By Kim Duke NETA & AFAA Certified Trainer
Have you noticed how many exercise trends are pushing an intensity level that seems unattainable to your average human being? There is The Insanity Workout, P90X, Spartacus, The Metabolic Effect, HiiT (High Intensity Interval Training) and most recently, CrossFit.
All of these programs are designed to push you to your limits with both cardio endurance and physical strength. All promote working out at maximum capacity without compromising form and with short rest periods.
As a fitness professional, I have tried all of the above workouts. And with all of them, I see where they can be effective. Typically, I use aspects of them within my training programs and fitness classes, but unless you are already physically fit and in excellent health, my concern with any of these workouts at this high level of intensity is that if you are doing them independently or along with a DVD, your risk for injury can sky rocket. And, the person who buys these disks is usually in a hurry for weight loss and is more than likely out of shape.
I have discussed the different heart rate zones in the past, and as many of you are aware, there is a zone for fat burning (60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate) and then there are the zones above that. Those are the zones that burn fat and an amazing amount of calories. There is also the anaerobic zone that is deprived of oxygen. Here is where your DVD workouts can get dangerous. Pushing you to these zones without proper instruction and guidance can be literally life threatening.
Yes, we see folks on “The Biggest Loser” being pushed until they are close to vomiting. They achieve huge results, too. But, there are scores of professionals tracking these individuals’ every move, calorie intake and mental health.
What is proven to accomplish weight loss is consistency.
Maybe I should trademark that as a workout program and people will actually believe results are attainable. Consistent cardio, consistent weight training and a consistently healthy diet all help to achieve weight loss and overall better health … so basic it’s unbelievable, but results are undeniable.
The high-Intensity programs are designed to produce some truly amazing results. My advice to you is to seek out guidance and assistance with these workouts. Even my most fit clients and athletes get sloppy when they are fatigued. With fitness training at this level, your best bet is to train supervised with a designated spotter to keep an eye on form. I have seen injuries range from pulled back muscles to torn ligaments without supervised training at this level.
So, if results are what you are after and training with a professional is not in your budget, remember that any consistent form of exercise and healthy diet will get you results. You may not get there as quickly as a “Biggest Loser” contestant, but you will get there.