Training at LWA? Let’s Compare HIIT and Metabolic Conditioning Sessions…

 HIIT Training Sessions typically go through 3 Zones of Work, much like described above. They also go by the 30/15 or a 2:1 ratio of Work to Rest with 3 Rounds of Work per 6 Sets of Exercises. Working for 30 seconds, resting 15 seconds, and having 1 full minute of recovery between each exercise. The 1 Full Minute of Rest allows the body to fully recover down to either the lower end of Zone 2 or down into Zone 1.

 Zone 1: 65-75% MHR is the Warm Up and Full Recovery between each Set of Exercises

Zone 2: 76-85% MHR is the Recovery between each Round of Exercise

Zone 3: 90% MHR is the All Out Effort during the Work period of the Exercise

During one of these HIIT Sessions, since your body is working near and past it’s Anaerobic Threshold (point where the body can no longer rely on just the aerobic system), you can often times feel out of breath and a quick heart rate. LWA has you on Bluetooth Polar Heart Rate sensors to monitor your heart rate. If we see you are past that threshold, above 92% MHR, we tell you to breath and go slow. Once your body has recovered down to below the threshold, you then push again. We want to work and train SMART in these sessions. All levels can perform a HIIT Session, especially those who are wanting an increase in fitness level.

Metabolic Conditioning Sessions, or MetCon for short, also goes through 3 Zones of Work in most cases, however this is Power Training. To perform a Power movement, you must increase the force you produce and explosive muscular strength efforts. LWA has a 1:3 set ratio for working during a MetCon Session. In each round of an exercise you work for 20 seconds, rest for 1 full minute and between each set, then resting a full 90 seconds to recover the body fully.

When executing a power movement at LWA in a MetCon Session, we are putting our bodies again through Zones of work. However, this is different than a HIIT Session. The Zones in which we primarily work you during a Metabolic Conditioning Session are:


Zone 1: 65-75% MHR and below is part of the Warm-Up and the Recovery between each Set and Rounds of Exercise

Zone 2: 76-85% MHR is the working part of the session or where the heart rate will rise

While training in a MetCon Session, the heart rate is watched and being used as a tool to:

-measure intensity within the body

-measure force produced outside of the body

 To measure the intensity within the body, we watch the speed at which the heart rate rises. If the heart rate rises too quickly or with a sudden stop, you have performed the exercise too quickly, which means you have now gone into training like a HIIT session. Whereas, if we watch the force produced outside of the body first (performing the exercise) then measure the intensity within the body (watching the heart rate) we can determine if you are truly training for Power or for HIIT. If the amount of force produced outside of the body is great enough, the intensity of the heart rate will slowly rise and immediately fully recover back down below Zone 1, into the 40-50% MHR. This also never gets you out of breath or a quick heart rate. At first, it takes a few sessions to get full control of heart rate intensity and producing force. When recovering, a lot of people go only into Zone 1 and no lower. With continued training and practice, you will get your heart rate lower and lower, making producing force outside of the body easier and easier. This is simply overloading the body, or coming out of your comfort zone to increase fitness level.

H.I.I.T.- High Intensity Interval Training-

Interval Training is defined by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as: 

“Training that alternates between intense exertion and periods of rest or lighter exertion.”

 This style of training is usually timed for short bursts of work lasting anywhere between 20 and 60 seconds long with a rest period lasting 10-30 seconds long. Which means you don’t need to train hours on end anymore. If you are in a true HIIT Session, 30 minutes one time per week is all you need!


Using Polar Heart Rate Training in a HIIT Session 

When performing an Interval Workout with Polar Heart Rate Training, your heart rate goes through 5 Zones of Work:

            Zones 1 & 2: Training within 50-69% of Maximal Heart Rate (MHR). This is a cardio base or recovery zone. In this zone, a person can maintain work without much exertion and still improve their oxygen consumption, however, if an improvement in fitness level and performance is the goal, overloading the body out of it’s comfort zone is necessary.

*Warm-Up/Recovery/Cool Down Zone*


            Zone 3: Training within 70-79% of Maximal Heart Rate.

