The most beneficial exercise possible

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The most beneficial exercise possible

This topic contains 9 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Beavergong 10 years, 3 months ago.

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  • Why is HIT more productive than slow, low intensity cardio? Because it is more intensive and places greater demands on the body’s systems forcing it to overcompensate by getting stronger and fitter. If we take that a stage further from cycling or sprinting and perform 1 set to muscular failure of 5 or 6 weight-bearing exercises once or twice a week with a minimal gap between sets and the whole process completed inside 10 minutes, we will have made the greatest impression on both the aerobic and anaerobic pathways leading to the best results possible.

    I do hope you are right Simon. I read Fast Exercise a week ago, spoke to my osteopath yesterday for strength exercises suitable for me and see my doctor Monday to get my glucose test and discuss it.
    I started the Fast Diet Feb 20 2013 and have lost 36 lbs since then but more than that feel terribly healthy for it. Several months ago I read on this website about the horizon Program on exercise and watched it on utube and started to include HIIT in my gym sessions 3 times a week doing 3 20 second sprints each time at 120rpms. Somehow I missed the discussion of fast strength till I read the book last week.
    I reread it today and noticed the suggestion of starting to have two 7 minute sessions a week of 3 to 4 strength exercises. So have I got it right if I incorporate the fast exercise sprints in my stationary bike ride and then do the 3 or 4 exercises for strength for 30 seconds like a plank which I can already do from my Pilates class.
    Suggestions welcome ????

    It really depends on the goal for exercise and your current baseline. If you currently do little or no exercise then a couple of sets of power 60s and 30s etc. is probably going to make a big difference. But importantly nobody makes any claims that it will improve your performance significantly. It seems that there are no claims that a 3 minute workout will make you faster/stronger in terms of athletic performance.

    Another way of looking at it is – which top athletes have switched to a substantially shorter training regime rather than building HIT in to their current routines. As far as I can tell training still seems to be about putting the hours in. Of course its a no brainer to think that 20-30 mins in HR zone 5-6 is going to be better than 4 hours in zone 3.

    You may be right as it’s exactly what my osteopath said. He thinks because I already do 2 gym sessions lifting weights, a Pilates class, swim 60 laps 4 times a week and Bushwalk he’s not sure fast exercise will make a huge difference. He was a bit surprised I could do my HIIT on the bike at 120 rpms but I thought the idea was to go as fast as you can. He suggested I try 8 seconds HIIT and 12 seconds recovery for 10 minutes . has anyone tried this?

    I haven’t tried fast exercise, closest I’ve come is putting some 30 second sprints into my interval training runs (and sprinting a quick single or two in cricket isn’t far off).

    It seems intuitive that Sue is almost spot on that you’ve got to put the hours in… However, there ARE claims that HIIT will improve athletic performance in untrained individuals, as you are starting from the lowest base levels. The improvements come from different adaptations to those gained by normal cardiovascular exercise.

    Normal cardivascular exercise like swimming, cycling and running causes your heart to get stronger and pump more blood, causes capillaries to grow through your muscles to improve blood supply, and causes your muscle cells to grow more and better mitochondria. HIIT has been found to improve your muscle’s ability to use glucose and also grow more and better mitochondria. See

    I heard a good analogy; your fitness is like a tube of toothpaste. If you are a couch potato, just getting up and moving (at all) will improve your fitness. You could do cardio or HIIT and see an improvement, just like with a new tube of toothpaste you can squeeze anywhere and get toothpaste out. However if you’re an experienced endurance runner, just doing more cardio won’t make you fitter, as you’re squeezing an empty bit of the tube. However, add interval training and you’ll get fitter, as you’re making adaptations that cardio alone cannot – you’re squeezing a bit of the tube that still has some toothpaste to give 🙂

    In terms of the most beneficial exercise, I’m biased as I’m a runner, but I think it’s running. It makes me lean, fit and strong, keeps my bones healthy and gets me out in the sun and fresh air. It also burns just about the most calories possible. Sure, you can burn more per minute doing HIIT and get a decent afterburn too, but nowhere near the 1600+ total I burn running a half marathon (and that gives an afterburn too). It’s hard to overeat enough to erase that kind of calorie deficit.

    I think its hard to say which is the most beneficial exercise without first agreeing the criteria for most beneficial. My comment about performance gains was really in regard to athletic performance. I probably wasn’t clear enough in that I meant competitive athletic performance. Someone on a low/no exercise routine is probably going to get physical performance improvements from short/fast exercise. Someone doing 5 hours a week of hard cardio? – I can’t see it.

    wrt 120rpm – its all about the load on the CV. If you’ve ever used something like a wattbike, you will see that its entirely possible to be in zone 3 or 4 at 120rpm and at the same time be in zone 5 at say 100rpm. My understanding of HIT/ fast is that you are aiming to get to the top of zone 5 (the zone 6/max as some people call it). I’m not sure that is just about RPM.

    “Someone on a low/no exercise routine is probably going to get physical performance improvements from short/fast exercise. Someone doing 5 hours a week of hard cardio? – I can’t see it”

    Sue, actually for experienced cardio athletes (marathon runners, say) it is definitely beneficial to do intervals (or HIIT at the extreme!). This is because it will cause beneficial adaptations in the body that cardio alone cannot induce. All world-class endurance runners do a mix of long runs and intervals.

    Likewise, those who only do short sprints/HIIT will see an improvement in athletic performance if they mix in some longer runs.

    See and, to quote: “Take someone who has been “jogging” five days a week for a few years and have them start doing hard interval sessions a couple of times a week, and you’ll see dramatic improvements. But if you have someone who has been doing sprint training but no sustained running for a few years, and then add a tempo run and a long run each week, you might see equally dramatic improvements. In neither case does this “prove” that one type of workout is best — it’s context-dependent”

    So the most beneficial exercise in terms of overall athletic perfomance is – of course – a variety of hard intervals and easier cardio (and strength training is important too!).

    We are on crossed lines.. HIT and “Fast Exercise” are not the same thing.

    HIT has been around for ages and the vast majority of people training seriously for competitive events will build HIT in to their training regime.

    For example I will do 3 or 4 30-45 min Spin classes a week on top of my normal longer rides. Or I’ll build sprint and hill sprint segments in to a shorter ride. People have been doing that for a long time and its all about fast twitch, slow twitch mitochondria density etc etc.

    “Fast Exercise” is the argument that 5-10 mins 3 times a week can be as good as a couple of hours a week. I think for someone just starting out – that could be true – though I don’t think “Fast Exercise” is as clear cut as say the 5:2.

    My point is nobody working at a competitive level is replacing 5 hours of cardio with 30 mins of “Fast Exercise” (i.e. the 10 minute workout).

    Always hard to get these things across in messages.

    One thing I have found is combining shorter <2hr sessions with fasting gives very good results for endurance training. Some cyclists call it zero cal training.

    Ah gotcha, yes I agree “Fast Exercise” cannot replace a training regime, but will give benefits in untrained people. But they don’t necessarily have to go all out, might cause injury!

    Sue and Stu
    Great reasoning. I wouldn’t,t say I,m an athlete but I do exercise 5 times a week and I’m not going to give that up for fast exercise just try tweeting it a bit. I do my HIIT at zone 4 120 rpms being my aim but I might think about zone 5 after your comments. I’m also going to listen to the osteopath and the exercise physiologist so I don’t hurt myself at the start. Thanks for the advice

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