Hi, friends! I’m out in Michigan and traveling back today. I’ll be sure to share all my food and fitness adventures tomorrow!
Last week we discussed LISS or Low-Intensity Steady State Training. Now it’s time to discuss the other end of the spectrum, HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training.
What is HIIT Training?
HIIT, is short bursts of all out work followed by an active recovery period. Interval training and Tabata are good examples of these. HIIT training can be accomplished on a cardio machine (sprints followed by active slow recovery), plyometrics (burpees, squat jumps, etc), and sometimes power lifting.
Let’s get technical for a minute. Your body only has TWO sources of energy it can burn, fat and sugar. That’s it. This graph shows the percent of fat burn as defined by the gray shaded area. Keep in mind, this graph is just an example. Each person’s heart rate zones will vary depending on age, metabolic health, fitness level, and activity being tested.
In steady state/ low-intensity cardio your body burns mostly fat, this is often defined as Zone 1 (the blue). This is also known as your BASE. Keep in mind that fat is a harder fuel source to reach than sugar, HOWEVER, it provides longer lasting energy. So the less energy the body needs immediately, the more it can tap into that long lasting fuel source.
As we increase the energy demands we move through zones 2 and 3, as the heart rate rises the body is less able to use fat as a fuel source. When the body is no longer able to use fat as a fuel source it shifts to predominately burning sugar (our bodies stores sugar as glycogen in the muscles and liver for immediate use). At the point, your body makes the fuel source shift, that is known as your threshold or AT.
Anything above AT is considered High-Intensity Training. HIIT training is going above AT for a certain period of time.
Pros to HIIT Training
- Increased mitochondrial density and capacity – mitochondria are responsible for your bodies ability to utilize oxygen for energy. Increased density of mitochondria means that your body is better able to produce energy for your workouts and you’ll be able to burn more calories over time.
- Afterburn effect or EPOC – interval training creates an oxygen shortage that the body tries to rectify for up to 24 hours after your workout. This is known as exercise post oxygen consumption or EPOC. This means your burning more calories throughout the next 24 hours.
- Quick and Convenient – movements can be done in a gym, but also without any equipment. Perfect for hotel room workouts, small gyms, and home workouts.
- Interesting and Exciting – there is a never-ending combination of movements and types of interval training to keep you entertained during your workout.
- Metabolic Flexibility – your capacity to switch between fuel sources (fat and sugar) improves. It also increases insulin sensitivity (your ability of your body to metabolize sugar.)
Cons to HIIT Training
- Less Development of Aerobic Capacity – HIIT training will not give you the lasting cardiovascular benefits of LIIS training and it will not help you build your endurance. You’ll be fat and strong but may gas out quickly if HIIT training is all you do.
- Increased Recovery Time – these workouts demand the body to adapt to new workloads which increase the recovery time needed post workout.
- Not for beginners – You should establish a base of 20 minutes of steady cardio activity before adding in interval training.
Take Aways for HIIT Training
As I mentioned last week, I used to be a LISS cardio queen. However, it is well documented in the research that low-intensity exercise combined with a low-calorie diet often leads to muscle breakdown. So you may lose weight overall, but more of it will be muscle mass then it has to be. I was smaller, but I didn’t look toned or fit. HIIT training is associated with muscle maintenance or increase (depending on the program) during fat loss. I personally include HIIT training 1-4 days a week depending on what my goals are and how much time I have.
What about you? Do you include HIIT training in your weekly workouts?
52 HEALTHY HABITS IN 52 WEEKS SERIES:
The 52 Healthy Habits Series is about ditching the diet mindset and making small changes to improve health overall naturally leading to a healthy body composition, increased energy and improved health. Please follow along and check out the past weeks!
- Week 43: LISS or Steady State Cardio
- Week 42: Limit Alcohol
- Week 41: Eat White, Wait What?
- Week 40: Eat Blue & Purple
- Week 39: Eat Green
- Week 38: Eat Yellow/Orange
- Week 37: Eat Red
- Week 36: Learn Which Foods to Purchase Organic
- Week 35: Read the Ingredient List!
- Week 34: Focus.
- Week 33: Chew Your Food!
- Week 32: Meditation
- Week 31: Gratitude Journaling
- Week 30: Plan & Revamp Dessert- 20 Healthy Ideas
- Week 29: Two fistfuls of veggies per meal
- Week 28: Get In Veggies At Breakfast
- Week 27: Healthy Veggie Snacks
- Week 26: Nourishing Fats for the Gut (Healthy Digestion Part 4)
- Week 25: Keeping Regular – The Other Fiber (Healthy Digestion Part 3)
- Week 24: Feed The Probiotics With Prebiotic Fiber (Healthy Digestion Part 2)
- Week 23: Amazing Health Benefits of Probiotics (Healthy Digestion Part 1)
- Week 22: Check In
- Week 21: What You Will Learn From Recording Your Meals (Intuitive Eating Series Part 4)
- Week 20: Eat Until 80% Full (Hara Hachi Bu) (Intuitive Eating Series Part 3)
- Week 19: Limit Distractions While Eating (Intuitive Eating Series Part 2)
- Week 18: Gaging Your Hunger Cues (Intuitive Eating Series Part 1)
- Week 17: 10,000 Steps Per Day
- Week 16: Assess Your Caffeine Intake
- Week 15: Decrease Sugar Intake
- Week 14: Healthy Coffee Creamers (upgrade yours)
- Week 13: 3 Month Check In
- Week 12: Sleep Enough & Sleep Better
- Week 11: Schedule Your Workouts
- Week 10: Pack A Healthy Lunch (5 Ways to Create Endless Combinations)
- Week 9: Prioritizing Protein
- Week 8: How and What to Meal Prep
- Week 7: Create & Stick To Your Healthy Meal Plan
- Week 6: Get Enough Omega-3’s (Fight Inflammation)
- Week 5: What Is A Healthy Fat & How To Get Enough (Include Healthy Fats)
- Week 4: How to Spot A Healthy Carbohydrate (Upgrade Your Carbs)
- Week 3: Tips to Increase Veggie Intake (Eat Veggies)
- Week 2: 15 Healthy On the Go Breakfast Ideas (Eat BF Challenge)
- Week 1: Tips to Drink More Water