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High Intensity Interval Training – Part 2 Home Subscribe Email Print

Part 2: Insulin the Lock & Key

Let’s start with this…

Studies in Translational Biomedicine at the Heriot-Watt University in Scotland as well as studies at the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in the US have shown that H.I.I.T is a more powerful stimulus for improving insulin sensitivity over traditional low-to-moderate intensity aerobic exercise.

What does this mean? Well it means a few different things and these have different applications depending on your fitness goal.


Insulin is the lock and key hormone of our bodies. The lock to our fat stores and the key to our energy transportation. So how does increased insulin sensitivity affect us? Well for people who are after fat loss, this increased sensitivity means you are more efficient at transporting glucose into your cells where it is utilized as energy for living, breathing and exercising. Rather than glucose being stored as fat. This is of course assuming that your diet is playing its role in keeping your blood glucose and insulin levels steady. The more effectively you can utilize the glucose in your blood stream, the more quickly you can begin to access those fat stores for energy. And on the other side of the fence, those who are after weight gain or performance, then this applies also. Increased sensitivity means more efficient transport of glucose into the cells for energy and just as importantly after exercise for recovery when your muscle glycogen stores need to be replenished. This recovery period can be decreased meaning a smaller recovery period until your next bout of exercise.

On a more serious note, Type II Diabetes is a disease in which a person has developed insensitivity or resistance to insulin. Meaning the receptors on the cells in their body do not accept insulin anymore or very rarely leading to less and less glucose being transported into the cells. This can be hereditary it has been found, however, it is more akin to be a result of lifestyle choices. Before someone is diagnosed with Type II Diabetes they can be diagnosed with “pre-diabetes”. This just basically means that they are knocking on the door, but in many cases they still have a chance fix this issue without the need for medication. This is where H.I.I.T comes into it. As part of a lifestyle change accompanied by improved eating habits and increased exercise, H.I.I.T’s benefits of increasing insulin sensitivity can help someone avoid the need for medication and hopefully avoid developing Type II Diabetes.

If this intrigues you – come and see one of our gym staff about introducing HIIT into your program.

Compiled by Rob Bonser

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