So if you’ve just got time for one workout this weekend, what should you focus on – cardio or strength training? The jury is out, and constantly debating, on which type of exercise has superior benefits. If you opt to hit the studio for a HIIT session, which type of exercise are you choosing – strength or cardio?
Your breathlessness, your pumping heart, and your face covered in sweat will tell you, clearly, that HIIT is a great cardio workout. However, it’s way different than the cardio exercise your parents may have done. Long gone are the days of setting aside hours in your week to pump out your cardio sessions, mile after mile, down the sidewalk. Unless you’re training for a lengthy race, or consider it therapeutic, there’s little need to devote that kind of time to building up your cardio health.
An easy online search will show you that study after study, all over the world, has shown HIIT to be superior in many ways over endurance training. This includes one in 2007, which was a study done by Helgerud and others that appeared in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. It showed that four sets of four-minute runs at 90%–95% of heart rate maximum followed by three minutes of active recovery at 70% heart rate maximum performed three days per week for eight weeks resulted in a 10% greater improvement in the amount of blood pumped per beat than did long, slower distance training three days per week for 8 weeks. Clearly HIIT has your cardio needs covered.
So how about the all-important strength training aspect? Do your studio HIIT sessions count as strength training, too? As a matter of fact, they do! We employ a powerful mode of strengthening called Metabolic Resistance Training (MRT). That mouthful of a title covers a lot of different types and combinations of exercise; from circuits to compound movements to cycles of weight-bearing sprints. MRT is basically a super-efficient mode of exercise that combines resistance training and cardio.
What MRT looks like in your muscles is this: it increases your lactate threshold, increasing your body’s ability to process and get rid of lactic acid more quickly. This means that your muscles will be primed for more intense reps. More reps = more muscle. All in way less time than traditional weight training. Even better: MRT often uses body-weight strength training, meaning anyone can participate, and in your studio class you can shift between exercises quickly – no waiting around for the hard body on the bicep flex machine to be done.
All the geek body knowledge aside, all you need to know is that be stepping through the FIT 36 studio doors and participating in the routine put together for you, you’re putting your body through a carefully-studied, professionally-crafted routine designed to benefit your body in the most efficient, most effective way possible. HIIT is both strength-training and cardio; the very best of both modes of exercise combined into 36 minutes of goal-meeting intensity.
Aren’t you glad that someone else figured it out for you?