Think you’ve gotta HIIT the gym hard to get weight loss results? Think again.
While new exercise trends like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and CrossFit look like the fast lane to weight loss, overly aggressive training could do you more harm than good.
Over training will release stress response hormones, which can result in negative symptoms like cramps, diarrhoea, bloating, nausea and increased susceptibility to infection. In addition, revving your body too much during workouts can also cause problems down the track such as injury and fatigue.
On the other hand, inactivity or too little exercise will not only affect your fitness levels, it will also contribute to long-term health issues: weight gain, diabetes, harm your immune system and reduce your ability to bounce back from stress.
Like anything, moderation is key!
Explore ways to add small bursts of movement to your everyday activities. Take a fast walk around the office every hour. Swap your desk for a stand up. Walk when you take a phone call. Do some push-ups between ad breaks. Start by adding a few minutes of new movement to your routine each day.
Our bodies also enjoy fast-twitch muscle burst training, whether that’s cardio exercise or weight bearing exercise. Start by doing the training exercise for one minute and then a recovery break of one minute. If you’re going for high-intensity training, alternate one or two minutes at maximum effort with two to three minutes moderate effort. Or walk for three minutes at a moderately fast pace, alternating with three minutes at normal pace. Choose an exercise that breaks a sweat around four times per week.
Then most importantly, recover, recover, recover: this allows time for the body to repair itself. Also make sure you’re getting enough sleep, around 7 to 8.5 hours per night. Not only is sleep the body’s best chance at recovery but it also cleanses toxins and creates repair. If you’re training at a high level, feed your body with a combination of macronutrients, protein and carbohydrates, especially immediately following your workout if you’re older.
You’ll also want to take time out for resting between exercise to keep your hormones in balance, repair tissues and rebuild muscles, which will limit injury next time you exercise. Plus allow time for reinvigoration emotionally and psychologically so you’re ready to go hard again next time.
And don’t let you ego get in the way of what your body’s telling you if it’s not feeling up to it – there’s no point in ignoring a twinge or body ache! Listening to the feedback your body’s giving you if the best way to get your exercise on track.
WORDS: Karina Eastway