THE NEW H.I.I.T. (Also Known as S.H.I.I.T.) LOL!
OK, sometimes I'm known to be a bit of a jokester - and this happens to be one of those times. You probably haven't heard of S.H.I.I.T. because I'm pretty sure I coined that acronym. Or, perhaps I'm the only trainer that's willing to put it out there. However, I've been instructing S.H.I.I.T. fitness classes and workshops since 2004 (oops, there I go again!).
So what does it stand for? It stands for Safe High-Intensity Interval Training. Let me give you some background.
In the 1990's - I became Executive Vice President for an alternative health products and media production company. One of my responsibilities was to coordinate and facilitate health studies for the organization. All the data went through my hands - approximately 12,000 participants over 10 years! I began to notice a common thread amongst the people who weren't quite getting the results we were hoping for. The only way I could describe the commonality was that they were setting themselves up for failure when it came to a consistent fitness practice. Whether it was joining programs that were ultimately injurious to them or engaging in very seasonal activities, the one thing these people had in common was that they discontinued exercise or at the very least were very irregular with it. And somehow this correlated with no real improvements and in many cases poorer results in their blood tests, body composition, and even appearance (we took before and after photos).
…This piqued my interest.
At about the same time, I got interested in marathoning. I began training in distance running and subsequently entered the NYC marathon at about 29 years old - not old - but I could feel the wear and tear that endurance running was having on my knees. This definitely got me concerned as I envisioned a future in which I eventually wouldn't be able to run because of some sort of damage to the knees. I had gotten to know some older folks who lived with exercise-induced knee pain and so I figured this wasn't all that uncommon. And then one day as I was taking a cab up toward Central Park South, I noticed a woman jogger running with a brace around her right knee. I had seen her before on numerous runs in the park but this time the image hit me hard. Here she was; limp-jogging through the park because of her obsession with running.
…I can only imagine now, about 25 years later, she's no longer able to run.
That was the moment that defined the foundation of my purpose as a trainer. My goal was to start a fitness service that was the ultimate support system for people of all levels of fitness to call home. And within that system, my main training agenda would be to devise programs that protected the joints. I am convinced that if we engage in low-impact movements (I learned power formulas later) that don't compromise the integrity of our joints and if we are able to stay motivated and consistent with our training - that's when fitness magic can happen! The body eventually adapts, grows stronger, more vital, and youthful.
So that's how it all started. The fitness focus behind all my training work is based on maximizing physical power while protecting the joints from excessive wear and tear from repetitive impact movement. What I discovered was that the benefits that can be gotten from practicing traditional H.I.I.T could also be achieved by compounding certain movements and by practicing mostly non-impact exercises and Squat Pace Training.
With bodyweight Squat Pace Training the body can be conditioned to access fast twitch muscle fibers that encourage growth hormone (youth hormone) secretion. That's one of the main goals of H.I.I.T besides creating an after-burn that keeps your metabolism revving longer than just regular cardio. Growth hormone is a master hormone that increases fat utilization, improves skin/hair texture, enhances brain function, helps build muscle and can improve your mood, among other benefits. With SHIIT you get all those same benefits but you burn even more calories than regular HIIT, while still having an afterburn (more calories burned for hours after a workout).
By getting good at Squat Pace Training an exerciser can access muscle fibers that H.I.I.T can not access. These muscle fibers are the hybrid fibers - muscle fibers that share characteristics and benefits of both slow and fast twitch muscles. The main Characteristics of the hybrid fibers are: building stamina AND building strength. These fibers are called type IIa. And THAT, my friends, is the secret to the S.H.I.I.T! HA!
So how do we do S.H.I.I.T?
The best way to start understanding the level of intensity that is required is by mastering the three-minute squat. You can go to my YouTube page: workoutwizard.net on YouTube and find the right squat pace that is challenging enough so that you want to stop squatting by the three minute marker. Even more accurately - you want to find the pace that challenges you enough so you physically can not go for more than three minutes. This will take some experimentation so you must be patient. Please watch the Squat Pace Training introductory video and perform the proper warm ups before beginning your three-minute trials.
Once you understand the feeling of a three-minute high intensity blast you can then translate that feeling to other movements. If you can continue a movement beyond three minutes then you are tapping into more of the slow twitch muscle fibers. You don't want this for SHIIT. If you can only do a movement for 1 or 2 minutes, then you are accessing too much type IIb fast twitch muscle fibers and you will either need to slow down or not go as deep in your range of motion. What we are looking for is that in-between intensity feeling and the 3-minute test is your best gage.
Now that you know what a max three-minute test should feel like in terms of intensity, the next step is to design a program that is 80% non or low-impact and 20% plyometric (high-impact). That would make for an ideal proportion for SHIIT. However, you can also attain SHIIT with all non-impact movements. A great routine to start with would be the ABSQUAT routine. A tutorial for this routine can also be found on my YouTube channel.
You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me through social media if you need more information on S.H.I.I.T....There I go again!
Now let’s do some S.H.I.I.T…..