Should you be running longer, slower, or shorter, faster, which is better for your health. Let’s take a look today at high intensity interval training in The MOVEMENT Movement podcast.

People have been talking about it for a while but lately I’ve just been seeing more and more people coming out with courses on High Intensity Interval Training, and saying why doing high intensity intervals is better for you than running long, as doing long slow distance, whether you’re running or on an elliptical or on a cycle, whatever it is.

Hi, I’m Steven Sashen and The MOVEMENT Movement podcast is for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body. We get rid of the mythology and the propaganda and while sometimes the outright lies that people tell you about what it takes to do that by moving naturally, you can follow us at

Comments (5)
  1. Hi there Steven! You have one of the nicest voices! I have to put my 2cents in on your fitness advice. Isokinetics or isometrics is great for paraplegics or bed ridden people but NOT for people that can move. The best strength workout is heavy weights. Moving slowly through full range motion.

    Proper breathing is tough for people to relearn. We all knew belly breathing until our mommies put tight clothes on our bellies. Most of our lives we then breathe shallowly, thoracic breathing, using only half our lungs.

    I teach my students two things when they start my classes; how to fall and how to breathe correctly. Number one no students are allowed in my classes in running shoes.

    There are 4 sets of abdominal muscles. The lowest is ‘transverse abdominus’. The job of this muscle is breathing. In conjunction with the diaphragm, the only way to exercise this muscle is by CORRECT breathing. Blow OUT first by pulling your gut in as if you get punched in the gut. Imagine blowing out through a straw then relax. Breathing in is PASSIVE. Breathe in through the nose. 4 square breathing is a good way to practice belly breathing.

    Blow out to the count of 4 hold for 4 counts breathe in (expanding the nostrils and belly) for 4 counts then hold 4 counts.

    High intensity exercise does not burn more calories. High intensity means you are switching to the creatine phosphate avenue for fuel, not fat. Fine for people who need to push this anaerobic phase are FEW. Long and slow is the BEST WAY to burn fat.

    Hard a fast rule; one mile = 100 calories. Whether you walk it run it or crawl that mile ONLY 100 calories on average. More muscle more mitochondria. More mitochondria need a bit more calorie to go that mile but not by much. High Intensity actually means less calories of fat are burned.

    Dieting I won’t allow. Fasting I will NEVER allow. I have students count calories for ONE week and then that is it. No more focus on food. No more counting calories. I teach nutrition and proper movement and how to eat to ‘lose’.

    I am an Exercise Specialist that owned two exercise studios. A few dozen instructors that taught everyone the same stuff that I teach. I sent each one of my instructors to get certified by Seattle Sports Medicine or ACSM. Every 3 months we get Resussy? Anna and her firemen to teach CPR. Once per year First Aid.

    Posture is a result of balanced musculature. You can’t THINK correct posture. Just by looking at a person’s posture I know what they have to add or subtract from their workout program. What to change such as breathing, no feet held down for ‘sit ups’, no old fashioned hurdler stretch. I’m a personal trainer as well. I can see bad movement instantly, pick it out of a packed class and give correction until proper movement is autonomous and natural. Very pretty to observe people learning and their bodies changing. No dieting, no high intensity ever.

    These sports medicine certifying bodies teach how to take blood pressure. I grab students willy nilly and take their blood pressure. You wouldn’t believe how seldom it was to find someone with good blood pressure. Even the young people!

    Isometrics and that dang Plank…are great ways to raise blood pressure sky high. Core strength is just another fad. A waste of time. I am not kidding.

    Teaching how to MOVE properly is the best way to improve anyone’s workout. For one thing, no bouncing. Moving with a dixie cup of water on one’s head racks up the heart rate like right now. I taught the Women’s Basketball team for a semester. I was asked to put the U.of I football players through an exercise class. Grins. Blacks know how to move! Poor white boys looked like deer caught in the headlights!

    Try doing jumping jacks without bouncing with an imaginary dixie cup of water on your head. This is how people learn to use the muscles of the lower leg for pushing off and for absorbing shock so that glass of water does not spill. Watch a cheetah or deer or rabbit run. Their heads could easily hold a dixie cup of water as their bodies move! The world in front of them doesn’t bounce around it stays crystal clear if the head is perfectly still.

    You should have seen the basketball players change! You know how they PLOD loudly across the floor? I changed it to running like gazelles, silent. If one is directing energy into the floor at a perpendicular to where one wants to go they are wasting all of that energy and allowing their elastic ligaments and tendons in the joints to move with less use of muscle. Not at all good for the joint nor for learning correct movement.

