Fitness in a hunting publication – gross!  Mike Deming has always believed that a fit predator is a deadly predator – thus a column dedicated to fitness for over six years.  Thanks Deming.  Maybe you don’t have time to workout or you’re burnt out on the same mundane routine.  I always preach that routine is the enemy, so keep workouts on shuffle mode and results will find you.  You don’t need a great deal of time to accomplish a lot of work and hopefully see immediate results. 

Long and slow workouts are a thing of the past.  Duration has a time and place, however, for most of us busy people, we won’t and don’t put that kind of time in.  Let’s advocate less duration and more intensity to get those mountain legs ready for spring.

There is up-to-date research suggesting that short and intense training bouts combined with short rest accomplishes much of the cardiovascular health benefits once associated, exclusively, with longer and less intense workouts. This is a clear indication that you can achieve great fitness results despite your hectic work and family obligations.  Less is more.

Our need for cardiovascular fitness is clear, not only as a means to burn fat, but also protects against the ravages of heart disease.  The longer you can fight off aging, the more time you’ll have to dedicate to your passion for family and the outdoors.  To accomplish a short cardio workout, you have to crank up the intensity which can bring upon discomfort.  Don’t worry, you can teach yourself to be comfortable with uncomfortable and it will undoubtedly make you mentally stronger for the mountains.

Short bursts (60 seconds or less) of intense aerobic activity, followed by shorter recovery has a positive impact on health.  Less is more and a few intense sets done with the right amount of rest can make a big difference in our overall health and appearance.  On a hunting note, many of our adventures involve short bursts up the mountain, climbing into a stand, dragging an animal or wading across a swift current.  These mimic intervals, so this means we’ll have a high degree of transferability into the field when doing short and sweet workouts!

Improvements from intense exercise are:

  • Cardiovascular Fitness
  • Strength
  • Fat Loss
  • Improved Mood
  • Immune System Function
  • Blood Pressure
  • Faster Metabolism

If less duration and more intensity is going to be effective, then we must include strategies to crank the intensity dial.  Intensity relates to the degree of the inroads – or amount of fatigue – you’ve made into your muscle at any given instant.  Intensity can be increased by:

  • Amplification of mental effort – getting “psyched”
  • Increasing repetitions
  • Increasing load
  • Decreasing rest between reps
  • Decreasing rest between sets
  • Increasing the number of exercises
  • Increasing the speed of movement
  • Increasing the amount of work done at the anaerobic threshold (maximum pain tolerance)

The old fashioned “wisdom” that fat loss is achieved by moderate intensity for more than 30 minutes has been challenged.  When you work out more intensely, you need more energy and hence, you will burn more calories and use more oxygen during the workout.  More fat and more calories are burned during higher intensity exercise over a given time period. Therefore, if you have limited time it is best to exercise as hard as safely possible in the time available.  It really is simple logic. If you have 15 to 30 minutes to exercise, does it make sense that working out at a lower intensity than you are safely capable of would cause you to lose more fat? To believe this is to believe that expending less energy is going to help you lose more fat. Not on this planet.  Less is more.

Application of this practice can pertain to any kind of workout.  If you’re using a treadmill, do not settle into one pace; change the speed and incline often.  If you like walking, find yourself some variable terrain and turn up the pace with a pack on.  If you have access to the weight room, create a circuit versus socializing or resting between sets.  Less is more when intensity is present.  Make your workouts short and sweet!

About the Author:
Dan is an avid bowhunter in the Northwest, hold’s a Master’s degree in Exericse Sciences and owns CrossFit Spokane Valley.