HIIT Me With Training

Hey everybody, and welcome again to the Personal Edge Fitness Blog. I’m your host, Garrett Williamson, president of Personal Edge Fitness. Thank you so much for reading. Now you’ll notice that there’s a lot of these different fitness facilities that are popping up. Or fads, I guess you’d say that are popping up, and a lot of them are based on short quick fast bursts of training. You’ve got 20 minutes of this, 30 minutes of that, kind of things.  Makes me think back to Father Guido Sarducci.  He did some stand-up stuff too. He had a famous interview on Weekend Update and he was talking about a new book that he was going to come out with, you know, making a few dollars for the Vatican, or what have you. And he said he was going to come out with a seven-minute ab book, and the reason was coming out with the seven-minute ABS he said he was looking at the bookshelf, and there there was an eight-minute ab book out at that time. He said if you see 8 Minute Abs on the bookshelf, and see 7 Minute Abs right next to it, that sounds better, so you’re gonna buy that one instead. But anyway, brief fitness and attacking it makes me think back to something I was asked recently on a radio interview. And that was talking about fads in fitness. I was talking about one of the running themes, this fast workout.  I get a lot of questions about this, people coming in that haven’t done any fitness whatsoever. And they’ve heard that, hey, you can do this stuff in 15 or 20 minutes, you know, it’s no problem whatsoever. And it gets people really excited. And they want to know, what’s that all about? What’s this new fad? What is all this stuff out here? Well, it’s actually not new. It’s been around for many years. Today, I want to talk to you a little bit about what we call HIIT. That’s HIIT training or high-intensity interval training. What is it? Why do we do it? Where did it come from? Is it good? Is it bad? Should I get involved, the whole nine yards?  Now, I usually like to start everything with a definition. Let’s start with the history of high-intensity interval training.  We think of it as something that’s kind of new because it’s gotten really popular.  Fitness is like everything else. Everything old is new again. The wheel constantly gets reinvented, just like many aspects of fitness, they’re just some old rules that never really changed. If you want to lose weight, it’s pretty simple. Get your book out for this one take in less than you expend. That’s been since day one that’s going to be here now, and forever, Amen. If you’re interested in increasing your anaerobic capacity, well, high-intensity interval training is where you should be and actually, the first records of high-intensity interval training started back in 1910. If you’re a runner, you’ve probably been running for a while and doing a lot of training or training for races.  You’re probably familiar with what is known as Fartlek training. That’s a Swedish word, it actually means interval.  Back in 1910, a guy named Paavo Nurmi, who was a runner, had a trainer named Mallari Pakala. Now I’m sure I’m butchering that name, but they put together an interval training system for their training sessions. And also at the time, a Finnish gold medalist who ran in the Olympics named Hans Coleman (I may stick with fitness and stay away from some of these Finnish words what have you) also used interval training.  The runners focused on switching from fast to slow jogging intervals during training to improve stamina and strength. And believe it or not, that’s a form of HIIT training. The definition of HIIT training is interval-based training, anaerobic capacity interval burst training. And let me back up a little bit and talk about what anaerobic versus aerobic is.  Let’s get down to exactly what HIIT training is. It’s anaerobic training. Anaerobic is simple. Sounds like a complicated word, makes it sound like I earned my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree but anaerobic simple- it means “without oxygen”.  Now my friend, idol, and biggest hero in this industry, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, coined another word, which I’m sure that most of you are familiar with.  It sounds a lot like anaerobic, it is aerobic, meaning “with oxygen”.  In 1960, he wrote a book called Aerobics, where he actually coined that word and its whole reason why men entered into our lexicon and as a matter of fact, that book is why I work in a multibillion-dollar industry, and that’s more information for another podcast, but you’ve got aerobic, and you’ve got anaerobic.  Alright, getting to the reality of each one of those; aerobic means bringing your heart rate up to about 70% of your maximum, your ability to keep it there for a certain amount of time, typically 30 minutes, whatever we call that conversational pace.  If you’re a little out of breath, but you know, you can sit there and complain about how much you’re out of breath for the next 30, 40 minutes to an hour, that’s aerobic.  You may think like you’re anaerobic, but I promise you, you are aerobic.  That is with oxygen now if you’re going out and sprinting….


