Wellness in North County: Bursting your way to better health

We all know people who work out for hours each day. They look great, but at what cost? They walk in the mornings, bike, surf, or go to the gym in the afternoon and hit a yoga class in the evening. If you’re like most of us with limited time in each day, the aforementioned workout schedule is impossible to keep.

That’s one reason I’m thankful that trainers have developed a quicker road to fitness. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, I will tell you what I believe: Most of us can be far more fit than we currently are in as little as 20 minutes a day, four days a week.

I don’t know the history of burst training, but it first came to my attention through a personal trainer friend, the amazing Kita Johnson. Kita, who has spent most of her life in the fitness business, first recommended burst to me several years ago. We were in LA Fitness, peddling side by side on bikes to nowhere when I noticed that she was alternating her pace from time to time, pushing extremely hard for a while and cruising for a while. She explained how this method worked and how employing it would help me achieve my fitness goals. Having worked closely with such fitness gurus as Jay Robb and Jack LaLanne, I decided to take Kita’s advice. While I did find great benefits to burst training, I eventually backslid into longer and less strenuous routines. I think the less strenuous part was the reason for my abandonment.

The idea of burst faded from my thinking nearly as quickly as it had arrived until I began noticing popular methods of working out, such as Insanity and P90X, both employed some of the same basic theories as burst. In short the theory of burst is to workout like a sprinter. (Ever seen a fat sprinter? Me neither.)

With summer coming on and the hopes of riding shorter boards and bigger waves looming, I am seeking a higher level of fitness. While nobody should attempt a strenuous workout routine without first consulting a physician, once the doc gives the green light, try this with me. Keep in mind that each of the following exercises should be done at the highest possible speed.

1) Run in place for 30 seconds.

2) Do pushups for 30 seconds.

3) Rest for 30 seconds.

4) Do low squats for 30 seconds.

5) Do bicycles for 30 seconds.

6) Rest for 30 seconds.

7) Do bear crawls for 30 seconds.

8) Do burpees for 30 seconds.

9) Rest one minute.

10) Repeat the above routine four times.

Just this morning I began the above routine and can tell you it is not as easy as it sounds. In fact, I avoided the burpees and simply repeated running in place and bicycles during my final round. Also, I intend to alter this program with sprints, stairs, swimming, paddling and jumping rope.

I don’t think it matters so much what you do as how you do it. Going hard, resting and going hard again seems to work. It is estimated that burst training burns six times the fat of standard aerobic exercise. Here’s to greater endurance and a narrower waistline.


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