Have you ever heard of hard and fast workouts? They are also known as High Intensity workouts. For anyone who has realised their benefits they will be spokesmen or women for this method and you will often hear claims such as – this is the best thing since sliced bread.
Why sliced bread? Well I guess it must have been a real struggle back in the day when you had to slice your own bread. I mean think about it. We can just grab a loaf of bread and make as many sandwiches as we like. If you have to think about how many sandwiches you needed to make then make twice that many slices to create the sliced bread. It would slow down your prep time and just drag out the feeding process. Sliced bread truly was a historical change. And hence now whenever there is a breakthrough this reference is often used.
So back to the hard and fast or high intensity workouts.
This simply refers to a method of working out where you subject your body to strenuous activity for a short burst of time. Think of it like a sprint as opposed to a light jog. This high intensity of the workout actually forces your body to push itself to the extreme of working out. And there are many benefits in doing so.
Weight lifters have been using this techniques for many decades now.
- When you want to build muscle it is recommended to lift as much weight as your can in order to achieve 6-8 or even 4-6 repetitions. On the last lift you should be struggling and putting in all your effort.
- However if you want to build strength it is recommended to lift enough weight to be doing more like 10-12 repetitions or even 8-10. Again the last sets should be pushing it out.
- But if you only want to achieve a toning effect on your muscles then it is recommended to do long repetition sets. Sets of 15-20 or even more repetitions will achieve a toning effect. The muscle building and strength gained from these longer sets will be less noticeable but instead participants will notice a slimming effect as they tone.
As you can see from the example above the short bursts of energy needed in mass weight lifting for short repetitions actually build the most muscle. How? The high intensity workout actually puts a lot of stress on the muscles and they actually create many slight little tears in the muscle itself. After the workout your body enters a recovery stage which can last for days afterwards and this is where the muscle building occurs. As the body repairs itself it makes these muscles stronger and larger to be able to handle the next time that this is encountered.
In other forms of hard and fast workouts such as sprinting, bike riding, boxing, dancing and other intense cardio workouts this straining effect is also put on your internal organs such as your heart and lungs which are working overtime to fuel your body with oxygenated blood to carry out the activities. Also your blood pressure increases during high intensity workouts and this helps clean out your veins and arteries as blow flow is rapidly increased.
So apart from flushing out your blood vessels with a high intensity workout your heart, lungs and other internal muscles (also known as organs) are working overtime and need to enter a recovery stage. During this stage they rebuild themselves larger and stronger to handle next time. Also any other muscle that was used in the workout also goes through this beneficial stage of repair. And this is why we are now realising that hard and fast high intensity workouts are so beneficial. In fact they could be the best thing since sliced bread for the workout world.
But please take care. Pushing your body to extremes with any physical activity does carry risks. And you should always start with a light workout and work your way up to high intensity. After each workout monitor your recovery time and feeling in your muscles. The last thing we want is anyone having a heart attack while trying to strengthen their heart.