If two individuals go to the gym and have the same equipment to work with how does one actually achieve superiority over another when it comes to performance and competition? There are many other factors to be considered in addition to the training equipment that athletes use. Factors such as diet, frequency of training, and training techniques can give one athlete the edge over another. How can you incorporate high intensity and low intensity training into your regimen to increase your athletic performance?
There was a time when athletes believed that they could train in what is known as the middle zone. Training in the middle zone meant that you put in a somewhat hard effort during training, however you did not go full out as if you were in actual competition. This technique of training is no longer acceptable for competitive athletes and in particular those in endurance competitions. Training in the middle zone meant that you gave a mediocre effort and training this way will not give you the edge over those athletes who incorporate low intensity training along with high intensity training. There are benefits and disadvantages to both of these training techniques, and in order to be successful and increase your performance you must know how to incorporate both techniques into your routine.
For the average individual who is exercising for weight loss, they have been told that training with low intensity cardio will put them in what is known as the fat burning zone. In this zone your heart rate is 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You can achieve this by walking fast or jogging, and although you will burn fat, only 50 percent of the calories that you burn will be coming from fat. After 20 minutes of exercising at this intensity level, 70 to 80 percent of the calories will be coming from fat and only 20 to 30 percent from carbohydrates. The drawback to this is that 20 minutes is usually around the time that most people call it quits.
When you perform high-intensity cardio training your heart rate is between 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. High intensity training will burn in around 40 percent of fat for fuel. The difference between the two training techniques is that the more calories you burn in high-intensity exercise, the more total fat you'll actually shed off of your body. The great thing about high-intensity workouts is that your metabolism will continue to burn fat for almost 24 hours after you have finished your workout. That is why you hear people say that high-intensity training turns your body into a fat burning machine. When you perform low intensity training, your calorie burning is done when you stop exercising, but high-intensity training will allow you to burn calories for the entire day.
Some benefits of high-intensity training include improvements in cardiovascular endurance, an increase in lean muscle mass and an improvement in elasticity of the arteries in the body. What does all this mean for competitive athletes who are not looking to necessarily burn fat or calories but to increase their overall athletic performance and endurance? By training in a low intensity zone, these athletes can develop what is known as a base level of conditioning. Training in this zone is also a useful way to recover from your high intensity training sessions. Training in the low intensity zone will get your heart rate into the 60 to 80 percent max and help you to develop the endurance, conditioning and efficiency that you will need throughout your athletic career.
Do not think that you can be competitive by keeping your training in the middle zone where you just give a mediocre effort every day you go into the gym. Whatever type of endurance athlete you may be, you can incorporate train high training and low training techniques that will work for you. It must be noted that when we speak of training low it does not mean that we do not push ourselves or that we give a mediocre effort into our training. There are many different types of training programmes available today along with various equipment that can be used to increase muscle mass, cardio endurance and conditioning. However the incorporation of at least some high intensity training is critical to gaining the long-term performance that athletes need. By training low and training high you gradually allow your body to increase in performance over a set period of time. These techniques are one of the best tools available for increasing performance goals as well as overall conditioning and endurance.