20 second, one minute, four minute and ten minute workouts, Facts and Foolish

Recently, I came across some really goofy stuff concerning the duration of work outs and their efficacy. A twenty second work out! This is a cruel joke on the unsuspecting. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/20-second-workout-fitness-23046660, First of all, if you are looking to  something like this as the way to exercise, you are almost certainly already in a physical and state of health, disaster zone. Healthy people do not look for this kind of nonsense, because it does not work, period. Now when the record holding gold medalist Usain Bolt sprints a 200 meter race in 20 seconds or less, he probably blasts through about 200 calories. At thirty miles an hour he is burning 36 times as much energy every second than you do on a per pound basis, when you are jogging or running at 5 miles per hour, and burns through six times as many calories as you do over the SAME DISTANCE, due to the laws of physics. The reason I mention this is, you are not Usain Bolt.  When I sprint the same distance, I only burn 2/3 the amount of energy or calories as Bolt does on a per pound basis, and on a per pound basis Bolt burns 2.25 times as much energy on a per second basis. I would have to maintain the same speed over a 267meter distance to burn just as many calories. The 5 MPH runner would have to run three fourths of a mile, to burn as many calories and take 13 minutes to finish. How does 13 minutes compare to 20 seconds? This should encourage you to run faster and exercise with greater intensity, whatever type of exercise you are doing. This is the good part. Now the caution flags.

This brings up the other point in the form of a question, of this message: How do you do this without a warm up as indicated by some of these “programs?” The answer is you can’t unless a greatly increased risk of death is unimportant to you. Bolt warms up and you are probably not as good as Bolt. I warm up too for that distance and or that time frame. Guess what, you just pushed your exercise time out to about ten minutes before you do one quality 20 second effort (30 seconds is more likely to get your heart rate into the sweet spot in the beneficial zone for rapid cardio vascular improvement). If running is all you do, the absolute minimum time frame to get very good results is about 25 to thirty minutes, and running is the most efficient way to do this type of exercise, substituting any of your running with any other form of exercise will be less efficient and therefore take more time. Adding strength training, which you should do and range of motion exercises, ending with a stretching meditative cool down brings you to about one hour.

Tabata training, which is getting a lot of press in the fitness journals and trade magazines, is set to a four minute frame, but with the rest to work ratios, some trainers mistakenly see as set in stone, DOES NOT PEAK YOUR SPEED OR POWER OR STRENGTH. Additionally the first Tabata effort will be the only one done at a very high level and because of the speed element involved, will require a warm up to do safely to reduce injury or heart attack (heart attacks induced by high intensity exercise or efforts are usually fatal, since the body is in a deep state of oxygen deprivation and need, including cardiac tissue, http://healthland.time.com/2011/03/22/occasional-sex-or-exercise-can-trigger-heart-attacks-—-so-do-it-more-often/).

To peak, you must visit the extremes of your ability many times, anywhere from 5 or 6 times to 13 times in a session, three times a week. This is also the fastest way to increase your cardio-vascular fitness. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130920094629.htm.

Regardless of what anyone says, researchers and doctors are far behind personal trainers and coaches when it comes to understanding the application of exercise to get optimal fitness. Their research is however critical to future understanding, since they are able to test what is happening in a laboratory setting, although no treadmill is up to task when it comes to the sprint start and top end speed. Personal trainers and coaches look to research for confirmation or refutation of training techniques. This of course is dialectic. New refinements are then added to or subtracted from the orthodox methods, step by step.

The lesson: No exercise plan will work if it is too short, high intensity exercise requires a warm up if reducing your chances of injury or fatal heart attack are of interest to you, and you should do some strength training to compliment whatever your favorite mode of exercise is.

Edward Troy, personal trainer