So much has been written and studied about this way of training, yet many discussions I have with members and others demonstrates to me there is a lot of confusion surrounding the latest famous acronym for the fitness industry.
So let’s break it down:
High Intensity – the best way to define this is to go as hard as you possibly can – now pay attention – for the given length of interval and subsequent rest period. So if we are doing a 30 second interval followed by a 5 minute active rest period – that 30 second interval had better be everything you can give in 30 seconds, or the stimulation will not be great enough to elicit an adaptation to the demand.
But if I go from a 1 minute interval to a 15 rest period and then follow that with a 1 minute full body exercise, the accumulation of the two minutes of work will attenuate my overall output and I will have to pull it down a notch in order to complete the requirements and be able to keep it going. Capish?
So when we design the program of the day here are some questions to ask yourself before you jump in:
- How much rest after each interval if any? Our programs are typically designed to be done over 45 minutes, if the rest intervals are short (15 seconds and less) this program is about maintaining a steady output , albeit, high output for the duration. If we are giving you longer rest or following the interval with exercises that are not that demanding, now you need to step it up a bit and press the interval.
- How long is the work interval? Shorter work interval – higher output, longer work interval – lower (yet demanding) output.
- What are the exercises involved? If we give you Jacobs Ladder, burpees, Stepmills and Kettlebell Swings – you will need to be very careful with your pacing because of the demand these exercises have on your system will make it very easy to over cook. But pushups, bike, situps and ski erg do not have the same muscle mass activation, you can press these harder and still have enough in the tank to finish.
That is a good basic understanding to H.I.I.T. programming and usage. The word is intensity, you have to go hard, and that can be uncomfortable – but that is the zone where all the good stuff happens. What you are doing is demanding the body to work and then forcing it to adapt. When that happens you get stronger, more conditioned and the metabolic shift helps you drop some inches.
Let me know if you have any questions!