If you were into fitness / business, HIIT training might have already hit you. This is nothing new, we have already been doing it since kinder-garden to university. Jumping jacks, following holla hoop, skipping rope and bear crawls in the sandpit.
Our teachers and coaches already knew, that even if we were only 6, 14 or 18 years old, for proper long term development and improvement, we would need so little of these high intensity routines to get positive effects. The rest of the time, developing endurance, strength and resistance or practicing skill was a lot more beneficial.
However, nowadays people have Instagram coaches, following unexperienced leaders, and misunderstanding 140character messages. The result is: burn out, adrenal fatigue, over training, lot of lows and supR highs, not only in the sport, but life and work too. If you were somebody practicing sports, it is for a reason. Is it to feel like crap, throwing up and to hammer yourself to the ground, while thinking that you are a real man ? Would it not be for being a better more resilient human, attentive and attractive, fresh and focused all the time during your life, even immediately after workouts ?
If you don’t want to black out on a meeting, burn out half way through marathon training season, or give up climbing K2, 300m from the top, in perfect weather because of lack of fitness due to overtraining, motivation and cardiovascular disfunction, do one single thing. Periodise !
HIIT is key to success. HIIT is necessary for performance. HIIT is the best way to boost speed, power, endurance, faster recovery, to get lower heart rates, mobility, ability and much more. However, it has to be in critical balance with all other sport and lifestyle factors. The highest-end elite athlete might include it 4 times a week, for 4 weeks, maximum, before scaling it back. These people train 1000+ hours a year. They have a very serious life-long base. Imagine the damage you can make if you trained 3 x 15minutes HIIT a week and one 60minute moderate to high intensity workout on Sundays all year around. Some people will not be able to follow this regime for more than 1month, others burn out and destroy themselves in 2 years, just to get into a notorious yoyo lifestyle suffer-fest for a decade afterwards. It doesn’t worth your health !
Do you have a race in two to three weeks ? Cut back all HIIT completely ! You train only 3 to 4 times, less than 8hours a week ? 2 HIIT a month is largely enough and might be still too much. Meeting or a hard day in work, possible low and disturbed sleeping hours ? Forget it ! Family day, kid’s high school athletic meet, Christmas ? Why would you compromise your presence ? Keep it steady, low to medium heart rate, practice some drills and technique, work on your core, range of motion and have a nice family occasion afterwards.
The other most important factor in well being while including sports in your lifestyle is warming up and cool down. If you had 30minutes to change, train, shower, change and eat, each day, why the hell would you stress about this HIIT session ? Just to get stomach ulcers and skin rash ? In 15minutes you cannot even warm up ! It is better to keep your activity level steady, take the stairs all they long, find a way to do 6 to 10lunges on the corridor, maybe some pull ups on a water pipe in the basement, 10 ass to grass squats each time you’re in the elevator and some wall pushups in the toilet. Eat and chew your food at midday properly !
If you had to train, cause YOU WANTED IT, organise your life that you can wake up earlier in the morning, can warm up and can cool-down. No excuse about this. Change your life, change your family’s life, turn off the TV (or throw it away), go to bed before 21:30 and wake up at 4am !
This is how a training routine should look like 4:00 in the morning, when we are more dysfunctional then other times (by the way, get a good sleeping mat):
- 0.5 to 1L of mineral rich quality water (some salt, magnesium and lemon drops or ac-vinegar can be added)
- 20minutes mobility and bodyweight drills
- 10minutes of activity related warming up
- Your main activity
- 10 minutes of cool down
- 5minutes of deep nasal diaphragmatic breathing to get back to homeostasis
- 0.5 to 1L of quality mineral rich water
- Shower and preparation for the day
- Breakfast, properly chewed with greens in it. Regardless you are a high carb vegan or high fat paleo, add greens to your breakfast. Stingy nettle based omelette with a small goat rib served on spinach, or a giant banana smoothie with a spoon of flax seed and kale or rainbow chard leaves in it. Add more live Greens !
(PS: If you had ever seen, Mo Farah or Galen Rupp in training, a 150minute training session would contain a 75minute warming up with a 15 to 30minute main session and the rest is skill practice, mobility and cooldown. You prepare 2h to 2.25 hours just to “really train” for 15 to 30minutes !!! – No surprise, that they are the best in the world. No, not every body can do this, due to time constraints and different goals, but can mimique it on a personalised way ! Well this is when coaches come into picture, but it is another story…)