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Intensity or LSD?Posted Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 8:39 AM
Last week I wrote about some differences in today's recommended diets. Many experts recommend higher amounts of lean proteins and lots of veggies and fruits. A little fat is OK, as are whole grains (in moderation). But white, starchy carbohydrates like white rice, pasta and potatoes are a big no except on special occasions.
I noted the above was different than a decade ago when carbs were not deemed such a bad thing. Then, the emphasis was much more geared toward low-fat and fat-free products. Not fun.
I've also noticed some differences in how we're "supposed" to approach exercise these days. As a wannabee runner, I find these shifts fascinating.
Right, wrong or indifferent, intensity is the name of the game now. A decade ago, I had trainers encourage me to shoot for at least a couple days of LSD (long, slow distance) runs combined with other forms of aerobic exercise and weight resistance training for a good balance. In terms of the aerobic exercise, we were told to shoot for our target fat burning zone. In other words, push yourself, but not so hard that you'd be out of your fat-burning zone. You should be able to sustain yourself, with a little discomfort, for a good 45 minutes during your workout sessions, about 5 days a week.
I was talking to a nutrition and exercise specialist a couple weeks ago and was proud to tell her I'd reached a point where I could jog a couple miles again, or do a nice LSD combined with jogging and walking intervals.
I was surprised when she asked me to tweak my routine a bit. She told me to focus less on the time and more on the intensity. Run faster, she said, even if that means you're only on the treadmill for 25 minutes. That, combined with resistance training will bring on the results.
I nodded my head at her advice, but the look on my face must have shown I wasn't fully convinced. How could 25 minutes out of my fat burning zone be better than 45 minutes at a more comfortable pace?
"Have you ever seen a fat sprinter?" she asked.
I couldn't argue with that, and so I'm giving the modern approach a try.
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Sadie Fowler is lifestyles editor for the Times-Gazette.