What to expect from High Intensity Training
“Exercise is a process whereby the body performs work of a demanding nature, in accordance with muscle and joint function, in a clinically-controlled environment, within the constraints of safety, meaningfully loading the muscular structures to inroad their strength levels to stimulate a growth mechanism within minimum time.” Ken Hutchins giving his definition of optimal exercise.
An individual who trains strictly adhering to the High Intensity protocol (as espoused by HITuni, Drew Baye, Renaissance Exercise, Doug McGuff etc.) and combines this with an appropriate diet can expect a variety of physical changes both internally and externally.
Our aim with each and every session is to take the targeted musculature in each exercise to momentary muscular failure. This process creates a positive degree of inroad that stimulates the growth of lean tissue in the most efficient way, which increases strength and muscular size. For those interested in exercise for aesthetic purposes, when diet is locked in too you may be rewarded with that “toned” look which can be simply described as visible lean tissue due to low body fat.
HIT training essentially ‘wakes up’ the cells within your body. As the cells become stimulated, we in turn become more metabolically active and this results in us feeling more energetic, with a desire to be more physically active within our daily lives. Along a similar note, our functional ability is increased due to the stimulation of lean tissue, providing greater strength for everyday tasks such as tackling the stairs, carrying the shopping and so on.
Unfortunately, many people are still stuck in a common train of thought: that in order to obtain a level of cardiovascular health, we need to spend hours slowly grinding down our knee joints on the road or the treadmill. This approach has far more to do with conditioning the cardiovascular system to a specific event e.g. marathon running (along with a touch of masochism), rather than cardiovascular health. The difference when it comes to HIT is that we are striving for optimal health and wellbeing. When it comes to cardiovascular improvements, HIT provides these improvements more efficiently, effectively and safely than any other training modality.
High Intensity Training places a demand on the muscular system, which in turn places a demand on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems thereby HIT improves cardiorespiratory fitness. The cardiovascular systems’ principle function is to supply nutrients, which are required by muscle cells for movement. In addition to supplying the nutrients required for movement the CV system must also assist in removing the by-products created by the muscles utilising these nutrients.
Cardiovascular health is about the ability of the muscle cells to utilise nutrients provided by the heart, lungs and the bloodstream, and to dispose of the waste by-products created during muscular work. The more intense the muscular work is, the more of a stimulus there is for cardiovascular health to improve. This is why HIT is the most effective form of exercise for obtaining optimal cardiovascular health.
The same principle applies to the body’s internal organs, our muscles are the key to optimising our physiology as a whole: in performing correct science-based training the benefits of exercise will have a systemic effect across the board. All the internal organs will upregulate to cope with the demands placed on them by a better functioning muscular system.
HIT also provides enhanced flexibility, as we have already noted our muscles are the window to the body as a whole, and if the muscles are strengthened safely so too will tendons, cartilage and ligaments. You cannot train your tendons separately from the musculature, to be strong and appropriately flexible the way to enhance them is via our musculature, via HIT.
In loading our musculature, we are at the same time loading our skeletal system and by loading our skeletal system we are stimulating bone metabolism. This results in our bones becoming more densely packed with minerals, strengthening the bones themselves. This is crucial, as it will help prevent/reduce demineralisation of the bones as well as keeping osteoporosis at bay.
My aim for this post is that it will provide more information on the benefits that High Intensity Training (HIT) provides for your body. So if you are running 20km a week or torturing yourself at Crossfit and not enjoying the process, there is a far safer more beneficial approach towards achieving optimal health. The answer: HIT!