Friday, January 31, 2014

HIIT or Steady State, Which Cult are You?

by Kris Pitcher

People are passionate, I'll give them that. The level of anger and taking sides over what kind of prep diet is "right" and what kind of cardio is "better" is verging on cultish.

Which camp am I in? I'm in the camp of least resistance. What I mean by that is, when I prep I want to begin with the least amount of work needed to elicit change. Period. It's pretty simple. Let's start with the cardio war.

HIIT or steady state? The answer, yes.There are studies to support both camps on this. But, I'm not camping, I'm prepping. Neither is in damnation here. It's about the path of least resistance. It's about having multiple "tools" in your tool box to create a progressive program.

If for instance I'm doing 30 minutes of steady state cardio and continue to get results from that, why would I change? It's when I hit a plateau that it's time to make a progression in my plan. There are numerous ways to do that. I could add more time, increasing the duration. The intensity could be increased. The modality could be changed.

Now, what if I simply did not have additional time in my schedule to add? So, my coach is now considering my "lifestyle". How considerate. I work a 10 hour day, commute an hour, need to lift, and there just isn't another 15 minutes in my day. No problem.

Maybe we start with increasing the intensity. Bingo! My body responds. This is the art of prepping. Progression. Down the road, I may hit another plateau. That might be the time to bring in some HIIT cardio and decrease my time. It's all about changing things up. It's not about damnation, or joining one cult or another.

The path of least resistance. The same goes with food. Oh my gosh. Clean eaters vs. flexible eaters. Really, there should be a reality show. Isn't it really the same thing? This whole thing confuses me to be honest.

I'm eating clean foods, whole foods, unprocessed foods. I have a list of "like" foods I can swap out. In fact, just yesterday, I didn't want to eat my rice...and I ate a corn tortilla instead! Isn't that both clean and flexible?

Do we really need to fight and get mad about this? There isn't one correct way. If a person has the interest in counting calories and is able to work with a group of like items, why not let them loose on swapping one lean protein for another?

On the other hand, if I'm just too busy, don't mind repetition and want to eat chicken and spinach for my meals away from home each day...why are you so mad? Isn't this about preference, lifestyle, and personal success?

If you hate eggs and your coach can't suggest an alternative, you might have someone feeding you a cookie cutter program without the ability to apply the science. You should have a list of items you can swap out. I don't expect you to know the nutritional science, that's why you hire someone, but you should have the tools provided so you can make the decisions.

So, I don't really get why every one's so mad. I don't understand why any coach would only have ONE way they feed or exercise EVERYONE. Doesn't that seem stupid? If every athlete is an individual, and responds differently wouldn't you want someone who had a whole box of tools...meaning a complete understanding of how to apply the science?

I sure would. All of the methods are OK. Everything works in certain ways for certain people depending on what they can tolerate, what they prefer, and what they respond to. And any great coach understands that. It's all about progression, and the path of least resistance.

My advice? Stop labeling, being so mad, or joining cults over these issues. Just do your work, get on stage, and support one another.

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