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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

puking for fun and profit

HIIT. High intensity interval training***.

For the uninitiated--which I'm sure doesn't include anyone reading this anyway--this is the popular thing in cardiovascular exercise these days. All the old thinking is wrong, wrong, wrong. You don't have to do that much cardio! Fifteen or twenty minutes of HIIT three times a week, and you'll be in awesome shape. You'll catch every train you run for. You'll walk up 25 flights of stairs just for the lulz. Small children will stare at you in awe. Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps will be calling you for training tips. Attractive people of whichever gender you prefer will be throwing themselves at you. Your laundry will be whiter, your hair will be shinier, and you'll never have morning breath.

Okay, maybe the claims aren't quite that overstated, but everyone who's anyone in fitness seems to want to convince you that a nice three mile jog, a fifteen mile bike ride, or a Zumba class is just a waste of your time. In fact, some will tell you that all those things are gonna catabolize your muscle just like ::snap:: that and make you fatter. Standard steady state cardio is so 20th century. You gotta do intervals. But not just intervals, intervals that are so brutal that they make you wanna puke or pass out, and you can't go for more than 15 or 20 minutes, because you will.

I dunno. I am of the opinion that there's a word for people who make themselves vomit and there's another word for people who like to suffer and neither one of them necessarily should apply to the business of getting healthy exercise. Maybe HIIT *would* make me leaner, stronger, faster, and more shiny-haired. But forty five minutes a week of feeling like hell doesn't seem like a good trade off to me, even if it is broken up into coffee-break length segments. I like to exercise. Why would I want to sign up for something that would make me dread it? And considering that most Americans (to judge from their muffin tops and their type II diabetes) do NOT like to exercise, I don't see HIIT as changing their minds.

I myself have been off the cardio, except for some incline walking on the treadmill, since I've been bulking. Frankly I can't eat enough to stay in a calorie surplus even without it half the time. Running burns calories that are supposed to be going to growing my non-existent lats, yo. But with the advent of autumn and the two months year that it is actually usually really nice outdoor weather in eastern Massachusetts, I've been thinking of running again, just, y'know, once or twice a week. (I promise, I'll eat some cookies afterwards.) If I do, I can assure you it will involve a lovely jog around the pond or down the beach. It will NOT involve uphill sprints till I vomit like a drunk sorority girl on a Saturday night. If this means Lance Armstrong doesn't call, c'est la vie. Y'all know I think he's a douche anyway.

Now, for listening to me rant, here's everyone's favorite drunken Brits as a reward.


***Don't quote me on that. I think the T stands for training, 'cause that's the only T word that makes sense, but as usual, I was too lazy to go look it up.

1 comment:

  1. Have I mentioned how much I appreciate your commons sense approach to STUFF? Benefit vs. cost is one of the guiding assessments I apply to my own decisions. Sometimes I can't figure out the exact balance but whenever "vomiting" is part of the cost, I stop testing, unless the benefit is life saving.