Should I Start High Intensity Interval Training?

Category: Blog

Looking to ramp up your fitness regimen or exercise routine? You may find a solution in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)! This method of exercise will push your body to perform at its best. It’s a training system designed for those who like to get up and move – so if your preference is a slow and calming tai chi class, this may be something you’ll have to work up to. However, no one is exempt for doing HIIT. It’s all about motivation, dedication, and execution.

What is HIIT?

High Intensity Interval Training is an exercise/training method in which you give it your all. You’ll put in one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.

To compare HIIT with traditional endurance training, McMaster University completed a study involving a group of sedentary men. Half of the group performed three weekly sessions of Sprint Interval Training (SIT) for 12 weeks, whist the other half performed Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training (MICT) exercises during the same time period.

What are SIT and MICT?

– SIT: 3×20-second ‘all-out’ cycle sprints (~500W) interspersed with 2 minutes of cycling at 50W

– MICT: 45 minutes of continuous cycling at ~70% maximal heart rate (~110W)

Both of these protocols involved a 2-minute warm-up and 3-minute cool-down at 50W.

During the twelve weeks of sessions, the men performing the brief intense interval exercise indicated improvements in overall cardiometabolic health to the same extent as the men performing 45 minutes of traditional endurance training. And this was despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment! It was recorded that both groups improved their peak oxygen uptake — a key measure of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic power — by nearly 20 per cent.

As you can see, there are undoubtedly some great benefits to HIIT. However, we want to review both pros and cons of HIIT. We want you to be informed so that you know what steps to take next in regards to your own routine:

The Pros of HIIT

– HIIT is quicker than traditional cardio/fat burning workouts. With HIIT, you move a lot faster, so it’ll take you less time for the same or better results.

– This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up. You’ll burn more fat faster.

– HIIT can be done anywhere. Whether it’s inside or outside, or at the gym or not.

– You don’t need a lot of equipment for HIIT! Body weight exercises including plyometics are enough to keep you moving and active.

– Increase your metabolism; research shows that HIIT workouts raise and stimulate human growth hormones by up to 450 percent!

The Cons of HIIT

– There is a higher risk of injury. With HIIIT, you’re moving through exercises very quickly and it can often lead to a lack of proper form and technique, which can result in injury.

– There are higher incidences of DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) with HIIT. Because the workouts are of such high intensity and can work muscles that you may not have used in a while, the risk of soreness is heightened. It’s always important to warm-up and condition your body weeks or months before starting HIIT.

– Dizziness: quick changes in position (ie. sitting to standing) can cause a drop in blood pressure and therefore lightheaded/dizziness.

With all this information buzzing around in your mind, you might be inclined to try HIIT. If you think that HIIT training is something you would like to try, make sure to have a partner present to correct and critique your form. This will help you avoid injury and improve efficiency of your workout. To learn more about HIIT, please call Rai Chiropractic at 604-371-4320.