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The benefits of split training.

Are you put off by the thought of training for hours and hours a week to achieve your goals?

What if there was a training modality that gave you greater potential fat burning results, comparable fitness results and had very little impact on your daily schedule?

That’s exactly what split training can do for you!

Split training is basically taking what would be your usual training block of time, IE: 30 – 60 minutes and splitting it up into smaller time blocks of 10 -20 minutes and spreading these blocks throughout the day.

There was this study that came out of Japan a few years ago that found that repeating shorter bouts of exercise (three 10-minute blocks) elicits the same increase in cardiovascular fitness and even greater body fat utilization compared to the steady state training group (one 30-minute block of training). This study showed a 15% greater fat utilization in the split training group versus the steady state training group!

How does this play out in the real world?

It would make the perfect training schedule for busy people! If you don’t have the time to set aside an hour for training of an evening or are just too tired to do so after a long day at work. If you’re not a morning person and cringe at the thought of getting up a 5am to do an hour workout. Or if you have a busy work schedule that doesn’t permit you to leave for an hour lunch break then split training is perfect. Most of us would be able to find 10 minutes 3 times per day (before work, at lunch and after work) to do some moderate exercise.

The split training modality would also be perfect for those that are obese, very unfit or have mobility issues.

Quite often these populations may find longer bouts of exercise too taxing however split training could provide a more realistic training modality and yield the same positive training outcomes.

The good thing about the first study linked above was that the cardiovascular effort of the training protocol was only 60% of VO2max. This level of exertion doesn’t require you to train until you get super sweaty or fall in a heap due to exhaustion, so it is an achievable level of exertion for even the most sedentary individual. And it means you won’t go back to the office looking like you’ve just run away from a pride of lions should you go out during a lunch break!

Some realistic things you could do in these 10-minute blocks could be:

A Brisk walk

Walking up and down a set of stairs in your office/home

Skipping (if fitness and mobility allow)

A body weight circuit


All of these exercises' options require minimal to no equipment and can be done anywhere, anytime by most people.

Another reported benefit of the split training modality was exercise adherence. With the split training group reporting a greater total amount of training completed (both in days per week and total hours trained) versus the single time block training group. If you did 10 minutes 3 times per day every day that equates to 3.5 hours of training per week! So, from that minimal time investment and schedule disruption you gain a significant chunk of training and the associated benefits, that’s a win win situation!

This translates well to someone who finds that they get bored with exercise easily or someone who finds it hard to stick to a dedicated routine. It might be much easier to find and repeat 10-minute bouts of exercise than it is to commit to 1 hour 4 times per week.

Another aspect to come out of knowing that split training elicits the same cardiovascular response and greater potential fat loss benefits is that it gives your training a whole new level of flexibility. Rather than being wedded to the mindset that “I have to train for X amount of time otherwise I won’t achieve my results” you don’t have to stress that you’ll miss your scheduled training session or class because your busy. You can simply adjust your routine, split it up during the day and still achieve the same desired outcomes in fitness and fat loss.

It seems the only area where continuous cardiovascular endurance training (training continuously for 60 minutes plus) has an advantage over split training is in the sporting arena. If your sport requires continues cardiovascular effort, then you need to train for that in that specific way. But if you’re simply someone who wants to improve their general fitness and burn as much body fat as possible then split training (and interval training – another topic for another blog) will give you the same (fitness) or greater (fat loss) results in a more manageable, flexible and time friendly format.

As always you need to find what works for you and your lifestyle but hopefully after reading about the benefits that split training can bring it can broaden your training philosophy and give you added flexibility and options to help you customize your training schedule, keep you on track and help you achieve your fitness and fat loss goals!

#fatloss #splittraining #gettingresults

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