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HIIT - Is 20 minutes enough?
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Q. My trainer and Bill Phillips disagree. Is 20 minutes of HIIT (cardio) really enough?

PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2004 3:45 am    Post subject:  My trainer and BFL disagree. Is 20 minutes of HIIT enough? Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

Yes - 20 minutes is TOTALLY enough - if you're doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). (That and your heart will think it's MORE than enough the first time. Razz )

There's more details about this on the Hussman site [url] [/url]; but in essence the reason it's enough is that you're working your way through ALL the ways your body metabolizes energy; and by doing that you rev up your metabolism to burn at a higher rate ALL DAY LONG! (Isn't that awesome?)

If you want some more scientific bits; I've snipped some of Hussman's site for your perusal. :-)

Athletes who incorporate periodic high-intensity intervals into their workouts show much greater performance gains than those who use long-duration, low intensity training. There's no scientific evidence that multiple training sessions or very long daily workouts improve performance more than a single well-structured session. In competitive swimmers, subjects that trained for 3-4 hours a day, 5-6 days a week actually lost muscular strength and speed, compared to those that trained just 1-1.5 hours a day. If you're trying to gain muscle, intensity of muscle contraction is much more important than duration, and anything more than an hour of intensity will exhaust your glycogen and creatine phosphate stores, which you'll experience as muscle fatigue. And while aerobic training is essential, excessive aerobic workouts (more than about 45 minutes) reduce the ability of the muscles to recover and grow. So longer aerobic sessions come at the cost of less muscle growth.


Now; your other question. Do trainers know what they are talking about? Well, yes and no. There is a magical number in the fitness industry that you can burn fat as long as you are working at about the 70% heart rate (out of your personal capacity); and that's true - that's where you force your metabolism to rev up and start working. HOWEVER - think about this in math terms - if 70% just barely gets you out of the red; and there's no additional multiplier on it; how will you EVER get far into the green?

The whole reason BFL works is that you don't give your body the opportunity to rest on it's laurels - by pushing it, forcing it to work and adapt - while always supplying it what it needs to be successful, you increase your daily ability to burn energy - even at rest.

Exercise is like any other task - the first time you do it it's scary and confusing and HARD (and potentially embarrassing); but over time, it gets easier and eventually (if you don’t force adaptation) it becomes monotonous. How many of us have to think a lot to do the dishes???? Now, if I asked you to do the dishes on one leg, standing on tip toe... Makes it interesting! ;-) Makes you work at it, and increases your ability to handle other incoming weirdnesses. Same deal with exercise.

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