In an attempt to come up with a catchy title I wanted make sure I clarified what HIIT is. The acronym stands for high intensity interval training, which means you do an exercise at a very high intensity level for a time period followed by a lower intensity activity (active resting) for a period of time then repeat. It’s a topic that’s been talked about here on huntingfit.com but I wanted to take another look at it and see how it can benefit you.
During 2017 I was a little reluctant to put much effort into HIIT due to the fact I was going elk hunting and my thought process was if I needed to be able to cover ground in the field, then my workout should consist of just that, covering ground. So I logged miles and miles jogging or lugging a pack in preparation for my hunt. Did that work? Sure it did. I was in shape and able to go everywhere I wanted to go. Could I have been in better shape? You bet. There were times on the mountain that I struggled and would like to be better prepared for next time. As I’ve written about already this year, now is the time we should be evaluating our successes and failures from last year and improving upon them this year. So in a personal effort to be in even better shape this fall I’ve been incorporating HIIT into my workouts recently.
I went as far as doing some research just to give you a different perspective on the topic than how it relates specifically to hunting. See the excerpt below from the American College of Sports Medicine (ascm.com), provided by Len Kravitz, Ph.D, titled High-Intesity Interval Training:
Why is HIIT Training so Popular? HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions, such as overweight and diabetes. HIIT workouts can be performed on all exercise modes, including cycling, walking, swimming, aqua training, elliptical cross-training, and in many group exercise classes. HIIT workouts provide similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts, but in shorter periods of time. This is because HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. The post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess postexercise oxygen consumption. This is generally about a 2-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy. Because of the vigorous contractile nature of HIIT workouts, the EPOC generally tends to be modestly greater, adding about 6 to 15% more calories to the overall workout energy expenditure.
Sounds like a pretty compelling argument, huh? Well it is! Should you do HIIT everyday? No. Due to the fact the workout should be of a higher intensity means that it’s going to be a harder on your body which will in turn require a longer recovery period. Plus, I still argue the fact that if your goal is to be able to run a 5K or hike 10 miles a day then there is no substitute for situational training.
If you’re still concerned that lessening the duration of your workout will detract from the overall benefit read on. During my research I was able to find the article Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Do This for 10 Minutes, by Markham Heid, 8-10-17 on time.com. From that article I extracted the following paragraphs:
“We now have more than 10 years of data showing HIIT yields pretty much the exact same health and fitness benefits as long-term aerobic exercise, and in some groups or populations, it works better than traditional aerobic exercise,” says Todd Astorino, a professor of kinesiology at California State University, San Marcos, who has published more than a dozen study papers on HIIT.
Whether your goal is to improve your fitness, lower your risk for cardiovascular disease, lose weight, strengthen skeletal muscle or help get your blood sugar under control, a few minutes of HIIT seem to be as effective as much longer periods of moderate-paced running, cycling, swimming or other forms of traditional cardio. For well-trained athletes, HIIT may be the best way to elevate your physical performance.
What really caught my attention was the last statement about well-trained athletes being able to increase their abilities. I translate that to if your stuck in a rut with your training then mix it up a little to kick start your gains again. I think that is a huge take away. If you’ve been doing the same routine and are in pretty good shape but want to kick it up to the next level, throw in some HIIT to get there.
For me this meant burpees. My typical workout involves a run followed by a weight session. Since Jan 1st I threw in 1-2 days a week where I skip the run and do a weight circuit mixing in a set of burpees each time through. It’s not been long enough for me to see any huge improvements but I’ll admit I’m gassed by the end of the workout and often “feeling it” the next day. I’ll continue with the burpees and I’m already looking for some additional HIIT exercises to keep my new found momentum moving in the right direction. I would recommend you give HIIT a shot!