I have recently started doing High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT for short. I started this because I honestly do not like doing cardio, and this is supposedly to take less time than traditional endurance cardio. This style is expected to be the newest and greatest thing in the fitness world, so I thought I would give it a try. When I first started hearing more and more people trying it out, I was skeptical. It made no sense to me to do less exercise and get the same or sometimes better results. We have all seen fad diets and the newest way to get muscle fast come and go, because they did not work and there are no short cuts to losing fat and building muscle. Still even though I was a receiver I gave it a try, which I did to have to lose (between fats). With in a couple of weeks I started noticing my pants getting loser and no muscle loss. You can not imagine how over joyed I was, less work and burn fat. So now I have questions why does it work, how does it work, and what do we know about HIIT. So I did some research.
A gentleman by the name of Izumi Tabata started working with this theory in 1996 with Olympic speed skaters. What his training method was 20 seconds of full out skating with 10 seconds of rest, repeated over and over for 4 minutes. The original group did this type of training 4 times a week and 1 day of steady skating. When the testing was completed the studies showed that the test group had similar results as the groups that did steady state training. The one main difference was that only the test group had gained an anaerobic capacity benefit. Meaning that in short burst up to about 2 minutes they had become stronger.
A Professor from McMaster University by the name of Martin Gibala did a study in 2009. In this study he had his test subjects warm up for 3 minutes followed by 60 seconds of full on exercise than 75 seconds rest; this was done with 8 to 12 cycles 3 days a week. Once the study was complete he discovered that his subjects had similar gains to the people who did steady state exercise 5 days a week. With this discovery a conclusion was made that the average person could do this with nothing more than a stationary bike. This is great for someone like me who has leg and knee injuries. That means no more high impact running.
Another professor from the University of Birmingham by the name of Jamie Timmons did a study on older people. In this study he had his test subject do 2 minutes of gentle peddling followed by 20 seconds of full out peddling. This was done 3 times a week to equal 3 minutes of all out exercise per week plus warm up and cool down. Many of the health benefits came back positive including an increased in insulin sensitivity. Did you hear that? All of us that are trying to gain muscle are always trying to increase our insulin during and after our workouts. Not only do we now lose fat, but this could help use gain or maintain muscle.
Now I am going to shorten this part up a little bit mainly because we would have the get the medical dictionary out to understand it all. The research so far has shown that you can train almost 75% less time with HIIT and have the same aerobic state as you would with endurance training. They have also found out that this kind of training increases your resting metabolic rate for 24 hours. That means that we are burning fat for 24 hours straight, who does not think that is awesome. More research discovered that HIIT increases athletic performance which is not easy to do when you are performing at the top level. Researcher used the HIIT on a college rowing team and after 7 weeks they shaved 8.2 seconds off their time. Now that is impressive. Basically all in all we are getting more oxygen to the muscles and increasing insulin sensitivity. We are also burning fat in all the trouble spots and for 24 hours straight. There is also research looking into the thought that this type of training might help with type-2 diabetes.
Now as far as the exercise and how long you should do it and interval lengths all vary from person to person and doctor to doctor. I will tell you what I do and a friend of mine does and you make your determination from there. I personally do 2 type of cardio the first one being stationary bike; with this I do 1 minute full out everything I got and then 2 minutes light peddling for a total of 30 minutes 3 times a week. The second one is I use the heavy bag; I start with 1 minute of pounding the bag with everything I got and then rest for 3 minutes (I usually just pace for that 3 minutes to keep the blood flowing) and I do this for about 20 to 25 minutes, again 3 days a week . I have a friend that got me started in this and what he does is running on the tread mill. He goes full out for 1 minute and walks for 2 minutes again for 30 minutes 3 times a week.
So if you are like me and do not like cardio but know you need it, I would recommend giving this a try. From the experience I have had and with what I discovered through research I do not see the down side to it. Like always train smarter not harder.