It is no surprise that when it comes to fitness, there are many schools of thought regarding achieving the perfect body. Arguments are held in person and online every day about the proper way to achieve the proper fat: muscle ratio, what the best diet is for losing weight, and the benefits of supplements; you can throw a stone in any direction and hit eight people who all have an opinion on the hot-button issue of eggs in one’s diet: to yoke or not to yoke?
Yes, for anyone who searches for “gyms near me” and finds a well-reviewed personal training center, it is almost a guarantee that they will be signing up for a whole philosophy on fitness in addition to a simple strength and conditioning coach. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it is amazing that the human body is dynamic enough — and each of us so different from one another — that there are multiple ways to get in shape and achieve one’s goals.
Taking the HIIT
If there is one thing that proves difficult with the multitude of workout philosophies and diet plans, it is finding the regimens that are supported by science. There are a lot of home-grown ideologies floating around the fitness scene, ones that have either been fully concocted by those of admittedly dubious trustworthiness — like the proverbial neighbor down the street who swears by doing calisthenics at the crack of a January dawn outside in his underwear — or by those who take a good plan and make their own “special” iterations — like the woman who thinks she’s getting a better pull-up workout when she swings her body on the bars to allow the momentum to help her do more reps.
Over the last decade or so, one of the most popular fitness plans employed by strength and conditioning coaches around the world has been high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This methodology has been under the microscope of science since its inception and has deemed the basic concept to be pretty sound.
HIIT vs. Steady-State Cardio
The criticism around traditional fitness workouts like running or lifting weights (also known as “steady-state” for its even cadence) is that there are bursts of intensity couched between lots of rest and recovery states, or that the goal is to get into a zone that is maintainable for a really long time. If put onto a line graph, there would be low troughs with occasional spikes upward, but the low lines remain on the same hash mark near the bottom of the axis.
HIIT training proposes turning that graph upside down.
- Plateaus of high intensity occasionally featuring small dips to recover and catch one’s breath before starting up again.
- In a true inverse of the graph example, the steady line that was the bottom of the steady-state is now near the top, representing a constant “10/10” effort.
- Because this consistent high effort is unsustainable over long periods of time, the workouts are naturally much shorter.
- Experts claim that more calories are burned doing HIIT for 15 minutes than trying to achieve the same result by jogging over the course of 45 minutes.
Determining What’s Most Effective
Anyone with the goal of starting a HIIT program should also make sure to consult their primary care physician before starting anything of prolonged intensity. This isn’t because there is anything inherently wrong with HIIT, but it does require a lot out of a person. How do the results look, though? Well, according to recent studies conducted to determine HIIT’s fat-burning potential as compared to low-intensity steady-state cardio, the results are pretty clear:
- In many instances of measuring both men and women, HIIT athletes were able to achieve the same results in less than half the time.
- The stores of energy and the athlete’s efficiency in using it were both improved by those doing HIIT.
- HIIT has been proven to be a great method of achieving a high level of healthiness for diabetic persons as well as a great way to burn fat for obese individuals.
When it comes to completing a HIIT program and qualifying for all of those wonderful benefits, an athlete needs two things to be successful: a personal training coach and a lot of heart. At Performance One, we take individuals of all types and help them achieve great results with the use of our equipment and supplements. A new life awaits those who can embrace the intensity.