I’ve been reading about interval training, which, if you believe the hype, is the guaranteed sure-fire way to lose weight, improve your health, and attract the attention of the hottest guy/girl at the gym.  Also, get rich.  And smarter.


It works like this: You warm up for five minutes (low-intensity exercise). Then you begin the intervals.  Thirty seconds of flat-out, full-speed exercise, followed by 90 seconds of low-speed exercise (that’s for beginners).  Repeat 6 to 8 times.  Then a five minute cool down. 


Here’s the theory: when you engage in the often recommended 30-60 minutes of low-intensity exercise, you burn fat.  That’s good, right?  Turns out it’s bad.  (I know, how weird is that?)  It’s bad because you only burn fat while you are exercising.


When you do high-intensity exercise in short bursts, you burn glycogen, which is basically the glucose that’s stored in your muscles and liver.  (Correct me if I get any of this wrong, Eva.)  When you do a bunch of those short bursts, separated by active rest periods, you deplete your stored glycogen.  And that’s good.  Because your body has to have glycogen, so after you use it up your body will do whatever it must to replenish it.  And that means burning fat (which is broken down into glucose and stored), for 24-48 hours.   


So okay, I was sold.  I went to the gym today intending to Do Intervals and burn me some fat.  The interval training gurus swore I would lose at least two pounds a week if I followed their program three times a week.  And I have about ten pounds to lose, so on with the intervals!  (Yes it is the same ten pounds I’ve been trying to lose for four years.  Shut up.)


First question: what sort of exercise to do.  The gurus say that sprinting is the very best high-intensity exercise.  Speaking as a Creaky Old Person, 30 seconds of flat out sprinting, repeated 6-8 times, would result in a Creaky Old Person in the hospital.  So sprinting was out.  I decided on the stationary bike, which would eliminate several dangers, not the least of which is the creaky old clumsy person tripping over own feet and sprawling on the floor danger.


I accomplished my first session of interval training on the bike with no serious mishaps.  I’m now trying to figure out if I’m burning fat while I’m sitting here typing.  How would I know?  What does it feel like?  I do feel tired, but then it is 9 pm and I often feel tired even when I’ve done nothing more strenuous than walking from the door to the car all day.  Do I sound like I’m burning fat?


Anyway, while I’m here there’s something I want to complain about.  I stopped at the grocery store today, and in the parking lot was one of those gigantic pick-up trucks, a Ford F-350, jacked up about three feet over the tires so it towered over all other vehicles, taking up THREE parking spaces.  It’s not that parking was in short supply, it’s just that I hate those trucks.  When they drive towards me I feel like they are going to drive right over me, and it’s not like my Honda Odyssey is a small vehicle.  And there is just no good reason for a city boy to drive such a monstrous thing.  (The truck didn’t look new, but was sparkling clean and had not a scratch on it.  Clearly not a work vehicle.)  And occupying three parking spaces is a definite indicator of a high degree of unearned self-regard.  Don’t make me spell out the impolite descriptor I’m thinking.


Inside the store I picked up a few items and proceeded to the express checkout line.  The one labeled “12 items or less.”  You know where I’m going with this, right?  Yes, the woman several people ahead of me unloaded ten jars of baby food (yes, I counted) plus about 15 other items.  (Note to shoppers: with the exception of produce that gets weighed all at once, multiple iterations of the same item count as multiple items!)  I wondered if this example of unearned self-regard was in fact the driver of Godzilla Truck (making it a city girl rather than the assumed city boy).  And I wondered why no one said “Yo, lady, can’t you read da sign?”  But we’re very polite around here.


When I left, Godzilla Truck was still there, so I guess Illegal Express Line woman was not the driver.  I don’t have anything else to say about that.  Just wanted to vent.


Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to watch The Wire and burn some more fat.  I wonder if the Bengay will help?



  1. I really thought Illeagal Exprees Lane woman was going to climb up into that truck. As a sociology experiment, you should have gone through the store and try to pick out the driver. Start a betting pool on how many dogs die if his front porch collapses!

  2. I’ve tried interval training when I do my usual run–sprint for a distance that covers two telephone poles and then jog, and it is freaking exhausting.  The one time I was really consistent with it though, I did lose a few pounds.  One of my biggest pet peeves is people with a sense of “unearned self-regard” as you so elegantly put it.

  3. I have a problem with interval training.  Not with the brief periods of “flat-out, full-speed exercise.”  Actually, I’m okay with that part.  My problem is that the time between those full-speed work-outs tends to last not a couple of minutes but rather a couple of years.

  4. Multiple interations count as multiples, for sure.  But I maintain that a six-pack of anything is “one” item.  A bouquet of flowers = one item.  Once someone tried to call me on the 4-pack of Perrier, because really, fifteen items is a lot and I guess she felt I should have been able to incorporate all 4 in the pack in the “fifteen.”  Whatever.  Do a spinning class!!  Guided intervals on better bikes with minimal danger for creaky old persons.

  5. Let me know how that interval thing works out.  I’ve got some creaky old fat I’d like to lose while typing too.My main complaint about huge, pointlessly jacked-up trucks is that they always park next to me so I can’t see around them when I’m trying to back out.  Also, while driving, they always block my view of oncoming traffic when I’m trying to turn left.

  6. Interval is another weight loss fad.  Here’s the best and sure fire way to lose pounds.   Consume food (calories)……burn more calories than you consume  =   lose pounds.    This can be done while sitting around watching TV as long as you avoid the kitchen.   

  7. I’ve just added The Wire to my Netflix queue, and I’m looking forward to watching it.  I haven’t watched any of that series (no cable), but I usually get around to renting things.  You must like it!I’m chuckling at doahsdeer’s comment!  *snurk*

  8. In defense of City Boy, he was probably a 16 year old who had just gotten his license, who had been saving up for years to buy a great big truck. Young people think great big jacked-up trucks are awesome, which they are.

  9. Sounds right to me! My knowledge of metabolism is actually pretty limited and vague – I am more into naming the parts of your brain and what happens when you lesion certain parts of your CNS…Were you thinking, “selfish bastard”? Cause that’s where I went… (-:You know what I think? I think the Express Lane should have a cashier LIMIT of 12 items. So once the cashier rings up 12 items, the machine automatically totals it and you pay for them and then have to go to the back of the line for any number over 12.  Isn’t that a great idea?  Cause trust me, dirty looks aren’t doing the trick.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s