What is HIIT?
What is HIIT? You have probably heard some information about HIIT, but maybe you aren’t completely clear what it is.
HIIT is an acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training alternates between high-intensity and low-intensity exercise. For example, sprinting for 30-seconds, then walking for 60-seconds is high intensity interval training. HIIT can be used both anaerobically in the gym with weights and aerobically with cardio.
There are a number of great benefits to High Intensity Interval Training besides serious fat burn that include:
• Increased Aerobic Capacity – The amount of oxygen your body can use (oxygen uptake) is increased, so your overall aerobic capacity can increase faster than with low intensity endurance exercise.
• Increased Lactate Threshold – Your ability to handle increased lactic acid buildup in your muscles increases.
• Improved Insulin Sensitivity – Your muscles more readily suck in glucose, instead of the glucose going to your fat stores.
• Anabolic Effect – Some studies show that interval training combined with consuming slightly more calories than you burn creates an anabolic effect, which helps you put on muscle. The opposite occurs with steady state cardio, which for long durations is catabolic.
Our bodies adapt very quickly to the stimulus placed on it. If you only do 30-minute, low intensity runs 5 days a week, your body will not be prepared should you need to do a 800m max effort run or lift something heavy. Since the only stimulus you trained your body for is a 30 minute jog, your body has adapted only to the stresses it encounters there. As a result, it will begin to give you diminishing returns on your 30 minute investment. Hence, once it’s achieved a semi comfortable balance, it has no need to adjust at a rapid rate.
By constantly varying our workouts, we never let our bodies get comfortable with any set time, movement, intensity level, metabolic pathway, elevation, etc. We programmatically attempt to change as many environmental and exercise related variables as possible. This is to keep our body working hard to achieve homeostasis.
Humans are anatomically engineered to perform certain movements at high efficiency. Remarkably enough, these movements are the ones we have used to survive since the beginning of mankind. Lifting things from the ground, getting them to our chest, and then overhead, squatting, jumping, rowing, lunging are all “functional movements”. These basic movements allowed man to survive the perils of nature and procreate.
These multi-joint, full body movements are called functional movements. They are the crux of our fitness program. We never call for an isolated body movement, as it’s simply not natural nor efficient.
Going back to the argument for why we constantly vary. If you are not pushing yourself to your peak capacity on a daily basis, you will never provide your body with the environment needed to achieve maximum growth in minimum time. We set the stage for the body to perform well under those conditions by performing for as long as and intense as we can. Once we have slowly adapted to perform well at that duration and intensity, guess what? It’s no longer relatively intense for you. Naturally you’ll begin to operate at an even higher level of intensity. The old “high intensity” becomes more and more normal work to you. By pushing the envelope of intensity, you give yourself the environment to achieve the biggest gains. And that’s what HIIT is all about.
HIIT strives to achieve physical competency across the board. We feel that in the overall game of life, someone who specializes too much creates weaknesses too great to overlook. Therefore these weaknesses actually lower the overall fitness level of that person.
By focusing on staying unfocused, you are able to hone all of your skills and become a better all around athlete; one who can be physically up to par with substantially more activities (known or unknown) than any specialist can.
Further, the following statement is also true:
A generally prepared athlete will usually lose overall fitness by adding specialization to his training regimen. However, a specialist who adds a constantly varied, functional movement training program at high intensity to his specialized training will generally GAIN fitness ability.
Hence, once you have achieved a proficient broad based level of fitness, you allow periphery skills and abilities to deteriorate by adding too much specialized training.
On the other hand, if you have a mastery level at one or two movements or events, add HIIT. Why? Adding a HIIT training program will result in an overall rise in fitness (as measured by your overall fitness ability, results in hopper activities, or your ability to perform in any of the metabolic pathways).
If you are still asking yourself “What is HIIT” or would like more information, please feel free to contact us.