Tag: High Intensity Interval Training

No time for long runs? Give HIT a try!

Once believed to be another workout gimmick, high-intensity interval training, or HIT, is gaining validity in the fitness community. The idea that short bursts of 80-90% maximum effort can produce comparable results to long traditional endurance training almost seems too good to be true. Believe it or not, HIT can help you train for endurance events without hours and hours of training.

High-intensity interval training can be performed with most exercises as long as proper form is maintained throughout. Individuals move through a series of exercises at near maximum effort for a short time frame (usually 20-30 seconds) with minimal rest between exercises. This forces the body to activate numerous energy systems that are usually associated with endurance training.

New research conducted by McMaster University and the University of Melbourne has confirmed that small bouts of intense exercise not only increases your metabolism but can actually increase the skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and endurance performance. This study validates the idea that HIT can be useful when training for long endurance races such as half or full marathons. Dr. Martin Gabala and Dr. Sean McGee found that HIT also alters the metabolic control during traditional aerobic-based exercise. Since these races usually require hours of long runs, which forces the body to endure more stress, the idea of HIT is appealing to most endurance athletes or those aspiring to become one. Before you go crazy remember that those long runs provide more than endurance of the muscles of the body. Long runs prepare your mind to deal with doing the same physical movement for hours on end. The study, however, suggests possibly limiting the number of long runs by supplementing a few with HIT. After only four sessions of HIT, results showed increases in the mitochondrial enzymes which assist with traditional endurance exercises. After six weeks of training, the gains were significant.

This is also useful information for the general population! The number one excuse for not exercises is lack of time! Kick that excuse to the curb, hit the pavement and sprint!

Give this HIT workout a try!
*Perform each exercise for 30seconds with 30seconds of recovery in between each.

  • Burpee
  • Jumps from one leg to the other side to side (Skater Jumps)
  • Squat with a Shoulder Press (grab a medium/comfortable weight)
  • Plank on your hands with a Mountain Climber (knee to opposite elbow)
  • Plank on your forearms with an arm reach (don’t let your hips rock as you reach)

Repeat X3

Metabolic Adaptations to Short-term High-Intensity Interval Training

No Time to Exercise? No Problem! The Key is High Intensity Interval Training.

Are you sick of spending hours in the cardio room? Do you sometimes skip your workout because you do not have a full hour in your schedule to get to the gym? Do you find your cardio mundane and boring? Then it may be time to break out of the normal routine and push your body to new levels. Research has shown that you can achieve great results from high intensity interval training as a substitute or addition to traditional cardiovascular training.

Here is an example:
Instead of doing a flat 60 minutes on the stationary bike you can perform an interval circuit of 30 seconds as fast as you can go with 90 seconds of recovery. The recovery pace is the same speed you use for your warm-up. You repeat this cycle for 20 minutes with 5 minutes for a warm-up and 5 minutes for a cool-down.

The idea is that you will put more effort into the 30 second interval knowing you will have 90 seconds of rest. The approach trains your body, and more specifically your heart, to recovery faster to prepare for the next intense burst.

In addition to cardiovascular health, interval training has also been proven to increase the body’s ability to burn fat. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology eight women in their early 20s cycled for 10 sets of four minutes of hard riding, followed by two minutes of rest. Over two weeks, they completed seven interval workouts. After interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent. They also found that it did not matter how much the person was already training. Even if they were frequently visiting the gym they still found improvements to endurance.

Interval training does not need to be limited strictly to pieces of cardio equipment. In several training classes here at the gym (Body Pump, Boot Camp, Winter Sports Prep, etc.) interval training is utilized by pushing your body for a specific amount of time and limiting the amount of recovery. This is done using a wide variety of total body exercises.

So the next time you are in a rut in the cardio room and you want to spice it up, try throwing in some sprints, always warming up first. You can start as simple as 15 seconds of sprinting with 90 seconds of recovery. As you start to get stronger you can increase the sprint time and decrease the recovery.

If math isn’t your strong suit, come join a Boot Camp class or jump in the Winter Sports Prep and Play program and let the trainers do the counting for you!

How to Supercharge a 20 Minute Workout

So, you have 20 minutes and you can’t decide if it’s worth working out. You ask, “Is 20 minutes really enough time to do anything? Is it worth me getting changed and finding my workout socks at the bottom of my bag for?” Let me tell you, it is!

Here are a few ways to make 20 minutes seem like an eternity!

  1. High cardio interval training. Sprint one lap on the track and walk a straight away. Repeat until 20 minutes is up or you die.
  2. Stairs, run them, jump them; carry a med ball over your head, etc. etc. Nothing like moving your body up through space with the biggest muscles in your body to not only burn massive amounts of calories but also increase your strength.
  3. Strength work. Pick a big full range of motion lift, preferable a lower body exercise. Do a quick 5 minute warm-up and then add weight until you get to your heavy weight (as many sets of 3-5 as you can fit in 20 minutes). Front squat (works quads, glutes, hams, and core), back squat (same as front with more emphasis on hams and glutes), single leg front squats, push press, thrusters, or deadlifts. You’ll be amazed at how fast you start sweating when you start adding “real weight” to your major lifts. Not only will you increase strength (and thus increase metabolism), but if you give your self just enough rest to make the next set you’ll also be working on your cardio!
  4. Combine 4 basic movements and do as many as you can until your time is up. Air squats, push-ups, lunges, bench dips. All very basic, all body weight, all can be done ANYWHERE. Do as many air squats as you can, when you have to break or your form becomes less than 100% move to push-ups. Move through all exercises and start all over. To make it fun you can record how many reps you did of each exercise. You’ll be smoked and wishing that you only had 10 minutes to workout!
  5. Find a happy medium. Do 2 minutes of sprinting (all out effort) on any machine, after that move to 3 or more of your favorite exercises. Again, the more weight or the more body parts involved in the exercise the better but as long as you keep moving sky is the limit. Perform 10 perfect reps of each exercise (ab roll-ups, kettlebell swings, long jumps) and then hit up the cardio again. Repeat 3-4 times and enjoy the high caloric burn!

These are just a few ways to make 20 minutes worth the effort of lacing up your gym kicks! If you need more guidance or ideas try a session or two with a personal trainer and see what else the exercise world has to offer!