Guest Blog “Workout smarter not longer”

28 Jul

Here is my first Guest Blog from Manchester based fellow blogger, Personal Trainer and owner of Renaissance 4 Women. Sara is a truly inspirational woman whose personal story is a living testimony that she really does know what she is talking about!

If you are a blogger and would like to swap blogs, please get in touch.


Workout smarter not longer

Ever wondered why that 3 times a week visit to the gym is not giving you the results you wish for? The answer could lie in the intensity of the work that you are doing. We’ve all been lulled into believing that there is a magical heart rate zone (commonly known as the ‘fat burning zone’) and working out in this zone (60-70% of your maximum heart rate) will give us the best fat burning results. However, we’ve actually been sold a bit of a turkey with that one. Whilst it is true that in this heart rate zone you will burn the highest percentage of calories, it won’t be optimum for fat loss. This is because the intensity of your workout in the fat burning zone is not that high and so you have to work much longer to achieve the same number of calories burnt as you would at higher intensities.

Linked to this is the amount of ‘afterburn’ you achieve with traditional ‘fatburning zone’ workouts. Afterburn is the colloquial term given to Excessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which is the period after exercising when your body is using more oxygen to aid recovery by rebalancing hormones, replenishing energy stores and repairing cells. This whole process burns more calories than when the body is in homeostasis (normal function) and so it’s vital that you maximise this in order to maximise your fat burning efforts.

So how can you maximise the benefits from your workout and also cut down on your time in the gym?

The answer lies in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Next time you’re in the gym try the following: on the treadmill, cross-trainer or bike, warm up at a steady pace for five minutes then sprint at somewhere between 70-95% of your MHR for 20 seconds followed by a recovery jog/ride of 40 seconds – repeat the 20/40 second intervals 10-12 times then cool down with a jog/ride for 5 minutes. The repeated sprinting provides a large shock to your body which creates a larger and longer lasting EPOC which burns more calories and fat and results in a slimmer you.

Surely that’s got to be worth a try? If you do try it I’d love to hear how you got on.

photo credit: <a href=””>SashaW</a&gt; via <a href=””>photo pin</a> <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

Sara Perry is a Personal Trainer & Development Coach passionate about helping women over the age of 40 live fitter, happier and healthier lives. For more information visit or email


2 Responses to “Guest Blog “Workout smarter not longer””

  1. Crocs Are Awful July 28, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Really helpful tips! Thank you!

    • Sara July 28, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Glad you found it useful – love the red shoes btw!

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