Sunday, November 29, 2015         


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Varying workout intensity is best way to see results

By Reggie Palma


Ignore the infomercials and all the outlandish claims of rapid weight loss with no effort involved. It is impossible to get results without any effort. Conversely, there is no need to exercise to exhaustion and injury, either. Results only require a commitment to be steadfast and dedicated to your health for life. This means you have to shift your workout efforts and make them more efficient and productive.

Take an example from both the tortoise and the hare. Your exercise plans should have periods of increased intensity, followed by periods of decreased intensity, alternating back and forth as feels natural for you.

Here is a simple way to organize your workouts that will maximize your gains while minimizing the hurt. Exercise seven days a week but shuffle the deck.

Take a 45-minute walk one day, and then take a more vigorous 30-minute walk the next day. Follow this with a "workout day." This is the day that you step it up. A full-body workout that targets both upper and lower body, along with cardiovascular elements, would work well.

For example, find a park bench to repeatedly sit down and stand up for 1 minute. Immediately go to a push-up position and, using the edge of the bench for hand placement, attempt another minute straight.

It will be difficult at first, and the minute will feel like an eternity, but stick with it because you will get stronger. Repeat this cycle for five to six minutes, then take a 15-minute lap around the park, run on a treadmill or choose another cardiovascular activity you enjoy. Repeat the strength routine and cardiovascular routine until your hour is up, then give yourself a hand.

After those three days, repeat the cycle and rest on the seventh day by performing only a light 30-minute cardiovascular workout. When you mark this on a calendar, you will see a pattern of peaks and valleys that will allow you to push your body for the results you want while allowing ample recovery time to ensure it stays in its optimal condition.

In general the pattern involves a daily cardiovascular regimen with two strength-training days thrown in the mix. When you plateau, simply keep in mind the lifestyle philosophy of high intensity followed by recovery and back to intensity again, but replace the activity with something to match the stronger you.

Reggie Palma is an exercise physiologist and personal trainer. His website is Email questions to

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