If you’re going to spend the time working out, it pays to do a little homework and find out what kind of exercise is optimal for the body. This way you’re not doing too much, too little, or a wasting your time on a workout that’s inappropriate for your body. Use your time most constructively by taking some fitness tips I’ve gathered after years in the health field, working with and interviewing multiple fitness experts, and even from my own experience working out to lose weight and stay healthy! Today I want to talk to you about one of my preferred methods of exercise – High Intensity Workout Training (HIIT for short).
If we look at our modern workout approaches in relation to our ancestral roots as cavemen and nomadic hunter-gatherers, there is a lot we can learn! Read below about how HIIT suits our modern lifestyles, while also mimicking more ancient peoples peoples forms of fitness due to their active lifestyles!
HIIT to Help Workout Like a Caveman (or Cavewoman!)
Cavemen – and cavewomen! – ‘worked out’ by chasing prey. This is exactly what our bodies were designed to do. Hunt prey, chase, miss, rest, hunt prey, chase, miss, rest, hunt again. Today, we call this simple workout HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training.
Research shows that HIIT most effectively helps you burn off calories even after you are finished exercising. Do it at least times 2 times a week for 20 minutes.
It doesn’t have to replace your favorite exercise. Just add it to your workout routine. You will be amazed at how effective HIIT can be. You can do HIIT running, walking, swimming, biking, or with any aerobic activity.
HIIT to Help Workout like a Nomadic Hunter-Gatherer
Now let’s think like hunter-gatherers in our workout! In relation to HIIT, this is resistance training.
Gatherers spent hours a day squatting, reaching, hauling and carrying loads of fruits, roots, tubers and veggies – a workout very akin to any kind of strength training, weight lifting or Pilates. Or do some gardening. That will work, too. Gatherers also got this kind of workout building shelters. You want to do a gatherer-strength training session 2-3 times per week.
Now, what do you do when you’re a nomadic hunter-gatherer, be it searching for food or relocating to a warmer climate for the season? You walk!
We’ve been walking long distances for millions of years. We didn’t have a choice! Long form (an hour or more) cardio like biking, swimming, jogging, walking, and the elliptical are great for simulating this aspect of the caveman workout. Make sure to get in long form cardio at least a couple times a week as it is good for your brain and has other important health benefits.
Why You Want to Avoid Over-Exercising
Over-exercising is very stressful to the body. Recent research shows that we should work out no more than four hours per week. (1) Any less than this negatively impacts health and any more than this or exercise that is too prolonged and intense can be counterproductive by releasing too much cortisol, a hormone that can cause you to gain weight. This can even lead to adrenal fatigue.
Why do we release cortisol if we work out too much? Because ancient man for the most part did not use his body in this manner. Of course, everyone is different. Some can tolerate far more stress and physical workouts than others. The four hours per week is an average for the average person.
I hate to break it to all you cardio addicts and running enthusiasts, but our bodies were not built to run marathons and do six-minute miles. It tears our bodies and joints apart. Research shows it’s much better for your body to do HIIT and take long walks like our ancestors did long ago. But hey, if you love it and it makes you happy, knock yourself out!
What did you think of this article? Do you plan on adding HIIT to your workout routine? Let me know in the comments below!