Okay, Those of you that have paid attention to our previous blog, you’ll know that I am always drinking water.  I’m trying to hit my 100 ounces of water goal.  I hope you’re doing the same. So this is your reminder to drink right now. Water that is. 


Aerobic training means with oxygen; that’s 70% of your maximum rate, conversational pace. Anaerobic means without oxygen. And I was talking about sprinting, and the reason we can’t sprint and sprint for hours and hours and hours. Because it means without oxygen.  I’m going to get a little scientific on you. I was the kid in school that always raised my hand and asked that question that all parents love. Why, why Miss Johnson? Why why why?  Why don’t you just tell me something? Don’t tell me that anaerobic capacity means without oxygen, don’t just tell me you get out of breath when you’re sprinting. I want to know why. So I’m going to get into the why of that. So what’s happening there is obviously you’re expending a lot of energy. I’m sure that that didn’t get by any of our listeners there, but you’re expending a lot of energy. And the reason you’re expending a lot of energy is that your muscles are firing, especially in the sprint, you’ve got large muscle groups, the quadriceps, the glutes that are firing, and they’re demanding a lot of energy and oxygen equals energy. Where’s it getting the energy from? What’s getting it from oxygenated blood? That muscle is firing? What’s making it fire is getting nutrients to it? What’s getting the nutrients to it? Well, that’s your heart pumping, and it’s pumping blood. But it’s not just pumping blood, it’s pumping oxygenated blood. So therefore your pulmonary system gets involved. All right? Why did I go from the neck bone to the leg bone to the shoulder bone? Why don’t I go through all that? Well, because I want to get to expand the lungs.  Think about your heart muscle, it’s about the size of your fist. The lungs are controlled by one of the strongest muscles in the body. It takes a lot of energy to expand your lungs, I can tell you and actually, you’ve proved this to yourself before when you’ve ever gone to lift something heavy, and you’ve held your breath when you’ve done it. Now that’s called the Valsalva Maneuver.  Gosh, this guy’s an intelligent man, he knows all these incredible words, I’m just so impressed with them. But actually, it is called the Valsalva Maneuver, because your body cuts off the oxygen in order to lift something heavy because your body knows that it takes a lot of energy to expand the lungs. There is a muscle that is involved in pulling those lungs apart, that takes a heck of a lot of energy does to expand them, which again, if your lungs are having to expand or to get oxygen to the blood, so the blood can get it to the legs to move? Well, it’s taking energy to expand those lungs. Here, we’re requiring more energy and more oxygen. That’s why you end up running out of breath. That’s why your body at some point in time if you keep spreading, it will pass out or shut down your whole system. That’s what anaerobic training is, wow, that was a long way to get there, wasn’t it? Let’s get back to HIIT training, why bring up anaerobic and why do people do interval or HIIT training. The benefits of high-intensity interval training are very simple. They increase your anaerobic capacity. Now you’ve heard a lot about aerobic capacity. And can I run a 5k? Yeah, I can run a 5k. Alright, can you train hard enough to run maybe an 8k? Yeah, I can train hard enough to run an 8k, maybe you can run a marathon. And you can run it at a certain pace. Well, that’s aerobic capacity. But folks, the reason that training for anaerobic capacity is so important is that that’s basically how most of us live. I seriously doubt you wake up in the morning, you get a phone call, it says, Hey, Bob, you know, at about two o’clock today, everything is going to go kablooey and your stress level is going to jump to the roof, you get plenty of time to plan for it not a problem, it’s going to go up to about oh, I don’t know, it’s going to be mediocre stress. And it’s going to be consistent for about I don’t know about an hour and a half buddy and then you’re going to be fine. That’s not what happens. You wake up in the morning, climb out of bed, the kids are screaming, you’re jumping up, you’re having to go make breakfast, or you’re late to work or your alarm went off at the wrong time or you’re at work and your boss drops something on your desk and says, Look, here are 400 pages of this and I need it yesterday. That’s what happens, and that stress, that stuff that gets thrown on you your heart races, we live anaerobically. And so that’s why anaerobic training is so important. Believe it or not, it is so important that it’s made it into anaerobic training. I’ll get to that in just a minute. So I’ve given you a definition of anaerobic versus aerobic. And the HIIT training, high-intensity interval training is that short burst, quick recovery, hopefully, anaerobic training. And usually, you don’t do high-intensity interval training for a long, long time. You know you don’t see people doing high-intensity interval training for an hour. So it’s best recommended to go more intense, go for short bursts, 10 minutes, 20 minutes at the most.  