Welcome to our first guest blog from the guys at The Platform Fitness. The Platform is a comprehensive nutrition and exercise program that is science based and can be accessed from anywhere online. Exercise plans, meal plans and daily tips so you can live your best life. Learn more below.
Written by Garret Hagan, MS, PE and Luc D’Abreau, MS, CPT
Whether it’s dubbed high intensity training (HIT), high intensity interval training (HIIT), or one of the other popular catchphrases going around today, there’s a reason training very intensely has gained its recent steam. If you’re going to buy into the hype of high intensity however, it’s crucial you really understand what High Intensity means in order to reap its many benefits.
There are three main requirements for a workout to be considered high intensity:
- The exercise/movement must be done for no more than 1-2 minutes. This time duration depends on the exercise and resistance.
- The exercise can be body weight movements or resistance training movements. The key is that they must be intense.
- You should be exhausted at the end of the set. You should be to the point where you cannot continue on.
Since the mid-1990s, scores of studies have shown the effectiveness of interval conditioning for fat loss. “One Canadian study compared the fat-loss effects of interval training versus a traditional, slow cardio regimen. The traditional regimen burned twice as many calories as the interval regimen, but those who performed intervals lost more body fat.” (1)
How could this be? Believe it or not the hormonal response from high intensity training triggers a cascade that directly leads to the lipolysis (breaking down) of body fat for up to 24 hours after the short intense session! This effect is accomplished by high-intensity exercise due to the depletion of glycogen in the muscle cells and the surge of adrenaline from the intense workout, which both activate hormone-sensitive lipase (2).
Savvy training programs are learning how to leverage the science behind these high intensity trainings as the most efficient and beneficial way to workout. Our biggest myth buster is that you no longer have to spend hours in the gym. Spending less time on your workout with more results, gives you more time for doing other things in your life. Physically, high intensity trainings also provides:
- Greater hormonal response than traditional lower intensity workouts such as long distance running. This response gets your body to burn body fat and build lean muscle mass.
- Decreased risks for all-cause mortality, metabolic diseases and cardiovascular disease. Over the past 4 decades, numerous scientific reports have examined the relationships between physical activity, physical fitness, and cardiovascular health. Expert panels, including organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), and the American Heart Association (AHA), along with the 1996 US Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, “reinforced scientific evidence linking regular physical activity to various measures of cardiovascular health. The prevailing view in these reports is that more active or fit individuals tend to develop less coronary heart disease (CHD) than their sedentary counterparts. If CHD develops in active or fit individuals, it occurs at a later age and tends to be less severe.”
- Reduced risk of injury because with the right program, you are using intense movements without having them be high impact.
- Preferential muscle growth of fast-twitch muscle fibers which provide more room for glycogen stores. This leads to both enhanced insulin sensitivity and a more robust organ support system.
Whether you’re used to a traditional cardio and weights split routine, body weight work like yoga or pilates, or jogging, dancing and swimming, or you’re not currently getting any activity in at all, we recommend a simple weekly regimen that anyone can include in their routine:
- 1 day of heavy resistance training per week
- 1 day of body weight movements per week.
- For a total workout time of 47 minutes per week.
Yes. All of the increased benefits in a shorter amount of time. Pair this with the proper nutrition: whole foods, hydration, and probiotics, and you’ll have the full package to be healthy and look it too.
2- Khoo, John C. et al. (1974) The Mechanism of Activation of Hormone-Sensitive Lipase in Human Adipose Tissue. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Apr; 53(4): 1124–1131.
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