My next step In Michael Mosley’s Footprints

Fast Exercise

I am increasingly becoming a bit of a fan of Michael Mosley. I have never worked with him on a TV production. We did both work in the same BBC office for a short time, and at one point grunted at each other, while negotiating use of the office kettle, but I don’t know him.

His Horizon on exercise, actually came out before the one on the Five:Two diet which, is responsible for his stratospheric rise in notoriety.

I have written about my experience of using the 5:2 diet to reduce my weight here: In short it has worked very well for me. I have lost almost 3 stone and find it to be a very easy way of restraining myself.Until now I haven’t bothered with HIT training. High Intensity Interval Training is supposed to be a very time efficient way of getting exercise. As described here: exercise is an ineffective way of losing weight. I already take a lot of exercise, so although minutes of HIT training has the same benefits as an hour of low intensity exercise, I didn’t see the point of starting HIT as I get hours of low intensity exercise by using a bike.

However I have lost a lot of weight now. I did Five: Two and then cut sugar out and am in the best shape of my life, but I am again at a plateau. I am now 14 Stone 2, and finally feel quite good about my current weight and how I am looking. In the past I have been in good shape, but have generally lapsed back. I hope this won’t be the case again and that I can carry on doing 5:2 indefinitely. I certainly find it easier than committing to hours at the gym. This 5:2 experience has made me feel that there is little point engaging in a health intervention unless you think there is a realistic prospect of sustaining it indefinitely.

I now feel in a position to have a go at HIT training.  The appeal is that you only do 7 minutes a day. I wish I could say that I wanted to do it for health reasons, but that isn’t true. I want to do it because I still have a bit of subcutaneous fat (flab) on my stomach and I wander if I do HIT weather I will be able to get that “ideal” muscular body that men are supposed to have. To be honest, if it doesn’t work, or it does work and I laps back to my current state then I won’t be devastated: My venture into HIT is purely about vanity.

So what have I done so far? Last week I bought Michael Mosley’s book, Fast Exercise. It’s cheap, there is good info in there, but it did feel to me like it didn’t need to be a book: a pamphlet could have covered it.  I learned the exercises, and worked out where I would do my “Fast Fitness”. That is sprinting up a hill at full speed for 30 seconds four times.

I also tested my fitness and established a base line as the book suggested and bought a heart rate monitor. Oh and bought an egg timer so I know when 30 seconds is up.

I can do 39 press-ups in a minute which for a man of my age is excellent, though not Superior, I need to get another 12 in to get to the top bracket. Using the monitor I did this test, where you walk for a mile at top speed and then record your heart rate at the end. Having done that I have established I have an estimated V02 max of 56. This puts me in the excellent category (just) which is the top group. So I am already very good at converting oxygen into C02. I also measured my waist: 36inch and my right bicep is 14.5 inch in circumference.

My plan is to do the 4 HIT sessions a week that they recommend in the book for the next 6 weeks. That is about 2 hours and 40 minutes exercise in total in the next month and a half. So in a way I will be absolutely astonished if that makes any difference, but how amazing if it does?

From the first couple of sessions I can tell you that I find the “Fast strength” sessions much easier than the “Fast fitness”. Fast strength is doing as many press-ups as you can in 30 seconds, then have a 10 second break, then doing 30 second of another kind of strength exercise like squats, and so on for 7 minutes. Fast fitness is sprinting on foot or on a bike for 30 seconds with four minutes rest between sets. That is totally hideous! Sprint training was the thing I hated most, when I played rugby and Fast fitness is basically a particularly nasty version of that. But it is over very quickly so although it is unpleasant. It is quite hard for me to talk myself out of doing it: Which seems to be the main selling point of all Michael Mosley’s health interventions.

However the first time I tried to do the four 30 seconds sprints half way through the third one I felt like I wanted to die, and just stopped running and walked straight back to my flat and crashed on the couch. I have since managed four sprints.

I think the idea is that this exercise can be a bit like brushing your teeth. It’s not the highlight of the day, but you kind of know that you have to do it, and as a result you just get up in the morning and get it done.

From what I have read, if you have lots of weight to lose, don’t bother with this. It will be a waste of time. Judging by my fitness test: If you have a life style with activity built in i.e. lots of exercise base transport then there can’t really be any health benefits either, I don’t believe increasing my fitness as measured by V02 max beyond where it is will significantly improve my life expectancy but there is still that vanity thing. As for that, I will just have to let you know how I get on.