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Please check out what I’ve said. I gotta go look up that short term anaerobic fuel used when peoples heart is beating too fast to get blood through the lungs efficiently and then deliver O2 to the mitochondria of the body’s tissue. Without enough O2 the body switches to the anaerobic short term supply of…Creatine Phosphate…these words float up from the past, you know?

    One does NOT do MAX STRESS TEST on people without a doctor right there! Without being wired up and monitored CLOSELY. Yet, who the hell knows where a person’s heart rate is much less what their blood pressure is! No one seems to care about these little details? My program was outstanding. Grins…


    • GREAT response, Stormy (and not just the part about how you like my voice 😉 ).

      I’ll definitely have to do something about the myths behind “core strength” (it’s a real thing, but not in the way most people think of it or train for it).

      BTW, I’m a huge fan of isometrics — if you’re ever at our office, ask to see our 1-Rep gym! And I’m a big fan of heavy weights and full ROM. The research I’ve read talks a lot how “strength is specific.” That is, if you’re training to be a sprinter (what I do), then the carry over effect from heavy lifts isn’t as good as more ballistic moves and plyometrics. Or, as sprinters like to point out, the best exercise for sprinting seems to be sprinting 😉

      I can’t wait to hear your $0.02 on anything else I’ve said!

      • Thanks for replying Steven. I would like to get you OVER isometrics! This use of muscles is just wrong; to include raising the blood pressure and going into an anaerobic fuel source. Not using fat any longer. Stop and catch your breath and marbles, sure. but high intensity is not at all conducive for ‘fitness’.

        And I am able to discuss the mechanisms of fuel and energy for all of our body cells. High intensity exercise does not make stronger, healthier humans. Does not. We all have the capability to go beyond Oxygen and cardiovascular sensibility. Intense, SHORT term. Does NOTHING FOR FITNESS of anyone other than athletes who need to push their human limits. No one else. Nada.

        Plyometrics is that another word now for Proprioception? Like jumping from higher platforms, being pulled at slightly higher speeds that your body has never known? Lots of great research there, not facts.

        Breathing so hard and so fast where you are unable to talk is anaerobic. The body stops using fat. Period.

        Numbers for humans always constipates good information for normal people. Perhaps this helps ATHLETES who push their human attributes to compete in a very specific arenas is NOT GOOD FOR THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE. Period.

        You are an exception, Steven. Most people don’t even know what exercise and huffing and puffing and sweating much less a second or third wind. Telling the normal person they can go out their door and blast with high intensity will replace long slow huffing and puffing. This is dangerous and causing confusion.

        Your followers are NOT major athletes. Period. VO2 non responders is a very bad bit of information telling people their body won’t understand exercise.

        Sprinters are GIFTED with high twitch muscle fiber. Blacks and you have this type of fiber.

        Cardiovascular exercise LONG AND SLOW is the best exercise for your heart, lungs, circulatory system. NOT HIGH INTENSITY. NO WAY! Long and slow as you have alluded to is SAFER, the best way to burn fat, heck the only way to use fat for fuel. High Intensity is a fad, pure and simple. I will love discussing this further! Honest. I have worked my butt off to learn right from wrong in exercise and high intensity is contraindicated!! For normal people.

        “Oh, my goodness, I can run really really hard for 10 seconds and get the same benefit or better than an hour walk”. This is a completely wrong way to educate people about their bodies. What the hell is paleo?

        • I think athletes like myself are living proof that Plyometric and HIIT training have massive benefits.

          Stanford athletics (most NCAA D1 titles in history) and professional teams like the Golden State Warriors and New England Patriots (greatest modern day sports franchises?) incorporate both plyometric and HIIT training in their regimens.

          Stanford has gone as far as emptying it’s weight rooms of benches and other old school equipment. And much of the turnaround at Stanford has to do with the input given from their research and health & science department. Stanford is a decent research institution … OR SO IVE HEARD. lol

          Maybe such training isn’t great for everyone (there is no such thing as a fitness panacea aside from water or rest perhaps) but such training definitely has merits.

          • You’re making my point.

            Athletes who are NATURALLY power athletes who need explosive strength benefit by doing plyometrics and HIIT because it’s really just sport-specific training. Because power athletes are naturally inclined to high intensity, explosive movements (and therefore more effective and efficient with HIIT), HIIT/plyos won’t cause the same stress that it does for non-power athletes.

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