The highest marginal return on exercise

It is not how much exercise you can withstand that matters; it is how little exercise you can get away with doing that produces optimum results. Any additional exercise beyond that point is at best a waste of time and at worst detrimental as the body cannot adequately recover from the dose of exercise. That ought to be the starting point in deciding on the structure of an exercise program. Certainly you don’t want to waste time or go backwards. That was the philosophy of Arthur Jones when he first developed Nautilus equipment.

Who has time to spend hours in the gym for months and years on end? What good is a program that requires you to go to the gym three or more times a week for more than an hour if you are only going to stick to it for a best a couple of months. After a couple of months burnout, lack of progress, or injuries will occur, but you will still be paying monthly dues on a year’s gym membership.

Instead seeing how much you exercise you can withstand find the least amount that produces the largest marginal return. To be maximally effective that high marginal return will involve all six factors of fitness. Increases should occur in:

  1. Strength and muscle
  2. Bone density
  3. Flexibility
  4. Body leanness
  5. Cardio-vascular function
  6. Resistance to injury and sickness


You could run one day, do yoga another, and do resistance training on the third day. If you do too much your body will not adequately recover; injuries and a compromised immune system can result. An alternative is HIIT, high intensity interval training for strength. No single exercise program addresses all six facotrs of fitness as effectively as a properly designed and executed HIIT program.

Thirty minutes of HIIT once a week is all it takes. On the other days do something you enjoy -ride your bike, walk your dog, run, read a book, whatever it is that you enjoy. Come back the next week and do it again. Keep at and you will add to your function and not decline. You will feel the best you have in years. The cliché will ring true: you will have not only added years to your life you will have added life to your years.

Another cliche applies: there is no free lunch. The workout will not be easy, but anyone can do it. Our oldest client was 95. You buildup to it slowly. At New Orleans Personal Trainers and atAustin TX Personal Training we can guide you through an effective HIIT program that will achieve life-changing results.