Top Five Key Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

twistFor those among us who have mastered the art of skilfully finding excuses to begin working out “from next Monday”or who truly believe they don’t have time to get sweaty in the name of health and fitness, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is here to help.
Alternating short bursts of very intense activity with periods of less demanding exercise or complete rest, HIIT, with its 15-minute per day workouts, perfectly complements your tight schedule.

1. Living in the frantic world we have nowadays leaves you with less and less time for working out, we do know that. But a busy schedule by no means should stop anyone from taking care of his or her body.
The effects of only 15 minutes per day of HIIT, three times a week has proven to replace an hour of treadmill jogging. In this way, you can squeeze in the workout in your schedule without major sacrifices. Sounds too easy to be true? A 2011 study discussed at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting has shown that 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training can be replaced by just 2 weeks of high-intensity interval training. How does it work? You can begin, for instance, with running as fast as you can for 1 minute, then walk for 2 minutes. To get more tips & tricks, read the Twist blog.

2. Have you ever dreamt of burning calories even after you have finished the workout? Dream no more. Interval training tricks your body into burning fat in the 24 hours following the high-intensity exercises. This means you can go on read a book,

The hidden benefits of eating five times a day

Although the rule of thumb for those trying to lose weight is to not consume more calories than you burn, there are many more tricks out there. One of them is the five-meals-per-day plan. As easy as it sounds, it implies eating five times a day, instead of the traditional three or the often-practiced one meal a day. Even though nutritionists do argue about its benefits, one key factor is for sure: psychologically, it makes your body think “oh, more food is on it’s way, I might as well just burn the calories recently consumed”. Eating at regular intervals and not allowing more than five hours to pass without having at least a healthy snack does have an impact on your body, whether you are trying to lose weight or get rid of that ugly habit of overeating.


  1. Eating more often can help curb hunger: If you are following a weight-loss plan based on a low-calorie diet, hunger is your biggest enemy. You must have read a thousand times that there is no need of starving to lose weight, but you have no clue how this can be possible. Well, eating five times a day is the answer. The secret, though, is to indulge with small, balanced, highly nutritious meals. As you might have guessed, having deep-fried chicken and sugary drinks five times a day will be of no good. The same effect will occur when choosing five huge meals a day. Eating smaller meals throughout the day is the right answer.


  1. Breakfast within one hour of waking up is the Holy Grail of weight loss. People who never skip breakfast are more likely to resist the temptation to snack or crave unhealthy or junk food. Experts believe that if you begin your day with a nutritious breakfast and continue having a meal every three or four hours a day, you are less likely to go overboard during the mealtimes. Following this scheme, your day should include a breakfast, a mid morning snack, lunch, evening snack and dinner. Research has found that people who eat three meals a day or less, tend to eat more calories than those who break up their intake of calories throughout the day.


  1. The habit of having five small meals a day also controls your blood sugar levels and insulin production. When eating more often, you get a steady supply of blood sugar. What happens when you get large blood sugar spikes from eating two huge meals a day? The feeling of fatigue, which so many of us dread, is one of the side effects. On top of that, your body gets its supply of all necessary vitamins and minerals. How? Studies have shown that people who have more meals per day do vary their diet more than those who go for two or three big meals a day.


Although eating more times a days sounds pretty easy, you must keep in mind that other factors also have their say. First of all, do not forget to measure your portions – you should not eat more calories than you were eating on a three meals per day plan. It is easier to have a reasonable portion if you measure it using your hands. Your stomach is the size of your fist, and the meals you have should not be bigger. Also, make sure your snacks are high in protein or fibre and drink plenty of water.


How to ‘Double’ your workout…

As Adam prepares for Dublin’s Ironman 70.3 Triathlon we caught up with him to learn about his busy training schedule, his diet, and everything else that should be considered when undertaking one of the most difficult sporting events in the world. When facing a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile half marathon (without a break!) THIS is how Adam gets ready…

  1. How many Ironman races have you completed?

One full and three halves. I’ve raced in Barcelona, Florida, and Dubin’s coming up on August 9th. I was meant to take part in France a few years ago, but about a week before the race, whilst cycling up a steep hill in the South Downs, I tore something in my stomach and ended up with a hernia. I still went out to France as I had a client who was taking part and wanted to be there, but I was gutted.

