Alright Folks… Let’s Talk Intensity

Today’s blog post is shared by Fit for Life’s (found at contributing author, Rebecca King.

After completing a four-year degree program in the field of kinesiology Rebecca is the Fit for Life resident skeptic! When an idea, new product, nutrition or fitness information comes forward she is the one to hold everyone up while she works to verify or disprove a claim. A huge fan of empirical evidence Rebecca will never hesitate to tell you when you’re wrong, or that something won’t work. But, wonderfully, she will never support or give advice that she cannot prove and will admit when she does not know something – if that ever happens don’t worry; she’ll find the answer! Her passions lie in educating people about the benefits of physical activity, especially as relates to childhood and lifestyle-preventable disease. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate on the Fit for Life program and develop a 30-day lifestyle lesson focusing in on her strengths in fitness and activity promotion throughout the life cycle.

“I absolutely do NOT want to scare anyone off, okay?  So please don’t freak out.  BUT, it’s time to talk about that dreaded word:


If you’ve taken the time to read through the PDFs listed on the (yes, still-under-construction exercise page – it takes some time to put this stuff together, and we’ve been very focused on testing these great recipes!) Fit for Life website hopefully you’ve found some tips and ideas to help get you going.  I PROMISE exercise isn’t nearly as scary as it sounds.

But I was out at a social event the other night, chatting with a friend of mine.  And I flipped my lid a little bit.  Hahaha…  I know most of you don’t know me, but if you do, I’m sure you can believe it.

We were talking with one of our 30-day beta-testers who has decided to include a beginning-running regime in her trial to help expedite her weight loss (you can read about her here – she’s awesome, inspiring, and absolutely the reason we do and love what we do).  Anyway, this man, who is an incredible musician, was chatting about his past experience running and we were swapping stories and he relates about a friend of his who’d recently reported running a good, strong 3 kilometres before absolutely exhausting herself and calling it quits.  He reports having told her she’s SILLY and should have gone for a full 5K, even if just a walk.  Because running 5K and walking 5K burns the same number of calories.

Okay, if you’ve read THIS far and you agree, put your hand up high in the air.  Anyone?  You?  Yes?  Excellent.  Now, bring your hand down to eye-level and smack yourself.

Now that I’ve told you to slap yourself in the face, don’t be offended or hate me – THINK about this with me for a minute.  When you WALK…however far, is that hard?  Walk to the end of your driveway to get the mail, let’s say.  Difficult?  Are you out of breath?  (Some of us might actually be WHICH IS OKAY.  Bear with me for a moment).  Okay.  So now jog that same distance.  A little tougher?  What about running it?  Sprinting it?  Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh……… it’s HARDER the harder you work for a reason:

you’re using more energy.

Want to guess what calories are?  Calories = energy

And the big “secret” of weight loss?  Using more Calories in a day than you’re eating in a day.

Soooooooo….. yeeeaaaah.

The harder you workout, the more energy you’re burning.  The more energy you’re burning the more fat you’re going to use up.  (Actually, the more aerobic training you do the more your body relies on fat stores FOR your cardio workouts….but don’t worry, that’s a whole other blogpost I won’t bore you with right now).  If you go to the gym and get a personal trainer who tells you to workout in “the fat burning zone” RUN as fast as you can in the other direction to get away from that trained monkey (you’ll fight more fat that way!)

There’s a study that came out of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario within the last few years that looked at the effect of high-intensity-training on all these different fitness variables.  It was pretty crazy, but BASICALLY it boiled down to this ridiculous program that included a total of 6 minutes of beyond-belief-difficult exercise interspersed with rest periods yielded similar or better results in participants than a 30 minute continuous-aerobic activity (like walking or jogging).  I can explain it a little more, or better, later – I don’t want this to be the longest post ever because you have healthy cooking and activities to attend to!

But what does this information mean for YOU?  Nothing if you don’t want it to. Or if you’re out and about and going for a run and you decide, gosh darn it, you want to run as fast as you can for a minute or two and then take a walking break for longer THAT IS OKAY, and MIGHT even be better for you than going at a slow-to-medium pace the entire length of your run.  Usually we train to be able to run a certain distance non-stop or use the elliptical for 30 minutes without puking because it’s relatively easy to do, easy to measure, and it absolutely DOES yield results.

But if you’re ever out for a run (or ANY other activity you participate in), and you run a good, hard 3K and someone tells you you should have gone slower and done 5K, just tell them you were working on elevating your lactate threshold, pushing your ceiling, and crushing your oxygen deficit – that should shut them up for at least long enough for you to spin on your heels, and show off your newly-intensely-trained and toned calves!

And yes, when I go for a run I go for a long, slow pace to get the furthest distance I can.  I’m just saying.


Rebecca King

king.rebeccaann at gmail dot com

Team Kinesiologist”


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