Drive down Woodward Ave., or any business heavy district, and there’s no shortage of exercise outlets to pick from: large gyms, cycling studios, boxing rings, personal training, and circuit style establishments to name a few. It’s terrific we have so many options and they can all be good ones. After all, we should seek enjoyment in our physical activity. However, it’s my belief many of us are missing a low hanging fruit in our fitness journey: metabolic flexibility. Most of our training/exercise should be easy, conversational in fact. Let me explain why.
Anyone who remembers grade school biology will recall the infamous, “the mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell”. It’s true. We know an increased number, and efficiency, of mitochondria in our muscles help us utilize fat as a fuel source. Efficient mitochondria allow us to go on an all-day hike with nothing more than water and a couple snacks (i.e. when we are aerobically fit we partition fat as fuel instead of glucose (sugar) in our cells). So, a high intensity workout may ultimately burn a higher number of calories, but it’s likely not training your aerobic system to be more efficient (i.e. favoring fat over glucose). There’s a place in most people’s fitness routine for those heart pounding sessions, but when’s the last time you broke a sweat at an effort so easy you could carry on a conversation with the person next to you?
Consistency is king in most endeavors in life and our health/fitness is no different. Building a better aerobic base, no matter your fitness goals, will have many positive effects downstream. Aerobic training has been proven to lower resting heart rate, decrease blood pressure, increase insulin resistance and build tolerance to load (i.e. increase one’s ability to tolerate high intensity activities). The best part? You can move your fitness forward without having to add in any more “suffering” into your regiment.
If you’re curious to understand more, stop in for a chat, or look for the next post that gives you some practical tips for putting the “easy” in “easy”.