As you may already know, exercise has many positive effects on your life: it helps you relief stress, get better sleep, live longer, boosts your metabolism and immune system, etc. All of these benefits help you become more productive, but I want to discuss exercise mainly from the energy point of view: boost your energy with exercise
Boost Your Energy
A study involving 6800 people concluded that 90% of the people who exercised regularly reported an improvement on their fatigue levels. This improvement could be explained by another study that showed that exercise improves the mitochondrial content that generates power to meet the body’s energy requirements.
Exercising helps your body produce energy, making you feel better and less tired, which might seem counterintuitive.
The Most Efficient way to Exercise
Although there are many ways to exercise, there is one particular way that will help you achieve better results at raising you mitochondrial content and boost your energy: High-Intensity Circuit Training (HICT) or High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). A study published in The Journal of Physiology in 2008 by Kirsten A. Burgomaster1, Krista R. Howarth, et al., concluded that:
“Given the markedly lower training volume in the SIT (sprint interval training) group, these data suggest that high-intensity interval training is a time-efficient strategy to increase skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and induce specific metabolic adaptations during exercise that are comparable to traditional ET (Endurance Training)”
This reasoning comes from comparing selected metabolic markers and noting that the high-intensity training for 30 minutes (including rest), three times a week, had very similar results to the one from endurance training of 1.5 hours per training session, three times a week.
There are some great alternatives to exercising this way, to mention some:
Consist of performing exercise series in sequence, with short rest times in between. The routines can include several types of workouts depending on the desired goals.
These are exercises performed in an all-out (intensive) way for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of low intensity. This high-low sequence is repeated eight times, and it’s completed over the course of 4 minutes.
This is a training philosophy that combines HIT, weight lifting, and other exercises, where people compete with their training group. It takes 45 minutes per session and it is very intense.
Similar to CrossFit, but without the competing part, this training combines different exercises but focus on building strength and endurance on the groups of muscles that we use on our day to day routines. It usually takes 45 minutes as well.
In my opinion and experience, HIIT/HICT is the best place to start building strength and endurance. I have fibromyalgia, and that means I have pain all over my body. This condition makes it difficult for me to exercise, but ironically, being stronger helps reduce the pain. On top of this, I have a shoulder injury, and it is very easy for me to get a new injury under these circumstances.
That’s why I designed a training program that I could use for myself to be able to build enough strength to allow me to choose any training modality I wanted. I turned this into an App called 6 Weeks to Fit (6w2 Fit). And it uses HICT and progressive overload to help the user reach some impressive strength and fitness goals. If you want to improve your strength, I would recommend you to try my app or one of the alternatives.
In my case, I used my app until I felt I was strong enough to avoid getting injured. And then I decided to use the Freeletics program that also combines HICT and progressive overload, but uses more advanced movements, and is a lot more demanding. I went for this particular program because it is community-based, so you can get some support. I can do it in my home and with very little or no hardware, and due to the nature of the exercises I have more control and avoid getting injured.
I occasionally do Tabatas. The protocol is easy to follow, plus there are lots of free apps to help you do it. This routine is very demanding to perform, but it is a great way to build endurance.
Crossfit is a better match for very athletic and competitive people: not my objectives, plus this modality has a higher chance of injuries.
Finally, Functional Training: this is an excellent alternative, but since I’m trying to be lean on time and resources, this one was ruled out; I would have to pay for a membership plan, the nearest gym with this program would add 30 minutes to the workout routine, and because it’s performed in groups, I would have to arrange my day to meet their schedules.
You can choose how you want to exercise. I base my suggestions in getting good results quickly, to help you stay motivated, but are by no means the only way to get energized and stay healthy. Schedule an appointment with your medical doctor and discuss what could work better for your needs. Your health is your priority.
I hope this moves you to start working out if you don’t already. Check out my article on creating new habits, and be patient and persistent. This habit is probably the one with the biggest impact that you can create for yourself.
This post is an extracted adaptation from one of the chapters of my book: Become Super Productive.
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