Where we are today…
Today, we are spoon fed a daily dose of ‘research’ from Ancel Key like physiologists all hoping to make a name for themselves in the world of health, wellness, fitness, and sport. The consistent message is that hi intensity interval training [HiiT] does it all… it will help you lose weight; it will help you get fit in a matter of days or weeks at most instead of months; it will turn you into a faster swimmer, cyclist, runner, triathlete, you name it; HiiT has been heralded as a potential vaccine to certain types of cancer; name it… HiiT has been named ‘the’ solution.
All that we need to do is head to our local gym and sign up for a bootcamp, a spin class, a Tabata or CrossFit workout, and suffer through the no pain-no gain mindset of hi intensity interval training [HiiT] until you succeed.
Meanwhile, bodybuilders whose training is the basis of HiiT die like flies of heart disease and heart disease related diagnoses from as early as their mid 20s, but more consistently in their 40s and 50s. The number of young cyclists (median age 23) who have died in the past year alone is staggering, yet the death of a 15yr old cyclocross champ whose coroner’s report identifies silent heart attacks and absolutely no evidence of congenital heart disease as an underlying cause of death makes no impact. Triathletes routinely die in the swim portion of major events, and there is always at least a runner or two who dies as a result of participating in a half or full marathon; but no one considers any of it an issue… its all within expected ranges for deaths at events we are told.
No different then our blindness to smoking for decades as the root of heart attacks, today we are blind to HiiT being the root of heart attacks among the ‘healthy fit’ and those aspiring to become an ‘healthy fit’. Despite HiiT failing in epic proportions as shown through the study of former “The Biggest Loser” TV reality series contestants who regained all their weight and now have to also deal with a decimated metabolism, HiiT is pushed by personal trainers and coaches alike. Why?
Because we so badly want to believe that we can live hi intensity unhealthy lifestyles by spending a handful of minutes doing hi intensity training to balance it all out; we want to believe that it will all end up allowing us to achieve our health and wellness goals.
Where are we today…
Its deja vu all over again: we want to believe that HiiT – like smoking – is awesome and in no way compromises our health. Today, criticizing HiiT is like criticizing smoking back when your own family doctor blew smoke rings during your annual check up, and also during the check ups of your kids.
Eventually, we will awaken to realize that HiiT – like smoking – is at the root of the physical, mental and emotional diseases we suffer today, and the diseases we are creating by continuing to live and train all-out, no pain-no gain, PR or ER, in 24-7 beast mode.