Whether you have five or 50 kilograms to lose, however you’re training right now, it’s probably in your comfort zone. Maybe it’s the same group fitness class you’ve been doing for a few years, or your regular five-kilometre jogging track.
Whatever it is, let me ask you this: how’s that working for you?
I don’t mean that in a condescending or sarcastic way — really, honestly ask yourself.
If you’re continuing to grow stronger or are consistently getting faster times on that five kilometres, then congratulations — you’ve probably got this sorted. But my guess is, for most people, it’s not working that well at all.
A first-class upgrade excluded, no good comes from being too comfortable. During exercise, you’re putting your body under stress, which is a good thing. This stress is what causes you to build muscle, lose weight and get fit. But before long, your body adapts to that stress, unless you keep challenging it in new ways.
Stop challenging it and you’ll stop progressing, which means falling into an exercise rut, a.k.a. your comfort zone. Think about the times in life you got uncomfortable and challenged yourself, and it paid off. Your health and fitness are no different.
A recent episode of Catalyst on ABC1 showed how just six minutes of high-intensity training a week can significantly increase weight loss and VO2 max — the ultimate measurement of aerobic fitness.
It works by increasing the amount of mitochondria (organelles that power our cells) our bodies produce. These little powerhouses help us move, think and stave off serious illness. The more we have, the better our VO2 max and the lower our risk is of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Knowing we can get all those incredible benefits by going full throttle for just six minutes a week — without changing anything else in our lives — why is it that most of us would still be more motivated for our usual hour-long walk instead?