Over the last decade typical low intensity steady state (LISS) has been on the way out, with a ton of research and anecdotal evidence making High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) the next big thing in fitness.
HIIT consists of short, maximal intense sprints performed several times with rest periods in between. A typical HIIT session may look something like:
5 sets of 20-30 seconds, 100% sprints with a 2 minute complete or active rest.
As the name suggests, these are 100% maximal sprints that should be lasting no longer than 30 seconds. They are normally followed by 2-3 minutes of rest, which for most people means trying to survive when they are almost passing out on the gym floor.
But why are these so effective, how can 5 minutes of exercise be superior to 30 minutes of normal steady state training?! Research has investigated all the mechanisms behind HIIT, helping explain and provide evidence for these bold claims. Here are several reasons why HIIT is superior to LISS:
- HIIT increases mitochondria biogenesis, which basically means you grow new, stronger mitochondria. Mitochondria are known as the “Power house” of our cells, they are like the engine in your car. Without Mitochondria we would be dead; improving our mitochondria allows us to burn more fat, improve insulin sensitivity, increase metabolic rate, increase fitness and reduce the risk of several metabolic diseases
- In line with these adaptations, after several weeks of HIIT researchers have found people burn MORE FAT at rest and oxidise MORE FAT while exercising!
- HIIT also improves your metabolic rate, this is often called EPOC, standing for Excess Post Oxygen Consumption or “The Afterburn”. In short, once you finish your HIIT session you continue to burn more calories and metabolize food better.
- HIIT has also been shown to burn more TOTAL FAT when compared to TWICE the amount of aerobic exercise!
- HIIT has also been shown to be ANABOLIC, so unlike steady state cardio, you will protect your body from muscle breakdown and maybe even slightly increase muscle mass!
- Increased aerobic capacity, VO2 Max and Cardiac Output. These are all vital markers of fitness and link directly to health, longevity and life expectancy! Even if you do no endurance training, improving this aspect of fitness will drastically improve your capacity to do drop sets, supersets, giant sets and recovery faster between sets!
- HIIT also increases fast twitch muscle fibers, which are the explosive fiber types, helping us become stronger and grow muscle. In contrast, a large amount of steady state increases slow twitch fiber types, meaning you will become weaker and struggle to add more muscle mass!
As you can see, the list of benefits is pretty impressive, especially when compared to long, boring slow intense cardio!
HIIT is great for any athlete wanting to improve fitness, health and metabolic flexibility – the best part of HIIT is you only need to do, 10 minutes, 2 – 3 times per week! This makes HIIT the most efficient training technique, perfect for dropping body fat or when you don’t have time for a full one-hour training session.
BONUS: Really want to shed the fat?
One great thing about HIIT is its ability to mobilize fatty acids, which is the first metabolic process in fat loss. However, one problem is people often do HIIT and immediately eat, which means these free fatty acids aren’t actually BURNT (step 2 in fat loss), they are just re-esterified (e.g. storage back in fat cells). Here’s an advanced trick that few people know, if fat loss is your goal, this will help get you ripped in no time!
Step 1: Take one serving of KAGED L-Carnitine and PRE-KAGED. The L-Carnitine will help shuttle those fatty acids into the mitochondria, which means you will burn them for fuel, while the caffeine in PRE-KAGED will help improve performance AND the fat oxidation process!
Step 2: After your HIIT session, perform 15 – 20 minutes very low cardio, such as walking back home from the gym, or a steady bike ride / swim. While this isn’t essential, it helps burn extra calories AND the fatty acids you just released from the HIIT session!
Check back in a few days for our follow up giving you 5 great HIIT sessions which you can try adding to your routine!