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-   -   Do you think intensity matters? (https://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/exercise/75693-do-you-think-intensity-matters.html)

~Shawna~ 02-09-2006 10:49 AM

Do you think intensity matters?
When I go full force on the machines at the gym...sweating, panting etc...I burn lots of calories (according to the calorie counter thingy). But then I hate it cuz then I feel like I'll never finish. So, what I was thinking of doing is just bringing my book and reading and just going at MY pace for as long as I can till I get bored or whatever. I did this a little while ago with a good suspense book and during the climax of the book I couldn't put it down so I ended up going on the machine for over an hour. When I have my music I go for 20 minutes, cuz I get bored. So, I'm just thinking...low intensity is better than NO intensity (not going) at all...right?

LanMyers 02-09-2006 11:55 AM

I'd say you'd be better off challenging your body every time, rather than staying in the "green zone" that they show on the machines at the Gym. I think 20 mins of high intensity will probably do you better than an hour at a slow pace... with the slow pace, you will not be gaining much as far as your body is concerning because you are not exerting yourself. A friend of mine just had the same problem and what I am telling you is what her doctor had to drill into her head. (After I had already been telling her for some time before he said anything... his degree obviously made all the difference!) Anyway, my 2 cents... hope you stay on track! BTW... Congrats on your MASSIVE loss... looks like you are doin awesome! When do we get to see some before and after pics? huh?!

Only Me 02-09-2006 12:25 PM

If you're going slow enough to be concentrating on a good book, are you actually getting your heart rate up enough for it to be considered aerobic exercise? Yes, it's no doubt better than sitting on the couch reading the same book. But I doubt it's as good as 20-30 minutes at a higher intensity. If it makes you exercise more, can you do 20 minutes high intensity then "reward" yourself by reading at a lower intensity either then or the next day?

Margarita 02-09-2006 12:40 PM

Listen to your own body. If you're burning out and losing interest after 20 minutes of intensity, there's nothing wrong with slowing it down. As long as your pace is that of a brisk walk, rather than a leisurely stroll, you should get the same calorie-burning benefits as the shorter, more intense workout.

stacylambert 02-09-2006 02:21 PM

Hmm, there's a huge debate about the whole fat burning zone vs cardio zone with a lot of math that goes a long with it. Here's my take on it....

It takes awhile to find the right "formula" for you. There's got to be some balance between intensity and duration. High intensity really gets your heart, lungs, etc working hard while long duration creates endurance and is, well, easier. I don't think either extreme is great all the time. I think that's the idea behind intervals. Anyway, make a goal for yourself. It may be a calorie amount to burn, it might be so many minutes per day/week, etc. Then just work as hard as you can within the paramaters of that goal. Personally I set a time goal for the week and do as high intensity as I can and still complete the time. Another way is just to find a preset cardio plan and do it. Most people get bored, but you got to do it anyway. If your interested I have a treadmill program I can pm you.

I hope that all made some sense.

blues4miles 02-09-2006 03:36 PM

I've often wondered about this...I do WATP which many ladies think is not intense enough (perhaps it's not for them anyways). But I also heard you don't *start* burning fat until after 20 minutes of cardio. So it seems like 30 minutes of moderate aerobics would be much more beneficial than 20 minutes of intense aerobics. I aim for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, and I know I'm burning calories but I do often wonder about the whole fat burning thing...and admittedly, when I first started working out, it was so difficult I didn't want to do it and didn't want to last the whole time. Starting at a lower intensity and working my way up has helped me to keep doing it, though I'm not sure if I'm really burning fat or not...

