Hey! You want to be fit, right? Being strong, fast, and having the ideal body shape – who doesn’t want that?! Wanting it isn’t enough though. You’ve got to work for it with your training, diet, and recovery – and that’s the hard part.
The Time Sink
When you look at an athlete or somebody in great shape, they usually train pretty often – close to every day. They’re also putting in multiple hours a day to achieve their bodies. Of course, you don’t need to hit that level, but getting a body that looks capable of that level would be nice. And with most methods, that still takes a decent amount of time.
Maybe back in 1960, it would have been easier to get fit. In those days, health and fitness was a bigger priority for children and was pushed a lot more by schools. In adult life, people would go to work during the day and have the rest of their time to themselves. Spare time would usually be spent with family, friends, doing chores or exercising. What else would you do in the pre-internet world?
These days, it’s harder though. Modern lifestyles are extremely busy. The days of BMX’s and cap guns are over. The millennial generation works hard and plays hard. The internet keeps us all connected, all the times, and we always have something to do. But what if I told you that there’s a way to maximize your time, and get the gains of a 90-minute workout in 40 minutes or less?
High-Intensity Interval Training has been getting more popular over the last decade. With these workouts, you perform each exercise at a high intensity (70%+ of max effort). You want to be struggling to keep up by the end of the first set, and noticeably slower on the final set.
After H.I. (High Intensity) comes the Interval. That’s when you take a break from your exercise. For this type of training, you still want to be active – just at a low intensity. Then you move on to the next exercise. The entire experience is very intense (like a strong pre-workout!)
This kind of workout gives good all-around effects but you can tweak the exercises depending on your goals. It’s easy to do a strength session for example, by changing between muscle groups on each set. Or build endurance by sticking a group of same area exercises together (like pull-ups, upright rows and inverted rows for example). It doesn’t matter what variations you create, a HIIT workout is going to keep you fit in most areas.
Why it Works
The reason this system works well is that it crams everything together, yet still allows enough rest (when done properly). Old style workouts had a lot of rest periods before a body part could be used again. Now those rest periods are filled by working out different body parts – which saves a lot of time!
That isn’t all though. By staying active in rest periods, you keep your heart rate up and add the effect of a cardio session. Using high intensity also works your anaerobic system – great for power and explosive movements. You’re basically combining the effects of a circuit with cardio and with sprint work. It’s a total package that can fit into half hour or less if needed, thanks to a lack of absolute rest periods.
One word of warning – this type of training is great for general fitness or as supplemental training for an athlete. It’ll make you look great but it isn’t ideal for everyone. This type of workout hits all areas quite well, but doesn’t maximize any single area.
Anybody who is an active athlete should still have sport specific training as their main aim. HIIT doesn’t allow you to maximize any one area of your attributes, but it gives a good all-around boost. Athletes are some of the few people who actually benefit from being specialized in what they do though. Still, for most of us, the HIIT workout is perfect. What are you waiting for?
Boosting Your Returns
You already know that H.I.I.T. is going to be a tough workout – it’s called high intensity for a reason, right? There are a few things you can do to help your body through though – which is to use the right supplementation. Here are some of my go to’s:
Gold Standard Whey Protein – Optimum Nutrition is one of my favorite supplement brands. Their protein is of high quality and quickly absorbed. I find my recovery to be much better with a couple of these shakes. They taste great too!
Pre JYM – Welcome to the wonderful world of pre-workouts! Pre JYM is one of those highly potent mixtures that turns kittens into tigers. I use a moderate dose when needed but not for every workout. If I use it too often I develop a tolerance, so I keep it irregular so I get more effect from it.
ZMA – Another supplement from Optimum, ZMA’s don’t have much visible effect. So why do I use it? Because I notice a difference in my recovery and energy levels when taking it regularly. It contains Zinc, Magnesium and B Vitamins to boost your recovery. All of these also help release energy within the body, and they help with turning scattered energy into focus.