Regardless of age or gender, the number one reason people don’t exercise is lack of time. Most people come into the New Year with the best of intentions, and right around the first week of February get sucked back into their old habits. There simply wasn’t enough time for that five-mile jog each week, or that hour-long spin class. Well guess what? You can get tremendous physical results with minimal time commitment. Yep, we’re talking about HIIT (high intensity interval training).
I suggest HIIT for my athletes that are looking for elevated exercise capacity, improved cardiovascular conditioning and last but not least, increased fat loss. A recent study (1) found that a single sprint session can increase post-training fat oxidation by 75%. Those are results that get me motivated!
And for all of you endurance athletes out there getting ready for your bike trips this summer, HIIT can help you as well. According to a study (2) in an article published by the American College of Sports Medicine, subjects doubled the length of time that exercise could be maintained at a fixed sub-maximal workload from approximately 26 to a whopping 51 minutes after only 6 HIIT sessions conducted over a 2 week period. That’s a lot of gain for very little pain.
Think sprinting is just about leaning down? Think again. HIIT also improves insulin sensitivity (3) more than continuous running at moderate intensity. And as we all know from Grain Brain, insulin resistance is to blame for a host of neurodegenerative diseases (so much so that Alzheimer’s is now seen as Type 3 Diabetes).
Let’s put some of these studies into action!
I recently completed my first Cooper Run Test and I came in at 1.39 miles. Now I want to see how much farther I can get using HIIT over the next 6 weeks. I’ll report it back to all of you once I re-test. Who’s with me?
Here’s my plan:
Sprint for 30s and jog at a moderate pace for 30s of recovery x 5 cycles. At least five minutes of rest (during the rest periods I will do some mobilization work or bodyweight exercises). Then I will complete 5 minutes of HIIT on the battling ropes, alternating 30s on and 30s off for 5 minutes. Then I'll rest for around 5 minutes again and complete one last HIIT sprint on the treadmill, alternating 30s on and 30s recovery for 5 minutes. I’ll aim to do this once per week (twice if I can!!).
Training Tip: You don’t have to jump on a treadmill! Many of my clients get their HIIT by using the battling ropes, biking, swimming, running stairs and jumping rope.
And now that you’ve saved yourself so much time, you can prepare Egg Foo Young-ish (Spinach, Egg, Ham & Coconut Pancakes) for breakfasts and snacks throughout the week. This great dish is gluten and grain-free, packed with protein, fat and greens and best of all -- portable.
1. Chan, HH, Burns, SF (2013) Oxygen consumption, substrate oxidation, and blood pressure following sprint interval exercise, US National Library of Medicine
2. Gibala, M, McGee, S (2008) Metabolic Adaptations to Short-term High-Intensity Interval Traning, American College of Sports Medicine
3. Sandvei, M, Jeppesen, PB (and others)(2012) Sprint interval running increases insulin sensitivity in young healthy subjects, US National Library of Medicine