It is important to understand that not all cardio is created equal, which is why it is important to choose a form of cardio that meets your health goals. The purpose of this BLOG is to discuss High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. HIIT describes a form of workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less intense activity or even complete rest. It is the ideal workout for a busy schedule as research shows you can achieve more progress in 20 minutes than running on the treadmill for an hour. A recent study compared participants who did a steady-state cardio for 30 minutes three times per week to those who did 20 minutes of HIIT training 3 times per week. Both groups showed similar weight loss but the HIIT group gained nearly 2 pounds of muscle, while the steady state group lost almost one pound. Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout but the effect kicks your body into repair mode and you continue to burn calories for the next 24 hours. Your metabolism is revved up for hours post workout. During the HIIT workout your body can’t shuffle enough oxygen to your muscles during periods of hard work. Your muscles begin to accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that must then be replenished post workout to bring your body back to homeostasis “normal”. This is called Excess Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preservation, HIIT also stimulates the production of HGH (human growth hormone) by up to 450 percent during the next 24 hours after you finish your workout. Increased HGH levels in your body have been shown to increase muscle mass, reduce the amount of fat in healthy older adults, increase libido, improve mood, give you more energy and radiant skin. HGH works in conjunction with collagen to maintain skin and muscle composition allowing or more firm and less sagging skin. It is touted as the most effective anti-aging hormone produced in your body and typically slows down as we age. This is a wonderful and effective way to stimulate its production naturally.
I want to provide you with a basic understanding of muscles as it is an important component in picking the exercise routing that is most effective at allowing you to reach your goals.. Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of individual fibers called myocytes. Fibers are broken down into slow twitch (type 1) and fast twitch (type 2). These distinctions help to influence how your muscles respond to training and physical activity. On average we are about 50 percent Type 1 and 50 percent Type 2. The Type 1 fibers are more efficient at using oxygen to generate fuel. They fire more slowly and can go for a long time without getting tired. These muscles fibers are primarily utilized in long distance running or long bike rides. Type 2 fibers utilize anaerobic metabolism to create fuel. They are good for short bursts of strength or speed but fatigue quickly. These are primarily utilized in sprinters. HIIT will work on both type 1 and type 2 fibers. It is important to also recognize that you heart is a muscle. So when doing a HIIT workout you are effectively and efficiently working your entire heart muscle verses a long distance run only utilizing Type 1 fibers and essentially only 50% of your hearts muscle composition.
It is important to recognize that the recovery aspect of HIIT is just as important as the workout. For that reason it should only be done 3-4 times per week at the most. Pick an aerobic exercise such as stationary biking, or running on the treadmill. Warm up for 5 minutes and then perform alternating speed and recovery intervals. Go to higher exertion speeds with inclines for 1 minute to 90 seconds with alternating base recovery paces. This should continue for 20-22 minutes to be most effective.
Also you want to work out in a fasting state to maximize growth hormone levels and allow your body to effectively burn fat stores. I recommend not eating for 2-3 hours pre-workout. Post workout, hydrate your body and add protein, greens and small amount of carbohydrates in the form of berries.
We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding your workout routine. Have fun and remember sweat is magic, cover yourself in it daily to grant your wishes.