How to Keep it Intense Part 2

Last time we showed you how to get the most out of your weight training, and today we’ll keep it even simpler as we discuss High Intensity Interval Training (H.I.I.T) and give you an example that will spice up your training regime.

If you’ve been doing the regular gym routine of “20 minutes treadmill, 20 minutes bike, 20 minutes cross-trainer” and have found little or no change in your body shape, don’t worry you’re not alone.

You’re among thousands, if not millions of people worldwide, who use steady-state aerobic work as their main weight-loss tool. That standard gym routine is replicated outdoors by people who walk, jog or cycle at a relatively low intensity for anything between 20 and 90 minutes. And sometimes, even longer.

And while this type of training has many health benefits, it is not the most efficient way to burn body fat. The reason for this is our old friend the S.A.I.D. principle. The more low intensity aerobic work you do, the more you adapt to it and the more economical your body becomes in using stored fat as fuel.

This means that you will burn significantly less calories every time you do the same walk/jog/cycle at the same speed. I see this every day on the by-pass close to where I live.

This stretch of road is a favourite training ground of walkers and some runners. There are people on that road who’ve been exercising on it for years, and are pretty much the same shape as they were shortly after they began.

Remember that a good working definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. But let there be no panic, because we have the solution.

H.I.I. T does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s interval training and the intensity is (very) high. The advantages that it has over standard aerobic work are that it helps preserve muscle mass and burns more body fat, while improving your lung capacity. And all of this is achieved in significantly less time than your average aerobic session.

Probably the only funny thing about H.I.I.T programmes is that they sound ridiculously easy. But like everything in life, you have to actually experience them to fully appreciate them.

There are many variations, but I’ll give you just 1 of my favourites to start you off. I was introduced to this one at a Fat-loss Seminar hosted by World Class Strength and Conditioning Coach, Charles Poliquin, many years ago. This programme can be used on a regular or stationary bike, treadmill or rower. It can also be used for outdoor sprint sessions. The method of training is not as important as the intensity.

Anybody who hasn’t tried this before should start off with the Civilized Version. I would recommend that anybody who is totally new to training or who hasn’t exercised in years should consult with their G.P and start with steady state work. At their level of fitness, that will provide sufficient intensity.

After an initial warm-up and using a couple of sessions to find your maximum speed, do the following:

Session 1: 4x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 4 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 2: 4x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 3:45 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 3: 4x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 3:30 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 4: 5x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 3:15 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 5: 5x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 3 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 6: 5x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 2:45 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 7: 6x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 2:30 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

Session 8: 6x 40 seconds On (Max Speed), 2:15 minutes Off (Walking Pace only)

For those of you who have more training experience, try the Full On Version:

Sessions 1 & 2: 6x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 3 & 4: 7x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 5 & 6: 8x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 7 & 8: 9x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 9 & 10: 10x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 11 & 12: 11x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 13 & 14: 12x 40 seconds On, 2 minutes Off

Sessions 15 & 16: 12x 45 seconds On, 1:45 minutes Off

Sessions 17 & 18: 12x 45 seconds On, 1:30 minutes Off.

When Charles Poliquin presented this programme, I thought to myself: “I’ll try this, it seems really easy.” All I can say is, I did try it and it’s not easy. But then again if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

If you want to lose body fat and get seriously fit, try this programme and it’s many variations. If you’re happy with the shape you’re in and just want some fresh air, stick with the by-pass!

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