Exercise Variation is imperative if you want to be a lean person. Let me explain why by first asking you a series of questions.
Have you ever watched a marathon race? When you see the runners who cross the finish line first, what do they look like? Then after all of the elite runners cross first, and you wait long enough (almost until traffic has been allowed again, and it's been at least 7 or 8 hours) what kind of runners do you see cross the finish line?
They seem to get heavier, and certainly most of them don't even look like they could have been mistaken for a runner or even in shape for that matter. They aren't lean, they don't look fit. So, what's my point? It certainly isn't to make fun of people who run marathons, quite the contrary.
I've run a marathon and a half-marathon, and I certainly admire, the strength, dedication and focus it takes to conquer such a feat--which is why I've only done one of each.
I certainly also realize that it may not be the goal of everyone who takes on such a challenge to become fat-burning machines (although it couldn't hurt), but to enjoy the challenge and the ride that comes with it.
My point is this: once
your body has adapted to a certain exercise, especially at a certain
mode (same speed, same route etc) it no longer has an the same affect. After
this has happened, you've virtually eliminated it as a fat loss tool. This is why exercise variation is essential to continue to change. If it's no long challenging, you are no longer changing. Mastery kills the results.
This is why running at a steady state eventually becomes useless as a fat loss tool. You burn fewer and fewer calories every time you go out to do something your body has become a sufficient "expert" at. If you want to continue running, you have to find a way to "change it up" to keep it challenging. Please don't misunderstand, running is certainly not a useless exercise. The same rule applies to any other exercises, exercise variation is totally possible: Rowing, Spinning, Stair Climbing, Eliptical, etc. All you have to do is change the time, tempo, incline, terrain etc, and it becomes a different challenge. If you stay within safe limits and you have an imagination, the sky is the limit.
For example: I've also been a SPINNING instructor for 12 years now, and since my body has become accustomed to it, I do not burn the same amount of calories as I first began. This does not mean it's useless to do. It helps that I keep it fresh with exercise variation and the fact that I only teach it in an interval fashion, to keep my body guessing. This is best known as HIIT -High Intensity Interval Training and a great way to achieve exercise variation.
here is sufficiency. You don't want your body to become sufficient at
Here is a week's worth of ideas that I've taken from a week's worth of my own cardiovascular exercise program:
So do you get the gist of it? You are only limited by your imagination. You can change the intensity of anything by speeding it up, adding resistance, or weight (just don't add ankle weights for running or walking-it can mess up your knees, it is okay for leg lifts when you are lying down).
For instance, I could go back to Wednesday's workout and put on a weighted vest and do, not the same workout, but some variation.Do I look like an idiot doing some of these things? Absolutely! However it gets me where I want to go.
Another excellent exercise variation, kettlebell training. You can get all the benefits of cardiovascular strength, muscular endurance, and good nervous system stimulation with this work out variation.