During a recent adventure in Germany, some friends and I went to the park and threw the frisbee around. We deliberately threw the flying disc toward, but not directly to each other so that we had to chase it down. Laughing and running about 30 sprints between us, we got in a killer sprint, power, and cardio session.
We joked afterward that we just did HIIF (High Intensity Interval Frisbee) and that stuck with me. Mainly because you need to be doing something fun to realize your potential and stick it out past the point where you THINK you might get tired. If I gave someone 30 sprints in a strength and conditioning program I would likely get some moaning and groaning about how that’s too many. I can also imagine that many S&C coaches would look at a program with 30 sprints in it and automatically say “overtraining.”
Too often High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is synonymous with “do lots of random stuff fast and rest a little.” People use it to try to improve their cardio, paying little attention to the movements they select. This comes back to the same old tired bullshit of how many calories you can “burn.”
HIIT can better serve us by working the high end rep range of training and have cardio as a secondary benefit – sort of like 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner – it’s not as good as doing both of them separately but it’s better than just doing one of them. If you are going to do HIIT, choose movements that make you better and try to have some fun!
I’ve seen the numbers – when you work hard and use a lot of big muscles, the caloric expenditure is damn near the same regardless of the activity. You can burn 250 calories in an hour of ballroom dancing. So if you like ballroom dancing and hate running on the treadmill, doesn’t it make sense to trade a few extra calories for something you actually WANT TO DO?
My answer is a resounding yes! There are many viable substitutes in all areas of fitness, health, and athleticism – the secret is to do something you LIKE TO DO, so you can stay consistent.
The Key to Fitness
Lasting results are acquired over the long term, not the short term. Sustainability is crucial and can be achieved by doing things that are Fun, Safe, and Effective.
Fun: You want to do it, so it doesn’t require willpower to MAKE you do it.
Safe: Avoid injury and build resilience to it. This can best be achieved by owning and growing the range of motion in your joints.
Effective: Achieve the desired result. If you practice something, your body adapts to make you better at that thing and becomes a reflection of what you do with it. I guarantee if you practice handstands for 5 minutes every day, or juggle for 5 minutes every day, you’ll improve significantly. If you wrestle for an hour every day, eventually you’ll look like a wrestler.
So the next time you see the latest and greatest calorie burning HIIT nonsense, maybe consider WHY it is you’re doing that and try some HIIF instead.
Better every day,