HIIT Time!

By Chris & Eric Martinez


Ladies and gentleman, the word “HIIT Time” should be a new word in your vocabulary when it comes to cardiovascular conversations. The reason being, this is the new breed of cardio. HIIT cardio stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Some of you are probably saying “oh I know what that is. I’ve done this before, intervals right?” I highly doubt that you have and especially the way we are going to explain the way it needs to be done.

First and foremost we have to inform you about the safety precautions when it comes to HIIT. Since this is a whole other dynamic than LISS (low-intensity steady state) cardio, you must understand that you can only do so much high-intensity cardio because, after a certain point, it starts to negatively impair your recovery from weight training sessions.

For example, you’re planning to do legs on Thursday and you decide to do sprints outside on Wednesday, your legs are definitely going to be sore come Thursday morning and this is going to negatively impair your leg workout. We also don’t recommend doing HIIT cardio after a leg workout because your muscles, joints, and ligaments are already broken down from the workout and they would be more prone to injury. So, you must realize that you just can’t do HIIT every day or eventually you will burn yourself out or get injured.


Science Behind HIIT

Allow us to explain some science behind HIIT. By doing sprints repeatedly, your body makes metabolic changes that make you burn more fat when you’re just sitting around and doing nothing. Sprints activate anti-kinase, which is a very powerful player in metabolism. Sprints also increase mitochondrial biogenesis. For those that aren’t familiar, mitochondria are the powerhouses of cells, where you burn fat. By this type of high-intensity training, you can increase the density of mitochondria in your cells and increase their activity.

Studies have shown this after 6 weeks of this type of training. Funny thing is people don’t realize that you can’t get this metabolic effect through low-intensity cardio, yet you keep seeing people on treadmills and ellipticals for hours and hours. So, why not rev up your metabolic rate through HIIT and while you’re watching your favorite show at night, your body will still be burning calories?

There was a study done, where one group did an hour of low-intensity cardio and the other group did 4-6 thirty-second sprints and walking in between them. This group lost twice as much body fat compared to the low-intensity group. Talk about a way to manage your time and reap the benefits! There was another study that showed HIIT cardio burning more fat over a 24 hour period rather than low-intensity cardio.


Activating Type 2 Muscle Fibers

You’re probably saying “Come on more boring science talk!” We promise this is the last of it and you’re going to be intrigued. What most people don’t realize when it comes to activating muscle fibers, we always think we have to lift heavy to activate them. There are different ways to activate muscle fibers. For example, you can apply the same force to 300 pounds as you apply to 500 pounds; you just have to move it faster. You’re still going to activate those fast twitch fibers (fibers that have the most potential for muscle growth) by applying that much force to that much weight.

The same thing goes for sprinting, you’re not lifting that much weight when you sprint, but because you’re firing those muscle fibers so fast, you are going to recruit the fast twitch fibers. You are going to cause muscle damage. If you don’t believe us, go do sprints and you’ll see how sore you are the next day, it’ll feel almost the same as if you did an intense leg workout and that’s because you activated and broke down those muscle fibers. Or simply look at a sprinters body compared to a long distance runners body and you’ll see what we mean.


Wrapping This Up

So at this point, if we haven’t caught your attention with the benefits HIIT cardio provides, we don’t know what else to tell you. When you do these intervals, you really need to bust your ass on the sprints portion, or else it’s a waste of your time. We are talking 110% max effort, everything you got, life or death sprint. If you can’t sprint outside, that’s okay, you can pedal really fast on a stationary bike and even stride super fast on an elliptical, so please don’t make any excuses for yourself.

Unless you have a medical or physical condition, talk to your health care provider first before doing HIIT. Before you start sprinting, please warm your body up with a 5-10 min fast paced walk. After each sprint you want to do a brisk walk, so around 50% of what your sprint looked like. After you have completed your intervals, do a 5-10 minute brisk walk to cool your body down and stretch. Start off with adding one day of HIIT and then gradually adding in another. We don’t recommend more than 3 days of HIIT cardio, especially if you’re lifting weights.

We also want to make it clear that there’s nothing wrong with LISS cardio, it has its purpose and we even do it ourselves. But, instead of burning calories and then putting them back in, which is what LISS basically does. Why not take your body to a whole other level and improve your metabolic rate, so eventually you will burn more calories and fat.




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