While the study results mentioned in Part 1 of The Interval Training Buzz – What Is New? post are encouraging, if not spectacular, there are some things to take into consideration:
Most studies were done on a stationary bicycle (yes, you read that correctly, they used a bike),
Most studies used a bicycle, because they wanted to copy the Wingate Test,
Most studies used a bicycle all-out protocol for 20 to 30 seconds for 3 to 5 days a week.
Most clients personal trainers work with will literally die when they have to sprint at maximum intensity for 20 to 30 seconds. Before reaching just even 10 seconds of maximum sprinting intensity they probably will have already tore up their hamstring or another muscle group. Also, if you train clients only once or twice a week, do not expect the same results as what the studies showed. High Intensity Interval Training is not for beginners and although the military often do not care if you are in or not in-shape when they expose you to their training methods, they merely use it to separate the haves from the have-nots – can you handle the training or not – are you physically and mentally touch enough to make the “cut?”
The popularity of Interval Training is probably mostly related to it’s effect on metabolism and calorie-burning. It literally changes your body’s homeostasis – one moment you are sitting on your lazy ass and the next moment you sprint all-out like a wild beast – eyes wide open, gasping for air, pulling your legs through as if the devil himself is chasing you. Ever seen a fat sprinter? No sir – they are lean, mean fighting machines. I had the pleasure to work with some of them when I was a graduate student at the University of Oregon – amazing detailed and long warm-ups (sometimes one hour long) ready to explode their bodies out of the starting blocks to run all out for less than 30 seconds. No jiggly fat flying all over the place, but violent muscle fibers doing their job so gracefully – start……………………………………………..finish.
As I already said, Interval Training disrupts the body’s homeostasis, making it more effective for increasing metabolic rate following these workouts. In other words, when you introduce Interval Training to your body one day you will be terrible at it as your body is not used to that type of activity – your body had a different level of homeostasis to whatever you were doing before. You are in fact out of homeostasis because your body’s physiology is not ready to absorb this new level of stress. No worries though, your body will eventually adjust itself and homeostasis is regained. You will get better at Interval Training – become faster – recuperate faster.
Also, research has shown that those exposed to an interval workout have a higher postworkout metabolic rate than those that perform a 30 minute continues rated workout (Laforgia et al. 1997). In fact, some showed that they burned more calories during the 24 hours following the workout (Treuth, Hunter & Williams 1996). Exiting information here, right? You do some sprints for lets say 10 minutes and you burn more calories than running until your shoes fall of your feet!! Sorry readers, it’s not that simple:
The amount of calories burned post-workout is minimal,
The caloric expenditure during high-intensity interval training is still less than during a longer but lower-intensity workout.
In Sum, High Intensity Interval Training is a highly efficient training method to rep up your metabolic rate and burn some calories. Changes in homeostasis are always welcome otherwise our body becomes stale and complacent. Consider though that it is not the holy grail to fat and weight-loss but that when used appropriately it can help clients from every walk of life. Guess I have to go find my running shoes now.
Burgomaster, et al. 2008
Chilibeck, et al. 1998
Gibala, et al. 2006
Gibala, et al. 2009
Laforgia, et al. 1997
MacDougall, et al. 1998.
Meyer, et al. 1990
Rakobowchuck, et al. 2008
Seiler and Tennessen. 2009
Tabata, et al. 1996
Talanian, et al. 2007
Talanian, et al. 2010
Tjonna, et al. 2009
Treuth, et al. 1996