2013 fitness takeaway: make it intense!
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines! The January fitness-craze has begun. Gyms are crowded, classes are packed, fitness infomercials are collecting a sick amount of money, juice cleanses have been ordered. Everyone is thinking about losing weight and being healthy in the new year.
The New York Times posted a brief recap of exercise science in 2013–it’s a really good read. But a main finding that the journalist focused on is the concept of intensity during your workout.
Keeping your workout intense can be super challenging but also afford you a little more time in your day. High-intensity workouts are typically much shorter than normal-paced workouts. Sweet!
I’ve always heard from dozens of sources that high-intensity exercise improves cardiovascular health, burns more fat, helps you sleep at night, sparks your metabolism, helps you win the lottery, etc. It’s definitely a hot topic these days, and I don’t see it going away any time soon.
My take on it? High-intensity exercise is incredible for your body. The gritty, aggressive nature behind it is also a phenomenal stress reliever–have you ever taken a sweaty boxing class? Total zen on your way out the door. The sense of calm after a grueling session is unmatchable.
But, as I always have a caveat, there is one limitation to high-intensity exercise: do it sparingly. Packing in a 30 minute high-intensity workout such as track sprints every day is the recipe for injury. Keep these workouts to 2-3 times a week and truly listen to your body before you commit to the session. You want your body to feel fresh and ready for the challenge–intense exercise on a recovering body can do some serious harm.
What are your fitness plans for 2014? Any new fads you’re thinking of trying? I’m going to focus on my running, Pure Barre, and strength training. After taking Pure Barre for some time now I’m really starting to notice myself improving. The burn I get in my legs the next day is pretty rewarding.
photo credit: Andrew Rich/Getty Images, New York Times