Bandwagon or Freight Train?
The ebbs and flows of fitness lore can be daunting, especially when you’re trying to find the most effective way to exercise. High intensity training theory would definitely fit within this category. However, this form of exercise is here to stay, and is only going to get better with time as better concepts emerge. Exercise goals usually revolve around central themes such as improving work capacity, burning more fat, increasing lean body mass, etc. Study after study has shown that not only does high intensity training improve all of the above, but it does so in a far superior fashion than low-moderate intensity training for much longer periods.
1) Its More Efficient
If we were to choose to work out longer or not as long to achieve our goals, the vast majority of us would choose the latter. Let’s use high intensity interval training as an example. If Jane Smith were to jog on a treadmill for 30 minutes she would burn around 189 calories (depending on bodyweight of course). That is 189 calories for 30 minutes of continuous work. One study showed that during the rest interval of a high intensity workout the subjects averaged 16 calories burned per minute. May sound somewhat trivial, but if we were to multiply 16 (60 seconds) times 30 minutes we get 480 calories burned. That’s right 480 calories during the REST interval. That is roughly 254 percent more calories burned. Now add in how many calories you would be burning during the work interval and you have yourself a large sum of calories burned. The net result is shorter workouts that burn more calories.
2) Greater Growth Hormone Release
Growth hormone has a number of uses within the body and its function in human physiology remains vital throughout our lives. GH is produced by the pituitary gland in our brains. Here are some of the positive effects that growth hormone triggers in our bodies.
1) Increases muscle mass
2) Augments lipolysis (liberation of fatty acids from fat cells)
3) Stimulates protein synthesis
4) Promotes gluconeogenesis in the liver
5) Improves immune response
6) Promotes calcium retention which facilitates bone ossification (strengthening of bone tissue)
Based on all of these perks, it stands to reason that anything we can do in our workouts that stimulates greater production of this hormone works very much in our favor. The good news is that high intensity training has been shown to increase hgh concentrations by up to 450% 24 hours post exercise. This is great news. It means that not only do you burn more calories during your workout, but you also turbo charge other bodily functions following your workout such as fat burning, lean mass synthesis, and even greater bone ossification to stave off injury.
3) Improved Insulin Utilization
Insulin is the hormone responsible for getting energy into our cells from the blood stream and is absolutely vital to our survival. It’s also the culprit of increasing the mass of our adipose tissue. Moreover, it is also no secret that there are countless links between insulin tolerance and obesity. Those of us that our type II diabetics are almost certainly overweight (a medical condition related to insulin tolerance). One way to circumvent this phenomenon is the introduction of high intensity exercise. High intensity exercise significantly increases our bodies affinity to insulin, meaning that we need less of it to do the same thing. Less insulin means that it clears the body quicker. Looming insulin levels allow for greater fat storage. Blunting this through high intensity training only makes sense.
4) Variety to Spice Things Up
The very nature of high intensity training dictates that you use a multitude of exercises to develop a complete workout. CrossFit for example, advocates that varied high intensity movements be combined in each workout. These workouts commonly combine a jog with power cleans, rowing with pullups, or jump roping with push presses (to name a scant few). A high intensity workout following this formula need only last 8 to 15 minutes depending on the individual’s tolerance. High intensity workouts are also flexible in terms of the environment as well. Getting a quick workout of burpees, pushups, and air squats can be done almost anywhere. Selecting a relaxing venue such as a beach, wooded clearing, or park can do wonders for making the trek to workout more inviting and less of a chore.
5) Improving Your Workouts Calorie Burning Interest Rate
One of the long sought after effects of working out is the fat burning component. Not only does high intensity training burn more calories during the workout, it also burns substantially more calories 2 hours post workout. EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption) is one statistic exercise scientists use to measure the metabolic demands of an exercise session. High intensity exercise significantly increases EPOC post exercise. A higher EPOC means that the bodies metabolic machinery is in overdrive to restore balance to body at rest (i.e. replenishing glycogen stores in liver, restoring oxygen saturation in the blood, and liberation of lipids to improve energy equilibrium). Steady state moderate intensity workouts do not cause the same elevation of EPOC that high intensity exercise does. In other words, breathing harder means higher fat burn during and after your workouts. Anything you can do to increase your EPOC will be beneficial to improving the intensity of your workout. One of the best and unobtrusive ways to increase EPOC is to add the Training Mask to your regimen. Just make sure you choose a resistance setting that doesn’t cause you to decrease your workout volume dramatically.