If you’re doing interval sessions that last 30 minutes or an hour or so, you should be taking breaks in between.  The reason being is that you’re tearing a lot of muscle fibers. Typically when you’re doing this, if you’re tearing muscle fibers, well, we’re planning on tearing muscle fiber, that’s how our muscles grow. But if we tear too many, as anybody that’s had an injury knows you’re going to get pulled muscles, you’re going to get severe damage to the muscle but not recover quite the way you want to recover. So that’s why we keep these sessions brief. And what that does is it actually increases your ability to recover. That’s the way I describe the aerobic capacity to a lot of my clients is your ability to sprint, recover, sprint, recover, sprint, recover. And just like the example I gave earlier about stress, if you’re handling a lot of stress, you get a lot of stuff thrown on you. You want your heart rate to speed up capillaries to expand all that blood flow to be able to get to those different muscles and be able to do that quickly. And then Have it shut down and go back to normal quickly, the recovery rate of heart rates, his ways of measuring this and what have you, you’ll actually increase that ability to recover. And so those stressful situations, they’re much easier on you. And keep in mind, I’ll always leave this at the bottom because I mentioned the thing about stress. But I’m such a fan of this type of modality of exercise because it’s basically like I said earlier, it’s how you live. That’s exactly how we live. If you can handle high-intensity interval training, you can typically handle most aspects of life, let’s put it that way. There’s an added benefit to high-intensity interval training for athletes, not only sprint athletes, and not only anaerobic capacity, powerlifters, and this kind of thing. But believe it or not, it happens to be the number one way to train for aerobic endurance type races, 5K’s, any kind of endurance sport, the best way to train for it nowadays, we have found out over many years of research is through anaerobic training, and why aerobic is not super hard to attain, once you built up that aerobic capacity, which you can do over time through building up through like, if you’re a runner, building up through a 5k, building up to an 8k to a half marathon, this, this kind of thing. The most important part of all that is, again, the elasticity in those vessels, and your body’s ability to recover.


Taking another drink here, going to get to 100 ounces. 


The thing about the anaerobic training and the benefits to endurance athletes is, again back to that thing I was talking about earlier, about your ability to recover in an aerobic session or endurance session, you’re tearing fibers on your muscles, just like you are in any kind of exercise, the reason you’re sore the next day, that burning sensation that you feel in your muscles is lactic acid being introduced in the system.   Because you’ve got muscles tearing, therefore, they burn, therefore, they’re telling your body’s screaming at you to stop your ability to deal with that lactic acid, your ability to repair or keep blood flow coming to that muscle is your ability to be fast is your ability to continue running is variability to continue doing whatever endurance program that you’re that you may be involved in. They’re finding now that because of the injuries occurred through long bouts of exercise, because of that, they’re finding that it’s far more beneficial, not only because of the transfer I talked about earlier, but also it’s far beneficial to do the more short bone training, especially if you’ve warmed up for it and you’re ready for it. Because you’re able to get your exercises done, you’re able to push that heart rate up here, it’ll pitch that lung system, what have you. Without the risk of prolonged repetitive movements, prolonged repetitive stress on the muscle, therefore, you have less of a chance of injury. There are several studies that prove that training for endurance exercise and endurance racing endurance activities through anaerobic training. They’ve seen a drastic reduction in injuries for that. Several years ago, Outside magazine had a fantastic article on a gentleman who was a professional, and he competed in the 50 to 54 age group in the world championship Ironman, which is the one in Hawaii, and he ended up winning the division. That’s pretty incredible. For those of you that aren’t familiar with an Ironman, an Ironman is a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a marathon 26.2-mile run.  Well, they found out that he had only swum maybe a mile in any of his training, the longest distance he did, was a mile. In his cycling, he had not biked over 60 miles, and in his running, he’d run less than 13 miles at any one time. Now he’d done it a lot. And what he’d used is, he’d used this high-intensity interval training, he had not done any of the rest of it. And mainly it’s because of his job.  