Within these zones, both enhance general training pace and challenges the body more. It is steady and controlled and helps improve muscular strength gains, as well as help create a cardio base for those just getting started. *Working/Recovery Zone*

            Zone 4: Training within 80-89% of Maximal Heart Rate.

This zone is closer to a person’s  anaerobic threshold where the body can no longer supply enough energy while still using the aerobic system. If a person continues to only train within this zone of work, they will hit a wall. Another round of overloading the body is, again,necessary to improve fitness level. *Working/Recovery Zone*        


            Zone 5: Training at 90% of Maximal Heart Rate or All Out Effort.

This zone is where a person truly trains for High Intensity Interval Training. A person is at peak exertion and this is often times where you will see the heavy breathing and feeling of exhaustion. You will want to push yourself into Zone 5 for no more than 60 seconds, then recovering down into Zones 1 or 2 before moving onto the next round.

*Working All Out Effort Zone*


To get the full benefits of burning fat, scorching calories, and improving your cardiovascular/aerobic systems during one of these HIIT Sessions, you will want to fully let your body recover after performing this style of training. That means allowing yourself one all out effort HIIT session per week. If done more than once a week at this effort, this could cause you to overtrain the body and essentially go backwards in your training. HIIT Training Sessions are done differently in every facility, always listen to your body before performing this style of training.


Major Benefits of HIIT

You Will Keep Burning Calories for Hours because of EPOC

It sounds very scientific, but simply put EPOC, or Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption, is the body’s way of coming back to homeostasis. Imagine a car. A car needs fuel to run and move- much like your body. Now, imagine that same car when you have put it in park and made it to your destination. If you put your hand on the hood, it is still warm and in the process of cooling down. This is what EPOC is for your body. After you have completed your workout, your body is still warm and in the process of cooling down.

 Now, scientifically put, let’s go into how your body does this with EPOC. Your metabolism is the process in which the body converts nutrients to ATP (adenosine triphosphate) or the fuel for your body to use during muscular activity. This is where your body will go through two pathways of work, Aerobic and Anaerobic.

 Warm-Up: It is vital you get a proper warm-up, especially in a HIIT Session. At this point, you are just starting your engine and using the anaerobic pathways with stored ATP already in your body to get going.

 Work Portion: Once you have hit more of a steady pace with your training during a session, your aerobic pathways have now revved up. They are taking over for those anaerobic pathways in the beginning and oxygen is readily available and easy to use at this point. Exercises, just like HIIT, that require your engine to rev and exert more energy during the workout put a greater demand on those anaerobic pathways, which increase your need for oxygen and enhance EPOC after you are done. Some things influence EPOC afterwards, such as Intensity and duration.

 The Afterburn: Since you have just put your body through a greater demand for oxygen, your body will continue to burn calories well after you have put the car in park. Your body is still not done working, even when you have stopped working out. This is what EPOC is all about! Oxygen has a debt to pay to your body, so it helps restore it back to it’s original state before exercise.Immediately following your workout:

•   Oxygen is being used to bring your body back to normal

•   The stored ATP is being replenished in the body

•   Oxygen and protein work together to repair broken down tissue used during exercise

•   Bringing your body temperature back to normal levels


HIIT Gives You More Bang for your Buck

In other words, since HIIT Sessions are shorter on time and you have to put a greater demand on the body, you will see results quicker. HIIT is often compared to a steady state run or jog for 30-40 minutes. You get the same results in a HIIT session that you would in that steady state for longer period of time. Also, if you are a busy parent or have limited space, HIIT is perfect because it requires little to no equipment and little time.


HIIT Can Be Fun and Help Push Past Plateaus

Because you usually go through a Circuit in a HIIT Session, it is very difficult to get bored while working out! At LWA, you get to pick the exercises you want! And since HIIT sessions burn through fat, burn calories, and is relatively safe, you can enjoy pushing yourself to the max for 20-25 minutes! Pick a fun playlist, pick your exercises, and GO!


Kim Hreha