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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tamer Rezk

The more HIIT the better?

HIT or High Intensity Training - find your balance between effort and ease.

I don’t need to tell you about the popularity of high intensity training. It is everywhere and it promises to get you where you want to go, but faster and better.

HIT – High intensity weight training – general principles include weight training with repetitions and loads that lead to muscle failure and high lactate build up causing a ‘burn’.

The idea that HIT training allows for a full body work out using fewer sets and less time has born phenomena like CrossFit.

HIIT – High intensity interval training. The formal definition of this is training at >90% of max heart rate. Max heart rate is estimated at 220 minus age - so for a 30 year old man 90% of 190 = 170 beat per minute. This is achieved done when running or cycling (treadmill class or spin class) and makes you feel exhausted.

Here’s what’s important:

The benefit of both types of training are shorter exercise time and combining exercise forms such as weights, cardio and intervals into one workout. HIIT training has been used in conditions such as heart failure after heart attacks (albeit using much lower max heart rate) and has shown promising results. Nonetheless, the downside is greater likelihood of injuries, often poor technique when lifting even light weights and persistent exhaustion (poor recovery, elevated cortisol levels) keeping your body in a ‘stress response’.

My advice:

Start with learning each of the three disciplines well – weight and resistance training, good form in cardiovascular training. After that, you can throw in some intervals, make sure you have your form and technique down. Then start with ONE HIT or HIIT workout a week and see how you go. Always remember, each body type is different and approaches to exercise need to be tailored to your genetics, lifestyle and nutrition.

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