There are many variations of ‘high intensity’ training, it is a general term but one that applies to fast and intense effort with minimal rest breaks, using cardio and body weight exercises and weights to deliver the right stimulus to boost your metabolism and get you into fat burning mode. It is effective in training the energy systems thus improving your overall fitness, but it’s hard. Really hard.
There is of course a time and a place for high intensity work. It’s important to understand that exercise is a stress to the body and if you are already feeling stress whether it be emotional, work or other, the demands on the body may be too much which could lead to sustained high cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue.
The rule of thumb therefore is that if you are full of energy and feeling ‘pumped’ after your workout this is great. If on the other hand you finish feeling exhausted with no energy, and did not enjoy it, you will need to seek out ways to relax and re-charge, and support your body through good nutrition and a period of recovery before returning to this type of exercise session.
It’s important also to get the stimulus right. So during an exercise you should be feeling fatigue in your muscles in the last quarter. This is where the lactic acid is pumping and your body is screaming for oxygen so you are finding the exercise quite difficult. When you feel you can no longer achieve good technique this is the time rest and move on, you can also reduce the weight and increase the reps or time, or reduce the reps or time to achieve the set, or adapt the exercise until you are stronger.
There are no time specific requirements with high intensity training. You can do a five minute workout or a 30 minute workout and still get good results, although relative. The key thing is that you have limited rest periods to make it more intense.
A good ratio may be 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, or 1 minute work, 20 seconds rest, or if you are just starting out (I’m being kind) 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest. Each with a longer rest period eg. 2 minutes at the end of each set or round to allow recovery. These are variables that once set, you must aim to stick to throughout your workout.
Please note high intensity workouts are NOT intended for a new mum in their first year with baby.
If you are over 50, pregnant or have just had a baby, disabled or under 16 you should seek professional advice from a fitness professional before starting any exercise programme.
Look out for next week’s blog where I will be demonstrating high intensity workout exercises on video!
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions about today’s content, please contact us via www.zafirepersonaltraining.co.uk.
Have a great week!