It is a question of chaining, after a ten-minute warm-up, a high intensity muscular work for 10 to 30 seconds depending on the type of sports movement (running sprints, cycling, rowing, swimming, punching with a punching bag) with a relative muscle recovery interval ranging from 10 seconds to 2-4 minutes maximum, to be repeated over a period of 20 to 30 minutes.
Properly conducted, it is difficult to last longer and if so, then your high intensity efforts are not intense enough! It is one of the most effective methods for gaining or keeping muscle with age or for losing weight.
What intensity of muscular work to be effective?
Medically speaking, it is necessary to carry out muscular work whose intensity is such that it very quickly raises the heart rate to levels close to more than 80% of maximum heart rate
For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate is in theory 170 beats per minute, and you must approach it in intense effort at more than 80%, or exceed 136 beats per minute.
How do you know that the intensity level is sufficient?
We must seek to obtain the following sensations at the end of an intense effort of 10 to 30 seconds such as a sprint in running, rowing, swimming, cycling…:
- it should be relatively difficult to breathe and speak calmly because we are in oxygen debt,
- you have to start to sweatin large drops, after 2 or 3 intense efforts,
- you have to to be hot because your body temperature has risen,
- you have to feel a muscle burn because the production of lactic acid has increased.
If you don’t feel all of this, your effort is not intense enough.
How long should a high intensity interval session last to be effective?
There are many studies carried out on this subject, and very generally in patients performing sprints while running, and showing sessions varying from 4 minutes to 30 minutes.
The best known, dating from 1996, having led to a protocol bearing the name of its Japanese scientific author, the Dr Tabataestablished the best improvement in the physical condition of elite athletes with 8 series of alternations of 20 seconds of intense effort with just 10 seconds of rest : after 6 weeks, the anaerobic capacity of athletes who are already at a very high level has improved by 28% (i). either only 4 minutes total workexcluding warm-up and recovery!
More recently, Canadian researchers have demonstrated that subjects who practiced 4 to 6 sprints of 30 seconds separated by 4 minutes of resteither 18 to 26 minute workout lost twice as much body fat as those doing constant-speed cardio (ii).
The latest study published on this subject was conducted in Australia among women observing a HIIT-type protocol of 20 minutes including alternating 8-second sprints and 12-second rests. It corresponds to doing 3 sprints of 8 seconds per minute for 20 minutes. These women lost 6 times more body fat than the other group doing 40 minutes of low endurance running at 60% of their maximum heart rate.
As we can see, the efforts are very intense and short, and put a lot of strain on the body, which is quickly exhausted, hence the need to observe a correct rest of at least 1 day between sessions, without exceeding 3 sessions per week.
What type of HIIT according to your objectives?
- For the fat lossthe best combination observed in studies is 10 series of 30 seconds of high intensity exercise (>80% HRMax) separated by 2 minutes of low intensity exercise.
- For the aerobic performance (if you practice an endurance sport to improve), the best combination observed in studies is 8 series of 20 seconds at maximum power separated from 10 seconds of rest.
- For anaerobic power (if you’re looking for muscle strength and/or speed), the best combination seen in studies is 8 sets of 30 seconds of high intensity exercise (>80% HRMax) separated by 4 minutes of low intensity exercise.
Before starting your HIIT session…
Before starting a real HIIT session, especially if you are rather sedentary, it is essential to do in the previous month 2 classic cardio training sessions per week in endurance at 60% of your FCMax over 30 minutes. This will prepare your cardiovascular system.
When you are ready to make your 1time HIIT session, you must, of course, warm up before, for about 10 minutes so that you are already at 50-60% of your FCMax. Also and above all, have stretched all the muscles that will be used at high intensity, under penalty of elongation or breakdown.
HIIT is now the most effective way to burn body fat, gain muscle mass and improve fitness as quickly as possible…
In terms of anti-aging, this is a lifestyle rule to integrate to age well. It has been shown to increase our growth hormone levels and slow the shortening of our DNA telomeres.
It’s all the easier as it will only take you a short time: barely 30 minutes 2 to 3 times a week… And it’s not complicated: after warming up, all you have to do is work at a very intense pace for 30 seconds , before recovering sufficiently during the 30 to 90 seconds of rest that follows, in order to be able to chain another interval of 30 seconds at high intensity, and this 6 to 8 times…
So when are you starting?
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