High Intensity Interval Training & Skin Health

Sweaty Face FemaleYears of environmental toxins, internal/external stressors and sun damage can really take its toll on our faces.

Besides professional products and treatment, there is a well-known but often neglected way to keep away wrinkles, generate new growth and deliver oxygen to our smiles. It’s the most important tool you have but isn’t in your vanity or medicine cabinets, you’re sitting on it! The gluteal muscle complex is the single largest skeletal muscle group in the human body. The primary function of the gluteus maximus is to concentrically extend the hip, along with other duties; it can deliver quite the punch when it comes to blood flow and heart rate. Along with other synergist muscles, the glutes have a major role in HIIT training.

What is (high intensity interval training) HIIT?

It is an exercise strategy that is intended to improve performance with short training sessions. HIIT is a form of cardio that is beneficial to burning fat in a short and intense workout. Under the supervision of a skilled exercise professional, some HIIT sessions may vary from only 9–20 minutes. For an advanced example, a runner would alternate 45 seconds of hard sprinting with 60 seconds of walking.

HIIT can help you to stay trim, tone muscles, and help to boost energy as well. What you probably don't know is that HIIT, along with a skin treatment protocol, can actually help you achieve the complexion that you've always wanted. While it's true that regular “steady state” exercise will nourish the skin all over the body with fresh blood, oxygen, and nutrients, nothing comes close to the benefits of a cardio burst followed by a dedicated rest. As scientifically proven in numerous articles, the increased blood flow and circulation that come with working out will help to draw toxins out of the body and improve the condition of all your vital organs, including the epidermis.

The secret in HIIT is that it produces EPOC in the body long after the session is over.

After cardiovascular exercise or weight training such as HIIT, the body continues to need oxygen at a higher rate than before the exercise began. This sustained oxygen consumption is known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Studies have shown metabolic activity related to HIIT for up to 48 hours after the intense exercise bout. Much like skin care products however, not all HIIT programs are created equal. Some may even produce a catabolic, or muscle loss, state in the body resulting in a lowered metabolism and sagging skin. I meet with these clients frequently as they finish a 10-week marathon-training program. Once completing the race, they have done an exhausting steady state cardio program and poorly timed HIIT session protocol, which most likely forces them into severe adrenal fatigue.

Food for thought- when was the last time you saw a frail, saggy armed Olympic sprinter? Most are highly muscular and have tremendous explosive power for short distances. Olympic sprinters use HIIT and periodization when training for the world games. On the other side of the coin, when was the last time you saw an avid marathon runner who was extremely muscular and strong? There are a high percentage of marathoners that suffer from overtraining and unwarranted catabolism from not doing proper strength and/or HIIT programs. Most of my clients who train for marathons end up gaining fat and losing muscle due to their bodies breaking down muscle tissue and storing fat as the body’s response to the excessive oxidative stress. For best results and safety, it is best to consult a qualified fitness professional when starting any cardiovascular program after being cleared to do so by a physician.

HIIT may not be the miracle cure for all conditions, as you may still experience breakouts from time to time. However, with increased metabolic activity and a metabolic effect of increased mitochondrial density in the body, your acne will last for a much shorter time frame. It’s also great for other skin conditions that may not have to do with acne. Your skin losing its elasticity or becoming thin and less resilient is something that we all encounter and is a common problem as we age. In our later years, we start to lose collagen, which will make our skin go south! Physical activity, especially H.I.I.T, can actually help to promote the growth of collagen in your skin cells, which will plump up your facial skin giving it a younger and more vibrant appearance.

Sweat Equity

Sweat has been demonized as the culprit of acne flare-ups. In reality, sweating is great for any type of congested skin by helping to flush the impurities from the epidermal layer and will clean out the pores. As well, vigorous exercise such as HIIT can actually correct the hormonal imbalances that can trigger blemishes, therefore reducing the likelihood of outbreaks. With HIIT you can achieve a reduced abdominal wall, increased muscle tone and softer skin. If you've wanted to add or change to your complexion, the answer is right on top of your chair!