To be fast or to be slow and controlled, that is the question.
You may think that working out at blazing speeds is always the answer and is the best option for whatever it is you’re trying to do. I’m here to tell you that is actually not always right! While sometimes it is great to work out with some serious pace and keep your heart rate up, others there might be a better approach.
There are actually three different general levels to workouts, whether that be in a gym, class, or wherever doing whatever. Those three different levels are called; light, moderate, and vigorous. How many of each workout you decide to do will depend heavily on what your goals are and where you are at in terms of fitness levels.
There are recommendations on what each adult should be getting a week:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week
- 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week
- combination of both types of activity spread throughout the week
Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so let’s see what those are!
One thing that will draw a lot of people to these types of exercise is that they tend to burn more fat cells than the other kind of workouts! You may be wondering why low intensity would burn more fat, so let me tell you.
Fat acts as a more long-term energy solution for your body. While a lot of energy can be stored in fat cells, it takes longer for the body to access those stored calories to fuel the wonderful machine that is your body.
Since your body isn’t using explosive energy and doesn’t need a heap of energy on the spot, it has time to reach into those fat reserves and pull some energy out, burning those fat cells up. This isn’t a life hack though as, in the same period of time as compared to moderate or vigorous workouts, you will burn fewer overall calories.
What constitutes a light workout, will vary widely from person to person and their fitness levels. For example, a light workout for a novice and a seasoned athlete will look pretty different. Since I don’t know every single person’s fitness level who will read this, nor do I want to bore you with the endless math and science, I will give you a rule of thumb to follow instead.
Light workouts should have you building up a little sweat over time, where you will eventually tire out. You should, however, be able to carry on a conversation during one of these workouts relatively easily. An example of this would be going for a walk.
Moderate workouts kind of give you the best of both worlds between light and vigorous workouts. They won’t give you the fullest extent of the benefits offered by either though. Just a little bit of both.
These workouts will burn both fat and carbs from your body instead of primarily burning fat. Since these workouts are a little more intense, your body may need some carbs to get up and running, but it will also have time to reach into those fat stores and use some of those cells for energy.
These workouts will get the heart going and have you starting to sweat in a noticeably quicker time frame than before. They are great ways to build endurance and build up to vigorous workouts. I really like these kinds of workouts as they can be fun and you can burn a lot of calories.
Examples of moderate workouts include; hiking, power walking, jumping rope, or playing basketball for 20 minutes or so.
These are the hard ones, the ones you see athletes doing a lot. They will end up burning more carbs than fat, as you need explosive power for these kinds of workouts. These workouts, un-surprisingly, burn the most calories in the same period of time as compared to the other workouts mentioned.
Vigorous workouts will have your heart pumping and have sweat dripping off your nose in no time.
These workouts are great for fitting in a workout when you don’t have much time, or you want to become better at a certain physical activity, or just making your body better really. These have been linked to helping with heart health and other great things like that!
These workouts will look something like moderate workouts, only they are doubled or halved. To explain this, if your moderate mile time is 9 minutes, your vigorous time would be around 8 or less. If you go hiking, you’re going longer or carrying a heavy weight on your back, if you’re playing sports, you’re sprinting and jumping higher.