Long jogs not getting you results?
New client consultations often reveal that people tend to favour long duration exercise such as jogging and cycling as a prominent part of their exercise regimes. But, there may be more time effective forms of cardio exercise that could yield better results.
Introducing ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. A.k.a ‘HIIT’…
The premise of HIIT is to train in intervals of differing speeds and intensities, and therefore never allowing your body to adjust to one intensity level.
A recent study compared participants doing steady-state cardio for 30 minutes three times a week, to those doing 20 minutes of HIIT three times per week. Both groups had similar weight loss results, but the HIIT group illustrated a 2% loss in body fat, compared to the steady-state group’s 0.3% body fat reduction. The HIIT group also gained nearly two pounds of muscle, while the steady-state group lost almost a pound. (1).
This suggests that HIIT cardiovascular exercise and conditioning is superior for fat loss, while protecting, and potentially increasing muscle mass. It is also suggested that long endurance activities like marathon running can cause muscle catabolism (the breakdown of muscle tissue).
What makes HIIT so good for fat loss?
High Intensity Interval Training produces what’s called ‘excess post-oxygen consumption’, a.k.a. EPOC. This points towards an increased resting metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after a good session.
In a nutshell; the fat-burning continues way after you’ve hopped off the treadmill and hit the showers.
So, where to start?
Interval training can be done with many different exercises: sprints, jump-rope, stair-climbs, cycling or on the cross trainer. Bodyweight circuits including squats and box jumps can also be used.
Providing that the protocol is followed of working at high intensity for a short period of time, followed by a short interval of rest (thus, lowering your heart rate) and repeating, the options are endless!
Here’s a couple of example workouts laid out to illustrate the protocol, give one a whirl, let us know how you get on:
1. 10 seconds sprinting on a treadmill (…or outdoors!), followed by 30 seconds of rest/slow walking to recover. Repeat this 8-10 times. See if you can increase this each week, or perhaps try the sprints uphill if you’re feeling strong!
2. 30 seconds of fast jump rope, followed by 30 seconds of rest/slow walking to recover.
3. 20 seconds of going hell for leather on the punch bag, followed by 40 seconds rest/slow walking. 1 minute per round! Can you keep this up for 8-10 minutes? Give it a try.
4. 15 seconds all out sprinting on a stationary bike, followed by 45 seconds of slow recovery cycling. That’s a minute per round. Try 5 rounds!
It’s important to remember; as with any form of regular training, seeking professional advice beforehand is key. HIIT is taxing on our central nervous system, requires sufficient recovery time in between sessions, and is only appropriate when injuries, fitness levels and training experience have been taken into consideration.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start using heart rate zones to help target maximum fat loss. But thats another article!
1) Sijie, T., Hainai, Y., Fengying, Y., & Jianxiong, W. (2012). High intensity interval exercise training in overweight young women. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 52(3), 255-62.