Latest Fitness Fad Is Actually Old Hat – or HIT

This past Friday, after several weeks of non-stop travel, I played hookey in the afternoon with my better half.

What better way to spend a little free time than with my partner and love of my life?

We decided to run a couple errands down in Austin and, in our travels, found a new hamburger place called HopDaddies. Not sure if this is a local Austin place, but I imagine it is since Austin has all kinds of unique, interesting, and cool restaurants and shops.

The deal with HopDaddies is you order one of their awesome Kobe or Angus beef hamburgers – which are huge – along with your choice of an ice cold craft brew. And they bring the brew to you in a large, chilled goblet that reminds you of something you would see in a medieval castle.

Beers and burgers…aahh, heaven.

I couldn’t help but notice a new fitness place in the same shopping plaza, called HIT Training. This was fitting, I thought, because if you do enough HIT training, you can actually eat (and drink) at a place like HopDaddies without gaining weight.

What is HIT training? HIT stands for High Intensity Training, and it’s actually become a bit of a fad in the physical fitness world. I’m seeing it everywhere.

However, it is not new. In fact, HIT training has been around for years and years. I guess it keeps coming back because the fitness world needs something new every so often to attract exercisers. HIT training fits today’s bill because it is an efficient way to exercise that also generates great results…if you know what you are doing.

I was first exposed to the concept of HIT back in the 1980s when I was in college. One of our sports trainers was a convert and advocate for the Nautilus training systems created by Arthur Jones. Jones is a legend and I can’t do him justice here in this little newsletter. Suffice to say that he was ahead of his time, as well as unconventional.

ALong with the Nautilus line of exercise equipment he invented, he also advocated LESS exercise, as in: fewer exercise sessions in a week; less time per exercise session; and fewer exercises per session. Jones – and all of the HIT advocates who followed over the years – maintained that training LESS was actually better for achieving the kind of results most of us wish for, in terms of gaining strength, building muscle and burning off fat.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Spend less time exercising, do less exercising when you are working out, and still get great results. Perfect for us time-starved corporate warriors and/or busy parents.

No wonder HIT training is cycling back up these days! No one has enough time to exercise anymore, or so they say. And the thought of trading long, boring cardio sessions of 45 minutes to an hour, three to four times per week…for two or three short, 20 minute workouts per week…is a no-brainer for many people!

But here’s the catch. (Ah, there’s always a catch, isn’t there?)

In order to get the results typically promised by following a HIT regimen, you actually have to follow it. Which means you have to actually train with HIGH INTENSITY.

By high intensity, we’re talking about doing an exercise to momentary muscular failure. Not to when it starts to hurt, not when your movement begins to slow…actually beyond that to where you simply cannot move your arm or leg another inch. We’re talking about doing sets of squats or leg presses to the point of puking. (Well, you don’t have to go that far, but they certainly did in the good ol’ days of HIT. Supposedly Arthur even made Ahnold puke during one session.)

MOst people, especially those just starting out on an exercise program, don’t really know what high intensity exercise means in terms of the level of exertion and discomfort which accompanies it. And many people will not push themselves, or be pushed by a coach or trainer, to the highest levels of intensity.

Does this mean that HIT training is not for you, or is not really as effective as its advocates say?

Well, I can’t answer for you specifically….but here’s what I have found out over the years.

Turns out that there are variations on HIT that have been around for over 100 years.

Long before Arthur Jones came along, strength trainers at the turn of the last century also followed some basic HIT principles. They typically followed a regimen of shorter, no more than 45 minute workout sessions. They focused on a smaller number of high value exercises – typically those that are full body exercises, such as deadlifts, or that work multiple muscle groups, such as pushups, rows, etc. After a short warmup, they put their all into these few exercises, achieving a total body workout in a relatively short amount of time. And then……

They stopped. They completed their workout so that they still had a little “gas in the tank”. Even though they might do a particular exercise to muscular failure, they did not train to failure. They left the gym feeling strong and energetic, not beat down and sick.

So, there are variations on HIT training that can be highly effective and give you great results, without having to tear yourself down or leave the gym puking.

However, it helps to know a few “secrets” to really maximize the results you can achieve. I’ll share some of these with you in your next tip.

You Can Do It!


“Best Breathing Exercises: Transform Body Mind and Spirit with Dynamic Energy Exercise!”

P.S. Hey, have you heard about the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” Program? Whether you have a lot of weight to lose, or would like to radically improve the results you’re getting from your current fitness or weight loss program, you can put this program to work immediately to help reach your goal.The approach I teach you is a distillation of the most effective thinking and exercises I’ve found for boosting the metabolism and reducing the waistline.

Best part is, this program can be followed by virtually anyone. I tell you exactly what to do to get the results you want. For more information, or to claim your own copy of the program, go to the “Fire Up Your Metabolism” page at the Best Breathing Exercises website.

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2012

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