Many people work out for many different reasons, although most have the common goals of losing weight, to look and feel better, and to be in better shape for a better life. Many have the idea that cardio exercises, such as running, are the best way to slim down. When doing cardio, most people resort to jumping on a treadmill or an elliptical machine, and for the next 30 to 40 minutes of their life they try and “zone out”. New research suggests there are better, more efficient ways to do cardio. That way is called High Intensity Interval Training, also known as HIIT training.
HIIT training, in a nutshell, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise followed by short, and often active recovery periods. Generally these sessions last anywhere from 15-20 minutes. So wait, are we saying you can have a SHORTER workout that is going to be even MORE EFFECTIVE? Yes!
There are many advantages to doing HIIT training, the first being efficiency. Regular 1 – 2 hour workouts can be accomplished in 15-20 minutes. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, 2 weeks of HIIT training is the equivalent to 6-8 weeks of long endurance running when it comes to improvements in aerobic capacity. This is important, because aerobic capacity is the rate at which muscles utilize oxygen and is a good indicator of cardiovascular health.
Another advantage that HIIT training provides is maintaining muscle mass. The general rule of thumb, is that high endurance workouts such as long distance running will actually burn muscle and does not build muscle. With HIIT training, muscle is maintained because the body will burn sugar and fat instead as a source of energy. Imagine a track and field distance runner versus a sprinter. Distance runners are more likely to be thin, with little muscle mass, while sprinters generally are more toned with more muscle mass.
The last advantage that we will discuss today, is the fact that HIIT training will improve your cardiovascular or heart health as well as endurance. A 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of HIIT training, subjects could bicycle 2x as long as they could before initially starting the study. HIIT training has also been shown to stimulate HGH (human growth hormone) by up to 450% more up to 24 hours after the workout. HGH is good as it is known to burn calories, help muscle grow, and it decreases aging.
Whether you are looking to get started in the gym to lose weight, or if the boring treadmill just isn’t working for you anymore, give HIIT training a try. There are many research articles to support high intensity training, and there are many workouts online to follow, which will help with new ideas and to keep things changing.
If you are looking for new ideas, or would like some help getting started, give our Post Falls office a call. We work with many patients to correct their running and lifting form to prevent injury during workouts. We also have nutritional programs available to help our patients achieve their optimal health and wellness goals. Call Optimal Chiropractic in Post Falls, Idaho for more information at (208)777-4305.