Train, don’t drain: Short and snappy workouts

Vahdaneh Vahid
Vahdaneh Vahid
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Go to any gym and you will most likely find people who do tremendous amounts of cardio sessions, despite this some find that their body shapes always remain the same or increase in size.

While certain levels of cardio, such as running or walking along the beach, are considered “healthy,” as you’re getting some sunlight and increasing your vitamin D levels, you don’t need to drain yourself with a daily routine of long periods of aerobic activity.

Aerobic exercise releases glucocorticoids, which are stress hormones. Stress hormones are catabolic, this means they breakdown the human body (muscle, tissue and bone). So as little as 10-20 minutes of high intensity intervals training (HIIT) a day, is healthier and will do more than enough to get your heart rate up and burn calories in less time.


This style of training is much more intensive than steady state aerobic training. Therefore, it requires less time to be completed. This way your body is less likely go into a catabolic state, keeping those harmful stress hormones low.

Adding resistance training to your exercise regime is a great way of toning & sculpting your body to achieve a firm and defined look. Yet, women tend to stay away from resistance training due to the fear of “bulking up.” Maybe that vision of a professional body builder comes into your mind when I say the word “resistance” training. Unfortunately, most of the women who look this way are on anabolic steroids and testosterone, along with other drugs to help them achieve this muscular look.



There are many perks to resistance training; firstly it will NOT push your body into a catabolic state as aerobic training does. It will rather push you into an anabolic state, this means the body is making lean healthy muscle instead of breaking it down. Resistance training is also linked to metabolic benefits, such as better insulin sensitivity. One of the main reasons why we store fat around the middle is due to high insulin levels in our body.

So, mix your training days, alternating a resistance program and HIIT cardio day. Make sure you have a rest days in-between to allow your body to recover. Do something different to help you relax, such as a yoga class or have a sports massage. Both of these will help you get rid of any tight muscles or tension you may hold in your body. Helping you move more freely through your exercise regimen on your training days.



So what type of interval training can you do?


Whatever you enjoy and can stick to is best. So, you can jog, run, sprint, or do skipping, use the rowing machine, climb stairs in your apartment and get the lift back down as your recovery, do mountain biking, swimming, etc. It is your choice.

My rules to Interval Training are simple. Always warm up for 3-6 minutes then perform one minute of high intensity training and hard and fast as you can.

Then, completely slow down the pace for a few minutes to allow your body to recover.

Therefore, one round will last about around 4-5 minutes.

Perform this for two more rounds so in total it should not take longer than 15 minutes.

It should be noted that interval training can also be done on your non-resistance day.

Feel good

Remember, you should always feel good before, during and after an exercise program. If you are low on energy chances are you need to fuel and so you should rest that day.

Use the motto “Train Don’t Drain.”

Do not perform interval training before your resistance (weights) training as it can actually cause a negative effect on your routine. This is because if you perform interval training first you can cause your body to break down your muscle tissue for energy during the resistance training. This is what you don’t want.

You will be amazed to know that only 15 minutes of interval training can help boost your metabolism, allowing you to burn fat throughout your body including the fat around your stomach.

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Vahdaneh Vahid is a UK-based Personal Trainer who recently moved to Dubai. She has had an interest in fitness from a young age. Her motto is now "Train Don't Drain" and teaches her clients that a balanced understanding of their physical, mental and emotional wellness is key. She can be found on Twitter: @vvfitness

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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