Paradigm shift: Train smarter, not longer.

One of the most common misconceptions about exercise is that it’s necessary to spend hours on end sweating up a storm to obtain worthwhile benefits like weight loss, muscle growth or the stamina of a marathoner.

But research (and results) now prove that training smarter with short intervals of high intensity exercise is just as effective and, in some instances, much better than high-volume training. However, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can place a great deal of stress on your body. So it should only be performed two to three times a week with at least 48 hours between exercise sessions to allow full replenishment of energy stores and repair of involved muscle fibres.

Is it advisable to exercise the day after a hard workout?

Well, that all depends on the brutality of your HIT workout. As a general rule, if you’re extremely fit and robust, you’d be best advised to give it a miss as you could inflict more micro-trauma to your muscles. However, if your HIIT workout was hard but not so brutal as to cause too much concern about your ability to fully recover, you’d be safe to do so as long as it was low intensity - a leisurely game of tennis or walk on the beach, for example.

So when is high volume training appropriate?

If you’re training for a half marathon, it’s important and necessary to do high-volume training. And if you choose to supplement some of those training days with HIIT, make sure that your subsequent workout is both slower (easier) and shorter than you would normally train.

So the next time you find yourself feeling a bit guilty for taking a day off, ask yourself if you need a paradigm shift?