When you’ve HIIT the wall.

March 06, 2017

HIITWhat to do when your training and weight loss programs plateau.

By Dr. Jennifer Tanner, Naturopathic Doctor

We’ve all been there. You’ve been super diligent and stuck to your New Years resolution. You are hitting the gym everyday, eating well and the scale doesn’t budge. The words “why do I bother” comes to mind. Frustrating, right?! Luckily, you have options! Instead of continuing what you were doing with no results, change it up! This is where we need to throw your routine a curve ball and keep those muscles on their toes!

If you are at the gym, reverse your workouts. Do a warm up, moving into free weights first and cardio last. By making this switch, your heart rate should be at a fat burning level by the time you step on the stair climber. The result – more bang for your buck. Flip your meals upside down too. Eat lunch for breakfast and breakfast for lunch. If you are really looking to cut, simultaneously reduce your caloric intake but make sure to maintain your good proteins and fats.

High intensity interval training or HIIT is a great tool to pull out when you’ve hit that wall. HIIT is a training strategy that alternates short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with mild to moderate recovery periods. These short, intense workouts provide improved glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity, athletic capacity and conditioning. HIIT induces fat oxidation during and after exercise and results in a suppressed appetite. Meaning, you will burn fat even when you are not exercising! HIIT is more effective than regular cardio because you are increasing both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance and increasing your basal metabolic rate.

You can either join a class that specializes in HIIT or create your own HIIT program to mix in between your training. I recently went to a class. It was constant motion, changing moves every 60 seconds. Its intense, but so are the results. It burns calories and the more you put into it, the longer you will be at a fat burning rate!

It’s simple. After a warm up, move into a 30 second jog/walk then 30 second sprint. Repeat 4 times. Every other workout, increase by 1 or 2 intervals until you reach 11 reps. While I was living in San Diego I trained for a half marathon. I incorporated sprint intervals which improved my cardiovascular fitness and VO2 max (This is easy to do in perfect weather with trails surrounded by ocean!). The average HIIT workout only requires about 15 minutes which makes them easy to squeeze into busy schedules! You can be creative. Add in jumping jacks, squats, push ups!

After an 8-week cycle of HIIT three times per week, you will notice a change in your body composition and definition. Athletes will be able to maintain their endurance when others begin to fatigue.

Remember, with a HIIT exercise you should be working close to your maximum but careful not to push too hard too fast to avoid injuries and setbacks. Maintain your form and modify if you need to but always listen to your body. Sleep and rest are just as important for recovery. There are tons of mini HIIT program suggestions on line to suit your goals, whether it is sport specific or for weight loss. As always, it is important to pair your exercise with a nutrition plan. Book your appointment today with Dr. Jennifer Tanner, ND to develop your personalized plan.


Dr. Jennifer TannerDr. Jennifer Tanner, has a broad, evidence based practice with a focus on sports and performance based medicine. Being a marathon runner and having been a competitive equestrian, an active lifestyle is important. Dr. Tanner uses a variety of tools including Acupuncture and Clinical Nutrition, putting an emphasis on “food as medicine” and addressing the root causes of inflammation . In conjunction with the Integrative Health team, Dr. Tanner is thrilled to help people achieve an optimal state of health and pursue their performance based health goals!

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