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Paul Hough joins me to talk about high-intensity interval training (HIIT). I’ve written about HIIT plenty before, but I wanted to get Paul on the podcast to do a deeper dive on the subject. And HIIT is the subject of one of the chapters in his new textbook, Advanced Personal Training, which aims to turn science into applicable practice for personal trainers. So in this episode we’re chatting all about what HIIT is, how to do it correctly, and even whether you should do it at all. 

In case you’re not familiar with Paul, I recently shared a webinar I recorded with him for students at Oxford Brookes University in the UK, where Paul is a Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science. Not only is he a fellow author, but he’s worked with elite-level athletes in tennis and Formula One, and published several studies in academic journals.

In our discussion, we chat about . . .

  • What HIIT is (and how to test if you’re actually doing a high intensity)
  • Different types of HIIT (and what systems they stress) and their benefits
  • The importance of exercise selection for HIIT
  • Heart rate and when it’s appropriate to use and when to use RPE
  • Why you need to regulate intensity (and not just go all-out during every interval)
  • The Afterburn effect and why HIIT isn’t “special” for fat loss
  • How HIIT can affect appetite
  • Exercise “snacks” (what they are and the benefits – it’s not food)
  • And more . . .

So, if you’re curious about HIIT and want to know more about it, you’re going to enjoy this podcast!


0:00 – Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching:

8:34 – What is high intensity interval training, is it the best way to lose fat?

10:58 – Do you correlate exercise intensity to how heavy your breathing is?

14:42 – Is HIIT better for burning calories?

17:40 – How much HIIT do I need to do to be equal to a 30 or 60 minute jog?

19:34 – Does HIIT have more recovery demands on my body? 

23:46 – Can you clarify between type 4 and type 6?

28:12 – How does heart rate relate to how hard you’re training? 

46:10 – What are your thoughts on everyone including HIIT into their workout routines?

1:04:33 – What is the exercise snacking concept?

1:16:43 – Where can we find you and your work?

Mentioned on the show: 

Legion VIP One-on-One Coaching

Paul Hough’s website

Paul’s textbook Advanced Personal Training

Paul’s Instagram

Paul’s Twitter

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Mike: Hello, friend, and welcome to Muscle for Life. I’m Mike Matthews. Thank you for joining me today for an episode on high intensity interval training, which is something that I have changed my mind about quite a bit over the last 10 years or so. For example, when I wrote the first edition of Bigger, Leaner, Stronger In, oh, I guess that was 2012, I was a big proponent of high intensity interval training. In fact, I was recommending that people do just a few. High intensity interval training workouts per week instead of, let’s say low intensity, steady state cardio every day. And now my position is that hit is a great way to burn a lot of calories in a little amount of time. And it’s also a great way to build up your cardiovascular endurance.

So if you are an endurance athlete, yes, you should be doing hit workouts, but beyond burning a bunch of calories and improving your cardiovascular end, During. There aren’t any other really good reasons to do hit workouts, and I wish it were otherwise. If I think back to 10 years ago, or even eight years ago, and the state of the scientific research, the literature on HIT training, it was well established that you burned more calories in less time with HIT training.

But there were also theories and there was some evidence that was suggesting that HIT training had some special advantages over lower intensity cardio, and that ultimately led to a lot more. Fat burning in addition to the calorie burning. Now, if we fast forward to today and look at the weight of the evidence, we find that those possible advantages don’t seem to exist, and the one advantage really, as far as fat loss goes is just burning a lot of calories.

So I have subsequently updated my books Bigger Than Your Stronger Thinni or Stronger. I have updated articles over at Legion’s website and I have discussed what I just explained to you previously here on the podcast, but I wanted to speak to a subject matter expert on HIT and to go a little bit deeper than what I just said because there is more you can learn about HIT training and just cardio in general that can help you achieve your health and fitness goals faster depending on what those goals are.

And so I invited Paul Huff to the show to talk about it. Now, Paul is a senior lecturer in sport and exercise science at Oxford Brooks University, and he is a fellow author. He has worked with many elite level athletes in tennis and Formula One in particular. He has published research in various academic journals, and if you are a regular here at Muscle for Life, you have already met Paul because, oh, I don’t know how long ago it will be when this goes live.

Probably two months ago or so you can find an episode, which was Paul hosting me on a webinar for his class for his students, and that was on the topic of entrepreneurship in the fitness space. And I was answering questions about. That, that his students had. And so in this talk, Paul and I get into every nook and cranny we can find about HIIT.

We talk about what it is technically like. How do you actually know if you are doing high intensity interval training or just medium intensity interval training, for example. And of course, it’s important to know where that threshold is. Paul talks about a few different ways to structure your HIIT workouts based on which energy systems in your body you want to stress the most or train the most.

Paul talks about the importance of exercise selection in these workouts. He talks about measuring heart rate and when it would be appropriate to do that versus just using a rate of perceived exertion, maybe on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being all out maximum intensity. Paul talks about the afterburn effect and how significant or insignificant it really is, and a lot more before we get into it.

I’ve worked with tens of thousands of people over the years, and the biggest thing I see with the people I have helped the most is they’re often missing just one crucial piece of the puzzle. 

And if you are having trouble reaching your fitness goals as quickly as you’d I’m gonna guess it is the same thing with you.

You are probably doing a lot of things right, but dollars to donuts, there’s something you’re not doing right, and that is what is giving you most of the grief. Maybe it’s your calories, maybe it’s your macros. Maybe it’s your exercise selection. Maybe it’s food choices. Maybe you are not progressively overloading your muscles and whatever it is.

Here’s what’s important. Once you identify that one thing, once you figure it out, that’s when everything finally clicks. That’s when you start making serious progress. It’s like typing in your password to log into your computer. You can have all the letters, numbers, and symbols, right? Except just one.

And what happens? You can’t log in, right? But as soon as you get that last remaining character Voila, you’re in business. And I bet the same can be said about the body you really want. You are probably just one major shift, one important insight, one powerful new behavior away from Easy Street. And that’s why I offer v i p one-on-one coaching where my team and I can help you do exactly that.

This is high level coaching where we look at everything you’re doing and we help you figure out that one thing that is missing for you. And it can be a couple of things too, That’s fine. There’s no extra charge for that. But once we figure it out, that’s when you start making real progress. That’s when you start looking better and feeling.

So if you’re ready to make more progress in the next three months than maybe you did in the last three years, and yes, that has happened for many of our clients, head on over to Muscle for, that’s Muscle F, or and schedule your free consultation call, which by the way is not a high pressure sales call.

It’s just a friendly chat where we get to learn about you and your goals and your lifestyle, and then determine whether our program is right for you. Because sometimes we do speak with people who just aren’t a good fit for our service, but we almost always have other experts and other resources to refer those people to.

So if you are still listening to me and you are even slightly interested, go schedule your free consultation. Call [email protected] slash vip. Hey Paul, thanks for taking time to do this. 

Paul: Hi, Mike. Thanks for having me on. It’s great. Gone. I’m a big fan of your podcast, so thank you for inviting me to talk.

