Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. This blog is a unique perspective of one persons journey into fitness. Not all clients and participants at Parsons Training undergo the same training, and each person makes his or her own decisions regarding dietary discretions.
By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training Center, Tucson, Arizona
February 19, 2019
There is a song I dig by a weird group named YACHT called “I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler.” https://youtu.be/R8cavxA10GcI have been re-listening to a lot of their music lately and this group kind of lives on the weird side, claiming they live a philosophy that is reflected in their music. Their videos mirror that mentality, lambasting the world of metaphysical oils and sprays, atheism, anti-technology (while they themselves support some version of this in their music) through the rather lively and colorful video “Shame.” https://youtu.be/p95_rB6WPc8Advertisements praising life changing technology rarely works the way they intend. Anyway, there is a point to this. Being a lover of science fiction and what not…why is our society not more futuristic? I mean, when some old movies are old enough for us to pass the actual time frame of their “future” depicted societies (ahem, Bladerunner, Back to the Future, The Simpsons, Terminator etc.), its kind of a bummer. And yes, I would really like to see humans hunted by sentient robots. Let’s just get that out of the way. I’m gonna be really upset if 2032 doesn’t look like anything from Demolition Man. Long flowing robes look so much easier to maintain than jeans. This leads to my final question….why have we not made losing weight easier? I mean, in future societies where technology can cure cancer and stuff, it is pretty clear they have solved the obesity crisis and also figured out ways for all people to either choose between killer abs or be able to run like Usain Bolt for miles on end (or in the case of the good guy in the story, both). At least the Bruce Willis movie “Surrogates” indicated we could just live our lives in mechanically superior versions of ourselves.
So yes, the future is a disappointing mess in my eyes, for we have dumb leaders in this world still fighting progress with oil and coal and still not trying to solve our trash problems (well, at least this is the problem in the US, many other countries are working hard on these issues). This also means you still have to work out to get that cool body which can perfectly mold into your slightly futuristic car. Over the next few weeks we will post some of these ideas on this forum, and this week we start with one thing that all the “cool kids” talk about and something only the hardcore gym rats know. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the buzzword of the decade, sometimes getting confused with CrossFit and other mediums, and has been the perfect way to fuse multiple types of workouts in one constant flow. Instead of doing 50 push-ups at once, just do five sets of ten with 30 jumping jacks and 10 deadlifts end capped on the push-ups and voila. You do something you hate while doing something you might like. Easy peasy! Then you do the thing I love…German Volume Training. (GVT) Just like German engineering, it is perfectly designed to push you personally and do much of the same things HIIT accomplishes, only with you taking less space and not looking like a CrossFit bro or gal (unless you want to that is). So…let’s pick a fight shall we? While HIIT is trendy and a lot of Instagram people swear by it, is it really better than GVT?
Let’s get this out of the way first…you don’t have to be super advanced in your fitness journey to do either. The benefit is these particular philosophies can be adjusted through your own personal preferences. So both ideas are not bent on superiority. HIIT has one problem that kind of irks me…there is just too much to choose from. The example I mentioned above could be done to infinity, and you could do that as long as ten minutes or even one hour. You can up the intensity with each set either with heavier weights or more reps. You can do “tabatas” or you can incorporate shorter rest periods between each set. I mean, when you think about it, the world is your oyster…and that can be problematic in some cases. Think about going to a gym and seeing hundreds of machines and weights. In a world of so many options, you may become too incensed with certain machines. Or on the flip side of the coin, you might be too busy trying to do everything that you kinda do to help certain areas of need. Like with me, I love the rowing machine. So when I try to get some kind of interval going, I always incorporate the rower. I usually try to get 500 meters done in less than two minutes and 20 seconds. Typically I will incorporate some exercises I like and do a ton of reps with them. Now there is nothing wrong with this method, but it is obvious I need to get some different stuff in these workouts. This can certainly be the problem and the plus for HIIT. If done properly, there is so many ways to get yourself moving. If you don’t put much thought into it, it can get boring. So the final verdict…HIIT is awesome if you have lots of ideas and will push yourself accordingly. The downside…you get too used to it and don’t incorporate other compound movements that can help you with your fitness.
Now, I have not done GVT in quite a while and this is because of the main drawback of it. You really need someone to push and time you as well as help with potential spotting. GVT is similar to the idea of super sets, but it has structure. The idea is to choose one workout movement and then incorporate a specific number (or sometimes non-specific like eight to 12) of sets with a limited time of rest between the movements. Typically, you have to go pretty light on the weight, mainly because of the physical and cardio demands this is going to start creating. Plus, the rest time is usually a small window, like possibly a minute. CrossFitters will really dig this type of workout, but will be surprised to see that they need to have a structure and form to make this work. Let’s say you want to work on some bench press and incorporate a little cardio. Set your weight at a low weight (for me, maybe 95 pounds) and put together 10 reps. With a one minute rest interval, I do it again. Usually the number of reps that are being required should be the number of sets. Now you think this might be easy, but it will start wearing on you later in the workout. Plus there is room for change, such as the rest period or the amount of weight you want to do. Focusing on one area at a time can make this a great workout, for you don’t have to worry about taking up space and you can utilize this method with multiple exercises like overhead presses, goblet squats, rows…whatever. In a lot of ways, it shares some similarities with HIIT because of the ambiguity of the weight and in-between time which gives you the ultimate power to decide how to approach it. They both sound great, but how can you tell which one will fit you better?
Now this is just opinion, so don’t just run with this. HIIT is definitely better if you are in a private gym or a boutique gym, mainly because they will most likely have the space and the professional help to aid you with this. HIIT needs multiple areas to work, especially if you are doing a combo like bench press, deadlift, push-up, TRX row and jumping jacks. That could be three stations at some gyms, and unless the corporate gym you are at is really empty, this will be tough to emulate. Now you could do something different that requires less space, but this is where the boredom will come and the HIIT might morph into a warm-up exercise as opposed to a primary. GVT is good for both types of gyms, but if you are strictly in a corporate gym, then this might be the better one to work with. You can wait for a spot, and go to town with what you need to do. So this is how I implement the final verdict….GVT may not be better (for both philosophies have a lot of upside) but the fact you can concentrate in smaller pockets makes GVT a little more palatable. Of course, if you come to Parsons Training, that isn’t going be an issue either way.
About Parsons Training
Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company.
Meet the Author
Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.
When you read this blog you are reading through the eyes of someone who is winning the battle of real weight loss. Steve is not a fitness professional, but he is someone we can all learn from.
Steve shares his journey once a week here on our blog. We hope that you find a spark of inspiration from reading his blog.
Any views or opinions presented in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the company. The author of this blog is an independent writer and is not an associate of Parsons Training, LLC. Any information or images displayed are done so solely at the authors discretion. Any dietary or fitness commentary is exclusively that of the author and in no way dictated by the company.