speech about how Fast Twitch is not just another workout but a way to “shape your body”!  His audience is always me or another trainer/client that is obviously sold on it and believes what he is saying….so now I will help him spread his message to some non-believers that continue to spend hours on the cardio deck wasting their lives away:)

As I was putting together this post, I came across this amazing article on interval vs endurance training and it summed it all up perfectly, down to the age-old questions that Roman uses above to explain his point.  Read this article if you can stand it and want to learn more, it is great and I will try to summarize it below but there is a lot more to it.

First, what is interval and endurance training anyway?  They are both forms of Cardio and 90% of us do Endurance training for 90% of our workout routines.   Endurance training just means a long run or jog, bike ride, or anything that is considered “aerobic cardio” and keeps you’re heart rate in the “zone” for 45 minutes or longer.   Interval training is when you sprint, jump, or cycle at a high intensity for a short period of time and recover between sets.  This is mostly done in a group class or with a trainer to motivate you or time you because it requires your heart rate to get up relatively high then recover to normal levels and repeat.

Your heart on Interval Training :  Both forms of cardio are training your heart to be more efficient and your body to burn fat and sugar.  However, the one that not enough people do, interval training, is where you will find the most heart and fat burning benefits!  This article I mentioned above pointed out the most interesting thing to me:  “Heart attacks aren’t caused by a lack of endurance. Heart attacks typically occur at rest or at periods of very high cardiac output. Often there is a sudden increase in demand. A person lifts a heavy object, is having sex or receives an unexpected emotional blow. The sudden demand for cardiac output exceeds that heart’s capacity to adapt.”  Hurry, go have sex and let’s get those hearts healthy!!!

Your fat on Interval Training:   Again, from my new fav article on FAT LOSS:  “Dare I say, this is probably the reason the ‘average’ person undertakes an Endurance Training regimen. We’re constantly told about how a super long run or ride is going to burn the fat right off us and expose the hard, tight body beneath it. This works too, right? Clearly; just look at all the skinny-flabby women bouncing around their aerobics classes for hours at a time.”

The truth is that Interval training for 30-45 minutes burns through your body’s stored sugar for energy, leaving it working to replenish this sugar for hours after the workout is over.  So, your body is working much longer AFTER the workout is over therefore burning more fat per calorie burned than an endurance session.  If you control your sugar intake during the day and work hard during the class, you will find that what you eat following an interval cardio workout is refueling your body and not adding on extra pounds!   Another bonus: “Citing animal studies, they also said it may be that appetite is suppressed more following intense intervals.”  The best part about interval training is that it takes half the time as an endurance workout so you can go hard and then go home without pounding the pavement or treadmill for hours!

Here is the challenge:  add an interval cardio workout to your routine once or twice a week if you don’t have it in there already and notice your body change (don’t eat a burger right after of course!). If you already do interval training, keep it up you are doing great things for your body.

LET’s GO TRAIN!:  Where to find Interval Training classes in Atlanta. There are so many places that offer great interval workouts but the list below are ones I have tried and tested.

Fast Twitch – circuit training resistance and cardio

BLAST900 – treadmill and weight class with high intensity circuits

Flywheel Sports – indoor cycling class with arm weights

Boombox – @ Core Fitness Atlanta – extreme kickboxing fitness class with running and light weight included (to a LIVE D.J.)

A4 & Cardio Agility @ The Forum Athletic Club – plyometrics, burpees, boot camp, core, kickboxing, sprinting, any and all interval cardio exercises.

Pure Energy @ Body Sculptor Inc. – Saturday mornings only, circuit class

Endurance Ride @ The Training Zone

Fast Track @ x3 sports in Inman Park

Boot Camp @ The American Boot Camp Company

TIP:  Get a heart rate monitor TODAY and wear it to class.  Get familiar with how it works and challenge yourself to get into the right zone during your workout and recover in between.  The monitors today are so cool, they track your progress and help you create goals with each workout.

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