High Intensity meets High Tech

It’s no secret – I love High Intensity Interval Training.

  • I love that it’s great for melting body-fat
  • I love that it’s great for improving aerobic fitness
  • I love that it’s great for improving anaerobic fitness
  • And I love the fact that I get all of these benefits without having to spend hours on a treadmill like some kind of human/gerbil hybrid.


BUT, one thing I don’t like about HIIT/Tabata Training is that intensity is highly subjective.

When I tell a client that I want 100% on a set of interval sprints, how can I know that they are giving 100% effort.

How do we measure intensity?

Well, up until now, here’s what I have been doing (I will use HIIT bike sprints as an example)

  • After an adequate warm-up, I set the exercise bike at the appropriate level of resistance.
  • Then we start banging out 10 second sprints going as fast as possible
  • I help things along by “encouraging” my client to go faster.
  • I also ask the client to track the number of revolution one leg makes during the 10 second sprint.
  • For example, a new client recently tested out at 25, 27, 28, 28, 29, 27 and 24 revolutions per leg per 10 seconds. (bike resistance set at level 7 of 10)
  • This means that their maximum speed at resistance level 7 was 29 revs per leg per 10 sec.
  • This is also the number we now use to judge performance.

If they pedal slower than 29 rev @ level 7, then they are either fatiguing, not working hard enough or just having a bad day.

It’s not very high tech, but it has worked pretty well…up until now.

Now, I want to get my hands on some of this technology.

These new pieces of technology (Pulse Oximeters, portable ECGs and Activity Monitors) are being used right now by elite level athletes and in research settings to determine how to make exercise more efficient.

And when you consider that every IPhone and Google Android phone comes equipped with a built-in accelerometer, a proximity sensor and is bluetooth ready, it is highly likely that in the very near future, you are going to be able to ramp up the efficiency of your workouts by at least 25%.

And where did I get that 25%, you might ask?

And the answer is…from this study.

Without going into all of the highly technical details, researchers used some of the technology mentioned above to collect performance data while putting their test subjects through a modified Tabata workout.

data setThen they took that data, combined it with the data collected via a medical survey questionnaire and plugged it into a data mining decision tree.

I told you it was technical.

The upshot is that after all of this data was crunched, the researchers were able to design optimized interval training programs personalized for each and every test subject.

And, as a result of those optimized programs, the test subjects were able to improve their performance by 29.54%

What do you think of that!!!


I can’t wait to get my hands on some of this technology.


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