  1. How are you training for it?

I train six days per week, and mix up swims, bikes and runs in brick sessions. I also throw in hour-long conditioning sessions. Here’s how this week is looking:

Training schedule

  1. How do you balance working full-time, training and family life? What’s a typical day for you?

It’s tough, there are no two ways about that. I usually work from 6am until noon, then have a break for training, then return to work for around 4pm and work through until 9pm. Obviously there is some flexibility to this, but on the whole that’s my routine. I grab as much time with my family as I possibly can. I’ve been a little more lenient with myself this year in terms of spending time with my wife and son – if the weather is nice we’ll just go down to the park or beach or something. Getting this balance right is really important to me.

  1. How do you adapt your diet?

I eat five times a day; what I eat depends on the training sessions I have coming up. I’ll start with a good breakfast, usually of eggs, smoked salmon and fresh spinach. If there’s heavy training involved I’ll have porridge, and if I’m getting on my bike I’ll have toast too, with regular (hourly) carb bar or banana snacks. I’ll have electrolyte drinks too. Protein is incredibly important, so I might have chicken breasts for lunch, and top up with plenty of milk. I’d say the key is to eat little and often, and eat slowly so your body can process the food effectively. For dinner I’ll have vegetables and protein (meat). I avoid carbs in the evening unless I know I have something heavy coming up, in which case I might have a portion of complex carbs – pasta for example.

  1. How important is rest and sleep as part of your training?

I’d say nutrition is more important, but this also plays a big role. In an ideal world you’d get nine hours of sleep each night, plus down time just before the race. In this last week you should have a decent taper, where volume slows down, but speed is maintained. You should also stay off of your feet as far as possible. Unfortunately both myself and my clients have busy schedules and this isn’t always possible, but bearing these considerations in mind should help.

  1. What can you do to prevent injury in training for big events like these?

Start early with your base training and build gradually. Stretch often, and make sure you allocate adequate stretching time.

  1. In less than three words describe how you feel at the start line

I’d have to say anxious, focused and powerful. Powerful might sound strange, but I’m a confident swimmer. In past races I’ve always finished with the fastest group, so on a start line I bear that in mind and just keep my head down.

  1. How do you deal with the pressure of competing against your clients?

I use it as a positive, as a motivation. What matters is my confidence in my own ability on race day, not theirs. Sure, when I’m tired and don’t particularly want to train it definitely does motivate me knowing they’re out training; it can give me that extra nudge. It helps that I know my clients capabilities, so I know the areas that I could work that little bit harder on myself. It’s lighthearted really, and I have good banter with my clients, but by the same token I know that I must perform well otherwise I’ll never live it down!

  1. Are there any tactics or tips you want to share?
  • Practice getting your nutrition right. Don’t make any changes just before a race. This can really backfire, particularly with a bike element on the course.
  • Practice drafting when swimming with friends. In a race environment you need to find someone slightly faster than yourself and stay on their hip or toes. If you do this well you could save about 30% more energy. If you get it wrong and disrupt them it messes everything up.
  1. What’s your advice to someone thinking about taking part in an Ironman Triathlon?

Do it! Honestly, anyone can do it, you do not need to be a professional athlete. Sure, you may not come over the finish line first, but these races are all about taking part, and you’ll feel great when you do. Completing these courses is enjoyable, as is the training, because it includes swimming, bicycle rides and running. The mix keeps it varied, and interesting. I recommend highly!

  1. When will you stop competing?

I don’t plan to!

  1. How do you feel your training has gone this year, and what are your goals in terms of completing the race?

I’m feeling good, and particularly strong on the bike. I’m running well this season too. I haven’t put in as many hours as I’d planned due to other priorities, but once I get out on the start line I’ll give it my absolute all. We’ll have a brilliant network of supporters coming out there to cheer us on, including clients (Team Twist!), friends and family. It’s a big help knowing my son Arthur will waiting by the finish line, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to cross it with him.

  1. Are you doing Ironman for fun, or is coming first what’s important to you?

Right now it’s for fun, but over the next few years the plan is to train really hard and finish in the Top Ten in my category to get a place at the World Championships. For Florida I was almost in a position to do this, but my run let me down (I had issues with cramp). It was really encouraging to know I’m so close to achieving my ultimate goal though. Watch this space.

Adam Training