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Fitness researchers debunk the "Talk Test"

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    The "Talk Test" being the idea that, for optimal exercise, you should be able to hold a conversation with someone while you exercise.

    I am glad to see scientists say that this is likely shortchanging training. I've long been of the opinion that people don't work out hard enough.

  2. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    I know I can run very comfortably, but silently. If I have a talky running partner trying to hold a conversation, I either need to quit the running or stop talking. I can't do both. And this is true at a pace where, if I shut up, I can run an easy 10k, break into a walk, and not be remotely winded in any way.

    I just don't like to talk when I run. It's why my only running partner is my yellow lab (who, I do talk too, mostly to tell he to quit pulling me toward a cat...).
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    There is a talker at my health club, one of the weight room attendants. I'm trying to crank out shoulder presses a couple mornings ago at 5:30 a.m., and he's trying to hold a conversation with me about the Bears and Saints game.
  4. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Interesting article, and I'm with you, Dick — I see way too many people at the gym who seem to barely be doing anything. That's why I've never really understood having a running partner ... I don't want to talk with anyone while I'm running. I want to be working hard enough that I'm tired when I'm done. If I can carry on a conversation while I'm running, I'm not going to be tired when I finish.
  5. Brooklyn Bridge

    Brooklyn Bridge Active Member

    Those early morning talkers are the worst. I spent a few months as a trainer at the local Y and every morning it was the same people....and the same few guys who talked for 90 minutes and got nothing done.

    I put on headphones and go into my zone and don't talk to anyone unless its to ask for a spot.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Mine's a Y, too. The place is loaded with blue hairs during the morning, which doesn't help. They spend way more time chit-chatting than working out. I'm not sure how they get anything out of their "workouts" to be honest. And the weight room attendant, who is middle-aged, just eggs it all on. Sorry your bored at work, dude. But let me exercise in peace. At 5:30 a.m.
  7. JPsT

    JPsT Member

    I always work out alone, but I think it can be productive to have someone with you when weightlifting just for motivation on those last few reps you don't want to do.

    Also, when running with a friend, we'll usually shut each other out and put in the music. Non-verbal communication of either 'come on, keep going, I'm fine," or "F this, I'm done, let's grab a drink" can be encouraging...or let me know I'm not the only one dying at a certain mark.

    Edit: But no chit chat. Not surprised that doesn't help any.
  8. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    Yeah, I say way too many people at the gym who don't seem to do much. I'm thinking of one guy, in particular, who will spend, I assume, two or three hours there because he's there when I arrive and still there when I leave. Yet the whole time I see him, he does maybe a couple of sets of exercises because he spends his whole time socializing.

    Others I see put very little weight on their machine, or set their treadmill on such a low speed, that the don't break a sweat, don't struggle at all and seem to breeze through it with no difficulty. They don't even breathe hard.

    Is it wrong of me that I assume those are the same people who will go out for a big meal afterward, justifying it that they just worked out so it's OK, then wonder why they keep gaining weight?
  9. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    This guy talks and he's in the zone. Definite NSFW

  10. NickMordo

    NickMordo Active Member

    It pisses me off when I see people at the gym talk while running. It just means you aren't running fast enough. If you're running at like a 8.0 mph clip, it should be like trying to talk on the Dragster or something.
  11. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    A few thoughts. I always thought the talk test was more a rule of thumb for people who are out of shape and new to exercise. It made sense to me, because a lot of people try to do too much too quickly, and end up quitting. I thought the talk test was simply a way to keep get people active enough so they burn fat, but not push them so hard that they give up. It's particularly hard to get into exercise for people who are starting out and are out of shape.

    That said, I can talk while I am running, if I absolutely have to, but there is no way I am going to try to run and recite the pledge of allegiance out loud. Isn't there a middle road between the two? I am saying that as someone who is not a world class athlete, but ran 5 miles this morning, for example. I had my heart rate up, I am sure, and I sweateda decent amount, and I was at a decent pace. But I also could have talked at any point if I had to. Reciting the pledge of allegiance? The only way I know to run several miles is to keep my head in it, which means getting into a zone. It's not that I physically am so winded that I can't talk. It's that reciting the pledge of allegiance would be way too distracting to get into that zone. A quick back and forth conversation, though? Yeah. No problem.
  12. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    I think the article mentions that the talk test still passes muster for those who are overweight and new to working out. For someone with any level of fitness, it is not recommended.
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