HIT – High Intensity Interval Training – Is it a hit or a swing and a miss?
ANSWER: Definitely a HIT for your health! Maybe a MISS for your motivation…
So, what is it?
– HIT is the blanket term for all interval training that involves repeated bursts of high to maximal effort mixed with recovery periods. This can include all-out sprints, timed efforts of any exercise or repeated bursts of rather high intensity exercises (like burpees for example).
Recent systematic reviews and meta-analyses (big science-y reports that involve testing thousands of people and then having loads of other scientists assess your data and confirm that you are not making things up) have reported that compared to moderate intensity exercise and prolonged periods of steady state exercise, HIT has been thoroughly proven to effectively increase aerobic capacity (VO2 max) and reduce risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, including blood pressure, insulin resistance and lipogenesis in a variety of patient populations.
*Basically it makes you heaps fitter and healthier much faster and wards of diseases that you would run into from being sedentary, like diabetes. A LITTLE PAIN – FOR A LOT OF GAIN!
There is a plethora of research out there that proves the now well-known benefits of exercise. Not only does it provide huge benefits to your cardiovascular and metabolic systems but exercise also improves psychological health by improving mood, lowering stress levels and reducing depression and anxiety. THEN WHY DOES LESS THAN HALF THE POPULATION EXERCISE??
“I DON’T HAVE TIME”:
One of the most common excuses is, “I don’t have time to exercise”
Brace yourself, HARSH TRUTH coming: This excuse is invalid – yes we are busy, yes raising kids and working and being a good partner is hard and time consuming BUT we all do it and the difference between those that live a longer, healthier and disease free life and those that don’t is simply time management and self motivation.
– with this being the case, why on earth isn’t HIT more popular? I mean, you can squeeze a 30 minute session of burpees and sprints into your day, so why are you still sitting on the couch scrolling through Facebook?
….. Oh right, because enjoyment is right up there on the list as well.
HIT is hard. It is extremely demanding and most people develop either a love-hate relationship or an underlying fear of doing a hard session. This makes it a very unappealing option to the largely sedentary population, it also lowers adherence and creates an attitude of avoidance with those that do do it, due to the brain telling the body that it is ‘too hard’. I get it, after training like a beast for a period of time, you just want to chill.
‘Chill you may, but stop you may not’ – Yoda (probably).
*To maintain health and fend off an early death, you MUST keep moving. 30 mins a day is the required amount, more is better but as a minimum a 30 minute walk is necessary.
Mix it Up! Ok, you don’t have 30 mins today. So do a HIT session, put on your big boi/gal pants and have a shot of concrete and bust out 50 or 100 burpees. This is less than 10 mins (maybe a little more) of work and has HUGE benefits to your body.
Then, tomorrow, you do have a bit of time that you would usually stare at Family Feud, instead grab the dog/baby/whatever and go for a walk or jog for 30 or 40 mins. OR do something you love, go for a skate or bike ride…. the world is your oyster.
As a weapon in waging war on disease, HIT should be embraced, but it’s hard… damn it. The strenuous nature can undermine confidence when exercising and reduce satisfaction and adherence over time, so; Mix it up, alternate hard sessions with easy sessions. Do a week of HIT followed by a week of moderate intensity exercise. JUST DO SOMETHING. HIT followed by bouts of nothing is not a good plan. One hard session does not buy you a week of couch time, consistency is key, so keep that body moving.
Motivation to exercise is not an innate drive, but we have to do it, so find something you enjoy with someone you enjoy and make it happen.
Yours in Health and Fitness,
BESS(HONS)(AEP) – In Progress