High or Low Intensity?

There is no magic to fat loss or getting fit or fitter, how you get there is down to many things and factors and varies from person to person.

Over the years there has been a lot of hype about various forms of exercises which target fat loss and fitness levels all claiming to be the best.

The most common one used in the general fitness industry to date is HIIT sessions, also known as HIIE (high intensity intermittent interval training) or SIT (sprint interval training). Normally these sessions are aimed at 85-90% of an Individual’s maximum heart rate with a short rest period between cycles.

HIIT training is not new and has been used as early as the 1970s by Peter Coe father of Sebastion Coe who inspired by German Coach Wolderman Geschler adapted run sets for his son Olympian Sebastion Coe.

In more recent times the most popular regimen and highly used is the Tabata method which was formed by professor Izumin Tabata who was developing speed for Olympic speed skaters utilising all out burst of 20 seconds speed at around 170% of their VO2 max capacity, followed by 10 seconds rest repeated for a cycle of 8 with a minutes rest at the end of the cycles, before repeating the cycles anywhere from 4-30 minutes.

Other regimens you may want to check out are “The little method”, The Zuniga regimen and the Timmins regimen, all various forms of HIIT training.

Most people will have heard of HIIT training in more modern forms such as Metafit, Grit, Insanity and Tabata to name the more commonly known ones.

Benefits of this type of training are that the body burns glycogen at a high intensity (basically carbs) and fat is also burned as a secondary fuel source.

Next let’s look at the other side of the coin with LISS (low intensity steady state cardio) which basically does what it says on the tin, sessions are normally long in duration and aimed at 45-60% of an Individual’s maximum heart rate.

Low state training is effective as it utilises fat as the primary fuelling system for the body thus burning fat.

Benefits of HIIT and LISS training are quite similar as both have been shown to

Improve blood pressure

Improve cardiovascular health

Increase insulin sensitivity

Reduce cholesterol

Decrease body fat

Decrease body weight (whilst maintaining muscle mass ACSM 2014)

When it comes to HIIT training there is a slight downside with regards to some of the benefits, HIIT training won’t help


Severe or morbidly obese individuals

Subject motivation (individuals need to be highly motivated to continue this type of training)

Other benefits of HIIT training

Can be adapted to most types of training

Times can be varied for circuits

Commonly used in the industry

The least common known factor in relation to HIIT training is the EPOC effect.

EPOC effect from HIIT training

Exercise post oxygen consumption is a benefit of HIIT and benefits include

Calorie burn from 24 up to 48 hours after training

Production and replacement of ATP

Resynthesis of muscle glycogen

Restoration of body temperature to resting levels

Restoration of oxygen levels

Assist protein in the repair and growth of muscles

Heart rate zones

In order for you to stay within the aforementioned heart zones, below is a brief guide to the Karvonen method to allow you to work out the required zones for your training

220-age maximum heart rate (MHR)

MHR – resting heart rate (RHR) = Heart rate reserve (HRR)

HRR X Training intensity (%) + resting heart rate (RHR)

For example

A 50 year old male with a resting heart rate of 65bpm who wants to train at 70% intensity of his maximum heart rate (MHR)

220-50=170 (MHR)

170-65=105 (HRR)

105 x0.7 + 65= 139bpm (70%training intensity)

Two HIIT circuits for you to try

First one will be the traditional body weight HIIT

Exercises 6

Round time 4 mins rest 1 min between rounds

20 seconds on 10 seconds rest

Cycles 8

Total circuit time 30 mins

Set 1


Archer press ups

Squat jumps

Gun drills (jumping lunges)

Jelly beans

Corkscrew press ups

Set 2

Ton up

10 exercises 10 reps each no rest

1 min rest after set complete, repeat as many sets as required


Archer press ups

Squat jumps

Gun drills (jumping lunges)

Jesus curls

Corkscrew press ups

Mountain climbers

Military press up

Tuck jumps

Burpee to tuck jump


HIIT training is great for fat loss and increasing fitness levels, more aimed at motivated individuals who enjoy this type of training

LISS training has the same benefits of HIIT, however is better suited to people with specific medical conditions, post op recovery, obesity etc who can then progress to other types of training if they wish.

Source by Brian Fernie