Fast Exercise: The Simple Secret of High Intensity Exercise follows a similar format to Fast Diet, Dr Mosley’s book on Intermittent Fasting, and spends quite a lot of time discussing the exercise habits of the two co-authors. Michael has never enjoyed exercise and is attracted to the ‘bare minimum’ temptation of HiT. Peta on the other hand is a lifelong fitness fanatic with a penchant for running but now has children which restricts the time available for building endurance and so is also attracted to HiT for its potential to offer rapid gains.
Having filled in the back story they dwell briefly and inconclusively on the concept of genetic testing to determine your aerobic response before getting into the meat of the book with some example routines. They have sections for bike, running, rowing, swimming and strength and cover a few simple interval sessions for each.
There are some interesting elements to this book, and I would recommend it to newcomers to either exercise or High Intensity Training. It offers a grounding in the fundamentals of Interval training and some beginner level routines. The routines themselves are so basic though, that anyone who has ever stepped on a treadmill or read a running magazine will be able to conjure up more imaginative or challenging routines.
Here is Michael’s favourite routine which it’s claimed he can complete without getting changed and without getting sweaty – by my definition that is not high intensity.
Alternative High intensity (HIT) Routines
For a recent release book based on High Intensity Interval Training (HIT) I’m really surprised that Tabata training is not mentioned at all. Professor Tabata worked initially with Olympic Speed skaters and produced a routine which enables the rapid development of aerobic capacity. It is a tough routine, which is so fast paced that you need to proceed with caution if you use a treadmill. It’s all over and done with within 4 minutes, alternating 20 seconds of fast sprints with 10 seconds rest. As the treadmill doesn’t respond fast enough it is recommended that you jump on and off the speeding belt – hence the need for caution.
• 4 minutes long (entire Tabata Session)
• 20 seconds intense sprint
• 10 seconds of rest
• Total of 8 sessions or rounds
One of my favourite High Intensity Routines is called Sprint 8 and is a branded routine from Vision Fitness. I like it because of the ramped intensities which build up to crescendo at the end of the 20 minute session – I want to feel as though I’ve pushed myself to the edge with a high intensity routine.
The area of the book that I found most useful was the final section on monitoring the impact of exercise. There are charts for the Cooper Run, a 12 minute distance challenge and press up charts for you to monitor any strength progress. The section on assessing your glucose tolerance interested me the most though and I will be stopping at the local chemist tomorrow to acquire a blood glucose monitoring test. One of the benefits of increased fitness is the ability to rapidly bring down blood glucose levels and if you follow the prescribed instructions you should be able to monitor changes in your bodies response after following an exercise program.