Mike: Absolutely. I appreciate you being flexible too with we had a previous date that I forgot what happened. I was running behind on stuff that needed to get done that day. So thanks for being willing to reschedule as well. No problem at all. All right, so we’re gonna talk about high intensity interval training here on today’s interview.

And as I was saying offline, this is something that I’ve written on, that I’ve spoken a bit about, but I haven’t really done a deep dive into it. I’ve just shared. Hit 1 0 1 information with people. Okay. What is it? What actually qualifies as a HIIT  workout versus a highish intensity training session?

Why might you want to do it? Some parameters for programming it, but I wanted to get you on the show to share your opinions on those things and then also get into some other details that I just have never talked or written about regarding hit. And so maybe that’s just a good place to start is a little bit of that 1 0 1.

What is high intensity interval training specifically, technically? And then maybe you can talk a little bit about some of the reasons that some people might want to do it. Obviously, most people who reach out to me about it at least are asking me about it, want to lose fat, and they’re under the impression.

That’s the best way to lose fat as far as cardio goes. Sure. Yeah. So it’s most basic level hit is just involves high

rest low. The question then is, okay, what is high intensity? Because this obviously is a distinguished factor between high intensity training and other types of insurance training. So when we, in ex physiology, when we refer to high intensity, it’s intensity which is performed like we can use physiological markers like the maximal lactate, steady state, or critical speed or power.

But on a basic level, it’s just an intensity that’s not sustainable. So if you try to maintain. That particular intensity you would fatigue within five to 10 minutes or even shorter. So it’s any intensity which isn’t sustainable. A way to gauge if you’re doing high intensity tool training is you should, when you’re doing it, have a high rpe, which is rating of perceived exertion.

So basically if it feels really hard, you’re probably working at a high intensity. You should experience a little bit of fatigue particularly towards the end of the session. And if you were to try and carry out the exercise and make it sustainable, you, the reason why it isn’t is because you just eventually reach your maximum oxygen update, which is your V2 max.

So there are different types of of hit and I’ll go those maybe a bit later on and just explain what the point is and why it’s become really popular. 

Mike: Quick question for you, if you don’t mind. Do you like to correlate the exercise intensity to your breathing? How labored your breathing, how easily you could have a conversation or speak at all?

Paul: I do. And one of the most simple tests we can do outside of the lab is called the talk test. And it’s very useful just to get a. An idea, particularly if you’re a personal trainer and you wanna understand if your client’s working at the appropriate high intensity they shouldn’t be able to maintain any form of conversation if they’re doing high full training not during the work about.

So I think that’s a good idea to your breathing should feel what we call ventilation. So your breathing rate should be high and you can only get one or two words out at a time. You can get no way near holding a conversation, whereas moderate intensity, continuous training, so for example, going out for a rum for half an hour to 45 minutes that’s not high intensity cuz you could maintain a conversation at that intensity.

Mike: Great. I just wanted to ask your thoughts on that because that’s something that, that I’ve found helpful, just engaging my effort. Am I pushing hard enough? If I can talk fairly easily, that’s not quite there yet. 

Paul: Yeah I’m a big fan of using like your perceived exer to how hard something feels in the lab.

We used an RPE scale all the time, but you can have an internal one in your head, so 10 being maximum, couldn’t possibly do any harder. Zero is rest and a rule of if you do high intensity info training, you should be like seven to 10. So in, in terms of the point of, or the benefits of doing hit it’s often for trade is quite, fairly new.

Like something that’s been around over the last decade or so, and that’s certainly true of the research. It’s been really heavily studied over the last 20 years, but it’s actually like a lot of things in the fitness industry, it’s not really anything new. There’s records and then there’s actually a book written on high intensity training back in the seventies, and there’s records of athletes doing it in the like 1950s and sixties.

One of the main benefits of doing hit for the sort of general population is it provides like a really strong physiological stimulus in a short period of. So that’s often the sight benefit for doing hit is that you can get more done in terms of your work output in a shorter period of time. And a lot of research is showing that it produces like the physiological adaptations that you get from moderate intensity training such as like the growth and division of mitochondria, which are the power health of our cells.

It also size and the heart and also function. And in short of time to moderate intensity continuous training. That’s really one of the key benefits is that you can. Physiological adaptations in a shorter period of time that you can with moderate intensity continuous training, and often athletes, it, it’s necessary to do high intensity interval training because it replicates the patterns of certain sports.

For example playing tennis or any intimate in sport like football or it’s soccer in America or rugby where the workouts are high intensity, then you have at a period of rest and then you go again. So it’s actually necessary if you for certain sports. But in terms of general level it’s it’s a time efficient training method.

Some people enjoy it more, but the kind of research is a little bit mixed. 

Mike: And what about calorie expenditure? Cause there’s usually a lot of talk about how much better it is for and then burning fat, and sometimes those are used synonymously. Sometimes it’s separated. But what are your thoughts on its utility as a fat loss tool?

Paul: Yeah. And that, that probably one of the biggest sort of marketing or selling points that you’ll see people using about HIT is that it’s a brilliant way of creating a large energy deficit and burning calories. Torch body fat, insert whatever slogan that you wanna see on Instagram. But in terms of per unit of time yeah, you do more energy because you’re working a higher intensity.

Because the hit is typically shorter in total duration, then it’s not necessarily that you’re actually burning more energy than you would if you were, say, going out for a a 30 to 60 minute cycle or run. It’s just that you can burn more energy in a short period of time. One of the reasons why people have said it’s excellent for for weight loss or fat loss, is the socalled sort afterburn effect.

And in physiology it’s known as excess post exercise, oxygen consumption’s, bit of a mouth. So we call it epoch for sure. And what this means is that because the intensity is so high, your body doesn’t go back to homeo or resting state straight away after exercise. It takes longer because you’ve essentially disrupted a lot of physiological systems.

So in the period after you do a high intensity interval session, you actually burn more energy than you would if you’d done a moderate intensity training session. And that has been kinda the real hook of this is why it’s great for losing body fat. This is one of the things I, I recently wrote about in the advanced personal training book, is that when we look at the literature on HIT as a tool for reducing body fat, it’s actually no better than moderate intensity continued training, which I know is the point to a lot of people because moderate trend is usually longer.

So the energy expenditure is equivalent. So the benefit you get from that, so afterburn is washed out, the total duration of the is shorter. It’s not really way of burning body fat or losing body fat. No exercise is actually in itself a great tool for losing body fat. But that’s a discussion for another day.

But good for burning energy a short period of time, but it’s not body fat re. 

Mike: And what about people who are thinking what if I did enough hit, though to out burn the moderate intensity? So how much hit to, to phrase that another way. How much hit do I need to do to burn now more energy than going for the 30 to 60 minute jog every.

Paul: That approach. You can do that, but it does go back on one of the main benefits of hit, which is time saving. So if you extended hit and hit and you high intensity interval training, so doing three minute intervals over half an hour with three minute rest periods, your total energy expenditure before and after is probably gonna be greater than half an hour of moderate intensity training.

But then you’ve done the same sort of duration of exercise. So yes, you can do that, but then there are other things that you need to consider as well. And one of them is appetite regulations. This is quite variable between individuals. Some people find that and the research shows this as well, is that high intensity training kind of is their appetite and they don’t have any desire to eat after training, whereas other people feel quite RA and hungry.

