Pro’s and Con’s of High Intensity Burst Training

If you’ve been wondering if high intensity, (HIIT) burst or interval training is right for you, here are a few things to think about.

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Time – it takes a lot less time to get a good high intensity workout done.  It may take anywhere between 5-20 minutes to get a quick short workout in.  So there is no excuse of not having enough time to workout.

Testosterone and Growth Hormone Surge – The more intense the workout, the more TT and GH you produce.  An easy, low intensity walk or jog, only stimulates or spikes your TT and GH so much.  So the more intense your workout the more TT and GH you will produce, which means the potential for more lean muscle and greater amount of fat burning for the 23 hours you aren’t working out.

  • FYI…by age 35 everyone begins to lose about a half-a-pound of lean muscle a year.  This applies to everyone, so for example, in those 10 years between the ages of 30 and 40 you can easily lose 5 pounds of lean muscle.  Your weight may stay the same, but your percent of lean muscle will drop, while you percent of stored body fat increases.

    • this is one of the biggest complaints i get, in that my patient or client will state they are the same weight or size as they were years ago, but they don’t have the same percentage of lean muscle anymore. 
  • The Only Thing that Stops or Slows it down is some type of Strenuous, Physical Activity – aerobic exercise doesn’t do it!  Remember aerobic and your typical endurance activity of running, biking, hiking, dancing, etc…is typically low to moderate intensity.  It’s a good workout, but your really didn’t STRESS Your Body as much as you think.  If you don’t stress the muscle enough – it has no reason to change and become stronger and leaner.  If you always stop at 10 reps, when you could have done 12 or more….you didn’t push or stress your body (muscles) to change.  Your body can already handle  that challenge.
    • the same applies to jogging, biking or hiking a little faster – it’s a little more stressful and will cause a bigger spike in TT and GH, but your not sprinting or doing an activity you can literally only do for at the most 1 minute.

Overtraining – Exercise is a form of stress, which could be that one additional stress that your body can’t handle or can only handle for a short while.  I work with too many people whose body is already exhausted (adrenal fatigue).  Therefore, that additional physical stress could be too much for their body to handle and thus cause over-training issues.  This leads to sticking points and possible injuries.  So to not have to completely stop working out, which is pretty hard for some people to do, we can reduce the amount of stress we are adding to our body by at least keeping it to only 5-15 minutes instead of an hour.

Can You Charge for a 15 Minute Workout

The only real negative I can think about short, High Intensity Interval Training or Interval Training is that not too many people will train or charge you for a 5-15 minute workout.  Most trainers and fitness centers typically charge by the hour.  Classes are great and I am a fan of them, but you won’t see too many High Intensity Burst Workouts or Tabata workouts in those time frames.  They’ll usually keep it going for an hour to justify an hourly charge, but as noted earlier…..some people may not have the time, or energy for a complete hour workout.

More importantly, if the workout goes on for 30-60 minutes, it’s NOT really a HIIT, or burst workout, it’s more of an endurance workout, which are again great.  But lets remember a 45-60 minutes workout is probably more draining and damaging to someone who is struggling with fatigue and sticking points, more so than if that same person was doing a 5-10 minute HIIT workout.

It seems that the 5-15 minute workouts work best for those who train on their own or at home.  If that’s you, don’t forget to look at our Push/Pull Workout with My WorkHorse Fitness Trainer.

Publications by Dr Len Lopez, workout mistakes, fitness mistakes

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