He had a very successful career, his time did not allow him to go out for hours and hours and hours for runs and swims, and what have you. And he ended up of course, with no injuries because not only was he doing anaerobic training, where you’re breaking down muscle tissue, therefore you’re growing it, therefore you’re making it stronger, but he was not putting that long time on his joint on his bones, what have you. So, therefore, you know, he’s pretty much injury-free, he won the darn race, I still know people going out and doing long, longer endurance, there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes that’s just for your head. But keep in mind that the best way to train for endurance training now is through anaerobic or high-intensity interval training. Okay, I’ve talked a lot about the what of high-intensity interval training, but what examples of that how can you get involved in something like this, maybe you’re not a runner, maybe you don’t do any kind of endurance training, maybe you just want to get in shape and you’d like to do a little shorter. Well, that’s one of the carrots or one of the main reasons why people are interested in training is because you can do it briefly but you also want to be able to be safe about it. It’s also one of the ways that people can get injured really fast working out in fitness. Now I’ll tell you it does, it’s a great way to prevent injuries and that’s true, but the reason that people get hurt is that they rush too fast into it. A lot of these exercises are done because of their very nature. They’re done fast, therefore people mess up on form, they’re lifting heavier weight than they should because they may be setting it for a more endurance-type workout. So you want to be safe about how you go about this. I’m gonna give you some steps to putting together a good hit routine. The first thing you want to pick out is your types of exercises. Now if you’re going to do this through resistance training, which a lot of people do use either machine using free weights. It’s a fantastic way to go about it. Bodyweight exercises are fine, make sure that you take the time before beginning a HIIT program, and you’ve got the good form down on whatever exercise you may be doing. Now, if you’ve never done HIIT training, I wouldn’t start with complicated Olympic lifts, I wouldn’t start with the power clean, I would maybe start with a squat, some kind of simple movement on a multi-chain movement. And the reason being is that the more movement you’ve got in there, the more potential for injury. So if you’re going to do your first HIIT sessions, I would set up some exercises that you know you have really good form on, that you’re very comfortable with, that you’ve done for a long time, and design your program around that.  To start, I don’t encourage anybody to go into a weekend program where you’re doing Olympic lifting, which I do think is phenomenal. It’s a fantastic modality. And then immediately starting within 24 to 48 hours, HIIT training with that modality, they just learned, you want to make sure that you’ve got it down, you’ve got it down pat because that’s when you can run into some injuries, to be careful about selecting your exercises, make sure you’re picking something familiar, make sure you’re picking something that you know really, really well. And then you’re designing your splits. Splits are simply how many reps you’re doing, time, the frequency of it, we set all these things up.  We set up Fitness Through frequency, intensity, and time, and one of those three components is going to be part of what we call your split. If you’re setting up a program, you’re saying, Okay, I’m gonna do this exercise, I’m gonna do three exercises, that’s part of it. And I’m going to pick 30 seconds on each exercise, that would be your time factor. And I’m going to do three rounds on all three sets. So that would be your frequency, but you want to break it down you will make it something manageable. You want to make sure that you could do that in an endurance-type setting. In other words, if you are you’re going to do squats and you’re going to do push-ups. And you’re going to do pull-ups, those three exercises which are pretty simple, they are bodyweight what have you? Well, if you’re planning on doing them for 30 seconds each, and you’re going to do three sets, what can you do squats for 30 seconds, can you do squats followed by pushups for 30 seconds, can you do squats, while it puts us followed by pull-ups, make sure you can do it in endurance or an aerobic setting first before you move into trying to speed up the pace. Therefore, you make sure you’re not going again, you’re going to make sure that you’re not breaking down, you’re not breaking form and risking injury. Number three is how this affects your brain. Now, this sounds very strange. I know. But many people when they’re going to exercise, some people like to do that endurance type training, like to go out and go for that run. That’s, that’s a release, they get away from the kids, they get away from their job, whatever. And they’re taking some time to themselves. Some people like the anaerobic training, the HIIT training for the same reason some people really enjoy it. I’m one of those that enjoy it enough to do what I call to see the end of the workout before you get started. And what I mean by that is okay, I’ve got to do three sets of 30 of these, I’ve got to do three, these three rounds. But at the end of this amount of time, 15 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, I know it’s gonna be tough, I’ll be going to the wall really hard, but I’m done with it in 15 minutes, that’s fantastic, I can see