A Case for Inefficiency in Movement

To be efficient means to achieve maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense. When it comes to movement this comes in the form of walking, running, biking, and basically any long term activity. Our bodies are amazing at adapting and they will begin to use less energy to do the same amount of work. They are efficient.

This is great and all if your goal is to be great at running and such, however when it comes to fat loss there is something to be said about being inefficient in your movements. This doesn’t mean that it’s torture every single time you workout… what it does mean though is that there is a mix of both efficient and inefficient movement to create an appropriate amount of disturbance in the body.

When someone performs inefficient movement, they burn less immediate energy but keep burning long after the activity is done. (Think sprints, hill walking/running, and short burst activities.)

When someone performs efficient movement, there is a high immediate energy burn but the return to resting energy burning is rapid after the activity is done.

It’s safe to say that to be inefficient in our movement actually makes us more efficient in our time. 

There are many people (old Holea included) who believe that to lose weight, just doing more will suffice. When I believed this it wasn’t out of the ordinary for me to run 5x a week ranging from 3 to 9 miles per run. Sure I burned a crap ton of energy but my body got really good at not needing as much energy to do my runs.

Years later I began lifting, swing kettlebells, and walking. I was hungry ALL the time. I was unable to keep weight on. I lost inches everywhere on my body. AND…..I was working out a fraction of the time I was when I was running. Sure my workouts were slightly more intense but I didn’t need to workout as often as I had with running alone.

This is not me telling you not to run. If you truly enjoy running… RUN. All I am telling you is that using steady state cardio as a means to fat loss is a lot of time wasted.

We are in the world of instantaneous gratification…except when it comes to the human body. We want everything now yesterday. We want to do everything with as little effort as possible.


With this being said, how does it make any sense to do long workouts expecting immediate,broad results?


What makes sense is short, purposeful training sessions with a specific desired outcome.


So what the heck does this look like?


Here’s a snippet of one week of a solid mix of inefficient and efficient workouts taking no more than 3 hours a week:

**This is simply an example for a person looking to lose weight with a well rounded training program. Sound nutritional habits will accelerate the process even more.**


In the inefficient section…

You will be huffing and puffing. You will feel the burn. You will work up a sweat.


In the efficient section…

You will feel your heart rate slightly elevated. You may sweat. You will be relaxed compared to the inefficient section.


Probably my most favorite part about this type of a spread is that you will absolutely feel energized! Working out doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated BUT it does need to have a mix of efficient and inefficient movements.


Do I advocate for lifting? ABSOLUTELY. Do I feel anyone will benefit from it? YES.

Do I know that not everyone has the same passion for it as I? Indeed!


With this being said, no matter what type of movement you enjoy doing… just do it consistently varying the levels of intensity. You like to go to body pump? Cool. Let those be your inefficient movement days. You like to run? Sweet. Vary your days with longer, slower runs and shorter, interval runs.


To sum it all up… both types of training have their place. When used together, they can make a harmonious relationship resulting in increased strength and decreased body fat. To be too far one way or the other on the spectrum could lead to overuse injuries and imbalanced training.


Need some guidance on creating a varied plan for yourself? I’d love to help you out so just shoot me an email HERE!