Posted in General Fitness by Rogue Fitness on 03 July 2017


You may have noticed that popular media is taking a turn towards a lower intensity more manageable amount of exercise rather than all out high intensity interval training?

So what is the difference and which one is for you?

Rogue Fitness is here to help you understand and decide.

  1. Formal recommendation

Despite fitness fads coming and going the American College of Sports Medicine ‘recommends that most adults engage in moderate-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise training for ≥30 min·d−1 on ≥5 d·wk−1 for a total of ≥150 min·wk’ and has done so for quite some time.

The World Health Organization’s recommendations are:

‘Adults aged 18–64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.’

They also recommend adding strength training to our weekly routine.

  1. High intensity versus low intensity

So how do we fit it in and what type of exercise should we do exactly?

Firstly, note that these recommendations are for aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is anything that raises your heart rate for a substantial amount of time. When doing aerobic exercise the body can access oxygen and utilize it. Pure High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) is in fact an anaerobic exercise.

The initial movement toward HIIT training arose for two reasons: first was the fact that our lives are getting more and more busy which means that the idea of getting in a huge calorie burning session in 4 to 15 minutes was enticing. The problem however is that the intensity and difficulty of this style of training was underestimated. The second reason was the rise of popularity around cross fit training and other similar styles.

Low intensity, steady state exercise is far more manageable for most people. It can include simple things like going for an evening walk and even incidental exercise like taking the stairs and walking from your car to your workplace.

Note that these recommendation are for standard adults so it’s fair to say that those of us who have health issues or weight issues may need more or less depending on our circumstances.

  1. Duration

The term ‘steady state’ means that we can maintain the level we are working at for a period of time at a steady pace. Walking or circuit training are probably the most common examples. This is different to interval training when we work for a specified period of time and then recover. Going for a jog of an evening may be described as ‘steady state’ while treadmill sprints are a type of interval training. Of course there are varying levels of difficulty here also. A tabata sprint session is an advanced technique and would represent true HIIT when done correctly. 10 walk/jog intervals for 40 seconds with 20 seconds recovery might be more manageable.

  1. Who could benefit?

We can all benefit from a little of each but at the end of the day what matters is which style of training we enjoy more. If you dread going to the gym for your HIIT session you must assess the situation as it’s not conducive to a long term healthy lifestyle. If you are competitive by nature and thrive in high intensity environment HIIT might be for you.

Your experience levels is probably the most important factor. The types of exercises that work for high intensity sessions often require great mobility and cardiovascular fitness, not to mention body awareness and core strength. This is not to say that they cannot be adapted for everyone but to be done at the correct intensity we need to be able to perform such exercises safely and often at speed.

Last but not least, consider your goals and targets. If you want to lose a little weight and have a bit of time on your hands there may not be any need to practice HIIT training unless you enjoy it. If you are experienced and want to increase your running time, adding a sprint session may be of great benefit.

  1. How to design a programme.

  2. Consider your experience level. If you are a beginner start with 3* 30 minute walks per week. If you are more advanced you might like to add a walk/run interval session into your weekly programme. If you are very advanced or training for a sports-specific goal, HIIT will contribute to anaerobic capacity, speed and power depending on what exercise choices you make.

  3. What are your goals: in terms of calorie burn you burn more in the actual session doing steady state, longer duration exercise but there is a substantial after burn effect from HIIT that is unequalled.

  4. What is your schedule like?

    Can you manage to get to the gym or out for a walk 5 times for week? Realistically we should all be able to manage this and if we can’t it may be time to adjust our priorities. We have to look after ourselves at a certain point and our work/life balance is often at the centre of this issue.


For more advice on what type of training could benefit you book in for your free consultation at Rogue Fitness here.