HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has become the most sought after form of weight loss training across the Planet in recent years. This hasn't happened by accident, but more due to the result of scientific knowledge advancing and improved training techniques combined with the desire of a generation to look and perform to the best of one's ability.
HIIT cardio classes have been around for years, they have been mascarading under the name of 'Body Combat' or 'Body Pump' and most of us have heard people chatting about these classes in the past but dismissed them as a fad. The truth is that these classes are so close to a true High Intensity Interval Training routine that it is a shame that they are not quite applying the principals correctly to achieve the maximum gain out of their training sessions. These classes tend to last anywhere between 40 minutes and one hour, if they simply would increase the intensity of the working periods of these classes they could get more benefit and half the class time.
The benefits of HIIT training can not be overstated as the results are truly impressive and the science backs the theory and practice up proving without a doubt that high intensity interval training is worth doing.
One study in particular in 2011, conducted and presented by the American College of Sports Medicine showed participants increased their Aerobic capacity with just two weeks of High Intensity Interval Training more than that of participants performing 8 weeks of typical Endurance Training.
Benefits of HIIT Cardio
Think of the most powerful and fastest creatures on the planet, specimens such as the Cheetah perhaps. Does the Cheetah run for hours on end or does this lean and explosive animal engage in short bursts of raw power? We all know the answer to this so why do so many people hit the Treadmill, put their Headphones in and settle down for an hour in an aim to get lean?
The reason people don't do HIIT cardio is that they are generally scared of a little bit of hardwork and can safely go through the motions on the Treadmill whilst telling themselves they have worked hard. In fact, who hasn't seen people reading books on an exercise bike in attempt to shift weight? If we apply the most basic principle of training, and that is that 'the Body can only improve to the amount of stress we put upon it' - how can a fine tuned rippling physique be created with a lazy training routine in which you never get out of second gear?
The facts are that a well thought out High Intensity Interval Training routine can benefit you in many ways. First of all you burn far more calories during HIIT cardio than you do with slow paced non-impact cardio. This extra Calori burning is not just during the performance of the training session. The very nature of High Intensity Interval Training forces your muscles to work far harder and microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibre. This muscle fibre needs repairing and can only be done once physical activity has ceased, the repair of the tissue uses far more calories whilst in a resting state than you can imagine and keps the fat burning fires alight well after you have finished your High Intensity Interval Training training.
It is not just the Calorie count you are looking for when performing exercise it is where them Calories are used that counts. Traditional Cardio tends to be fueled by muscle tissue, this is Protein calories (there are 4 calories per 1 gram of Protein). Most pople who have ever dieted have been puzzled to find that they look no thinner but have lost 6lb, this is simply Muscle mass that has been lost due to the calorie deficiency you have placed your body under. Fortunately during HIIT cardio, the body digs into the Fat stores for fuel (there are 9 calories per 1 gram of Fat). Due to the very nature of High Intensity Interval Training, we are keeping our body in a fat burning zone and not allowing it to leave, whilst the change in pace also keeps the body guessing thus not allowing the body to relax and dig into it's preferred fuel - Protein stores.
Which HIIT Routine
The very beauty of HIIT training is that it can be done anywhere with any equipment. It tends to be performed using Kettlebell exercises these days and the benefits and reasons for this will be discussed later on.
What is universally true about High Intensity Interval Training is that the individual exercises used are not the most important factor, it is all about the volume of work and pattern of your working sets performed. It is this pattern of activity that creates the massive calorie deficits, but more importantly dictates that the body chooses to use it's Fat stores for fuel as oppose to Protein stores which tradition endurance training tends to do.
There exists two methods of High Intensity Interval Training training that are more common than any others and they are as follows;
The Tabatha Method
Bases on a study undertaken by Izumi Tabata back in 1996, any Athletes taking part in this can expect a very fast, extreme and quick workout.
Originally the participants in this study were required to perform a very short (4 minutes) workout four times per week whilst performing one steady paced training session per week also.
The results were quite staggering as this group obtained very similar Aerobic capacity benefits to a group who were performing five steady paced sessions per week. The group performing what was to be know as The IE1 Protocol, also experienced massive gains in their Anaerobic capacity which the group performing five steady paced training sesions per week did not.
The IE1 Protocol group were required to perform just 8 circuits which consisted of 20 seconds of ultra intense activity followed by 10 seconds of complete rest.
The Little Method
As far as High Intensity Interval Training routines go, the Little Method is hard. Whilst not to be performed at the intensity of the Tabatha Method it is a prolonged High Intensity Interval Training cardio session and one that is a lot harder than it souds.
Participants of this regimen, which is based on a 2009 University study are required to do a 3 minute warm up gollowed by 9-12 circuits of 60 seconds intense activity followed by 75 seconds rest. The rest period sounds a lot, but when the activity is performed at about 95% of VO2 max, the Heart rate willnever fall below what is classed as an optimal Fat burning zone.
Again the results were in favour of HIIT training as oppose to traditional cardio vascular activity as the gains were greater for the study group performing the Little Method 3 times per week than the alterative study group performing steady paced activity 5 times per week.
HIIT Cardio Improving Health
High Intensity Interval Training has wonderful benefits on the general health of an athlete. A good HIIT routine can help keep you young due to a decrease of the ageing process caused by a dramatic increase in Growth Hormone (HGH). Studies have shown that the level of Growth Hormone can increase by upto 450% in the twenty four hour period following a HIIT cardio session. This elevation of Human Growth Hormone also increases Calorie use dramatically which in turn increases your resting Metabolic rate.
High Intensity Interval Training has also been shown to reduce the risk of Diabetes type 2, participants in many studies have shown an increase in Insulin resistance, some in as little as two weeks of HIIT training.
The benefits of High Intensity Interval Training on your Heart and Lungs can never be underestimated. As much as we all like looking good and in shape, it's not half as good if what's underneath is about to break down. The increase in general fitness is quite remarkable and one study back in 2006 highlighted this better than any other. Participants of an 8 week long HIIT training schedule were able to cycle twice as far as they were previously whlst maintaining the same pace.
Not only can physical health be improved by High Intensity Interval Training, mental health studies have shown that HIIT training can improve the mood of suffereres of depression, help people reduce stress levels, aid in natural healing and can even help in the grieving process of a loved one.
Kettlebell HIIT Training
Why HIIT training using Kettlebell exercises?
The benefits of High Intensity Interval Training cardio sessions are clearly overwhelming in themselves and no one will not benefit from performing High Intensity Interval Training on a piece of traditional cardio equipment such as the treadmill or exercsie bike. The beneifts of Kettlebell workouts combined with a solid and well thoughout High Intensity Interval Training routine however, are mind blowing!
When you consider the calorie burning effects of a standard 20 minute Kettlebell workouts and then apply the principles of High Intensity Interval Training it truly is mind blowing the results you will get. The work is also mind blowing unfortunately! High Intensity Interval Training is one of the best and most effective methods of strength endurance training and due to the nature of the Kettlebell and it's reluctance to allow you to rest during a set or within a repetition itself the Heart and Lungs are having to work so much harder than they would whilst running or cycling. For instance experienced runners can make their running technique so efficient that the Calorie burning effect is very minimal in comparison to a novice runner. With a full body Kettlebell exercise such as the Kettlebell Swing for instance, no efficiency in the movement can make it easier on the body and therefore you cannot cheat yourself in any way shape or form.
The classic 30 sets in 20 minutes Kettlebell HIIT workouts are so hard that most people, even experienced half Marathon runners often struggle to finish the session. The workload your Cardio Vascular system goes through during one of these training sessions is true testament to the Human body and it's ability to cope with high demands.