Getting fit doesn’t have to mean intensive, hourlong cardio sessions.
According to recent research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, breaking your workout into two shorter sessions might actually be better for you.
The University of Tokyo study tracked seven physically active men as they performed three separate exercise trials: one 60-minute cardio workout, one with two stints of 30-minute exercise separated by a 20-minute rest period, and one in which they performed no exercise. The researchers took blood samples measuring fatty-acid and hormone levels during both the rest and recovery periods and found that the amount of serum-free fatty acids (compounds that are released when stored fat is used) greatly increased during the 20-minute rest period of the second trial compared with the levels found after the 60-minute prolonged trial. In other words, fat metabolism increased when the men took a break in their workout.
Next time you’re at the gym, try warming up with 30 minutes of cycling, taking a break to do flexibility work or light strength training, and then going back for another round of cardio before you leave. A break may be just the motivator you need to energize yourself, burn more fat and stick with your fitness program for the long haul.