Exercise! - Which is better a short intense workout or a longer moderate one?

07-28-2008, 05:37 AM

Here's trying to make a long sotry short... I work TWO full-time jobs and as a result I only am able to grab 4 hours of sleep here and there. When I workout Iit DEFINETLY cuts into my sleep time (which I cant have when I get so little).

With the workout tapes I use it is supposed to be a 30 minute session with a 5 minute warm up and a 5 minute cool down. In the 30 minutes is 20 minutes of moderate cardio (enough to sweat and get the heart going I would say around 70-80%) and 10 minutes of high intensity (really sweating, probably around 90%). I can't do the whole 40 minutes most days though, but I can customize it so I can only do either the 10 minute or the 20 minute workout with the warm up and cool down.

Since (most days) I can only do one segment, which would be the most effective option?

07-28-2008, 05:45 AM
Well, getting enough sleep is a priority.

I would cut down to the 20 minute and do the cardio first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything... except water. That way your body is ready to burn stored fat.

07-28-2008, 08:25 AM
I agree with taurie. I would cut down the exercise to 2o min a day. Yes exercise is very important in wt loss...but studies have shown that sleep is EXTREMELY important. I understand that you have 2 jobs and don't have much sleep time...but realize that sleep is sooo much more important for wt loss.

07-28-2008, 08:32 AM
Unless I misunderstood your question, I think you're asking whether you should do the 10-minute intense workout or the 20-minute moderate one, right? I'll answer that question (and if I'm wrong about your question, "sorry!" in advance). I think it depends on what you like. I tend to like shorter, intense workouts, but sometimes I'm not in the mood for that, and I do a longer moderate workout. Go by your energy level. You could also try alternating them, i.e., do the 10-minute intense workout one day, and do the 20-minute moderate workout the next. This would also give you some needed variety.

I admire the fact that you're still managing to fit workouts into your schedule while working two jobs. But as the others advised, don't skimp on your sleep. I've seen studies that show that people who do not get enough sleep tend to be more overweight than those who do get enough sleep.

Edited to add: If it's any help to you, I've found that when losing weight, food is 90% of the equation (i.e., rather than exercise). When I was in my 20's, I didn't know squat about exercise, but I still managed to get to the lowest weight of my adult life just doing a 15-minute Jane Fonda workout in the a.m. It was a lame combination of some jumping around for cardio and then some floor work exercises (leg lifts, etc.). I did that short workout every day, and I was toned and thin. Now, maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was in my 20's :) , but I think most of it had to do with the fact that I was stringent with my eating.

07-28-2008, 11:54 AM
Is it possible that you can fit in a walk during your lunch hour? I know a few people with my company who fit in a half hour walk and still have a half hour to eat their lunch. They bring in their walking shoes and mp3 player and walk for 30-40 min. My facility only allows a 30min lunch and we have a workout room with several machines for us and there is a guy here who will work out for 20 min on the elliptical and then eats his lunch for the last 10 min.

07-28-2008, 11:50 PM
Hmmm... I am sorry you are getting so little sleep. I would advise you to fit some some little exercise during the day. Like an extra trip to the coffee machine, or park your car a little further away than usual. Little thing like that that wouldn't cut into your zzz time.

07-29-2008, 04:31 AM
I have a personal trainer and, for what it's worth, he definitely recommends shorter, more intense workouts over longer, moderate ones. His theory is, why spend 30 min burning the same calories you can burn in 10 or 20?

I personally have found shorter, more intense workouts (interval training) to be more effective than when I was slaving away for an hour at cardio.

I also think it is a matter of preference, but in your case it sounds like your preference is shorter, more intense. If so, I say go for it.

07-29-2008, 08:31 AM
After the first 3FC 5k, I thought I would lose weight faster if I did an hour on the treadmill and did a 5k(3.1 miles) EVERY time I got on the treadmill. What happened was I ended up stalling and was at the same weight for a while. Last week I started doing an interval training Treadmill workout that takes about 30 to 32 minutes 3 times a week), and the weight has since started coming off again. I also do weights & Strength training for about 20 minutes 3 times a week. On non GYM day's I may do a Walk Away The Pounds video.

So my vote is for a shorter more intense workout since you are so short on time. I also recommend you try and get in more sleep, at least 7 hours if you can. Research has shown that the lack of proper sleep increases your chances of being obese and/or remaining that way.

Here is just one of many strories on the sleep issue: