Friday, May 10, 2013

High Intensity Interval Training part 2, Is it to good to be true?


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Part 2
So my last blog was all about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I had a great response to it and many people emailed me questions asking for clarification and greater detail. So I have decided to write a part 2 to do just that.  Is HIIT too good to be true?
Well, this is one of those rare times when your natural it’s-too-good-to-be-true reaction could be mistaken. If you want to take your fitness and fat loss to the next level—without spending more time in the gym—then high intensity interval training (also known as HIIT) could be exactly what you're looking for.


Before getting into the details, notice that I didn’t say HIIT would be easier, just that it would take less of your time. In fact, the HIIT approach to cardio exercise is very physically demanding and isn’t for everyone. If you have any cardiovascular problems or other health concerns that limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, or if you are relatively new to aerobic exercise then HIIT may not be for you —at least for now. Now here’s the disclaimer If you have any doubts or concerns about whether it might be safe for you, check in with your medical professional before trying HIIT.

What Is It?  And how does It Work?
As I have already said HIIT is a specialized form of interval training that involves short intervals of maximum intensity exercise separated by longer intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise or even complete rest. Because it involves briefly pushing yourself beyond the upper end of your aerobic exercise zone, it offers you several advantages that traditional steady-state exercise (where you keep your heart rate within your aerobic zone) can’t provide:

Here is a great link from the BBC program Horizon titled ‘The Truth About Exercise’

The whole documentary is available online and I think you will find it fascinating. I personally think there is a balance to be struck between HIIT, lower level cardio and resistance training (weights etc) for an all around balanced approach to health and fitness. When working with a new client the first thing I try to do is establish what their specific goals are so their personal fitness plan can be tailored to this end. But HIIT can definitely give you an edge and I use it a lot with my clients because HIIT trains and conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. You train your anaerobic system with brief, all-out efforts, like when you have to push to make it up a hill, sprint the last few hundred yards of a distance race for that big finish or when a fighter has a guy on the ropes and needs that final effort to finish off he’s opponent.

·       HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and afterward because it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session.
·       HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential.
·       HIIT appears to limit muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, in comparison to traditional steady-state cardio exercise of longer duration.
·       To get the full benefits HIIT, you need to push yourself past the upper end of your aerobic zone and allow your body to replenish your anaerobic energy system during the recovery intervals.

General HIIT Guidelines
·       HIIT is designed for people whose primary concerns are boosting overall cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and fat loss, without losing the muscle mass they already have. This approach really works and if anyone doubts it please talk to Craig who I have been training using this approach for the last few months.
·       Before starting any HIIT program, you should be able to exercise for at least 20-30 minutes at 70-85% of your estimated maximum heart rate, without exhausting yourself completely or having any problems.
·       Because HIIT is physically demanding, it’s important to gradually build up your training program so that you don’t overdo it. Always warm up and cool down for at least five minutes before and after each HIIT session.
·       Work as hard as you can during the high intensity intervals, until you feel the burning sensation in your muscles, for maximum results these bursts of energy should be a true sprint and almost maximum capacity.
If your heart rate does not drop back down to about 70% of your max during recovery intervals, you may need to shorten your work intervals and/or lengthen your recovery intervals.

But I enjoy regular cardio?
The good news is you don’t need to swap all of your aerobic exercise for HIIT to gain the benefits. A good balance, for example, might be one or two sessions of HIIT per week, along with 1-2 sessions of steady-state aerobic and or resistance training. As usual, moderation is the key to long-term success, so challenge yourself—but don’t drive yourself into the ground. But as with Craig and many of my clients do get ready to see major changes in your body and your fitness level!
This training principle can be applied to any form of exercise that you enjoy, from running to weight training to effectively burn the most fat in the shortest amount of time with the greatest cardio vascular benefits. But don’t just take my word for it, do your own research or better still try it for your self. You can contact me for greater detail at bodyyourdesign@gmail.com If your interested in personal training I’ll happily build you a program that you can execute and maintain that will deliver the results you want that you can perform on your own. Or come to the Bootcamp which I run every Sunday at 10am in Griffiths Park where I apply this technique in conjunction with strength and cardio exercises for maximum results. Until then train hard, train smart, eat clean and get lean.

Best

Body, Your Design Personal Training

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