So then they overcompensate and they take in more calories than they would’ve done had they not the hit. So they up on a back in energy balance. So yeah you can do a longer hit session, but my philosophy on, on HIT is to use it to improve your fitness. Or your health, depending on your goals, rather than just to burn energy.

Mike: And what are your thoughts on the recovery implications of hit? Obviously, it’s gonna depend what you’re doing, right? If you’re sprinting on concrete, that’s different than biking. But people will ask me this and they’ll ask well, Yeah, I understand. If I go out and sprint on concrete, I can feel everything hurting.

But if I go in the pool or if I get on my roaming machine or if I get on my bike, I don’t feel beat up per se, but am I actually placing larger recovery demands on my body? Doesn’t matter.

Paul: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And this is where the technicalities of hit come into play. And there’s on this by of the Paul a lot main mainstream press, but also in the scientific literature. So the way they go about designing a hit testing is basically three stages. The first look at what physiological systems you want, there’s the aerobic system, the glycolytic or anaerobic system, and the neuromuscular strain. So essentially when you do hit it a on each of these, but the type of hit you do will elit higher stress on one of those systems.

So I’ll give you an example. They classify Into six different types. So from type one, which is like really aerobic, so it, it stretches your aerobic system and places the maximum demand on what we call the oxygen transport system. So this type of training would be something like you, one minute, the classic one minute workouts around 90% of heart rate max resting for a minute, and then going again.

So that puts a high stress on the oxidative system. I won’t each of the cause get quite technical. But the opposite end of the spectrum is type, which would be. Basically purely a neuromuscular strain. So something like an all out sprint and then for five, six minutes and then sprinting again. So it just more strain on your neuromuscular system.

So depending on the type of hit you do, it will put a different strap on one of the systems. So like the middle one, like a type four as they would classify it, is it kinda puts a strain on everything. So it stretches your aerobic system, your anaerobic, glycolytic system, and neuromuscular system. So an example of this would be something like, which is done in a lot of sort of team sports by athletes, which is like repeated sprint.

So you do a sprint, you rest for 15, 20 seconds and you sprint. And then you use a series of those. Say you do 10 reps and then you have a rep period and you go again. And that type of repeated sprint training that really imposes a lot of stress on all of the systems, so it takes longer to recover from.

So this is when. Like you have to get a bit more technical with things with athletes because you need to know what type of hit to certains so that it doesn’t on your other training, you athlete prior, say like model what you don’t is conditioning. So which has a really high neuromuscular stress, so muscles and then next day you’ll go try and work those same muscles cause they’re gonna be fatigued.

So yeah, you have to quite careful in, in terms of programming high training so that it doesn’t impact on other forms of exercise if you just time pressing you any train twice a week. It doesn’t really matter. But it’s kinda like when you are training more frequently and you’re doing different types of training, that’s when you have to think a bit more carefully about the type of hit that you’re doing.

Mike: And could you clarify the difference between the type four and the type six? Because I’m asking for myself because they sounded pretty similar to me. I just didn’t get the difference. 

Paul: There’s limiting lactate is really anaerobic stress and metabolic disruption. There’re producing a lot of lactate in the muscle, whereas if you are doing to sticks, it’s kind how sprinters train. So they do a really high intensive effort. Lactate is low. There’s almost no aerobic strain there because then they rest so long in between.

But that kind of second in the mid middle where you. Had efforts with short breath periods, it stresses a bit of everything. And the other important factor to consider is the mode of exercise. So if you’re doing running and it’s, you’ve got I think you mentioned if you’re running on concrete and you’re doing turns or shuttles, so that’s gonna play a high stress on your neuromuscular system.

Whereas if you’re doing extended workouts on a cycle, Because there’s no sort of eccentric component, you don’t really get any muscle damage, so that puts a lower neuromuscular strain on your system. So that type of cycling exercise is typically more easy to recover from.

Mike: Yeah. Years ago, probably 10 plus years ago, I think it was in my mid twenties, I was just playing around with different types of hit and seeing how it impacted my recovery and it impacted my weight lifting.

And so I’m in my early to mid twenties. I’m essentially invincible physiologically because I’m 24 or whatever. And doing all the things that you’re supposed to be doing to recover, blah, blah, blah. So running sprints, I’m trying to remember, I remember doing it, I remember where I used to go to do it, but I’m trying to remember the protocol.

They were probably 40 to 60 yard sprints and resting probably something closer to. I would say a type four ish than a type six. So shorter, but not 32nd rest periods, but probably not more than a minute or so. And then just running all out. And I think I got up to doing about 20 minutes of that. But I eventually stopped because I simply couldn’t recover from that training adequately enough to continue squatting and deadlifting it.

It got to the point where my lower body was always. To the touch and and then, and that’s when I said, Okay, that’s enough of that. I’ll move on to something else. Because it’s just too 

Paul: much. Yeah. And that’s the way if you’re training for other things as well, and maybe conditioning isn’t your priority, then you do have to be careful with the type of hit you do because, Yeah, I’ve been in a similar situation.

You back in my twenties I could get away with that doing, running based hit then I’d be fine for lower body work and. Playing football as well. But as you age, obviously your recovery capacity is not as good as what it used to be. So if you throw into the mix doing something, which is a high neuromuscular stress for listening, and then you doing that again when your weight training, then yeah, it’s gonna take away.

Mike: Yeah, program design and that for me, by the way, was running on concrete. I also then did it on grass. I did it on sand at the beach. I did it on incline, grass and sand, and those were better, but still harder on my recovery than biking or swimming or rowing. 

Paul: Yeah. So those are the two I would choose. If recovery is the priority and you don’t wanna do from the other training is cycling and swimming based training. some people, but I high.

Because it’s completely unloaded and then I just find it a bit awkward, when you increase the resistance and then slows you down so much that you don’t really get that, that aerobic cardiovascular stress. It’s quite difficult to get there. So I find I can get there with cycling and not so much, so not very good at swimming, but definitely with rowing as well.

They have a lower neuromuscular stress, but really high aerobic stress. So you get that stimulus from those types of training. 

Mike: What are your thoughts on heart rate and how that relates to how hard you’re working? Again, something that people ask me, can I watch my heart rate and determine if I’m doing it correctly based on my heart?

Paul: Yeah. It does depend on the type of high intensity, full training you’re doing. So I mentioned there that there are all these different sort of likes, which cause different strain on systems. The way I, things for just the general pop and people are using hit for just general conditioning is there are three types of hit protocol.

So you can do sprint intervals, which is all out work in anything from 10 to 30 seconds and you have long recovery periods. And that’s kind where the sort of research stems from, is that type of. Training where they get people to do wing gate test, which is 30 seconds, all out cycling, four minutes rest, and then they go again.

And they do that four or five times it sounds like pretty easy. But if you’ve ever done a wing gate test, it’s brutal. It’s tough. 

Mike: It’s not. 

Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Now I’ve seen plenty of people throw up after one wing gate 10, still, let alone four or five. Yeah, 

Mike: I was gonna say, I can remember feeling like I simply am gonna suffocate because I can’t breathe quickly.

