Death of Aerobic Base Training

By: Keith Spieker

Aerobic training is everywhere from people outside running to the crowded rows and rows of treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes at big health clubs.  It’s time to put a death to the general populations notion that in order to lose weight or get in shape all they need to do is hop on an aerobic machine for 30 minutes a day.

Study, after study has shown that interval training develops better aerobic capacity than aerobic base training.  If you want to look better, get in better shape, or increase your VO2 max, then the best way to accomplish this is interval training.

So why do people do aerobic training?  In a nutshell, it’s easy.  But anything worth doing is never easy.  Use interval training to get more bang for your buck and to accomplish more in less time.

What if you are a distance runner and enjoy running 5k, 10ks, marathons?  Then yes, most of your training will consist of running at lower intensity for long durations.  However, interval training is a great supplement to add into a runner’s training.  I’ve heard many runners talk about how much easier runs feel and how much longer they can go before feeling tired after doing interval training.  Largely this is due to the fact that interval training increases VO2 max more effectively.

In a majority of sports, anaerobic conditioning is more valuable than being aerobically fit.  Baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer, lacrosse all rely heavily and short bursts of high intensity.  Sports like soccer do require a certain amount of aerobic conditioning.  A more effective training model would be to include more short bursts of sprinting, some jogging, and walking; rather than running at a low intensity for 45 minutes.

One of the leading and most respected strength and conditioning coaches, Mike Boyle, said it best.  “If you want your kid to stink at sports, I know how to do it; cross country.”  It happens all the time.  Basketball players, baseball players, lacrosse players joining cross country team to get in shape.  Slow aerobic training destroys genetic potential to generate speed and quickness.  Fast twitch fibers start to become more like slow twitch fibers.  Our athletes train the opposite here and get in aerobic shape while developing speed, quickness, and power.

This doesn’t just apply to athletes.  The general population should train like athletes.  Why? They are in the best shape and look the best.  Some parts of the country are still behind in this thought process.  The goals change from sport performance to improving health and fitness.  Methods are modified a little but major concepts remain the same.

Our boot camp is designed around this philosophy.  The focus is not to just give people a workout that they feel good doing.  Our goal is to give people a workout that makes them feel good while accomplishing meaningful progress.  That is why there is a lot of interval training in our boot camp program.  Sure it is harder and may mean a little more sweat, soreness, and hard work.  But for those brave enough to take on this sort of training understand the benefit of their hard work and effort.


Keith Spieker, Athletic/Fitness Training Specialist
Graduated from Grand Valley State University in April 2012 with a degree in exercise science. Sports background includes many years of club soccer experience, 4 years high school varsity soccer and track, and 4 years GVSU club soccer. He enjoys working with people and being a part of the positive changes in their life.

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