My First Attempt at HIIT

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  • I read the 5:2 book and have been following it fairly consistently since September 2nd.
    I’m down from 88.5 to 78.1 kilograms. I added exercise about 6 weeks ago.

    I got the HIIT book about a week ago.

    My first attemt was on the elliptical machine.

    warm-up about 3 minutes
    30 seconds hard (153 HR) and then 30 or 45 seconds at about HR 145 or so.

    I did the cycle 10 times. I’m 49 years old.

    Is this the right track?

    It was fun and I felt better. Not sure if I was pushing it hard enough?

    This cycle will lead to more weight loss than steady state?
    I had been doing 500 calories on the ellptical before which is roughly 45 minutes to an hour.
    That was stead state.

    Thanks,

    David

    Hi,

    I found an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola on HIIT. Here’s his “Peak 8” protocol HIIT:

    These are on timer:
    0-2:30 regular walk (or eliptical, bike, stair stepper but NO treadmill)
    2:30-2:40 start ramping up pace
    2:40-3:00 full blown sprint speed
    3:00 – 4:30 regular walk
    4:30-4:40 start ramping up pace
    4:40-5:00 full blown sprint speed
    etc.

    until last sprint starting at 16:40-17:00 then a walk until 20:00. So it is a 10 sec ramp up, then burst/sprint for 20 sec followed by 90 sec recovery and do it again, 8x total. This has been very effective for me and I’ve read articles about how it helps us empty out our glycogen stores. I make it a point to do this while I am still in a fasting state by the way. It is more effective than if you have eaten for the day because you are tapping in to your stores not the recent food you have eaten for energy. It also triggers an appetite suppresant after doing it which is also handy on a fast.

    I read Doug McGuff MD’s book (he & Michael Mosley had interviews by Mercola) and he argues this method over steady state cardio any day of the week because it activates fast-switch muscle fibers that steady state cannot. (He said it was an observation of his as an emergency room physician!) I could go on and on about this. You can look it up or check out info on his book “Body By Science”.

    I am female, age 47. Been on 5:2 Diet from March to Sept 2016, Oct – present I am on Daily Intermittent Fasting, with one 500 day/week until I reach my goal weight. I have lost 33 pounds (about 15 kg) and down to last 4.5 pounds until goal. I am a total believer of this fasting concept and am committed to doing it for a lifetime.

    Keep going. It works!

    Lori / USA

    Nigelori that is interesting information I will have to check it out as well. Thank you for the post. Like you, this fasting is a lifestyle change for me and I am committed to doing it from now on also. I really like the way I feel after fasting and food tastes much better on non fasting days.

    I think an important part of HIIT is letting your heart rate recover a bit before hitting it hard and then push hard enough to get your heart rate to maximum. The first 2 or 3 pushes may not be enough to hit max heart rate, but at least that is the idea. I’ve been doing 90 seconds light, 30 seconds hard for 8 intervals. There are many possible variations.

    Today I did 8 cycles jumping rope and my peak heartrate was 172. For the rest I went up two or three floors on stairs and walked back down, my heartrate dropped to the mid-120’s. Later I did 4 cycles running just because I haven’t been running for a while. My heartrate was higher and I hit 178. However my recovery when running needs improvement as I was only getting down to the 140’s while jogging lightly.

    Should we be shooting for 100% of heart rate?

    My second attempt was elliptical for 35 minutes including warmup and cool down.
    10 one minute sprints with my hear rate as high as 163.

    Total calories burned 525. Sunday was recovery day and still feeling the recovery mode today.

    Feel really good. Energy is good. Today is my fast day. Tomorrow I do my second fast day.
    Today about 200 calories and Tuesday about 600 in the late evening.

    I’ll try HIIT again tomorrow. My goal for HIIT this week is Tuesday (light) / Thursday (moderate) / Saturday hard plus weights.

    The HIIT program and 5:2 combined feel really good. Plus I’m seeing the weight loss. I’m also just finding moving around easier.

    You burned 525 calories doing a HIIT workout? I don’t always break 200 calories in one HIIT workout and I’m feeling it for a couple days. The point is the workouts are extremely intense (even if it is just four to eight 20s or 30s bursts) and thankfully short. Mine are typically around 20 minutes.

    As far as heartrate I think the point is push as hard as you can during the sprint portion. Not everyone is going to be able to push hard enough to hit maximum heart rate.

    The idea is you push your muscles hard enough to exhaust the stored ATP supply which takes a few seconds, then the stored glycogen which takes about another 10 seconds and finally your slower muscles are doing the working burning by burning a little fat. During the recovery phase the supplies of ATP and glycogen are built back up for the next cycle. What this does is get a much larger amount of your muscle involved in the work. We don’t really ever use all of our muscle at once. However to exhaust the stored energy supplies you have to move very fast so that the faster muscle cells are active. That is the point of trying to push to the maximum heartrate. It is to make sure you are pushing as hard as you can during the sprint. If you are holding back, it isn’t as effective. Some people push hard enough to get by with only 3 or 4 reps. Anyway that is why pushing hard is important and recovering before the next sprint is important. It is sort of a deep cycle on the muscles being used. Muscle have these multiple sources of fuel which is why we can explosively do something and also keep going for a long time.

