How to integrate High Intensity Training

 

Every website, blog, fitness FB post, fitness magazine now demands that the only way to reach your fitness goals is via High Intensity (Interval) Training.

Go hard or go home!

Smash your way to shredded with HIIT!

If you spew that is awesome!

If you can’t walk properly after training that is great!

 

But is that right for you?

Is that all you need to do to be fit and healthy?

Will that work for the average weekend warrior? Someone who is juggling the demands of work, life, possibly kids and marriage/relationship and all the other stressors of modern life.

Training is a stress. HIIT is a particularly SIGNIFICANT stress on the body.

If we add that stress on top of the regular stressors in your life, it does not bode well for your long term health and fitness journey.

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I say that it is not the only way, nor the best thing for you to do!

 

HIIT requires as close to maximum physical output as possible for short periods of time. When performed every day or too frequently, instead of performing with maximum output you slowly descend into gruelling and strained 70% efforts that never really deliver the results you want and just leave you fatigued, sore and with chronic physical stress.

AND that is the key point!

Yes HIIT can ‘shred’ you up quickly. But if that is all you do, then you will surely decline in effort and crash at some point, and your brain and body will seek to protect itself. This protection can present in the form of a ‘plateau’ in your fitness journey. There will become an over-dominance in your sympathetic nervous system (stimulation/fight and flight) over your parasympathetic nervous system (Calm/rest and digest) and your recovery and resilience will fly out the window.

I hear it all the time.

“I have been training harder than usual but have been getting weaker in my lifts/ Or slower in my runs/ Or just feeling like crap!”

“I have been training harder than usual but have stopped losing weight!”

I have been cutting my calories back even further whilst still training and just can’t lose any weight.”

“I have been training so hard, but I just can’t sleep, even though I am so tired.”

“After I warm up I am pretty good, but after training I’ve been feeling a bit giddy, even anxious.”

STRESS. STRESS. STRESS. STRESS. STRESS.

The body is becoming highly inflamed, the Central Nervous System (BRAIN) is highly inflamed and as a result the body starts to protect itself by increasing cortisol production, reducing healthy hormone production, reducing power output, and holding onto any calories you consume.

 

HIIT is great. But not every day.

 

It is important that there are periods of reduced intensity to reduce systemic inflammation and allow the body to recover. During these reduced periods of intensity, it is imperative and restorative to implement low grade Cardio, what I term LEVEL 1 Cardio (as there are different forms of cardio) into your day/routine. (There is a large discussion on Level 1 Cardio and how to train it specifically in the members area on my website).

Level 1 Cardio will help calm the sympathetic nervous system, improve your aerobic fitness and boost your mitochondria and capillary networks which will in turn help you perform at higher levels of intensity, whilst also enabling you to go for longer.

So, like I prescribe for my PrimalThenics members, aim for high intensity three to a maximum four days per week. Do not perform more than two or three high intensity days in a row before taking a recovery day. Use recovery days wisely to boost your overall health and fitness.

Implement mobility, level 1 cardio sessions, walks, meditation, easy movement and play for your recovery days.

IF you are going to do HIIT every day, like I prescribe in my upcoming Challenger Series’, then it must be for a limited time only, you will also need to alter and adjust the length of sessions, the amount of exercises performed and again i stress limit the overall length of the HIIT block.

That is the intent of my programming, aiming to deliver results over a consistent period, with the commitment to look after your Health and Fitness and not to get an amazing before and after photo for my website.

Chriso

Ps I don’t do before and after photos. For testimonials, I use written statements where people explain how PrimalThenics has been used to improve the quality of their lives and performance. Aesthetics comes as a by product. Check out some testimonials HERE.