I can’t get enough oxygen in my body no matter how hard I’m breathing. Yeah, 

Paul: It’s brutal. And a lot of the benefits probably came from those early studies just because it’s such an in, it really is in every sense of the word, high intensity. So that training and the way I classify.

Other methods is you’ve got long intervals and short intervals. So long intervals are periods of two to four minutes, and these performed an intensity or max. I, So most people don’t have access to a analyzer, so they what oxygen is you use. Heart rates a proxy for that maximum rate, that maximum exercise, rather using a prediction equation.

Simple way of doing this is get on the treadmill, get a relatively comfortable speed, and then just keep increasing the gradient until you can’t carry on. You should last like anything from eight to 12 minutes and take your maximum heart rate from that. So then once you’ve got your maximum heart rate, when you’re doing long training, the goal should be that you are heart rate is above 85% of your maximum heart rate.

So you can use heart rate when you’re doing long interval trainer. The final method that I would by is short intervals. So this would be kind like what you might see of people do on personal trainers do with clients where they do one minute on, one minute off. The intensity is slightly higher than for long intervals.

So we’re looking at An intensity that would get you to V2 max. The problem with using heart rate on short is the, is shorter’s 60 or even less Initially you won’t get that heart rate response in of you, won’t it? Straight away there’s a bit of a lag. So you shorten interval or anything 60 seconds or below, I would recommend using your so RPE and also speed or power if you’re on a as well.

Sprint intervals really easy to regulate cuz you just go all out a hundred percent like nothing left. And that’s right from the start. No pacing, but heart rate really is useful for long intervals, but not so much for doing shortfall or sprint training. 

Mike: Yeah, that, that’s a good point because many people make the mistake with the longer intervals of.

Doing them, starting with the same intensity as the shorter intervals. And of course they burn themselves out because you, you’re not gonna be able to do those longer intervals again and again at a hundred percent all out nothing in the tank. Yeah. 

Paul: That’s probably the biggest misconception about hit is that everything is done all out.

Hundred percent. If you’re doing the long interval setting, these are two to four minute work abouts. They’re often called VOT max intervals because they’ve been shown in studies to be really effective for improving your VOT max you marker of aerobic fitness. But they have to be done at the right intensity, and that’s not all out.

So if you programmed to do say, fives of four minutes, for example, and on the fifth one, you can’t maintain the intensity, then you’ve gone too hard at the start. You should be able to complete all of yours at the right intensity. And if, say if you’re a workout short, then you’ve probably ever cooked it a little bit and you’ve done too much interval, a little bit more difficult to regulate because they’re shorter as the names suggest.

So these. You have to go off a lot of field using your arm, perceived exertion, but again, they’re not sprint interval training and people make the mistake of trying to do 60 seconds all out. If you do that for your first, then that’s pretty much the over, you’re not gonna be able to recover for the subsequent, so your intensity or drop off.

So harder isn’t always better. It’s necessary in sprint and full training, but in short and long enforce, you need to regulate your intensity. 

Mike: Yeah, just speaking to again the hit that I mentioned earlier. I wanna say it was about 60 yards, a bit longer probably than it should have been actually.

But I was in pretty good cardiovascular shape. I’ve always played sports, I played a lot of hockey growing up, so I’ve always had good cardio. But when I was running as hard as I could run, 60 to 70 yards was exhausting. And that didn’t last that long. But it was exhausting, especially after I had done it a couple of times.


Paul: and that’s the other thing is you kinda have to trust yourself at the start of the session because. Particularly with long interval training, you might feel that the first two work periods are kinda a bit too easy, but you’ve gotta bear in mind that your fatigue will accumulate. So even though you’re having those rest periods of either complete rest or active recovery between your work belts, you’re still gonna take fatigue into the next rep.

So over the course of the session, you’ll see that your heart rate actually drift upwards. And you’ll note that if you use a heart rate monitor and do short intervals at the heart rate response, it’ll be relatively low. But by the time you get to say your repetition of, say if you’re doing a minute protocol, minute on, minute off, it might be around like 90 or close to max heart rate because you’ve got that cardiovascular.

Mike: People make a similar mistake. I made this mistake myself in my weight lifting many years ago where I would push too close to muscular failure too often, period. If I was doing four sets of a bench press, that first set is gonna be zero to one good reps left. I’m gonna, I’m gonna push it right up to the point of failure, and then I still have three more sets to go.

And now I train quite differently that first set. I like to feel like I have two or three good reps left that seems to be a sweet spot with an exercise, like a bench press or a squat or a dead lift. If it’s a biceps curl, I’m not too concerned about it. I’ll push a little bit close to failure on every set.

But with the bigger exercises that are more systemically fatiguing and. Require more recovery. And that, I wouldn’t say are dangerous, but the risk of injury is higher if you mess something up. I like to pace myself, I guess you’d say a little bit better in my work. And so maybe by set four, I have one or two good reps left.

I started with two to three by set four on that bench press. I feel like I get one, maybe two more. That seems to be a sweet spot for me. And I know there’s research to back that up as well for making progress and not getting hurt and also minimizing repetitive stress injuries, which people don’t necessarily think of as getting hurt.

But the risk of that goes up too, right? If you just push too close to failure, too hard, too often. 

Paul: Yeah I completely agree. It’s something that yeah, when I was start my training career is that it seemed. Like counterintuitive not to go maximum or reach failure on every step.

But then it’s similar with like high intensity interval training and resistance training. The same in that respect is that you’ve gotta remember that you are you’re building up to the next step and then the next step after that. And you want to maintain the quality. So if you overcook the first, so like in resistance training, if you’ve got no reps in reserve, then you’re probably gonna miss on second, third, and fourth.

And it’s the same in interval training, is that you’ve plan for the whole and not just the first one. And in general, that the harder you go, whether that’s resistance training or in full training, then that’s gonna have implications on your recovery. So if you do, if you plan four or five training sessions a week, then.

Once you get to what you, a certain level or you just can’t train like that because one, you work out impede on the next, This is slightly different subject, but when it comes to high training, this is why someone’s really deconditioned or sedentary. It’s not necessarily, in my opinion, at least the best option to go through straightaway.

Because you need to learn what, how to regulate intensity. So if you go and I, this when I was personal training many years ago, is that I would try it with clients maybe not that well conditioned. And the first two reps that were doing like a minute on a minute would cause so much fatigue that the minute rep period wasn’t enough.

So their intensity over the would actually you’d

hard effort. Hard effort is way too hard. Then you end up just doing a flat intensity testing that you’re not getting those peaks and trough. So yeah, that regulation of intensity and for resistance training as well is learning what failure is. So I’d always recommend that you know when it’s safe on certain exercises that you periodically.

To failure, so you’ve got no reps left in reserve so that you can self calibrate and you know what that’s cause you know, sometimes it’s work, but if you don’t go to failure that often what you think is failure could be quite far off it and it’s the same particularly if you’ve been training for a while and haven’t gone to failure.

