As I have always been exercising a minimum of four times a week for the last 20 years of my life with the mind set of go hard or go home, a revolutionary moment over the last 6 months has made me realise having an instructor shout ‘go faster, go harder, push it!’ is that really what I want to hear when I am choosing this way to spend my time.
Obviously HIIT training is incredibly popular and rightly so, you work the body so hard it creates adaptations to the muscles and gives you a faster metabolism. But now I have found my Love of Pilates it has made me re think, how good is it for us to be living life in a whirl wind of work, kids, home life and then stressful exercise that afterwards where we feel exhausted and even a few aches and pains. If this is the case most of us will crave more sugary foods, starches and caffeine to help us push through. What would we be like with a more balanced week? Would we sleep better, would we eat better, would we have more energy?
And with this change in mentality towards my own exercise the results have not slowed down either. Yesterday I ran 3 miles at at 7:30 min/mile pace. I still lift the same weights in body pump. I just feel more in control, calmer and I am enjoying every workout rather than going through the motion. The difference is by slowing your exercise down twice a week will help you gain more flexibility, the quality of your movements will become more precise and stronger. Physically and mentally you will feel more balanced and actually on the high intensity days, well, these may become an even higher level as your body will feel rested and prepared. With exercise like Pilates you need the mind body connection. By doing smaller movements more slowly you will become stronger as there is no cheating with momentum helping you. It doesn’t have to be a mind body class that slows you down. Simply slowing your weights down using the super slow technique of muscle training is fantastic for gaining in strength, may body builders use this method to escape plateaus. I personally think that mixing up your workouts with group exercise, high and low intensity, indoors or outdoors will make it more fun and give your body all round fitness and conditioning. Maybe you should try it? See how you feel!