High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Is The Most Efficient Exercise
Trainers refer to the High-Intensity Interval Training technique as HIIT in aerobics.
What is HIIT? It is a form of aerobics that involves sprinting as fast as you can for 30 to 120 seconds, resting for the same period, and then repeating. As little as three sprints, three times a week, may give the same “cardio” benefit as three hours of steady-state walking or jogging per week.
Amazingly many Top Notch Educational Organizations recommend HIIT but often present the info slightly incorrectly and in a confusing manner. A good example is this WebMD article. No need to read it as I will explain why HIIT works better than regular “cardio workouts” like walking, jogging, stair steppers, elliptical, etc.
A better article is this one which describes the two primary energy systems that support muscle activity. But again, there is no need to read it, as I will explain it more simply. (Is that even proper English?)
Our muscles use three different pathways to produce energy for movement. But to simplify the description, I will describe the muscles rather than the pathways. The pathway descriptions require you to know many complicated words, processes, and results. So instead, let us look at energy production from a muscle-centric view. That way, it can be described and visualized far easier.
Looking at this subject of High-Intensity Resistance Training, there are three types of muscle fibers to consider. All muscles contain the three types in varying amounts, but there is a substantial amount in every muscle.
Muscle Fiber Types Are The Key To Understanding
(The below three descriptions were paraphrased from this article but again no need to refer to it. However, I wanted to give credit.)
- Type 1: (SO) Slow oxidative (Oxidation is the chemical reaction that occurs when something comes in contact with oxygen) fibers contract relatively slowly and use aerobic (with oxygen) respiration (the use of oxygen to produce energy) and glucose (sugar) to produce ATP (the energy unit). They produce low-power contractions over long periods and are slow to fatigue.
- Type 2 A: (FO) Fast oxidative fibers have fast contractions and primarily use aerobic (with oxygen) respiration (process to produce energy). But because they may switch to anaerobic respiration (the nonuse of oxygen to produce energy). This nonuse of oxygen is called glycolysis and means these fibers burn glucose (sugar) directly without oxygen. As a result, they can produce fast contractions but can fatigue more quickly than SO fibers.
- Type 2 B: (FG) Fast glycolytic means they burn sugar directly into ATP (energy unit) without oxygen. These fibers have fast contractions and primarily use anaerobic glycolysis. The FG fibers have the strongest contractions but fatigue more quickly than the others.
As mentioned above, slow contractions mean relatively weak, as used in walking and jogging but not full-out sprinting. Conversely, fast contractions mean strength, like sprinting full out or lifting a heavy weight.
An Even Simpler Description Of Muscle Fibers
Another article describes muscle fiber types is a possibly easier to comprehend fashion:
Skeletal muscle fibers can be classified based on two criteria: 1) how fast fibers contract (strength) relative to others, and 2) how do fibers regenerate ATP (the energy unit). Using these criteria, there are three main types of skeletal muscle fibers recognized. Slow oxidative fibers contract relatively slowly and use aerobic respiration (oxygen and glucose) to produce ATP. Fast oxidative fibers have relatively fast contractions (strength) and primarily use aerobic respiration (and sometimes anaerobic) to generate ATP (the energy unit). Lastly, fast glycolytic fibers have relatively fast contractions (more strength) and primarily use anaerobic glycolysis (turning sugar into ATP without oxygen).
Most skeletal muscles in the human body contain all three types in varying proportions.
But What is High-Intensity Resistance Training (HIRT) or High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIIRT)? The previous two methods are the same, just different ways of naming the form of training. HIRT.
HIRT is something very new to the exercise world. HIIT and HIRT are sometimes just referred to as HIT or High-Intensity Training. So yes, it isn’t very clear, but we will get through it!
There have always been those that do High-Intensity Weight Training. However, HIIT has been researched and is proven to increase aerobic enhancement (cardio). And much more than in traditional walking, jogging, or even running. So HIIT is now applied to weight/resistance training. HIRT
So (HIRT) is another form of high-intensity training, like HIIT. However, HIRT adds strength to the protocol. It keeps the tenants of short, intense, interval training but adds resistance to the protocol,l increasing the benefits gained from the training.
HIIT Versus Traditional Training
For aerobic enhancement, HIIT works better than traditional aerobics/cardio workouts. This is because when you do an all-out sprint, you engage the third type of strong, but quickly fatiguing, muscle fibers.
When you engage these fibers and fatigue them with a 30-90 second sprint, you nearly deplete them of sugar, and the body adapts but making the fiber stronger, able to hold a bit more sugar, or by making the fiber bigger. HIIT can cause all three.