Mike: Yeah. That’s something I’ve spoken about recently. I referred to it as intensity discipline. I don’t think that’s that’s just what I call it because I think it makes sense. But that’s something that. I have consciously gotten better at in my training, because some time ago I realized that, yeah, I was saying that was a three r reps and reserve people listening.

But if I pushed it, it was more like a five. And so I realized that I was making that mistake in a lot of my training, that I thought I was training a harder than I was. And so what I do, and this is built into my program, Is every four months at the end of a four month training block, I do some am wrap sets, so as many reps as possible.

And I do that on my bench, my overhead press, my squat, my deadlift. And on my isolation exercises, I’m a little bit more just go by, feel, take sets to, to, to failure now and then I’m not too concerned about being specific because again, the, even the peripheral fatigue again, like a biceps crawl or a sideway not concerned about those things.

My, my perception of effort was more accurate when I was training a small muscle group. And that’s probably the case with a lot of people. But when it was with the compound exercises, especially those whole body exercises, like any type of squat, any type of deadlift, even an overhead press to some degree my.

My perception of effort was off. And so now every four months I load the bar fairly heavy. Something around 90% of one rep max, 95%. That was calculated a couple of months prior though. So it’s something that in my normal day to day training, it’s like a four to six rep probably wait and then push it, set one as close to just right up to that point of failure.

I’m comfortable on my squat going to a zero or maybe a one. I actually, I’m comfortable with that. A zero to maybe, but if it’s a one, it’s gonna be a grinder that I almost miss, like pushing right up to that point on my deadlift. I actually just don’t, I just. I don’t do that. I back it off with one to two.

So that final rep in that set of a deadlift is very hard, but it’s not a grinder. I’m not starting to shake, whole body. I don’t push it to that cause I don’t think it’s necessary. And then a bench press a zero to one. I’m comfortable with. I have a spotter, not a big deal. Maintain good form and an overhead press.

Also, I’m okay with, cuz I have the hooks right in front of me. If I get to here and. That’s about it. I can just put it back. And I’ve found that has helped a lot in my training. It’s helped me again, just maintain that understanding of what failure actually feels like. And then it’s helped with tracking my reps and reserve in all of my other training too.

And I’ve found that I’ve gotten more accurate over time. Cause I track all my training. It’s all in Google Sheet so I can go back years ago and look at what I was doing. So I just did this actually last week. And so for example, on my deadlift, I put 3 75 on the bar and I got seven with what I felt was like one or two good reps left.

And if I look back in my training I had a, I think the week before was, it was 365 for four. And I put like maybe three good reps left. So not perfect. But I’ve also noticed, and I don’t want to go off on too many tangents, but I’ve just, it’s just something that’s interesting that maybe people listening will find interesting.

That I tend to perform better in those AMRAP workouts than in any of my other workouts. It must be a psychological thing. I’m a little bit excited to do it. I feel like it’s, I grew up playing sports. I always liked that feeling of big game. The more on the line, the more 

Paul: fun. Yeah.

Because you, you’re put in a concerted effort in on that one set. And I think that’s why the I dunno you might have done the 5 31 at some point program, the Jim Wenham one. I think that while that worked pretty well because it’s very low volume, but it gives you that like that concentrated step to controlled failure.

So yeah, you really push it on that one. And that’s where I think as well, not training to failure all the time is a good idea. Because then like you just said, like when you do, you can really know what going all out is approach. I’ve basically use. Particularly if I was like, squatting is just look at my philosophy.

I don’t measure it. You could get really technical and do that, if I’m coming out of the squat and it’s really I know that I’ve probably got one, maybe two max reps and reserve. So I think speed is is a good sort of proxy for failure. I use that. I failure, Is this going is the intent there maximum grinding the weight up, then you’re probably pretty close to failure.

Mike: Hey there. 

If you are hearing this, you are still listening, which is awesome. Thank you. And if you are enjoying this podcast or if you just like my podcast in general and you are getting at least something out of it, would you mind sharing it with a friend or 

a loved one 

or, I’m not so loved one even who might want to learn something new?

Word of mouth helps really bigly in growing the show. So if you think of someone who might like this episode or another one, please do 

tell them about it. Coming back to hit, you’ve mentioned conditioning a couple of times as a reason to do it, and it’s been mostly in the context of athletes. What are your thoughts?

About every day. People who are not, they don’t have to perform athletically for any particular reason. And again, this is something people will ask me, are the health benefits, Let’s say somebody I’m asking you, I’m someone, I’m saying, Look, I do some cardio every day and I understand the health benefits.

I don’t particularly hit, but is it worth including in my regimen, are there really enough additional benefits or is my 30 minutes of moderate intensity daily cardio enough? 

Paul: It’s, it sounds like a bit of cop out, but time that someone would take me, I don’t really like doing that form of exercise.

Then I wouldn’t necessarily say it have to be included. So if you are not training for a particular fitness target, you’re not an athlete, you’re preparing for a race or something or conditioning for a sport and you don’t enjoy hip, But I would do another form of conditioning.

So you could do traditional moderate intensity continuous training. So that would be, going out for 30 minute bike or run or maybe longer. You can do fat training, which is similar, but you just do random periods where you do higher intensity, lower intensity. You mix. I not necessarily in a structured way, in the fitness industry, you see a lot of these hit workouts on social media. I do think people think that it’s necessary that they, but just because lot of people are doing it and the research that you can get similar benefits. In a shorter period of time. It doesn’t mean, say it’s a better form of training it’s necessary say if you’re an athlete.

But yeah, for general population if you’re really not into high intensity training, then and you do other forms of aerobic training I wouldn’t say you have to do it. 

Mike: And keep in mind people that one of the reasons you see it all over social media is it makes for better social media posts than modern intensity.

Just hopping on this bike back here and, spinning away for 30 minutes on a phone call, which is literally what I do. Either I read on my phone or I make a phone call that I need to make for work or a personal phone call, and I just tell if it’s even a work call, I’m like, Hey, I’m on a bike so I’m gonna be breathing a little bit, it, I can still talk.

That doesn’t. That doesn’t make for a good Instagram real. 

Paul: No, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. Sitting on a bike for half an hour doing a, Yeah. Conference call is not as exciting. Yeah. Or reading on 

Mike: my little Kindle app, , 

Paul: Yeah. Would make for the most interesting, real, but let’s 

Mike: time lapse that and post it as a real.

Paul: Yeah. Yeah. It wouldn’t be quite as interesting as, these blood and guts films that you see on Instagram. But I think the other thing is as well is world a lot the research just show, clear benefits to, to hit training in terms of it being more time efficient. Not many people actually go and delve into the studies.

I remember doing a talk at a personal training conference a few years ago and everyone when asked them about it, everyone was saying, and I asked, the audience if they’d ever sort know where it came from and it one that was done over think of Japanese group and it, when you look at the study, I think they only had seven or eight participants.

From a research perspective not great because the smaller your sample size, the more difficult its to, to detect a meaningful change. I won’t, but lot of the have used quite small samples. So this maybe lead to an overexaggeration of the benefits. And what happens is the study, the press release with it, and I’ve come across this myself when, journalists might ask you to on something and obviously they want headline, which is not the research of the study, but something snappy double your hit doubles your time to exhaustion in less than two weeks or something like 

Mike: or what was it?

