Can’t fit long workouts in? Good! Why short more frequent works!

Garmin workout watch for long workouts

Long workouts make sense for long endurance events. That’s logical. Riding for six hours sitting on a two-by-four is not a party. Yet, it’s what happens in a bike race (and I use that word lmao… who “races” for that long? I like to think of this as a “human race”) so it can be easy to see why or how someone like me training for a long endurance event would want or need to go out and do a couple century rides (100 miles) lasting that long before the real event.

Yet, who has time for that? Though a few weekend opportunities exist, even they are rare. I’ve got a book to work on, clients, family visits and life happening too. Plus, I’ve got hormones. Sometimes they behave badly. That said, it’s not just about not having time. Maybe that’s Mother Nature’s way of saving you from cortisol wanting to ruin your midlife bliss.

Goodbye long workouts

So the answer is, volume can be cumulative. I can cut that down and do pieces of a workout over the course of a day or two days. The good news is that intensity goes up as time goes down. Hormones are happier with intensity and shorter duration. Breakdown, both mental and physical is reduced with shorter sessions. Recovery is faster because damage is not as significant as when you do long workouts.

In the end, whether you’re over 50 or not, training this way as opposed to long slogging it out, can be much better for fitness. (Unless of course, you’re a pro athlete, with the ability to think exclusively about workouts, naps, and nutrition.) Plus, there is never a minute when I’m not keenly aware that training for an event will never overshadow training for life.

If I were to give up strength training with heavy weight and sabotage bone health and muscle, though it may allow more sport specific focus, it would be detrimental to ultimate goals of loving the body I live in for as long as I’m taking breaths. I never want to sabotage the work I do day to day and the energy and focus I do it with to pour it all out in a workout such that I need to drag myself through interactions with friends, family, and clients.

Long workouts chopped up

I hope you feel the same about exercise energy and life energy. I shared a video over a year ago about how I train on many days. I don’t have 60 minutes to workout any more. I break this up into 20 minutes in order to get different fitness components in, or as now, to get a little more focus on endurance, but rarely do I focus long on one alone or have a big block of time that I give to exercise.

In fact, I did a round up of my midlife fitness pro colleagues and found they are the same! Those days of us doing a hour class and then jumping on a Stairmaster to do more, are long gone. And we’re better and have more energy, and less fat for it! It’s almost like Mother Nature imposed goals and busy schedules on us to protect us from ourselves!

If you’re a busy working woman, with potentially a commute, or work that comes home with you (as if going home wasn’t just a change of jobs sometimes!?) don’t wish it away (Oh, Elton), embrace it. A focused 20 or 30 minutes is better! Stop lamenting and start moving. If you just go into action and have a specific plan you will find fitness faster perhaps.

When I work with clients, one of the reasons they are most successful is the end of random “exercise” and the start of “training.” Give every workout (and rest day) purpose.

What short workouts have that long workouts don’t

They’re addictive. That’s good and bad. Short intense workouts have the ability to provide more intense feel good hormones than do long workouts do. In fact, too much long slow can actually make you more depressed and cranky. Fatigue edges out the feel good stuff and you may not even realize it’s happening. A prior running partner had begun attending bootcamp for the structure of weight training when a home-designed program just didn’t work for her. Convenience was nice but she needed adult conversation (she was a teacher!), interaction, and the intensity that comes from working out in with others instead of alone.

“It’s addicting.”

Those were her words to describe the one or two times a week she was attending year round after she was “hooked.” She is right. It’s part of why popular high intensity bootcamps or cross fit programs could see a rise in injury rates. Please don’t think I’m bashing Cross fit. They’ve done a lot right in the community they’ve created, but that is a part of the problem. They’ve done it so well, it almost makes a Cross fit client crave the next fix.  Multiple days a week of high intensity exercise breaks down muscle before it can repair again. Case in point, my friend has a chronic hamstring pull that prohibits her from running any more. As running was once her go-to for stress reduction and convenience, that’s kind of a big sacrifice.

So, enjoy the “high” with an awareness that your brain may want another “fix” sooner than your body will benefit.

If you are interested in starting your 2018 already fit, and private coaching is within your means, you want to do the work – you just don’t know what it is! Book a complimentary private session with me right now. If we’re a good fit, I’ll offer you $200 off private coaching if you begin before October 1, 2017. Together we’ll find your best exercise schedule workout-by-workout, your best exercise nutrition, and the lifestyle habits so you can make it easy to have the energy and reap the rewards. If you’re an action taker, let’s co-create a life full of energy and a body you love.

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