High intensity interval training (HIIT) refers to a very specific and particular type of training, and it’s possible to do interval training, or high-intensity training, without actually doing a real HIIT workout. Understand that our bodies have developed to carry out physical activity in bursts of effort followed by recovery, or stop-and-go motion instead of consistent state motion. Current research is suggesting that physical variability is one of the most important aspects to think about in one’s training. This tendency can be seen throughout nature as all animals show stop-and-go movement rather of constant state movement. People are the only animals in nature that try to do “endurance” type physical activities.
The majority of competitive sports (with the exception of endurance running or cycling) are also based on stop-and-go motion or brief bursts of exertion followed by recovery. To analyze an example of the different results of steady or endurance state training versus stop-and-go training, think about the physiques of marathoners versus sprinters. Many sprinters bring a physique that is very lean, muscular, and powerful looking, while the normal devoted marathoner is more sickly and often emaciated looking. Now which would you rather resemble?
Another aspect to keep in mind concerning the benefits of interval training is the internal impact of various types of exercise on our body. Researchers have actually understood that extreme steady state endurance exercise (various for everybody, however in some cases defined as higher than 60 minutes per session most days of the week) increases free radical production in the body, can deteriorate joints, lowers immune function, triggers muscle loss, and can trigger a pro-inflammatory reaction in the body that can potentially result in persistent diseases.
On the other hand, high intensity interval training has actually been linked to increased anti-oxidant production in the body and an anti-inflammatory reaction, a more efficient nitric oxide action (which can motivate a healthy cardiovascular system), and an increased metabolic rate reaction (which can assist with weight reduction). HIIT teaches the heart to respond to and recover from a range of demands making it less likely to fail when you need it. Think of it this way– exercise that trains your heart to quickly increase and rapidly reduce will make your heart more efficient in dealing with daily stress. Stress can trigger your blood pressure and heart rate to increase quickly. Steady state jogging and other endurance training does not train your heart to be able to handle rapid modifications in heart rate or blood pressure.
The important aspect of high intensity interval training that makes it superior over constant state cardio is the recovery period in between bursts of exertion. That recovery period is essential for the body to elicit a healthy reaction to an exercise stimulus. One of the most effective HIIT activities to decrease body fat and bring out major muscular definition is performing wind sprints. High strength interval training (varying in between low and high strength periods) is yet another training technique that makes use of exertion and recovery periods.
Here is a sample HIIT workout:
Warm-up for 3-4 minutes at a fast walk or light jog;
Period 1 – perform at high/max intensity for 1 minute;
Interval 2 – walk at recovery rate for 1.5 minutes;
Period 3 – perform at high/max intensity for 1 minute;
Interval 4 – walk at recovery rate for 1.5 minutes;
Repeat those four intervals four times for a really intense 20 minute workout;
Cool down with a walk.
Some of the potential benefits of HIIT compared to steady state endurance training are as follows: enhanced cardiovascular health, increased anti-oxidant defense, improved immune function, reduced risk for joint wear and tear, reduced muscle loss, increased metabolic rate following exercise, and an increased capability for the heart to handle life’s everyday stressors. The takeaway message from this article is to attempt to train your body at highly variable intensity for most of your exercises to get the most helpful reaction in terms of heart health, weight loss, and muscle maintenance.