Why go to a Bootcamp?
Bootcamp exercise classes are now extremely popular and, in my opinion, here to stay. I currently have 4 Bootcamps in Bedford.
A good Bootcamp should push you to do more than you would normally do if you were to exercise alone, whilst at the same time giving the opportunity to work to your own limits and not feel pressurized to do more than you are physically capable of.
Training at high intensity is psychologically tough as the body’s natural instinct to stop will almost always take over if training alone. The problem with stopping when the going gets tough is that the body gets used to mild to moderate intensity workouts very fast (a matter of only a few weeks). Once the body is comfortable you can forget about any fitness and weight loss benefits from your training. In fact the only way you might get any benefit after a couple of weeks of moderate training is if you significantly up the duration of your session. However with modern day busy life styles and work commitments, most people do not have the time for 2-3 hour workouts and in my opinion this is when training can get very monotonous unless you are an avid marathon runner.
So what do I mean by “intense” exercise. The easiest way to describe it without going into too much detail is that by the end of each “interval” you should feel like you do not have anything left and you need a break (depending on your fitness level this break is between 20 seconds to 120 seconds). If you do this your body as gone into an “Anaerobic” state and this is a great way to be if you want to lose weight.
Anaerobic basically means “without oxygen”. If you manage to reach this level of intensity your body simply cannot take in enough oxygen to fuel your muscles. As a result the body produces lactic acid to fill the gap left by oxygen. However over the session lactic acid builds up in the major muscles used and that feeling of “heavy legs” sets in and this is a very GOOD thing! “Heavy legs” is a good indicator that you managed to reach anaerobic effort in the training session. Over the next 24 hours your body does what it is designed to do and feeds the muscles you worked so they strengthen and tone as well as getting rid of any lactic acid still left in the muscles.
So why is this Intensive level of training so much better than long slow and steady exercise for weight loss? A considerable amount of the magic from intensive interval training actually happens over approximately the next 12 hours after the exercise class. After high intensity exercise the body is owed an “Oxygen Debt”. To re pay this debt takes energy and that energy comes from fat in your body. Several hormones that are responsible for fat burning are also released when you train at anaerobic levels and these are not released to the same degree with less intense training.
I could go into a huge amount of detail but I have to go and train my next client now and I am sure you get the point I am trying to make. If like most people you have 2-3 hours available to exercise a week and weight loss is your major goal, forget about moderate intensity workouts. Spread your 2-3 workouts a week across the week and get into high intensity interval training. It works – simple.
I hope to see some of you at my mixed Bedford Bootcamp and Women Bedford Bootcamp soon!