Like 10 minutes of hit burns more fat than 60 minutes of incline walking. I remember seeing one along those lines. 60 

Paul: seconds. Yeah. Has the same benefits as 45 minutes. I think that was a very popular one that did the rounds and that, that was based off of sprint in sport training study, which yeah, it did show benefits, but, there are limitations for all of these research and 

Mike: Yeah, it’s when marketers get their hands on it and then run ’em 

Paul: up with 

Mike: it, they start playing with things and Yeah.

And it might not even be accurate what they’re saying, but 

Paul: Yeah. And then it’s these things become ingrained in folklore, like a little bit like the sort. Thing I mentioned earlier about the afterburn effect. It’s really, in some circles it’s not even questioned whether that’s true or not.

It’s really good for it, like your metabolism and burn loads of calories after exercise. But when you actually into sort of the research on it, it’s it’s not quite as promising as a lot of programs would have you believe. And so that it’s a be form of exercise in terms of time efficient, but it doesn’t mean that it’s, better than other forms of exercise.

And I think, yeah, we just need to be careful about. Yeah. The other issue is some of these studies which showed these like really massive improvements in things like VOT Max and muscle metabolism measures. They they were relatively short studies. And one of the problems in sports sciences, a lot of studies aren’t replicated because they’re more difficult to get published.

So you end up with one study being done. Such as 

Mike: that’s not just in sports science. I’m sure you know this, but for people listening that’s Yeah. 

Paul: Yeah, sure. It’s a problem across the sciences. Yeah. Cause we get things like publication bias where journals want studies which show new novel, interesting findings.

And if you just have replicated another study and reported that it the same thing, it’s probably less likely to get published. So some of the hit research, Jerry, it’s really promis. And then there’s the problem 

Mike: of trying to submit trials that showed no results. Who, who wants 

Paul: to do that?

Exactly. The no result. That is a problem as well. Yeah. That Cause I lecture sometimes students when they’ve done their project they’ll say things like, Unfortunately we didn’t find anything significant. And I would think That’s interesting. That’s not unfortunate. It’s result of

still important result. Otherwise this is why we end up, going down following past, which where we just take things as being true because. Tested again. So what, I’m not saying that the hit research isn’t promising, or it certainly is, but I just think maybe some of the claims that you might see in articles, particularly in the, like in the media when they serialize the study might be a little bit over exaggerated.

Mike: I’ve run into that with conversion rate optimization in eCommerce with Legion, my sports attrition company. And it’s similar in that you, if you’re gonna do it right, you need to do it with a scientific method, so to speak. So you have to create a hypothesis of, okay, if we do this by do, by doing this, it will produce this result because of a reason and.

You take that hypothesis and go about testing it in different ways. And a lot of conversion rate optimization is not done that way. It’s very tactical. It’s just trying to find wins. It’s just looking at what other people are doing and going, Oh that’s clever. Let’s try that and see what happens.

But you can get wins that way, but you don’t get learnings. You don’t get a deeper understanding of the psychology, of the prospects and of the customers. And yes, of course ultimately you want to get to wins. But often to get to wins, to get to deep wins, big wins. You have to go through losses that teach you.

So you have this hypothesis, you generated this test and it lost. That can be, Very useful actually, because you’ve learned something now and if you understand what you’ve learned. Okay, why did this lose new hypothesis? Okay, maybe it’s these reasons. Let’s try that now. Okay. That lost it.

Wasn’t that? Okay, let’s try again. Maybe it was this, maybe this was the element that needs to be emphasized. Deemphasized change removed, added whatever. Test that you get a win. Okay, now you’ve learned further. And then you go, Can we do this even more now? Okay, we’ve learned something here. How else can we embed this into this sales page or homepage or whatever?

And I’ve gone through that process. And then in the end, you can get to where you’ve increased conversion rates by a large percentage, but it wasn’t as linear as, you might have hoped 

Paul: a bit more messy and Yeah. Not a straight line. Yeah, exactly. 

Mike: Yep. Yep. Where it might have been, again, a lot of just losses to finally get to one or two wins, that unlocked something and that showed you what you were missing.

And then after that you get the big wins. Anyway, just I find that kind of worked interesting. 

Paul: When you like I often serialized little studies on Instagram, and it’s interesting you, that you don have any great knowledge in analytics or things, but I often find that posts or which are a little bit more clear cut they get more favorable responses because I suppose it’s human nature to want have that kinda binary Oh, okay.

That, that’s good. And then ones where there’s kind like they’re inconclusive, you’ll often get comments like, what does this mean? Is it good? Is it bad? And that’s where the nuance comes in of like communicating. I suppose it’s, some people just want their one answer, but in reality there, there isn’t that answer.

Yeah. I 

Mike: find also that people often respond better to. If we’re talking about studies or even advice, do this. Here’s a study that shows if you do this, something good will happen versus the other side of the coin, which is don’t do this. This type of DNA based diet isn’t going to help you lose fat faster.

Here’s some research. Let me explain it. There are exceptions in both of those, of course, but I find that often it’s the simple, just, here’s a simple tip. Do this and you’re gonna feel fuller. Go for a walk after you eat a meal. Let your body turn off your appetite. People really like that.

But if it’s something to not do, then it tends to get less engage. 

Paul: Yeah, no, I can sympathize with that as well. Cause this is my field exercise and sports science. So I’m quite comfortable with nuance and things changing all the time. But then if I put myself in the position of someone that maybe not that interested in it and they just want the answer I could see why it would be frustrating when, I wouldn’t necessarily give a straight answer a bit.

If, I dunno a lot about you financial investments and if I was to, to an expert in that and they said you could invest in this, but then your stocks might be better in this. I just be like, Look, that’s why I’m hiring you. What should I do? So kind understand that long. 

Mike: Or if they start off and they tell you let me tell you a hundred things to not do, then we’ll get to what to do.

You’re like, Why don’t we just skip that and just get right to what I’m 


Paul: to do? Yeah. Should I put my money in? Yeah, exactly. And it’s the same with yeah, I suppose fitness for a lot of people they just it’s not really their passion. They don’t maybe want it to consume too much of their time, and they just want the, is it good or is it bad?

And Yeah, less nuance. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Which I understand as well, and it’s something that I’ve always tried to keep in mind from the beginning is to serve the interests of the people I’m speaking to, not my own interests, not maybe even someone like you. Not your interests per se, but again, the people I’m trying to help are understandably people who.

They live busy lives. They have a few hours a week to give to this stuff. They understand that there’s a lot of nonsense. They just want to have something that works well for them that’s sustainable, that they enjoy. And if they can get to that, they’re gonna be very happy. And that might be all they ever want.

They might not need to know anything else. 

Paul: I do that the same, That’s probably why a lot of charlas in the fitness industry do really well, because they offer that clarity that a lot of people are seeking. So when it, you see it all the time with things like nutrition, where you’ve got Oh, just do, and it’s gonna, just basically meat, everything else’s really simple directive, and people go, Okay I’ll just follow that. It’s easy rather than you. Making more nuance change to their diet and going into sort of in, in a bit more depth, it’s easy to follow that sort of binary advice. Yeah. 

