In the past decade, scientific studies in the field of exercise physiology explain why exercise programs that focus on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) provide the greatest benefits in the shortest amount of time. High intensity training involves alternating relatively short bursts of high intensity exercise with slightly longer periods of moderate-intensity exercise for recovery. INTENSITY is the key. Here's why.
High intensity exercise forces your muscles to use more oxygen in a shorter period of time. Roughly about 80% of the benefit of exercise is gained from the top 10-20% of your physical exertion capability. You get stronger faster. You burn more calories faster. You lose fat faster. You gain aerobic endurance faster. What a deal, bigger faster gains in less time. High intensity exercise is FAR MORE effective than regular/moderate exercise and the benefits are gained in FAR LESS time. It's not how long you train, it's how hard you train.
I have become addicted to a high intensity exercise program called CrossFit. Founded by former gymnast Greg Glassman, CrossFit workouts are designed to enhance a wide array of physical characteristics simultaneously such as aerobic endurance, muscular power, flexibility, speed, agility, and balance.
CrossFit is the fastest growing exercise program in the world. The first CrossFit gym opened in Santa Cruz in 1995. In 2005, there were 18 CrossFit gyms. Today there are over 3,400 affiliated CrossFit gyms world-wide. CrossFit gyms are basically buildings filled with weightlifting bars and weights, boxes, ropes, kettlebells, Olympic rings, jump ropes, and athletes with never-never-quit attitudes. It is intense, it is tough, and it transforms people's lives.
Here is an important CrossFit mantra: "The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ only by degree, not by kind." Hence, CrossFit is for people of all ages.
Here are some of the key benefits of high intensity exercise. First, high intensity exercise increases the production of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone which are two of the most critical hormones for fat loss and building muscle. High intensity exercise dramatically accelerates fat loss and weight loss.
High intensity exercise also increases insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. This is a major factor in reducing risks to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.
High intensity workouts also produce dramatic increases in oxygen utilization and post-exercise oxygen consumption which means your body is using more oxygen and burning more calories. This is called the "after-burn effect" and the benefit may last for up to 48 hours depending on the intensity of the exercise.