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Fit for Life: The INside and OUTside of Fitness

Sunday, April 30, 2017


Matt Espeut

It’s getting nicer outside, and many people are switching to riding their bikes, and walking/ jogging, instead of going to the gym for some organized exercise. I say - big mistake. And, here’s why.

I need to start by saying that I am an outdoor enthusiast, and I love hiking, running the trails, mountain biking and other outdoor activities. It’s a fact that being outside is beneficial for both your physical and mental well-being. Vitamin D from the sun, the elevation of mood, and the great feeling of being in nature are all solid reasons to exercise outside. And I encourage it greatly, but…There is no substitution for regular, intense, structured, exercise, and you won’t get the same benefit as doing a 30-minute workout with me, unless you are in beast mode while doing your exercise outside.

I know that most people won’t work out as intently or as purposeful as they do when they get a structured workout. Many people make outdoor activities a pleasurable experience, rather than a way to crush their workouts. They invite family and friends, and unless you are competitive with them, it is unlikely that you will exert enough energy to consider it a workout. If you are hitting the trails on a mountain bike, or hitting the road with a bunch of racers, that’s a different story. If you are running timed interval sprints, claiming rock faces the size of tall buildings, or are kayaking up stream, now you are taking it to another level.

I am talking about the weekend warriors, the seasonal joggers, walkers, the family bikers, and those that bob around in a pool. Yes, you are moving, but that isn’t a substitution for a structured workout. We deliver 30 minute workouts at PFBBC, so you can still get your workouts in, and hit the great outdoors. Here’s why 30 minutes is so effective, and doing longer slower outdoor workouts isn’t more effective.

We have a 30-minute workout model for a reason at Providence Fit Body Boot Camp and that is because we believe after training for 25+ years and training thousands of people, that training intensely for 30 minutes will produce the best results for many reasons. Not only do I believe that but there is a lot of research to back this up as well. Here is some information. Interval training like boot camp is not supposed to be done for longer than 30 minutes, it’s actually not good for the body or your heart to train like that for longer than 30 minutes. If someone is going to work out for longer than 30 minutes, it should be more of a sustained heart rate exercise like jogging (where your heart rate is elevated at a certain amount the whole time). But the results aren’t as favorable. Interval training for longer than 30 minute periods can have some negative effects that outweigh the benefits of burning more calories, and we don’t want that for you, since you are looking for overall fitness and health. 

Here are just a few reasons why we only do 30 minute workouts and why we didn’t design it to be 60 minutes. When you work out for longer than 30 minutes at this level of training:

1. It can increase cortisol levels which is a hormone that makes your body store body fat when elevated over long periods of time.
2. It can stress out your adrenal glands which in the end can make you more tired and fatigued.
3. It can negatively affect female hormones.
4. It makes you more hungry, which means you eat more calories and people end up eating more calories than the calories they thought they burned off in the extra workout.
5. There is more free radical production, which free radicals are linked to rapid aging and cancer – we want to keep free radical production down as much as possible.
6. There is more wear and tear on the joints and ligaments, which can lead to injury down the road or just aches and pains.
7. You have a chance to get burnt out faster with training. That is one great thing about 30 minutes, its short and quick and over.

So that’s the formula folks. If you want to hit the great outdoors, that’s great, but just do not consider it a substitution for an intense, fat burning, muscle building 30-minute workout. Yes, it’s fun and invigorating to be out in nature, but we must attend to business first, then we can enjoy ourselves outside.

Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one


Related Slideshow: The 7 Best Health and Fitness Apps

Here is a list of some of the most obsession worthy health apps.

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MapMyRun is the number one selling running app for a reason:  it is easy to use, offers community support if you want it, and tracks and stores your exact routes for you.  If you are training for a race or a serious runner, users say that the extra perks in the upgraded paid version are well worth it. 

Made for iPhone, Android and Blackberry 

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MyFitnessPal seems to be the clear favorite amongst everyone polled.  It is helpful not only for the fitness tracking aspect, but everyone polled mentioned how much they loved the food/diet aspect as well. From carb counting for diabetics to recipe ideas to complement your fitness goals, users love this app. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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JeFit is another fitness app that has rave reviews.  It not only tracks progress for you, but offers a huge database of workouts.  While many apps offer community support, JeFit allows you to sync workouts with friends who use the app, offering a (real) virtual buddy system.

Made for iPhone and Android

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Strava gets the highest mark of all the cycling apps.  While it is also great for runners, the cyclers seem particularly inclined towards the fierce competition that can be ignited by this app.  You can track all of your rides via GPS, then you can compare your efforts to those logged by others in the community on the same stretch of road.  You can also join ongoing challenges that can net you great prizes (in addition to bragging rights). 

Made for iPhone and Android

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YogaStudio gets the top vote for Yoga apps.  It has a lengthy collection of full class-length videos available at your fingertips.  Unlike many other apps, this one also allows you to customize your own video yoga class.  All of the poses are done by qualified yoga instructors, and you can find classes suitable for all levels of yogis.

Made for iPhone only

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SimplyBeing meditation app offers the best of both worlds.  You can choose to run this app as a background for your meditation with soothing music or natural sounds that run for a set amount of time.  Conversely, for those of you who have trouble focusing during meditation, you can choose a soothing voice-guided meditation. 

Made for iPhone and Android

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Fooducate is an app all about educating people so that they make healthier food choices.  Although not perfect, this app is easy to use (you can even take pictures of bar codes to instantly find foods in their database).  It gives food a letter grade, tells you the pluses and minuses, and gives you better ranked alternatives.  You can also use it as a weight loss tool by tracking your daily calories. 

Made for iPhone and Android


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