Intensity vs Duration – the secret to a great workout!
Posted on April 03 2017
With a myriad of options available at our disposal, one begs to question eventually, should we go for a longer workout or a shorter, more intense workout? Both have their own advantages and shortcomings and are suited for completely different purposes.
Let’s dig deeper!
Benefits of a Longer Workout
You can stretch a workout by reducing the intensity and taking longer gaps in between. It has always been the tried and tested method of working out for centuries. Longer workouts are great for muscle building, and since you essentially stress and strain a little below your limits, your muscles take a much more relaxed approach to tearing and fatigue, giving well rounded, defined shapes.
In cardio and other workouts like kickboxing, cycling, running etc., when you stretch your workouts lowering the intensity, it results in better output in terms of health benefits. Your heart rate doesn’t hit the maximum tempo, but rather a semi moderate intensity. This is far safer as you age, or when you are a beginner when your body is adjusting to new factors and habits.
Short High intensity workouts are the talk of town these days. They have revolutionized the way we believed our bodies work. It is nothing short of shock therapy, where you, suddenly stretch your body to the limits, right up to the point of failure. Studies have shown, since these workouts involve rapid action and muscle tear, they induce rapid muscle development in the body. However, due to the extreme nature of these workouts, regular mundane nutrition is not enough. One has to invest in supplements or risk fatigue.
On a brighter note, short, high intensity training is great for building endurance, shredding weight and gaining lean muscles. Besides, they take far lesser time, often less than 15 minutes; and therefore, are ideal if you are in a time crunch.
So which one is better?
You may think working out longer will burn more calories. That myth no longer holds true. It all depends on your heart rate. The more you keep your heart rate in the range of vigorous intensity, the more exhausting and calorie burning your workout will be.
In a longer, less intense workout, you heart works in the extreme range for a very limited amount of time, say 5-6 minutes in a 1-hour spell. In a shorter, high intensity workout, that time is almost 7-8 minutes in a 15-minute spell. As you can see, a proper 15-minute workout can help you burn perhaps more calories than a low intensity 1-hour workout.
Which is better for you depends on what your workout goals are. Short, high energy workouts are great for losing weight and building endurance and stamina. Longer variants are great for building muscles. Take your pick and hop on for the ride!