the end of it- that works great for my brain. It’s like a sprint, I gotta go hard, I may throw up. But I will be done in this amount of time. That works fantastic for my brain. But if you’re a person that gets into a lifting situation, or aerobic, anaerobic situation, like a sprint, and partway through the sprint, you just want to quit. Or if you get into a situation where you’re doing a lift, and you really should do eight repetitions, you know, you can do eight repetitions, but doing that that high level of intensity, you’re going to quit, you’re going to stop it, you’re going to give up halfway through it. If that’s the case, then you know, maybe HIIT training isn’t for you. And that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with that you may speak better to an aerobics session, still, you’re going to be in great shape because of doing aerobic capacity. But if it doesn’t work for your brain, then it’s not going to work for you. And that also speaks to the underlying theme of all my podcasts. If you don’t know much about it, check out Episode One. And that’s where I’m talking about your level of wellness. It’s got to work for your head also. For starters, though, and I talked about this briefly here is the first thing: speed. I can’t say enough about it. Speed is a benefit to it. It’s part of every HIIT training program, but also it’s the one that can be the detriment, the one that can cause injury because you’re not watching your form. What, again, as I said earlier, what exercises are you using? Are you familiar with them? Are you comfortable? Are you okay? Getting through that session with it. Be careful if you add speed that can kind of mess up your form. Also, you want a good warm-up. It may be a 15-minute workout. But take that three to five minutes at least at the beginning and get good and warmed up. And a warm-up doesn’t mean I’m sweating, it doesn’t mean I’m warm because it’s hot outside. Warm means opening up those capillaries, opening up those blood vessels. The only way you’re going to do that is by getting that heart rate up, getting everything opened up, getting past that crest. If you know if you’ve ever done any kind of sprinting, you have a spike to your heart rate, get past that spike, then go into where it gets into its regular operating rate somewhere 70-75 get to that level before you start, you want a good warm-up. Also, another thing is to make sure you’re monitoring your HIIT training, have a timer, have a set number, have somebody counting whatever you want to make sure you’re monitoring exactly what you’re doing. It’s not something you can just say I’m gonna lift, I can just tell.  I just can.  If you do that, I promise you, you’re setting yourself up for injury, so make sure you’ve got it monitored on the head of number one. However, if you do that you’re gonna stay safe with it. It’s one of the best ways to train. I’m a big fan of it, but it’s also something I’m concerned about with so many different modalities to use. Using HIIT training, I’m worried that may go the way Olympic lifting did in the 70s and early 80s.

I’m at 72 ounces of water today, I hope you’re keeping up. 

The way Olympic lifting does is something I battle with and even into the early 90s When I started training, I dealt with so many people that did not want to do squats. They didn’t want to do anything that looked like or resemble Olympic lifting. Why? What happened was Olympic lifting was built in the 1950s and 1960s and has been around for years. Its patterns are natural movements, actually a fantastic modality. What was happening was that people were doing it fast. They were doing it wrong. And every time they’d go and see the orthopedist or knee injury or shoulder injury they asked them okay, well what were you doing? The doctor would ask him what were you doing? So I was doing you know, I was doing squats? I was doing Olympic lifting? Well, their first instruction was of course don’t do that. And once you have an MD tell you don’t do that, that gets around quite a bit. A doctor says don’t do that. Well, that can kill that modality. And I’m worried that HIIT training may go that same way. But no matter what I’ve already had people come in and tell me that in my facility, “Look, I want to start with y’all. But I don’t want to do any of that high-intensity stuff, that HIIT.  Right now, a friend of mine got hurt doing that.” Well, there’s nothing wrong with the modality. You wouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater on this. So what happened with Olympic lifting, it has now come back in vogue, which I think is fantastic. But it’s also been tied to HIIT training. And I’m worried both of them are going to get thrown out if we’re not taking these precautions so I can’t stress them enough. I’m a big fan of it. I’ve been doing the opposite. So I started training. So I’d highly encourage you to check it out too. And especially if you’re an endurance athlete, you really need to look at the benefits of anaerobic high-intensity interval training. Hey, folks, I appreciate you reading along today. Stay tuned. Other entries coming up soon. This is Garrett Williamson, author of the Personal Edge Fitness Blog. Thank you so much for reading, and remember, stay hydrated.


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