In this blog I will hopefully explain how marketers try to scare and confuse the public into buying their product or they use these tactics to gain a following and increased exposure.

I like to spilt all exercise into 4 different types, it fits my fairly black and white view of the world but it also allows me to assess what someone is doing and the merits of it. This is a fairly generic way to do things and can leave room for error but generally is a good guideline, so the 4 different types are;

  • Steady state cardio. Generally fairly long in duration, brings the heart rate up to a moderate level and has little effect after it’s finished but has health benefits and calorie burn. This includes exercise like Walking/Yoga/Swimming.
  • Resistance. Can vary in duration but results in some form of muscular fatigue on different body parts and long term consistency can lead to shape change and also calorie burn. This includes exercise like Gym session/Barre/Body Pump.
  • HIIT/interval. Generally short in duration and has big impact on heart rate. Tends to burn a lot of calories in relation to duration of session and has rest periods. This includes exercise like Metafit/tabata/sprinting.
  • Hard Cardio. Generally is a medium to long duration where a lot of calories are burnt without many rest periods and the heart rate is raised significantly and stays raised. This includes exercise like Running/Spinning/Crossfit.

There is some cross over on these descriptions but lets start with the general idea that all exercise can have a benefit, no exercise is inherently bad or good, it just is. We have just come through a period of most of the fitness industry saying steady state cardio was the devil, despite it clearly having a place in people’s programmes. HIIT has been popularised by people like the Body Coach and it has a certain appeal in it’s efficiency. Fit in 15mins? Hell yeah but what we are starting to see is the backlash against HIIT. With people writing blogs and editorials to look at HIITs downsides, the fact that it is bloody hard to do, some people have busy lives and it would maybe be better for people to do a gentler form of exercise instead of add more stress.

What will happen now I would imagine is someone becomes popular for doing exercise slow, I’d imagine this will link into the current trend of meditation, mindfulness and Hyyge were we look to actively engage with the exercises we are doing and slow everything down, which is great but what if you just want to burn calories and are time poor. Surely HIIT will suit you better? If you are over weight, will you benefit more from doing HIIT and burning calories but taking the stress that comes with it. Or are you more likely to do something that you enjoy more often thus sticking to it and getting the overall benefits of weight loss and relaxation?

When reading these types of articles try to be a bit more critical, why is this person telling me this? What motive do they have to me this type of information? With the spread of fake news in the political world, maybe when it comes to our health we need to be a bit more cynical too.

A few tips for your own training

If you are looking to get in shape and have 1 session available per week, I would

  • Prioritise resistance training with a bit of HIIT to finish.

If you are looking to get in shape and have 2 sessions available per week,

  • 1 resistance session and 1 HIIT session would be ideal.

If you are looking to get in shape and have 3 sessions available per week,

  • 2 resistance sessions and 1 HIIT would be ideal.

If you are looking to get in shape and have 4 sessions available per week,

  • 2 resistance sessions, 1 HIIT and 1 hard cardio would be ideal.

You get the general idea, steady state isn’t the devil, it can be easily done by things like lunchtime walks, cycles at the weekend or even a yoga class. It has huge benefits, mainly for health and most importantly stick to something you like doing. I walk most days and listen to an audiobook, it helps me burn calories and I learn at the same time. Exercise doesn’t need to be awful and never listen to someone if they say a certain exercise doesn’t have merit. You will get in better shape doing 5 Zumba classes a week than you will by doing one HIIT per week.

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