Struggling to find the time to increase your stamina for an upcoming long distance ride? Looking to find a quicker way to get the job done?
We have been looking at the best ways to do 'clever cardio' to see an improvement in fitness levels FAST! One thing for certain is that the words ‘HIIT training’ come up a lot. So, what is HIIT training and how can it benefit you?
‘HIIT’ stands for ‘High Intensity Interval Training’. One of the best things about HIIT is that you can use it for any sport or type of exercise you need. High intensity intervals should be carried out using as much energy as possible at a safe level. A great way to measure this, is to increase your heart rate up to 85% of your maximum. You can calculate this using the following (220 - your age) x 0.85 = maximum beats per minute.
There are a number of benefits of HIIT training Vs Cardio vascular exercise, the main one for us is time-saving. Researchers have discovered that undertaking 4 minutes of HIIT, is the equivalent of doing 30 minutes of steady cardio.
In a recent study, featured on the BBC documentary ‘The truth about getting fit’ (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09qjl7d) 6 office workers were recruited to test out the HIIT theory, to see if it can really make a the difference. They did this by taking part in 2 bursts of high intensity exercise on an exercise bike. Each burst was 20 seconds in length. This was repeated three times a week, totalling 2 mins of HIIT exercise each week. The results were an astounding increase in fitness of up to 14% over 5 weeks.
As a beginner of HIIT you can aim to do 1 minute of high intensity with 2 mins of rest. As fitness levels improve you should aim to match your high intensity interval length with your rest time e.g 2 minutes HIIT - 2 minutes rest.
The key to success in training is keeping up the consistency. A comprehensive training schedule should cover 4 - 6 months. The best way to stick to this is by having a smart approach from the start. Whether training for a long distance tour, or a month pedalling through Europe, HIIT training can definitely benefit you.
There are many other benefits to HIIT training, besides time saving. It has been proven to increase metabolism and burn fat. Due to the increased pressure on muscles during a high intensity interval, muscle mass will increase. This, along with re-fuelling the muscles after your workout will encourage your body to burn additional calories for up to 36 hours after you have finished exercising. The great thing about HIIT cycling in particular, is it can be done in on a static bike or outdoors. HIIT cycling outdoors does have its downfalls; traffic, hills and curves in the road can throw off interval timings so it is really important, if you are looking to HIIT train outside, to make sure you plan your route! Stationary bikes provide convenience for HIIT workouts, you can keep them short, without missing out on the benefits. As much as we love the convenience of a stationary bike, most people find it somewhat boring. After all, seeing the sights is one of the greatest pleasures of cycling.
So, using HIIT workouts to increase fitness levels and save on time is a must, whether its a short sharp burst on a stationary bike, or the intense burn with the pleasures of outdoor cycling!
We would love to hear how you plan your HIIT workouts or your thoughts on HIIT vs Cardio vascular exercise! Send in your photos and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org