Get Intense with HIIT – SHORT, SHARP AND FAR MORE EFFECTIVE
It is fair to say the majority of people who frequent the gym share the same goals to get rid of the spare tyre, tone up, build strength and muscle and acquire a better level of fitness. But it’s impossible to achieve all of these goals, right? Surely you can’t burn fat and build muscle at the same time? You have to train in completely different ways to increase strength and then increase endurance, right? Enter HIIT. What is HIIT? High Intensity Interval Training has been around for a while, yet still seems like a fairly untapped and overlooked way of training, which is surprising due to its incredibly effective results on lowering fat storage, increasing endurance and strength building qualities. A lot of gym goers are still opting for ‘steady state’ cardio, like running for long distances at a constant speed, for burning fat. This is a time consuming, old fashioned and a fairly arduous method of training with only half the benefits of its counterpart. So how do you do HIIT? And why is it so effective? Read on my friends..
HIIT involves alternating from extremely high intensity bouts of exertion to very low intensity exercise. This could be rowing for 30 seconds at maximum effort, to rowing 30 seconds with minimal to no effort for perhaps ten sets. This can also be done on any other piece of cardio equipment or using weights as well as cardio. It used to be that exercise physiologists believed that ‘steady state’ cardio was the optimal way of training for fat loss as relatively more fat is metabolised by the body as fuel at lower exercise intensities. You will even see on most cardio machines the so-called ‘Fat burning zone’, which apparently sits at 60%-65% of your maximum heart rate. This way of thinking is out dated and misguiding, and certainly not optimal for total fat burn. It is fair to say, that when exercising at lower intensities, it has been shown that you burn fat relative to glycogen, but our concern is total fat burn. Higher intensity exercise has been shown to burn far more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower. Add to that the fact interval training allows you to exercise at very high intensities for a more prolonged period of time than steady state, which in return means, you guessed it, you burn more fat! And guess what, there are more benefits of HIIT! Ever heard of the EPOC? This is the excess-post exercise oxygen consumption, also known as the afterburn effect. In laymen’s terms, this basically means that your metabolism is increased and you carry on burning more calories for up to 24 hours after interval training! Compare that to going for a jog, which no only will take considerably longer, it burns pretty much no calories after you’ve finished!
Still not convinced that this is how you should go about your training? Well other benefits of HIIT include the following: 1) Improved Aerobic capacity – so your body can utilise more oxygen to fuel itself more effectively, increasing your stamina when competing in endurance activities as well as being perfect for team sports like football, whereby you are constantly varying speed and intensity in a match. 2) Increased Lactate threshold – you know that burning feeling you get from lactic acid build up? Your ability to deal with that substantially increases with HIIT. 3) Increased Insulin sensitivity – insulin is a powerful hormone, and is vitally important and pivotal with regards to fat storing as it causes glucose to be stored as fat. HIIT increases your muscles ability to use glucose for energy, as opposed to being stored as unwanted fat. 4) Anabolic effect – There has been some research which shows HIIT, when combined with an increase in calories which outweighs the amount burned can create an anabolic effect, meaning you can actually build muscle without adding fat. ‘Steady state’ cardio is heavily proven to result in a catabolic effect on the body, whereby hard earned muscle is often broken down unwantedly. You only need to look at a marathon runner who, despite being incredibly fit, often looks incredibly skinny, hagged and unshapely as a result of excessive ‘steady-state’ exercise.
Lets not be mistaken, training in this way is tough. It will require serious mental toughness, discipline and a real desire to push yourself as hard as possible when working through the maximal intensity intervals. Your body will feel stressed due to the constant changing of energy systems, so it is important that during the low intensity periods you use the rest as much as possible to ensure you can push yourself hard again on the high intensity portion. You may be able to run for half an hour without breaking a sweat, but it’s a guarantee after a few minutes of HIIT exercise, you will feel flustered. But if you stick with it and plan a progress your workouts, it get easier every time. So if you are looking to get lean, build and maintain muscle and improve your endurance, stop living in the dark ages of ‘steady-state’ cardio exercise. High Intensity Interval training is the way forward. Save time. Look great. Feel amazing. Get intense. For more information or guidance on HIIT, feel free to contact me via my contact page. For quick results, get yourself booked in for some Personal Training sessions and discover the body you have always wanted!