Lets get intense… HIIT

When your workout isn’t working out!

Did you know that you’ll experience a 2-4% decline in your resting metabolic rate with each passing decade after the age of 25? Add to this metabolic decline a 5lb loss of muscle mass with every decade and its’ no wonder we experience “middle aged spread.”


Now you know that metabolism and muscle (metabolically active tissue) help to determine your weight along with what you’re eating.  When it comes to metabolism and muscle preserving strategies, intense exercise is the key. With it, you get to keep that muscle mass and fuel that metabolism.   Without it, you get to politely smile while you wave bye-bye to your youth, muscle strength, lean mass and metabolic rate!

Maximum benefits for maximum effort

So what is “intense exercise”? Basically, any physically demanding task that a) incorporates many muscle groups and b) is done near your maximum heart rate qualifies. It’s that “near maximum heart rate” that you need to take on board!

During exercise you’re overloading your muscles which helps stimulate protein turnover and protein building. In addition, the cardiovascular system has to respond by pumping blood faster and delivering a lot of oxygen to your working muscles so you’ll strengthening your heart too but it’s what happens after intense exercise that’s really important.

The intense exertion kicks the bodies repair centre into overdrive which means that you burn more fat and calories in the next 8-48 hours due to the increased oxygen demand while the body replenishes energy stores and reloads depleted oxygen stores in muscle and blood. You also have elevated levels of hormones that increase metabolic activity so although your workout might be shorter, the effects last a lot longer!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that low-intensity exercise is a waste of time though. With low intensity exercise, or any easy physical activity, more oxygen is consumed (and energy is being used) during the exercise itself. However you don’t get that post-exercise, all-day metabolic boost. Nor do you build much muscle. So, from the “metabolic therapy” aspect of things, low intensity activity doesn’t cut it.

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

There is one major drawback to high intensity exercise. It’s extremely uncomfortable and for those unused to exercising at a high level of intensity it can be difficult to monitor their own intensity! A good coach will always help motivate you and wearing a heart rate monitor is an excellent way of measuring intensity.

Bear in mind that you will be breathing heavily, you will be sweating, you will be feeling like your heart is about to jump out of your chest and you will want to stop immediately but you’ll be ok, you’ll recover and when you have stopped you’ll feel awesome! If you’re lucky enough to be wearing a Myzone belt then it’s easy to see if you’re working out intensely enough or not to get the fat loss benefits. Push your intensity up into the yellow and red zones, dropping back down into the blue and green during recovery periods. Yes it’ll be tough, but oh so worth it!

If you can have a full-blown conversation while you’re doing your workout then you need to push thing a bit harder if you want to experience the benefits mentioned above, particularly if you’re looking for fat loss. If you find it difficult to increase your workout intensity to this level then speak to one of the coaches and we can help you gradually and safely build your workout intensity.