About DAREBEES version of HIIT

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    About DAREBEES version of HIIT

    Dear Darebee people,

    I am 26, male and recently decided (well more like finally gone through with it) to do some sports. I am mostly a couch potatoe and my Dad's beer gut is a daunting future I want to dodge. I've been slowly getting into it and (somewhat) kept a routine for the last 3 months. I've been mostly doing the Gut Control workout for that time (https://darebee.com/workouts/gut-control-workout.html).

    What I wanted to ask the following: no matter what article or what research paper you read, usually when referring to HIIT, people refer to 15-45s burst of ~90% excertion followed by a low intensity pause of the same length.
    This is very different from for example the Gut Control workout here on DAREBEE, where it is 3 mins of exertion (I cant do that at striclty ~90% for 3mins straight for multiple sets) followed by 1-2 minutes of pause.
    Please tell me, whether I have been interpreting the workout incorrectly for the past couple months and/or, if possible refer me to where I can read up more about the form of HIIT that is proposed here. I havent found any literature that said, that this also qualifies as HIIT.

    I have taken to a 'progress over perfection' mantra lately, as I am someone perpetually stuck in analysis paralysis. Issue is I havent really logged any loss in bodyfat for the past couple of months (going by visual; I take photos every 3 days to compare and sadly have no way of directly measuring body fat that I know of), which is why I wanted to investigate further. I definitely see improvements in muscle mass and definition in all areas I am training, even the core (which is also untypical for standard HIIT). My belly feels tighter than ever and overall I feel great about my routine, but i really wanna get rid of my belly fat. There isnt that much there to begin with, but I still want it gone.

    I am on a three day circle of (day 1) Gut Control workout (5 sets, 1min break), (day 2) upper body excercises: biceps curls and pushups (3 sets to fatigue each) and (day 3) a rest day. I have been trying to work in pullups slowly (I have gotten some of the elastic bands that take a bit of weight out, but it will take a while until I can make it part of the routine fully).

    Additionally I do low carb, low sugar 8/16 intermittant fasting and usually do the HIIT workout at the end of a fasting period. I know I could definitely work alot on this routine and it is nothing compared to the average gymbro, but I really need something I stick with, so I started small. I feel like after 3 months I shouldve really seen a visible drop In body fat, which i thought was there, but when I looked at the pictures I cant really discern a difference in that regard.

    I appreciate any input and especially and answer to my question regarding HIIT.

    I'm not going to give you specific advice because I'm not really qualified in the field but I think that many of your questions are answered in multiple articles in the "Guides" section of Darebee.


      Looking at https://www.darebee.com/fitness/hiit-benefits.html, for the very first section refers to HIIT and links to a paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/). This paper does not describe any routine similar to what is proposed by DAREBEE, as far as I can see.
      Overall I feel like 3 minutes of exercise isnt strictly HIIT per defintion, which is fine, but I want to reap those benefits that are proposed in the publications.


        morczubel thank you for bringing up that question here. There is a lot to unpack in your description on the post above but first let me start by saying that your mantra is excellent. There really is no 'perfect' when it comes to exercise and fitness and progress is the only part of the fitness journey that makes it make sense. Having said that there are a lot of provisos here so let's begin with the most obvious. You mentioned in your comment that "no matter what article or what research paper you read, usually when referring to HIIT, people refer to 15-45s burst of ~90% excertion followed by a low intensity pause of the same length." This is not really accurate. You refer to HIIT exercises and gave an example of 15-45 seconds as the time for HIIT exercising. This is popularly known as the Wingate Protocol, named after the Wingate Institute in Israel where it was pioneered in the 70s. The more accurate description of it is "The Wingate Anaerobic Test" and it is aimed at improving lower body strength for sprinters. The first link to the study referenced in our HIIT Guide, uses exactly that protocol to test fat loss in sprinters. Lower body strength (or indeed any strength-building protocol) will always take the format of maximal muscle output in the shortest possible time because it targets very specific muscle groups and measures their adaptive response to exercise specifically.

        The reason the Wingate protocol is used when specific muscle groups are targeted is because our current understanding of how muscle fibers are recruited when the load is maximal or near maximal, indicate that prolonging the length of time of the exercise increases the potential for injury and also changes muscle engagement in a way that reduces the output. This in turn, has different effects on the muscles and the adaptation response is broader, therefore pure strength gains become hard to measure. One classic example of this is the maximal lift of power lifters who will typically lift the maximal weight they can one or two reps over a break that can be at times as long as three-four minutes.

        Darebee exercises are aimed at a broad audience that has a broad range of needs. Weightloss, fat reduction, strength gains, aerobic gains, endurance and so on. Study number eight in the HIIT article you referenced best describes the HIIT protocol we apply and the effectiveness of our approach which, over a three-minute interval, increases oxidative stress, benefits bone strength (which we now know also impacts cognition) and delivers measurable gains in overall performance through an increase in endurance and a faster recovery time.

        Having said that you must also take into account that Darebee HIIT exercises recruit different muscle groups in each exercise with varying loads and different supporting roles in the movement, so you're not really exercising the same muscle group at peak capacity for three minutes. This creates a fluid, dynamic environment with active recovery times for some muscles. Our own field tests have shown that over a three-month period our approach has helped the widest range of people achieve measurable fitness gains. The HIIT Guide you referenced has additional cited studies and I would really encourage you to delve as much as possible in them.

        In addition, as you work towards your personal goals you need to take into account that our understanding of the human body is changing all the time. Although it works mechanically it is not really a machine in the classical sense. Different people respond differently to the exact same exercise regime. A fact that has led to rise of the myth of non-responders to exercise. From a physical point of view our bodies are a dynamic, adaptive, fluid environment which we increasingly think may be governed by the laws of quantum mechanics (or at the very least how they are expressed in quantum biology). Since nothing stands still inside us the best form to lifelong fitness and health is to keep track of what we do on a day-to-day basis and experiment in small ways with training and nutrition in order to see what helps us best to meet our own personal targets.

        I hope my reply has helped answer your question but please do not hesitate to come back with any further questions that may arise.