HIIT cardio is the new craze sweeping gyms across Europe and North America. The reason for this… it’s fast, efficient and it works!
High intensity interval training is something that athletes and runners in particular have known for a long time. Fartlek training, translated from Swedish, is ‘speed play’ and has been a popular method of fitness training for runners for a long time and a method that has been shown to burn more fat than running at a steady pace. Fartlek training combines running at a slow pace with interval running at a high pace, an example most people who have played soccer will be familiar with is jogging across the pitch, running across the field, jogging at lengthwise and then run widthwise again.
While Fartlek training is still a great method of physical training, the Tabatha HIIT protocol shed light on the possibility of dramatically condensing a workout without taking away any of the benefits. The problem with the Tabatha high-intensity interval training protocol is that it sounds bogus; No one really believes that a 4 minute workout can burn fat and while the 8 circuits that comprise the Tabatha method are extremely difficult, athletes often tend to feel like they have fooled themselves out of the gym after 4 minutes. The way the bodybuilders chose to incorporate the Tabatha HIIT Cardio protocol into their sessions was a 4 minute session on each side of the normal bodybuilding routine. This tends to be a very popular way to use HIIT without feeling like you’ve fooled yourself.
The Tabatha protocol will work for anyone who uses it. What we all need to keep in mind is that the time spent in the gym is not directly correlated with the results obtained in the gym. Always keep in mind the famous saying ‘you can train hard or you can train long, you can’t do both’. A great example of this is the direct comparison of the traditional one hour session on the treadmill to burn fat at a slow and steady pace with the very popular and recently discovered 30 sets in 20 minute workouts. Studies show that not only are more calories burned in the actual training session for the shorter period of activity, but participants show greater muscle definition, less body fat, and much higher fitness levels. This is just one way that training harder for shorter periods of time has been shown to be more beneficial.
You’ll often hear about boxers overtraining for a fight and not feeling fresh when the big night rolls around, which can have devastating effects—think Amir Khan in his most recent outing against Danny Garcia. He was originally set to fight a few months before Lamont Peterson was suspended for taking illegal substances. After being stopped in 4 rounds just a couple of months after peaking at him in a fight that never happened, many pundits and trainers around the world chalked it up to overtraining. There are others, like the never outspoken Chris Eubank Sr, who claims that training is a myth and a state of mind and it’s more about becoming stale when training, which is the biggest concern. While this may be the case with boxers, there is plenty of scientific evidence in bodybuilding on how overtraining can halt results altogether. For example, studies have shown time and time again that biceps progress is halted by overtraining, and in fact, as soon as the biceps is overtrained, the muscle shuts down and no growth or repair occurs. In addition to this, often the best way to get past a training plateau (a stage where progress stalls), the best way to get past this is to take a gym week that allows all muscles and joints to recover. After doing this, most people find that they can instantly lift more weight than the previous week when they were stuck lifting a certain weight.
HIIT training seems to answer most, if not all, of the problems associated with fitness training; it keeps you fresh in body and mind. It combats injury and overtraining issues and is an excellent fat burner and a great way to increase your fitness.