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HIIT FOR ENDURANCE

HIIT FOR ENDURANCE

FED UP WITH SPENDING HOURS AT THE GYM TO BOOST YOUR ENDURANCE? THINK YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR RUNS LONGER TO GET FITTER? THINK AGAIN. IT’S TIME TO LET HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING ( HIIT) DO SOME OF THE WORK FOR YOU. 

The benefits of HIIT are already well documented – we know you know!  It improves cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as burning fat and zapping calories.

There’s nothing wrong with spending lots of time training (if you enjoy it). But most people don’t realise HIIT is a real alternative to slogging on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Just one minute of intense exercise in a 10 minute routine can boost your stamina. Sounds good to us!

HOW DOES HIIT BOOST ENDURANCE?

(Very) basically speaking, HIIT optimizes your heart capacity and increases the size and number of your mitochondria  - the ‘powerhouses’ of cells. This raises your VO2 max (the maximum volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising). This means an increase in your performance and ability in stop-start activities such as football, netball and weight lifting.

HIIT enhances both slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibres. Whereas longer, slower exercise improves only slow-twitch. Your skeletal muscles are also strengthened, allowing you to push, pull and generally produce more force.

Think of all the systems in your body being like soldiers performing various tasks . Longer exercise will train them all to a healthy, useful level. But short, tough workouts like Tabata will turn them into highly trained units capable of quick response, especially as intensity increases.

So with HIIT you become a more powerful fat-burning machine in far less time than with long aerobic sessions.

SO SHOULD I DROP AEROBICS AND JUST DO HIIT?

No. Although HIIT seems like the ultimate solution, there is one problem.

One of the benefits you get from longer, slower endurance training is an increase in how much blood your heart can pump in a given time (known as ‘Qmax’). This maximizes the amount of blood your muscles can use.

But one recent study suggested that HIIT doesn’t improve Qmax whatsoever.

The solution? If you want to get the most from your endurance training, you should include a combination of both longer, slower training like running and weight training, and HIIT. By exposing your body to a variety of exercises you will also be enhancing mobility, providing mental stimulation and keeping up your motivation.

First, find out how to get the most out of aerobic workouts. Then add in some quick HIIT to push your fitness levels to their best.  This will help you on the road towards being your fittest self!

 

the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.

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