    I’m not going to say what you are doing is wrong as I don’t know how you feel or what you can do. It might not be as effective as you could make it, but only you can tell that.

    The question about weight loss is complex. Exercise often will cause one to gain weight, but often with improvements in body size and shape. Muscle is much heavier than fat.

    As to which is better, steady state or HIIT is not always that clear. I think if you can push hard enough HIIT is better but that can be difficult. If you do push hard enough then you won’t burn much fat during the workout but post exercise there will be more energy consumed even up to 48 hours later. This post exercise energy use can be greater than what is used during the workout.

    The problem with steady state is that it typically doesn’t use very much of your muscles, I’ve seen estimates as low as 10% to 15% of the muscle. HIIT probably uses 3 to 5 times as much muscle, doing much more extensive damage to the muscles that the body repairs. Muscle stress is a good thing. However, cardio (steady state) is easier and often held up as the way to burn fat. I spent two years eating less and exercising a LOT more and I ended up gaining 2kg, but I did loss a little around the waist.

    Overall the calories burned while exercising aren’t that great. That is partly because the body will compensate. You’ll be hungrier and likely move less after a hard exercise session. However there are much broader and positive impacts on health from exercise and over time more lean mass does burn more calories. Improvements in hormone levels from exercise can make it easier to burn fat. However, diet is the key factor in losing fat or in the case of 5:2 the lack of food twice a week.

    For me HIIT is a clear winner if it work, because it takes a lot less time. I was spending 10 to 15 hours a week exercising. Now with mostly doing HIIT and HIT that is down to less than 5 hours. With the 5:2 diet I also save a lot of time. On top of that 5:2 and HIIT are cheaper, for example I save on food and shoes that means I have more money to spend on food I really like to eat! Steady state takes a lot of time and it costs more because things wear out faster. 5:2 is taking care of the fat, so the exercise is for the health, at least for me.

    Check out fitness blender for HIIT exercises and routines! Your body gets used to what it does, doing different kinds of HIIT will keep your body challenged and strong. One kind of HIIT may not be too difficult, but another exercise might kick your rear. Have fun!

    Today’s HIIT was the Lifecyle bike.
    30 minutes – 5 minute warm-up and 5 minute warm down.
    1 minute bursts (10 with one minute slower paced rests). Hit my maximum heart rate but mostly about 163 or so. My maximum from the
    220 formula would be 220-49 so 171.

    Felt so good afterwards. Seems to help with my asthma in some way. My lungs seem clearer.
    Not as many total calories but I know I worked harder. About 238 total calories.

    I’m enjoying this process. I know the after burn and increase in muscle is part of the progress.
    Seems weird but I feel healthier already. Breathing seems easier.

    I’m trying to rotate the exercise machines each time: ellypical, bike, treadmill. Once I get in better shape I’ll start doing some stuff outside.

    I’m almost back to the weight I was before I got married. The HIIT and 5:2 programs are amazing.

    David I hope the HIIT does work out for you. After a few workouts you should be able to press a little harder. It is nice having a quicker workout.

    I wouldn’t put too much faith in the 220-age formula, there is a lot of variations in people. I’m older than you but I routinely hit into the 170’s. Some people are lower, some are higher. A good gauge is that you can’t really talk because you are breathing too hard at the end of a sprint. You’ll just have to play around to see what is right for you.

    Also I wouldn’t worry about the calories too much. The goal is building some muscle and losing some fat not just seeing how many calories can be burned in a workout. I used to burn over 1000 kc in a workout. It didn’t help nearly as much as what the HIIT workouts seem to. Besides you have the fasting to help with the weight loss!

    For sprinting I think the elliptical cross trainer or the bike is better than a treadmill. Treadmill is fine it is just hard to quickly speed up or slow down and easy to fall off. If there is a track you can run on that might be better. However some people are probably fine doing sprints on treadmills.

    Agree that treadmill is easy to fall off!! Nearly fell off the treadmill during my third 20sec sprint yesterday as ramped it up to 6:30 and could only keep that up for 10 seconds!! Had to jump onto the sides! Think I will try the stationary bike instead next time or sprinting up a hill outside! Just started 5:2 and aim to combine it with Fast exercise book idea – HIT plus strength training. Fasting on Fridays and Tuesday’s.

    I am continuing on the HIIT. It is really fun for me. I think it is the challenge.

    These days I have decreased the rest time and am doing one minute on and 30 seconds of rest.
    My asthma continues to be much improved. Not sure if it is from the 5:2 diet or from the HIIT.
    I am at 26 pounds lost so far.

    Today was 15 one minute hits on an exercise bike. 30 second rests (less tension).
    Not sure if it is better to focus on RPM or on increasing tension. I do find it easier on some days and harder on others.

    Adding the HIIT has made rather amazing diet even better for me. I’m about 8 weeks away from my first goal…

    This week I’m going to try for 3 sessions of HIIT.

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