Originally Posted by bigbear6708
I agree, I have noticed sufficient "cardiovascular endurance" gains from lifting intense weights (intense refers to elevating your heart rate for breif periods, repeated). on that note, I do not think interval training is completely useless. It can be good to lower body fat, and also has a place in generally preparing your body for intense lifting, especially with the legs. I only do "distance runs" (no more than 3 miles usually, only once a week) because I am in the Army, and tested on a 2 mile run.
I have heard the point about intervals many times. But again, let's just be smart and realize that there isn't anything magical about typical interval type training when compared to other methods. It all comes from an old study that compared intervals to low intensity exercise to see which one was better. All that proves is which of the two is better, but it doesn't prove anything else. That data has proven over the years to be a great marketing tool for various exercise programs. But if we're rational about our thinking we can realize that there still are much better ways to train. And I would further go on to argue that exercise isn't needed for fat loss at all.
Many will argue with me on my last statement. But once you look at all the factors you will realize which is better worth your time. Exercise makes you hungry which psychologically will make it so you are more likely to eat more. At any given day you could go and exercise for an hour to burn calories, maybe a few hundred if you're lucky, or you could simply just subtract a few slices of cheese from your food intake for the day. Furthermore, if you eat the right foods, you could easily create a deficit of 1000 calories and still be satisfied. You would have to do A LOT of exercise in order to equate for the same amount of calories. Again, that takes energy to do so and time out of your day.
Not too long ago a friend of mine switched from being a mechanic to a landscaping job. He said he ended up losing like 20 lbs or more. This is just one example that demonstrates how physical activity can help one to lose weight. But again, we must look at the numbers. With a landscaping job you're performing physical activity pretty much 40 hours out of the week or more. You're easily burning up to a few more thousand calories per day than what a typical office worker does. Compare that to the measly few hundred calories that you burn in a workout and you'll see why it isn't going to be enough to make a difference. In reality, the construction worker gets a free workout all day long while they are working. But anyone who needs to lose weight and wants to make a calorie deficit to do so would have their time outside of work much better spent finding a comfortable way to reduce calories as opposed to going for the workout.
I actually feel bad for people who don't realize that. I had one guy recently tell me how well running regularly worked for him in the past. He lost 15 lbs from running 5 times per week, equating to a total of 16 miles per week. But when he didn't have the time to do it because he had a wife and kids and all that, he got fat again. And how he's just looking to find the time when he could run again to lose the weight. Poor guy. It doesn't take any time at all to eat less. That works too. Most naturally skinny guys know it intuitively. That's why you never see them exercising.
We then have the argument of the after burn you get from exercise. I'm not so sure how much this is. But I would further go on to argue that we can still try to make better choices with our training so that our time in the gym is better spent. I would much rather do workouts that build muscle such as high rep squats or strongman events such as tire flips and farmers walk. Such activities increase your conditioning much better than intervals and they also build the most muscle, which will make you look better.
As for your running, I absolutely agree with you. If you have to do it for the test, then continue to practice it regularly.