~Shawna~ 02-09-2006 03:42 PM

I'm quite happy with my weight loss success to date and I do feel that sometimes I do need that slow pace. I do this one cool machine it's like..a step master/cross trainer in one. WHen I do intense cardio for 45 minutes it says I burned 900 calories!!!!! Way more than the cross trainer by itself. I wet my work-out to fat burn, which does 2 minutes of high and 2 minutes of low. Granted, when I'm reading, I'm not going very fast, but I make sure that I AM going fast enough to get my heart rate up. It's just....I dunno...I would just rather do slow work outs on those days that I just don't feel very motivated. Because like I say.....SOME is better than NONE.

srmb60 02-09-2006 03:49 PM

I was surfing around the internet trying to find a calculator that might help with this cuz I don't know. I was wondering if there is a site where you can plug in your weight, resting heart rate, activity, achieved heart rate and duration and it would give you a calorie count. Anybody know of one?

WaterRat 02-09-2006 05:30 PM

My 2 cents is this - you can't trust the calories burned feature on the machines! I can use 2 machines exactly the same, and punch in the same weight and get widely different readings for the same amount of exercise. I think (and you can do what you want with my opinion :lol: ) that you need to be working hard (for you) in order to do any fat burning. The low intensity is better than sitting around, i.e. it burns more calories, but it doesn't do much for getting the pounds off. If you do 20 minutes minutes of hard cardio and add some weight lifting, that should change things up. Someone earlier mentioned intervals, and that helps me. I go all out (or at least harder) for either a set period of time, or the length of a song, and do this throughout my cardio, and it makes the time go faster. Or why not change what you do for cardio - maybe take a class, walk/run outside, something new. Your body does get used to exercise, and you get more efficient at it and end up burning less calories.

Only Me 02-09-2006 05:30 PM


Originally Posted by SusanB
I was surfing around the internet trying to find a calculator that might help with this cuz I don't know. I was wondering if there is a site where you can plug in your weight, resting heart rate, activity, achieved heart rate and duration and it would give you a calorie count. Anybody know of one?

I don't think it would be very accurate. As you get more aerobically fit, you have a lower heart rate for the same speed of activity, (eg it takes less effort to use the elliptical/treadmill/whatever at the same setting) but you aren't burning less calories.

fikustrees 02-09-2006 06:20 PM

I think that you should try and switch high intensity with low intensity every other day if you are stuck on a plateau. If things are working than stay right where you are. I really like listening to cardio coach (www.cardiocoach.com) when I am working hard because it keeps me motivated and interested. You might want to look into it, his site is really nice.

canadian*girl 02-09-2006 07:26 PM

i would switch it up. slow down and speed up. read for a while, challenge yourself for a while. i don't know how good that is for fat burning and losing weight though.

mocha74 02-09-2006 08:55 PM

I agree with switching it up. It's good to workout extra hard one day and then the next day slow it up a little. It gives your body a chance to recover from the previous day.

surfdreams 02-09-2006 09:02 PM

Shawna - I tried to read and do cardio and it just wasn't working well. Music distracts me. So, I switched to listening to Books on CDs. The only way I can hear what is coming next is to exercise since I will not listen to the CD unless I exercise. I have no problem upping the intensity when I listen, only have problem when I read. You might try that!

northernbelle 02-09-2006 09:38 PM

High intensity interval cardio training should not be done for more than 20-30 minutes at a time, because you are pushing your CV system to the maximum. You burn just as many calories during HIIT cardio as you do during a longer moderate cardio. Your body needs both types of exercise, so you could alternate between them. I try to do HIIT twice a week (not on consecutive days), and moderate the rest of the time (for the cardio portion).

Beginners should stick to moderate cardio, increasing the duration for five minutes each time until they can do 50-60 minutes. Only then should they try HIIT.

The 'fat burning zone' is basically a myth. After about 10 minutes when your body reaches the steady state, you are burning glucose and fatty acids in the bloodstream for energy. You are not literally eating up fat deposits. The percentage of fatty acids burned to glucose is pretty standard and determined by genetics. The beauty of any exercise is that your metablolism is heightened for several hours afterwards, and you continue to burn calories at a higher rate, even if you just go home and watch TV.

The calorie counters on the machines are general logarithms and can be widely inaccurate. If you use the same machines all the time, you can use the counters as a guide to determine how many calories you have burned. It is also another way to measure the intensity of your workout- same # of calories in less time; more calories in the same time, etc.

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