ZONE TRAINING: ARE YOU GOING THE SPEED LIMIT?
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the favorite of instructors, trainers, and even many Boomers. It’s exercise done at 85% and more of your maximum. If you put that in terms of breathing, you’re breathless. In terms of talking, you’re down to one word or hand gestures. You’re watching the clock and 10 seconds ticks by slowly second by second.
In the excitement over the science of fat burning and calorie-torching all those invested in HIIT forget that it works best with a foundation.
For beginners, new to exercise, who are so excited to lose weight yesterday and get into the LBD by Saturday intervals are a short cut from heaven and deliverance from cardio hell. Yet, though you may want to dive into this short hard get-it-over exercise the benefits come best on a foundation of aerobic base. Anyone that wants to go fast generally can go slow for a long period of time first. Most of the instructors, athletes, and coaches that write about or profess about or get results from HIIT have that base.
Don’t neglect the time spent in daily activities of living. Up and down the stairs, walking for locomotion and doing anything but sitting at a computer or coach. Those are zone 1 types of activity.
CHECK THIS IMAGE FOR ZONES You can see how literally the high intensity work you do does get optimal fitness…when it’s on top a strong firm base.
Zone 2 is your all-day pace. You can go for hours or miles …. or at least as long as you’ve built up to right now. You can do it comfortably. Breathing through your nose, still talking.
Zone 3 begins to get interesting. You’re darn right aware you’re exercising and that it’s going to last a specific time and then be over. You’re pushing outside of what you’d call comfort zone, really secretly slipping back there to zone 2 if no one is watching or if you didn’t have that darn heart rate monitor blinking at you.
Zone 4 is a place where you visit but don’t hang out for long. You may end up there with a little bit of drift toward the end of your exercise session much more easily than you got there at first. This is an interval. Definitely you’re at a “get me down off of this thing” feeling.
Zone 5, well zone 5 you don’t do a lot of planning for but you don’t slow down when you approach a finish line and sometimes there just is a last sprint in you when you know this is the last time that trainer is going to tell you to push til the end.
You’re zone 4 and 5 are frosting. Only about 20% of your total time in an exercise session or in a week of exercise time should be spent there. It’s 100% important that you do spend that 20% of time but more is not better unless you define injury better. Loss of form, fatigue, and carelessness that happen when you do more just for more’s sake generally result in something breaking down rather than building up. It’s the best workout you have….right before you get sick or strain something “unexplainably.”