The more I read, the more I am convinced that HIIT or High Intensity Internval Training is good for us humans! Granted more research is needed but what the smaller studies are showing, including Australian studies, is that it can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, increase your VO2max, change your gut bacteria to a more diverse bunch (which is good when it comes to stomach flora), increases number of fat burner gut bacteria and reduces hunger hormones and increases full hormones! What areas you will gain benefit in seems like it depends on your genetics at this point, but they are also showing more and more that genetics are not the be all and end all – so excited about some longer term studies in this area! Chances are you are going to benefit in at least one of these areas so here are a couple of HIT methods for you to try – have fun!
30 second sprint : up to 4 minute recovery
To do this one you warm up for 2-5 minutes then sprint your little heart out for 30 seconds. You recover by going back to a steady pace for 4 minutes and then you sprint your little heart out for another 30 seconds. It’s that simple. You repeat this process 4-6 times, cool down with a light 2-4 minutes and don’t forget to stretch! You can do this on the bike, treadmill or outdoor running.
My 1 month experiment – Day 1
I did the HIT routine above outside this morning which was good because the terrain varied so some sprints were up hill and some were flat. The first 2 sprints I felt I was working at maximum capacity; half way through the 3rd I couldn’t keep up the pace and the last 3 sprints were actually jogs. I was very surprised given you get 4 minutes of recovery that the muscles just wouldn’t go any more! I am going to follow this method 2 times per week for a month and see if I get results. The results I will be tracking are increased maximal effort (i.e. how many sprints can I put maximum effort into before my muscles give in), food and weight including changes in my diet as I’m interested to see if my appetite naturally suppresses as the research suggests. I am going to use my fitness pal to track my calories but I will put the data in after the month so I don’t get swayed to eat more or less depending on what the calorie tracker is showing me, so I will write down what I eat during the actual month. With my weight I am going to close my eyes and get Adam to write down the number and track it for the month so I don’t actually know if my weight is changing or not! Hopefully it doesn’t go up!! I will also include cravings in my food diary – because lately I have been craving sugar at night like crazy! So it will be interesting to see if that goes away or not. I have tried HIT in the past but never measured the results. If you’d like to join me feel free to do the same and post your results here or if you’d like to share them privately email me.
20 second sprint : up to 4 minutes recovery
This HIT workout can be done using the same methods as above. You only need to repeat this one 3 times and again do it 2-3 times per week (in the study they did it 3 times per week).
For the unfit, injured or scared of HIT people
HIT has been tested on the elderly population with great success. The elderly group are more at risk of things like pulling a muscle or heart attack but the studies have shown nothing but positive results however it is advised that you ease yourself into HIT and get clearance from your doctor if you have any kind of medical condition. If you’re prone to injury try choosing a method you know will be safe for you such as the lower impact method of bike riding.
For more information I would recommend reading Dr. Michael Mosley’s book Fast Exercise. It explains the science, explains the workouts and how to measure the impact for yourself. I will give you the results at the end of the month along with any tips or tricks I have picked up along the way.