Mike: And in the case of that, it also, it has the contrarian appeal because it seems, it’s the opposite of what so many other people are saying.

So many other people, even mom, 

Paul: they lied to you type thing. Yeah. , Yeah. Yeah. 

Mike: Yeah. And even mom told you to eat your vegetables and what does she know? . 

Paul: Yeah. And I’ve seen that quite a few. Going back to hit was, it’s the of moderate training and you doing, is traditional. 

Mike: I was guilty of that probably right about nine or 10 years ago.

And I, at the time, my understanding of the literature on it was that it, it seemed more promising than it turned out to be in terms of there was the afterburn effect then there were also some these were theories at the time that maybe there are some hormonal things that, that happen that are really good if you do hit regularly and for a number of reasons.

don’t think I ever said that’s all you should do, but I was a bigger advocate of hit than I am now, and my position is very much like yours. But there was a time when I, myself also was doing it regularly. That was my normal cardio was mostly hit. I did shorter sessions. I did 20 minute sessions, but I did several per week, and that’s all I did for.


Paul: that’s where I see the real utility of it. If you are working with someone and they are really time pressed, time limited, then almost it becomes the default because you haven’t got that time to do accumulate, doing moderate intensity training. So you have to increase intensity. And a good way of doing that is high intensity training.

So yeah, I think that in some ways its necessary if someone’s really time press where a lot of the research is now moving out the laboratory and at things like exercise snacking as it’s known. So doing small blocks of client physical activity, not necessarily exercise. A couple of studies have just looked to walking up three or four flights of stairs and then repeating that intermittently throughout the day.

Similar to the concept of having a small meal, like a snack, snacking with exercise as opposed to having a planned structured session. And that seems to be quite promising in terms of the benefits for that. But again, does depend on your starting level. If you are couch potato, that entry, not really, haven’t done any exercise for a long period, then that sort of exercise approach is probably gonna get you some benefits cause you’ve gone.

Doing nothing to something. But if you’re well trained, doing, running up a flight of stairs three or four times a day is not gonna have the training load to give you any sort of additional improvements in your fitness. So it’s, there’s different technique. It’s really context specific, how much time have you got, what’s your training status?

And also, what do you enjoy doing? These things all should be considered before you prescribe someone exercise.

It’s, there’s no individualization there. And for people 

Mike: who are intrigued by this exercise snacking concept, can you just talk a little bit more about how that might look and what the potential benefits would be? Let’s say for somebody who is doing a few hours of strength training every week, maybe they’re doing some aerobic exercise as well.

I could think of some, maybe even someone like me, I 

might do a little bit more than the average 

person. But I’m not doing any high intensity stuff. 

Paul: Yeah, most of the there’s not a lot of studies on it, but it is, most of it is targeted that people that are not meeting the physical activity guidelines.

So 50 minutes of ex activity a week. So in those individuals, basically, instead of saying do follow about for 30 minute walking or whatever, split up the periods of your day and it might fall the advantage of it as I see organically within your day. For example, if you to work and you on the, you could do a really walk to the state and then if there’s instead of taking an escalator or lift you could go up flight stairs as quickly possible and that would be considered.

So you’ve block got on your day, it’s. What we would call like a traditional exercise session where we’re planning it and going in the gym. So that intensity of physical activity shown in some benefits

But in terms of people that are trained, I’m not sure that the training stimulus there is great enough to give you any bene more benefits. Say doing a structured it’s harm’s a good concept. If you are not able to do a training session for whatever reason, you can maybe on over the course of the day look to try and include some form bouts of high exercise just over the course of your day.

For example for me, if I’m, I often work out of a coffee shop if I’m, Bit time press and I can’t get to the gym. I’ll just cycle home as hard as I can, and it’s. 15 minutes. And that, that’s it’s not a formal sort of planned gym session, but I’ve done something, I’ve got my heart rate up for a small period of time.

And that’s, I think where the research is probably gonna go is looking at how we can in or include exercise or physical activity in people’s daily routines as opposed to exercise prescription as it previously done. Like in a gym setting or prescribed in sets, reps, that type of thing.

And that can 

Mike: be useful for people who are getting in the gym and doing strength training, but are not making time to do any sort of cardiovascular aerobic or even high, high intensity anaerobic or lytic, as you had mentioned, doing any of that. I could see some of those people thinking, All right, I don’t have the time or don’t wanna make the time to get on the bike for 30 minutes and do that, but I do, I have my gym sessions and I’m already thinking with how I.

My daily routine, I can work in a couple of these high intensity kind of snacks, so to speak, and if I do enough of those, do a few a day. Let’s say it’s even seven days per week. Over time I’m reaping maybe not most, but I’m reaping a fair amount of the benefits that would come with a more structured routine.

Paul: Yeah, exactly. If you are, if you’ve got very little aerobic stimulus to start with and you’re basically just doing resistance training, then you are more likely to get a benefit from that type of approach where you structure in some high intensity workouts just throughout the day. Whereas if you are already doing aerobic conditioning it’s not gonna give you much else in, in fact, it, it could take away if you are kinda done a couple of high intensity blocks, maybe in, in London, if you were on the underground, some stations, it’s a really long climb to get to the, So if you were to, I’ve it a couple of times myself yeah, you get to street level, you’re absolutely exhausted.

It’s if you on the way to the gym, then it’s probably not a good idea, but just for the general population to kinda get some exercise and particularly. Higher intensity exercising in your day. I think that’s important. The recommendation actually changed government recommendations. It used to be physical activity for it to count as physical activity had to be in blocks of 10 minutes or more.

But now, because basically they, they recognize that, a lot of people weren’t able to or willing to do that. They’ve just let anything count, just be as active as possible. So nots entry or minimize being sedentary throughout the day. And you are likely to get some benefits.

Mike: Yeah. That’s I’ve talked about shared advice with, particularly with body weight training that people can, if they’re just getting started with resistance training, and if they’re not comfortable getting into a gym or it just doesn’t work for them, getting into a gym, you could take a 30 minute body weight routine and break it up into a few, five or 10 minute little mini workouts that you do and just get it done.

However you get it done throughout the day and you’re on your way. It works. 

Paul: Yeah. It’s almost like almost envious of some people that are going from, that position because you get so much like your rewards from doing such a small amount of activity. The emotional payoff is so much larger.

Mike: It’s funny you say that actually because it’s a little bit counterintuitive cuz you might look at somebody who’s very fit, then look at somebody who’s just getting started and think that the very fit person generally is a lot more emotionally satisfied with their training and the whole process.

Probably not because they’re probably not making much progress to speak of 

Paul: anymore. If any Yeah. It could just be maintaining Yeah. And trying to stop regression. Yeah. Whereas 

Mike: that person who’s new, who is not fit at all they might not be emotionally satisfied with their level of fitness, maybe what they see in the mirror.

But then to your point, when they get going and they start seeing these rapid changes it’s very motivating and it makes it fun. And then that one day you are gonna be that very fit person and then you realize that you don’t realize is then it can be harder to stay motivated as the very fit person then it in the beginning.

