At our gym, before writing a program for a member the trainer will always ask what they want to achieve as a result of the program and ask how many times a week they can get to the gym. We provide a precise program for our member as well as making sure they are exercising with the correct form, method and effort level. A great start, fast forward 6 weeks to the program review and we will re-take any measurements taken on the initial ‘Health check’ but also the trainer will ask;
- How are we getting on?
- Is this working for you?
- Should we adapt or change anything on your program?
- Are you moving towards your goals?
Now no matter how good the trainer is, not 100% of members will have achieved their goals. The number 1 reason for this? Time! The member had a plan of coming 3 to 4 times a week but it turned out to be more like 3 to 4 times a month, life happened and they couldn’t find the consistency they needed.
So what is the solution for this? Well here’s one solution that has been taking the world by storm. High intensity interval training, otherwise known as H.I.I.T. You only need about ten minutes, and most of that is warming up, resting and cooling down. Sound good? Okay so let’s explain precisely what it is and how it works.
- You have continuous cardiovascular training where you’d be on your machine, let’s say a bike, pedaling at a pace that you can maintain for a long period of time whilst gradually tiring yourself out.
- Then there is interval training, here instead of cycling at a steady pace you might take a moderate minute working slightly less hard but then a faster minute pushing yourself harder. You might repeat this cycle for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Finally let’s look at H.I.I.T. Again, for comparison, imagine you’re on the bike once more, this time we want a stark contrast between the slow period and the working period. The slow period wants to be more like rest, just make sure your legs are still turning, this period could typically be 40 seconds to 120 seconds. Then the working period is your maximum effort, every single last drop of energy and power in your body explosively peddling on a high gear for 20 seconds. You’d only repeat this cycle a maximum of 6 times, if managed 6 intervals well done, now consider making it harder by increasing the gear rather than pushing to do more intervals. if you can manage more than 6, 20 second maximum effort bursts, consider if it was truly your maximum effort, do you need to up the ante?
This may not sound like a lot of work but Imagine Usain Bolt finishing the 200m sprint, then you ask him to walk for 40 seconds to recover and sprint another 200 meter race and then repeat this another 4 times, it really is exhausting. As a personal trainer I am fairly physically fit but after 6 intervals of HIIT training I genuinely struggle to walk down the stairs, I honestly don’t think I could manage without the banister rails. The fitter you get the harder it becomes, because you can push harder. This why this type of training is different, the purpose of the extended recovery interval is to allow the muscles to recuperate just enough to enable them to perform the high octane and explosive power necessary to achieve the desired effect.
Why do H.I.I.T. We want to save time right?
- H.I.I.T. burns 6 time the amount of calories when compared to steady state, continuous cardio. Great, what else?
- H.I.I.T. will elevate your metabolism for 24 hrs, maybe more, who doesn’t want to be burning more calories while they sleep!?
- H.I.I.T. will increase muscle tone and strength, the bonus here is that every pound of muscle you gain, you’re effectively adding 50 calories to your resting metabolism.
- H.I.I.T. will increase the intensity of exercise you can sustain for longer periods of time. For example you might be able to run a 3km race and sustain an effort level of 80% of your maximum heart rate (80 % MHR), currently if you push up to 85% MHR you’d have to stop and walk after a minute or two. there is evidence that regular H.I.I.T. will help you sustain higher effort levels for longer.
- H.I.I.T. will reduce your heart rate and blood pressure by increasing your cardio vascular fitness.
When performing H.I.I.T. it is especially important to have a cool down phase, a few minutes of easy exercise until you’re heart rate has reduced its BPM. So once you finish your last interval, keep moving but reduce the difficulty level and speed.
At Altered Images gym in Bromsgrove we want to help you achieve your fitness goals. Call us today to arrange a visit on 01527 874395.
If you enjoyed reading this blog you may also like to read our previous post on weight lifting.