Excellent article by Dr. Mercola, from his Peak Fitness blog, where exercise is just like medicine and is sometimes best “taken as prescribed” to optimize your health. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced, the workout “prescription” below covers the most important variables to keep in mind when creating and performing your fitness program and to help you reap maximum results.
The Three Pillars of Fitness
Most every fitness program should include the following pillars at their base. These are the foundation that holds your program together:
- Peak Fitness High-Intensity Interval TrainingExercising in shorter bursts with rest periods in between burns more fat than exercising less intensely for longer periods and it’s incredibly time efficient, as you can do it in a fraction of the time as compared to traditional cardio (an entire workout takes just 20 minutes, and only 4 minutes are at high intensity).Researchers believe this type of exercise works because it produces a unique metabolic response. Intermittent sprinting produces higher levels of chemical compounds called catecholamines, which stimulate more fat to be burned from under your skin and within your muscles. The resulting metabolic shift towards increased fat oxidation is thought to drive the increased weight loss.Further, high-intensity exercises like my Peak Fitness program engage a specific group of muscle fibers that you cannot engage through aerobic cardio, and engaging these muscle fibers causes a cascade of positive health benefits. These include improved fat burning and boosting your body’s natural production of human growth hormone (HGH), which is a vital hormone that is key for physical strength, health and longevity.
The key factor that makes interval training so effective is intensity. To reap maximum results, you need to work out at maximum intensity for short intervals, with rest periods in between these spurts of activity. You can get an idea of what that looks like by watching the videos on this page.
Remember, to perform the Peak Fitness correctly, you’ll want to raise your heart rate to your anaerobic threshold (220 minus your age), and to do that, you have to give it your all for those 30-second intervals.
- Active Isolated StretchingWith Active Isolated Stretching or AIS, developed by Aaron Mattes, you hold each stretch for only two seconds, which works with your body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints. This technique also stimulates your body to repair itself and prepare for daily activity.
- Strength TrainingStrength training is an integral part of a well-rounded exercise program, and it offers limitless benefits above and beyond muscle building, including weight loss, improved posture and improvements to back pain.Strength training can build bone density and reduce and even reverse loss of muscle mass as you age and the more you strength train, the more muscle you will build, which will actually help you lose weight. A pound of muscle burns 10 times more calories than a pound of fat. Strength training can even help you reduce your risk of heart disease, as it helps you lose visceral fat, the most dangerous type of fat when it comes to cardiovascular health.