There has been an explosion of information in the last number of years regarding training and how best to maximize your time in the gym. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one system that has grown massively in popularity. This type of interval training is a powerful tool that gives you back considerably more in terms of body composition changes than the effort required.
In contrast to this, steady state cardio makes the body as efficient as possible so that you will use the least amount of energy to perform the greatest amount of work. It’s very metabolically efficient, which is not our goal when you want to lose fat and build muscle.
Don’t get me wrong, cardio has its place and it’s important not to overdo HIIT as it can lead to overtraining and physical stress if performed for too long a time period.
It’s important not to overdo HIIT as it can lead to overtraining and physical stress if performed for too long a time period
Some of the many benefits of HIIT are improved testosterone levels and a greater insulin-like growth-factor-1 response. In short, these hormones help ramp up your metabolism – the rate at which we burn calories – as well as helping you achieve optimal body composition. They also improve the body’s ability to use sugar from carbohydrate, commonly referred to as insulin sensitivity.
A typical HIIT programme on a stationary bike would look something like this: We might do a five-minute warm-up at a light pace followed by a high intensity work effort for 15 seconds followed again by a 45-second active rest. You would do this 10 times and cool down for an additional five minutes. So that’s 20 minutes in total.
There are endless ways to do HIIT and it doesn’t always have to be performed on a bike or a treadmill
There are endless ways to do HIIT and it doesn’t always have to be performed on a bike or a treadmill. Bootcamp-style training, RIP 60 and kettlebells are terrific ways to do HIIT in a group setting.
However, buyer beware! HIIT is challenging and will test your mental fortitude but you will get a lot of gain for a little bit of pain. If you combine it with resistance training you will see even better results.
Do remember though, you don’t become healthy by losing weight, but you do need to be healthy in order to lose weight.