High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – What You Need To Know!

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – What you need to know!

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In this weeks post I talk about educating the public on the effects of high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) and how it can be applied to your workout as an effective training tool regardless of age, gender or experience. In addition, talk about how H.I.I.T can be the most effective method of helping to increase overall physical performance, muscle size and strength while reducing body fat mass.

During my career, I often see herds of people step onto the treadmill or bike and continuously exercise for hours and hours yet months down the track I don’t see any change in their overall physique. I have approached these types of people and asked them what they believed is the most effective method of exercise is for creating that ‘perfect body’. And the most common answer would be the volume of exercise completed and duration when it actually should be intensity! My job is to focus the public on reaching specific personal goals and make them achievable, so if your goal is to reduce fat mass, get lean and increase physical performance then H.I.I.T or high intensity interval training is the type of training for you!

Most exercise protocols that I have come across, mainly from local, small and large chain gyms in my area have been designed to focus on regular steady state exercise such as walking, jogging and cycling at a moderate intensities. Unfortunately, these types of exercises are going to lead to minimal fat loss, slight aerobic performance increases and are what I believe are the most inefficient methods of exercising when it comes to getting more bang for your buck.

It is recommended to see a doctor before taking part in any high intensity training as it isn’t suitable for those with severe heart conditions, although a majority of the public can get started with a basic high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T) program. Before commencing high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T), it is important to learn the correct technique in all the basic motor skills as they form the basis of physical development and performance while reducing the risk of injury during high intensity exercise. These movements include, but not limited to jumping, landing, striding, sprinting, accelerating, decelerating, changing direction and also uni-lateral hopping.

Now when you hear those words you might think you have to complete a strictly aerobic based workout. In fact, high intensity interval training (HIIT) allows you to incorporate range of different exercises ranging from boxing, cycling, rowing and even including weighted and body weight exercises. The idea is that you must follow a specific exercise protocol of optimal intensity and rest time to repeatedly stress the body’s physiological systems and allow for effective physical adaptations, just like I do in my Marc Dressen Boot Camps.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) can be broadly defined as repeated short 10 to 60 second high intensity bouts of exercise performed at an intensity that is greater than your maximal oxygen consumption, known as ‘VO2’. Above our VO2 limit is when you reach the anaerobic threshold, which is the point where the body is placed in oxygen deficit. When the body is in oxygen deficit, it is known as ‘EPOC’ or Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption.

Is it H.I.I.T that allows for the most profound effect on EPOC in the body, allowing for a larger energy requirement to restore the body’s systems back to normal levels. Studies have shown that EPOC allows for an increase in fat oxidation and the utilization of fat as the body’s main energy source.

In a practical application, studies have found that periods of high intensity interval training (HIIT) lasting between 15 to 30 minutes consisting of intermittent, high-intensity weight training appears to have the greatest effect on EPOC. When comparing exercise modes including 40 minutes of continuous aerobic cycling at 80% of maximum heart rate, an 8 exercise circuit weight training program with 4 sets of 15 repetitions at 50% of your maximum one repetition lift (1RM), and 8 heavy resistance exercises consisting of 3 sets to exhaustion at 80–90% of 1RM, found that the heavy resistance exercise protocol induced the biggest EPOC effect on the body.

I still believe a mixture of both high intensity aerobic and weight training will allow your to become the best you can be. Continue to lift those dumbbells, throw that medicine ball, leap for the stars and row like you never rowed before because the intensity of exercise means everything when it comes to reducing fat mass, increasing lean muscle mass and improving overall performance and well-being.

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