We’re all at least a little bit guilty of it.

We find a health goal that we want to achieve, and we’ll set out to find the easiest way to get it done.

One of the most common things people will try to avoid in my experience, is putting in the time to achieve their health goals.

On the surface that’s not completely terrible either. Getting the results you’re after from the minimum effective dose is great, and long term your body is probably going to thank you for it.

Too good to be true.

When clickbait headlines pop up in front of people promising maximum results in minimum time, they understandably get excited.

Here’s the detail that’s usually missed though.

The saving you make in time has a price, and that price is intensity.

I was chatting with my folks a couple of weeks ago, and they were wondering about some exercise protocols they’d seen on a documentary recently, specifically the idea that you can improve your fitness by doing only sixty seconds of high intensity interval training (HIIT) per week.

I hunted around the googles to try and find the specific protocol they’d seen in the documentary, which was two bouts of thirty second sprints with a four minute recovery, but the best I could find was three bouts of twenty second sprints with a break to catch your breath in between.

Either way, sixty seconds per week of cardio to reach all your fitness dreams sounds pretty awesome if you don’t like training right?

What’s the catch?

Here’s the problem (at least the one I’m going to focus on today, I’ll try to tackle some more another time).

If you are going to do this sort of interval training, then the time you’ve removed from the session will need to be replaced by some intensity.

What tends to happen though, is that someone will decide to give this a go, but they end up doing their ‘high’ intensity effort in a fairly half arsed fashion, and then wonder why anyone would belt themselves for any longer if they don’t have to.

But then they don’t see any results from it.

The thing is, if you work at the intensity that this sort of exercise protocol asks for, it will end up being the opposite of easy, and that’s why (or when) they work so well.

I remember doing my first all out thirty second bike sprint back in my uni days, and it still haunts me.

One of the other problems with these exercise protocols is that for someone who doesn’t want to be active, they see that they can do physical activity for sixty seconds a week and then sit bone idle for the other six hundred and four odd thousand seconds a week, and everything will work out just fine.

Not moving for an entire week, except for doing sixty seconds of HIIT training, is not going to work out great for most people and is going to leave them weak and lacking mobility among other things.

I reckon that’ll do for this one, so I’m going to step down off my soapbox now.

The recap.

  • Finding the minimum effective dose for your training isn’t a bad thing.
  • HIIT style training can be a great tool for improving your fitness, but you can’t half arse it.
  • If that clickbait headline sounds too good to be true it probably is, but if you want to pursue it, at least figure out what the catch is first.

If you have an opinion about any of this, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Thanks as always for reading and I’ll catch you next time.

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