But you know the phases. 

Paul: Yeah. Particularly as you get older and your start slow down.

Whatever you do extra now, you are gonna get good returns on that, and that’s, we’re maybe hit straight away, flame

inactive for four or five years, maybe longer. There’s really no need to get them doing sprint interval training. In some cases it’s probably a idea just base of maybe start. Building from that and doing more planned or structured exercise and, go from there. There’s really, it’s a bit like in resistance training, you wouldn’t necessarily with someone that’s new, like you just said, you could get really good improvements just with body weight type exercises.

Really no need to be doing like the big three and hitting all exercises to start with. You yeah. Start basic and then build up. Yeah. 

Mike: That’s a mistake many trainers make. I see it in the gym I go to where they take people who are new and they run them through unnecessarily difficult workouts.

And then what happens of course, is these people get really sore to the point where it actually makes living life harder, and then it makes them less likely to continue, understandably when they can barely even walk around the next day. I get it. Where they’re like, If this, what it, if this is what it takes, I might not have what it takes.

Paul: Yeah, I’ve made that mistake as a personal trainer and it’s strange because in some cases people judge the, of your training session on that. Some people actually seek it and if don’t the day it’s almost you know what my paying you for. But then that’s where the education part comes into to training.

Someone’s actually look, but we can, that you can then exercise again. Whereas, if I get you doing, four or five of squats and you are gonna be really the next few days and you’re not gonna be able to again That’s where yeah, some people sort of chase muscle soreness as like a marker of a good training session.

And in some ways there is a bit of pressure on you as a trainer, if you are doing something that’s quite basic. And then there’s another trainer in the gym and they’ve got, a nice clever circuit worked out and they’re doing boxing and then they’re on TRX and then they’re doing somes.

So your second team a bit rudimentary. And so I can kinda see why the temptation is there, but to build these sort complicated, but then they’re ultimately unnecessary for people, for most people anyway. Yeah. Yeah. 

Mike: A separate discussion. But as you said, you have to work with the person you have in front of you and take into account.

What do they like to do? What are their goals? And in some cases doing the circuit might make more sense. If the person says I understand the benefits of working with barbells and dumbbells, and I’ll do a little bit of that, but I just like this circuit training. I have fun doing it.

Okay. That’s a strong argument to do it, right? 

Paul: Sure. That’s what ugly CrossFit has taken off so well, is that sort of that group exercise effect and that having that small of going as hard as possible, that’s really appealing for a lot of people. And so I can, Yeah. I would never kind say, Oh, don’t do that.

If someone’s getting improvements and they’re enjoying that type of training, that’s fine. It’s just when maybe they’re not conditioned enough to do it, that’s when you get into problems. 

Mike: Yeah. Or poor programming. In the case of CrossFit, if you have the person. Running the show, if they don’t know what they’re doing, they can hurt people.


Paul: Yeah. Yeah, there’s the injury rates for for CrossFit, they’re quite high when you look at the, some of the literature on it, and that probably stems from that, being. Overzealous at the start with with people that just can’t handle that type of training load and and they’re doing it under fatigue.

Mike: When you have people coming off the street and being told to run sprints and then do AM wraps on a deadlift, that’s a problem. 

Paul: Yeah. If you were, it’s almost like how would you injure this person? some of those. Yeah. Yeah. 

Mike: How quickly can we 

Paul: get ’em out? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

That would be the approach to take. Yeah. But 

Mike: but anyways we’re, now we’re rambling around. That’s all I had for you on on hit and that was great. That was a lot of great information. I really appreciate, again, you taking the time and why don’t we wrap up here and let people know about your work, the book that you published and allowed me to contribute a little bit to as well.

And anything else that if you’re active on social media, I think, Yeah, I think I’ve seen you on social media. I think I follow you actually. So if you wanna let people know about social media, any, anything else that you want them to know if they liked this discussion. 

Paul: Cool, thanks. Yeah, my main role is that I’m a sport and exercise science lecturer and sports scientist over in the uk, Oxford Brooks.

Most of my content is on, it’s quite a basic website, but if I post, then I think like I organized some webinars which are publicly accessible. So my website is exercise and sports science do com. So as you mentioned I published a couple of books, their textbooks, and they’re designed for personal trainers.

The latest one is Advanced Personal Training Science to Practice, and which you kindly contribute to on the training for fact loss chapter. So thanks for that. So that book is got a whole chapter actually dedicated to a lot of what we’ve talked about today. Intensity training, resistance training and that’s available on.

Amazon and I will warn people, it’s quite it’s a very science book it’s not necessarily a light read, but yeah, that’s available. 

Mike: But I would say for people who enjoyed this discussion I would recommend that book. I would say that it’s written for maybe scientifically literate people, but it’s not as difficult to understand as a layman as trying to dig into research and.

Sort out all the details, 

Paul: yeah. And I think that’s one reason why the second edition I kinda that in mind and included a lot more or summary at the end of every section and a summarization table of the key take home points. And that’s a lot of good feedback in that, in the, cause quite a lot of information in there.

And that just synthesizes it and gives you some take home points. And what I do on Instagram is basically a lot of the content from the book in my posts on Instagram. So really like quick snapshots. And what do is keep it to one page or slide if you like. And then if people are interested I write more about it in the comments.

And I found that’s worked pretty well, is that, it for people that just want. The basic information is just read the slide. If they want a little bit more depth, then some people do. They method me a lot of questions. Then yeah, it’s in the comment, so I’m on Instagram I’m also on Twitter but probably a bit less active on that of later.

I use that more of a resource to keep up with research and try and stay out arguments as best. 

Mike: Yeah. Yeah. Arguing with random people on the internet is one of the most unproductive things we can do with our time. So I’m with you there. 

Paul: It completely Instagram a bit more myself. It’s harder to go down those sort of rabbit holes, whereas Twitter it’s kinda built for that, isn’t it?

Make a comment and then suddenly I’ve discussing this,

never. Yeah. 

Mike: Yeah. But 

I know I’m gonna, I’m gonna win at some point I’m gonna change their mind. 

Paul: Yeah. Which of course we never do. 

Mike: Yeah, exactly. Or there’s gonna be an epic dunk. I’m gonna dunk on them so hard, but no, that 

Paul: doesn’t happen either. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, so I am on both those Instagram and Twitter and yeah, my I’d say if people are interested, anything I’ve mentioned, then it might be interest in some of the webinars.

Like again, you kind did one for my students on being an entrepreneur in the fitness industry. But I do variety of topics. So the next one is actually on resistance training for endurance athletes. And I’ve had guests like my kids and house and lot quite varied, like some people in academia, some people practitioners.

They originally for like science students, but then I started getting requests from. People in just the general public to attend. So yeah, I’ve opened them out as well. Awesome. Yeah, all 

Mike: of the links will be in the show notes so people can find everything there. And thanks again for taking the time to do this and I look forward to the next one.

I’m sure we can come up with another topic to 

Paul: talk about. Thanks very much for having me on mic. Enjoyed the discussion. Thanks very. 

Mike: I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes. And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you.

And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share, shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f or, and let me know what I could do better or just what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future.

I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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