Why I have a problem with HIIT Training:
Ok – first of all, I love any style of training so long as it gets you moving! We are becoming a nation who are increasingly overweight (67% of adults in 2017-2018, and 24% Children aged 5-17years). So no, I am not telling you to quit your beloved HIIT training if you love it, but I AM going to outline the reasons I believe there is something better out there for you.
1. There is no progressive overload. Our bodies are designed to be incredibly efficient, so if you aren’t changing up the stimulus (I said stimulus not exercises, it is important to do the same exercises over and over in order to progress) in your training you will find you will hit a plateau. Progressive overload is a simple way of ensuring your body continues to receive a stimulus in order to get fitter, faster, stronger, more agile, mobile and have healthy stable strong joints and bones.
2. The time available to coach is limited. How much form correction can really occur in a 45 second interval? I believe this is one reason that injury rates are so high, it is designed to simply move as fast as possible all the time.
3. There is no consideration of our stress response. What I mean by this is that there is no regulation, no means to get your nervous system to relax and get back into that recovery state. We live in a stressed state most of the time; work, kids, traffic, alcohol, poor diet.. these are all great at increasing cortisol levels and keeping you in that “fight or flight” mode. Training (any form) is another way of triggering your body into this mode. Now it's not all bad, but ideally we would have the ability to enter our stressed state and then return to a relaxed state. There are a number of ways to do this, one of the most simple (and one which we employ at the end of every session) is deep belly breathing.
Stressed state = doing the work
Relaxed state = recovery and where the progress (gainz) occurs
Constantly being in this stressed state with high cortisol levels leads to a myriad of health issues (CVD, T2 diabetes, anxiety, depression, metabolic disorder, PCOS, early onset sarcopenia and autoimmune disorders)
4. Prescribed movements purely to increase RPE. This means there are a number of exercises prescribed simply with the intention of raising your heart rate so that you feel a high rating of perceived exertion (RPE) this means how hard the exercise feels to you, leaving you feeling as though “I got a really good workout today!”which is great, except there is no consideration to what these exercises are doing to you in the long run.
5. There is little if any regard for strength training employed correctly And I mean with FULL (no bro reps, bro) reps and progressive overload applied. Strength training, when done properly can be a great “cardio” workout and helps to build and maintain strong bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Strength training will also help regulate your hormones + build your muscles, leading to prolonged benefits such as an increased BMR (burn more energy at rest) and less chance of “yo-yo ing” back to where you were, the minute you stop. Some days strength training may not leave you feeling completely exhausted at the end of the session but the benefits of the foundations you are laying down for the rest of your life are worth more than that.
So as I mentioned before – anything that is getting you moving or any exercise that you absolutely love is worth it! However, if you have never tried strength training I urge you to give it a shot. What is likely to happen? You’ll tone up, build a great bum, have a toned stomach, have less aches and pains (low back pain anyone?), have strong joints, be able to eat more without having to worry about the implications too much, you will be more confident, stronger, you will burn more calories simply from existing and you’ll be able to keep up with your kids, dogs, partner and maybe even outrun them! Who doesn’t want those things?
You look at any athlete in history and find me one who doesn’t strength train and who just jumps on and off a bosu ball for 45 seconds….. End rant.
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