True HIIT only needs 3-10 sets of 30-120 second sprints. These will equal hours of steady-speed aerobics by the less intense methods of jogging, walking, stair steppers, swimming, biking, etc.
When one does 30 minutes of steady-state (consistent speed) aerobic exercise, minimal benefit accrues except in the first few sessions when the muscle is untrained. After that, the body gets accustomed to the exercise. To gain benefits from walking, jogging, etc., you must walk faster, include steeper hills, or add some other form of intensity.
Or you could do the intense part and save yourself a LOT of time. Intensity causes most of the adaption of more efficient muscle fibers, faster metabolism, more energy, and overall enhanced health. But, unfortunately, doing the same 30-60-90 minute exercise session, day after day, for months on end, gives little improved cardio benefits.
The Amazing Benefits of HIRT
Let us clearly define what HIRT is. It is doing one set of an exercise to temporary Kuscle failure. Following this protocol you will achieve the following benefits in far less time than traditional exercise.
Time and Efficacy – It can be hard to find the time to work out, which is why HIRT training is excellent. It provides a highly effective workout in just 20 minutes twice a week.
Increase Peak Oxygen Uptake – HIRT can increase your aerobic endurance, also known as Vo2 max. This measures how well you take up (use) oxygen while working out.
Lean Muscle and Strength – This type of training produces micro-tears in your muscle fibers; when they repair themselves, they grow in size and/or strength.
Combining Cardio and Strength Training – HIRT combines both cardio and strength training making it even easier to fit effective workouts into your schedule.
Low Impact – HIIT often includes high-impact exercises to raise your heart rate. Running hard, jumping, climbing, and swinging heavy things can cause injuries. And can cause a lot of wear and tear on your joints. HIRT focuses on resistance, so you can select exercises that don’t have a high impact on your joints.
Interesting Workouts – This protocol requires your full and engaged attention. People find it much easier to stick to HIRT due to the challenge, pace, variety, and time savings.
20-25 minutes of hurt replaces 3-6 hours of traditional aerobics or “normal” weight training.
Tips for HIRT
Properly nourish your body.
Start short and build from there.
Focus on giving your maximum effort.
Keep rest periods to less than a minute.
Give yourself at least two days between HIRT workouts. If you genuinely go “all-out,” you may even need three or four days to recover the sugar in those strongest but quickly fatiguing muscle fibers.
The last point is why you save so much time using HIRT. When you stress your muscles (in a good way), they need time to recover, so you need to do it less often. Regular weight training, such as “three sets of Ten” per body part, is a waste of time. Exhaust the muscle ONCE, and you have achieved the goal. When you stress a muscle fully (or close to entirely exhausted), the brain says, “That was an emergency. We failed. Let’s make the muscle stronger for the next emergency.” Taking your muscles once to a temporary muscle failure (you cannot finish the last rep) is all the stress you need. Doing this is how you get healthy. NOT by jogging for endless hours a week.
Not to be picky, but most long-distance bicyclists, long-distance runners, etc., are skinny. They lack total muscle quantity. Lean is thin and not necessarily healthy. Many studies show strength, NOT endurance, is the most protective thing you can do for overall health.
Strength Adds to Longevity With Health
Jim Fixx was the man that made jogging popular in the 1980s. But unfortunately, he was skinny and died of a heart attack. Hmmmm!
In addition, if regular aerobics are so beneficial, why has obesity and poor health increased decade after decade since aerobics became popular? Hmmmm?
The study by “Ruiz and Blair” showed us how important strength is in health. Their quote:
“Conclusion Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated (meaning prevents, my words) with death from all causes and cancer in men, even after adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness and other potential confounders.” (Confounders are variables.)
The confounders were things like smoking and an inadequate diet. Strength overcame even these!
HIRT and HIIT in San Diego: Your Quickest Route To Health
Are you looking to add HIRT or HIIT training to your schedule? Contact us today to meet with a personal trainer and get results in just 20 minutes twice a week.
An interesting study, which I will recap in a few sentences, compared HIIT to HIRT and found that HIIT was better for fat reduction and HIRT was better for muscle building. Of course, both are excellent, but as studies have shown, overweight people with strong muscles have less cancer. And other causes of death. When compared to skinny people without muscle strength.
The above is counterintuitive but accurate!
At LeoFitLabs, we offer HIIT with our Vasper Machine and HIRT with ARXFit. Schedule your free introductory session.
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