HIIT workouts really are the Holy Grail of health
The cult surrounding high intensity interval training (HIIT) seems to have found justification with new research out of Central Queensland University looking at the causes, and prevention, of chronic kidney disease.
Published in Sports Medicine Open journal, a team of scientists from CQU led by Dr Patrick Tucker have found that HIIT can assist in warding off the “big three” chronic health conditions: cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Which is pretty big considering that cardiovascular disease and diabetes are two of the biggest killers in the world at the moment.
To reach their findings, Tucker and his team split a number of male rats into two groups and implemented a training regime for each – one doing low intensity training (or LIT) and the other doing HIIT.
This was done four days a week, for eight weeks. So pretty much your standard “dramatic results” program sold in fitness marketing.
But the results, according to Dr Tucker, spoke for themselves.
“In a series of studies that we conducted, HIIT was superior compared to “traditional” aerobic exercise, for example jogging, when it came to improving health at a molecular level,” Dr Tucker tells The Juice.
“Because we do tissue-level analysis, we use animal models (rats) but there is excellent reason to believe, given the similarity between the rat and human genome, that we would see similar effects in humans. At the end of the day, our data suggests that the standard recommendation of ‘jog for 30 minutes, 3 times a week’, while potentially helpful, may not be giving people the most ‘health bang’ for their ‘exercise buck’.”
But Tucker’s isn’t the only scientific study to suggest that HIIT is the Holy Grail of health.
Studies done at the University of New Mexico showed that cardiovascular health improved exponentially under a HIIT training regime in comparison to continuous endurance exercise.
And an earlier Australian study also reported that females who followed a 20-minute HIIT program consisting of eight-second sprints followed by 12 seconds of rest lost six times more body fat than a group that followed a 40-minute cardio program performed at a constant intensity of 60 per cent MHR.
RELATED: I did HIIT and survived
But before you suggest that weight loss isn’t your goal, HIIT has also been successfully applied to muscle development and growth programs.
So does this mean that you should drop the weights and head for the nearest F45?
A good gym routine is one that allows for variation. And the very nature of interval training is, well, intervals.
“They [weight training and HIIT] definitely complement one another,” says Tucker.
“Weight training can confer some benefits that are hard to come by with aerobic training, no matter how intense your HIIT is. Likewise, HIIT will grant some benefits that don’t come as part of weight training. What’s more is that the two can work synergistically to provide more benefit that either method would elicit on its own. For example, HIIT can benefit squat performance and vice versa. So, if one has the ability to do both, they should always do both.”
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