YOUR HIIT LIST
HIIT training has been around for quite a few years now and its big attraction seems to lie in the "get fit and lean in the least amount of time" theory. It involves short bursts of intense exercise, such as sprinting for 30-60 seconds repeated several times.
It's a great fitness model with credible research to back it up, HIIT does indeed work! However, far too many people are jumping in with both feet without thinking about the consequences. There are many factors which should be taken into consideration before facing this challenge, including your current level of fitness. Allow me to take you through the good, the bad and the ugly of HIIT training.
I came accross HITT training many years ago after reading an article written by Dr Mercola and Phil Campbell on a 15 minute HIIT routine that (according to them) would burn more fat off your body than running on a treadmill for 2 hours. It involved flat out intensity on a bike or elliptical for 30 seconds and resting for 90 seconds. It sounded too good to be true and so I decided to put their theory to the test for myself.
Being a huge fan of the rebounder I decided to do my sprints on it. Besides the many health benefits the rebounder has to offer, including lymphatic drainage. I was able to reach my target heart rate with zero impact on my joints. Once warmed up, I modified my rountine doing 30 second sprints with a 60 second recovery time in between (Phil Campbell does 90 seconds recovery) and repeated this eight times. The results I achieved were phenominal and I went from being slim (ish) to very lean and toned, with a healthy glow and younger looking skin. It has been an intergral part of my training which I still do at least twice a week.
WILL THE REAL FITNESS HORMONE PLEASE STAND UP!
One very good reason to do HIIT is to get lean and reverse ageing!
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) declines with age and by the time we hit 40 we have less than a third of the HGH production of our youth. And it seems only those with huge bank balances can afford to have injections of HGH and take expensive supplements. But if you really care about your health, holding onto your youth and blasting fat off your body, the good news is that you have access to this amazing hormone (for free) with HIIT. And get this ... it will flood your body in abundance! You will produce a whopping 500 - 700% HGH above baseline during the workout and for two hours afterwards! Quite simply HGH is an amazing lean and youth hormone.
This is what HGH does for you
- Fat loss and increased lean tissue.
- Increased cardiovascular exercise performance.
- Firms your skin and reduces wrinkles.
- Higher energy levels and sexual desire.
- Lowered blood pressure and greater heart output.
- Increases good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Stronger bones.
- Stronger organs with reported regrowth of heart, kidneys, liver, spleen and other organs that shrink with age.
HIIT is truly amazing for longevity as it activates the enzyme telomerase which keeps the telomere length long - a key to anti-ageing.
In addition, HIIT training is now known to help enormously with anxiety and depression.
It's important to understand that your body does not produce HGH after long, slow exercise. Only short, quick-burst anearobic type of exercise will accomplish this. You're working the super fast twitch muscle fibres in your heart by working anearobically, and this in turn releases HGH.
DO NOT CONSUME CARBS, SUGAR OR FRUIT FOR 2 HOURS AFTER HIIT TRAINING!
Are you ruining your gains and obliterating HGH by eating carbs after HIIT training? This has been a huge part of the success of my HIIT programme SprinTone8 and I am quite surpised at other HIIT programmes not advocating this huge factor. Because of the effect of sugar on growth hormone levels, it will blunt the effectiveness of youth and muscle gain. To maximize the HGH after HIIT training, exercisers are advised to eat protein and avoid carbs and sugar (including fruit) for 2 hours after training.
IS HIIT TRAINING FOR YOU
So far HIIT training ticks all the boxes, right? Wrong! HIIT is not for everyone and the exercise phenomena has gone over the top.
- HIIT is not something you can simply jump into. You're going to have to be relatively fit cardiovascularly. So start out slowly and build up your heart muscle.
- Many HIIT classes perform burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers and other difficult to perform exercises which people are not conditioned for. They lack core strength, flexibilty and mobility - a recipe for disaster and injury. This is one of the reasons why I advocate the rebounder.
- If you are new to HIIT training or unfit, start out with steady state cardio such as walking or jogging whilst working on your core, flexibility and mobility.
- According to Dr Mercola, there is no need to perform HIIT more than 3x a week and yet many people are trying to do 6 or 7 classes a week. This overtraining is unneccessary and puts a huge strain on your body, joints, and central nervous system.
- HIIT training is not advisable if you're stressed, not sleeping or suffering from anxiety. The knock on effect will cause a surge in cortisol levels and HIIT training will exacabate this. Instead of burning fat, it's more likely that you will put it on! So when you're feeling whacked, do some gentle exercise rather and even jump on your rebounder and jump or jog gently for 10 minutes to give you a boost of energy.
There you have it. HIIT training is wonderful, it works and it's quick. However, you need to implement all the other aspects of your fitness routine to maximise your results. Please refer to my blog post on my favourite routine SprinTone8.