High Intensity INTERLUDE Strength Training (HIIST) – Intense Health Clinics protocol of training


Intense Health was founded by Physical Educator / Exercise Physiologist Marcelo Mesquita and Dietician Andréia Mesquita.

It was born out of their passion for health and fitness and in particular, saving people from the ravages on inactivity, poor health choices and premature ageing. 

Both Andréia and Marcelo were educated by the mainstream academy where outdated ideas still permeate and wreak havoc on the culture.

Dismayed by the this state of affairs and their own health challenges, Marcelo and Andréia created Intense Health. They both have 20 years of experience on the front lines of the health, diet and exercise industry and their journey continues as the directors of Intense Health Clinics.

The Mission

Intense Health’s mission is simple – We Save Lives.

At Intense Health we optimise genetic expression with cutting edge exercise and nutrition so that our clients are rescued from the root of disease and put in the best possible state of health so they can enjoy their lives full of energy and focus on the things they love. Whether it is running about with the kids or rocking million dollar companies – Intense Health optimises human health.

Intense Health’s Interlude Training protocol is the most efficient, effective and safe protocol of strength training in the industry and we take that claim seriously.

Our dietary approach stands in defiance of an outdated model captured by big industry interests and returns people to real food that returns their body back to the vital state that nature intended.

Intense Health combines efficient, effective, safe exercise, real food, cutting edge technology and accountability, to lead the industry in the one thing that matters – RESULTS

The Interlude Training Protocol

Intense Health co-founder Marcelo Mesquita came up in the fitness industry following the usual high volume approach to, exercise pushed by his university background and by the magazine industry and bodybuilding athletes.

The combination of high volume, high frequency training combined with a long running passion for MMA competition and training had left Marcelo looking great but internally fatigued; the chronic fatigue, pain and inflammation forced him rethink his lifestyle and undergo a journey of discovery.

There had to be a better way optimise human health; interlude was born at the end of that journey of discovery.

The Industry Zeitgeist – High Volume Training 

The first difference and the most profound element of the Interlude Training protocol is its brevity –  Just 20 minutes 2x per week.

This is a point of difference firmly grounded in evidence. However, in order to understand the radical difference of the Interlude training protocol, we need to look at strength training history to understand further.

Bodybuilding as a sport essentially gave rise to most of the approaches to resistance training within the fitness Industry – most one to one clinics and personal trainers deploy a form of strength training based on the high volume training approaches of golden era bodybuilders.

The 1970’s was the golden era of bodybuilding and larger than life characters such as Arnold Schwarzenegger led the bodybuilding movement from being a fringe movement viewed as something a little perverse to a multi-billion dollar industry covering gyms, studios, clinics, magazines, various physique related sports and a massive supplement industry.

Sitting atop of this huge industry explosion, was an incredible businessman named Joe Weider who read the tea leaves early and was the first and most successful promoter of bodybuilding via a giant print media business he forged out of obscurity.

Weider scooped up athletes like Schwarzenegger offering them lucrative sponsorship deals in return for featuring in his magazines where the primary goal was to sell the supplements of companies paying large sums of money to place their ads in Weider’s magazines.

It might sound a little cynical but supplements do not replace real food but often the magazines are more than happy to suggest or infer that over the counter supplements play an unrealistic role in the development of bodybuilding physiques; with no mention of the ‘super supplements’ that really are the dirty secret of the bodybuilders super human muscularity.

Bodybuilding athletes of the golden era and today all use high volume training and since the 70’s the idea of 2 hour sessions in the gym 5-6 days per week has been the reigning opinion of what’s required to build a great physique.

Unfortunately, the magazines have sought to dupe the average punter into filling their bodies with ineffective supplements and performing endless hour long gym sessions without telling the truth about the freakish physiques gracing the magazine covers.

Firstly, physique athletes like any sport naturally select via competition pressure the best genetics suited to the sport; competition eliminates gene sets ill suited to growing muscle.

Secondly, competition pressure forces athletes to seek every advantage and it is an open secret that steroids, growth hormone and insulin use are pervasive in the competitive bodybuilding and physique universe – this is why even the men’s physique divisions have muscularity which rivals the heavy weight bodybuilders of the of the 70’s.

The arms race of competition, the desire for sponsorship and industry acclaim have created an arms race built on the back of chemical assistance.

What this means is that the industry heroes we look to for inspiration and guidance are operating under a set of natural advantage and unnatural chemical assistance that makes their training volume and frequency completely ridiculous as a guideline for the general public.

Normal everyday humans cannot train like physique industry megastars and expect positive health outcomes; daily resistance training will eventually cause burnout, chronic stress, inflammation and adverse health outcomes – something I Marcelo have intimately experienced.

The Answer was there all along – Arthur Jones

Whilst Joe Weider was dominating the direction of training influence and supplement advertising another larger than life businessman was offering a much safer course for normal people to undertake.

This man was Arthur Jones (the founder of Nautilus) who apart from creating the resistance machine industry, discovered a radical approach to exercise that flew in the face of the high volume protocols advocated by the Weider camp.

Jones advocated High Intensity Training which correctly understood that intense, brief and infrequent (relatively) exercise was the best recipe for producing hypertrophy without adverse health outcomes.

Jones poured millions into designing the revolutionary Nautilus gym machines and alongside this development he spent just as much money testing out and developing High Intensity Training principles.

Jones advocated no more than 2-3 resistance sessions per week which didn’t exceed about 20 minutes of work per session – with a focus on taking only one set to failure on each exercise; with just enough exercises to cover the body without excessive overlap and redundancy which was a radical departure from HVT which advocated several sets per exercise and 3-4 exercises per body part; with sessions lasting upwards of 2 hours which occurred 5-6 times per week.

Jones’ work on High Intensity Training was expanded upon by legendary Bodybuilders like Mike Mentzer as well as doctors such as Ellington Darden and Doug McGuff who married up the science with the recipes of the HIT practitioners.

It took a while for the science to catch up with the discoveries of the HIT practitioners but it gets closer everyday thanks to the efforts of a small but dedicated group of researchers focused on the truth instead of pushing the routines of chemically aided super stars.

The Interlude Training Protocols are part of the HIT umbrella and are a combination of founder Marcelo Mesquita’s 20 year experience as well as the discoveries of the HIT & HVT camps, finding the methods which delivered the best outcomes.

The relative obscurity of HIT and predominance of HVT has given Intense Health and the Interlude system an enormous potential to not only get great results for clients by offering them an effective, efficient and safe exercise alternative but combining with nutritional guidance and regular body composition assessments made it Intense Health Clinics a very unique results driven facility.

The Interlude System delivers incredibly effective workouts in minutes saving our clients time without compromise on results; our countless success stories (https://www.intensehealth.com/results/) demonstrate that our time saving Interlude Principles actually deliver more results whilst saving clients precious time to enjoy living with their remastered health.

Jones Legacy

Although Intense Health has its own unique twists on HIT we are part of a school of thought and history of exercise that seeks to optimise human health and results; even the Motorised machines that give us such a huge technological advantage in the training room were designed by a designer who worked for Arthur Jones; so it is nice to embrace that legacy that seeks the truth over the sensationalism and cynicism of the mainstream.

Jones went on to found Medx, his son’s found Hammer Strength, his engineers founded RenX, ARX and many of his employees/athletes have made major contributions to HIT theory – Intense Health is proud of its links to this history and we have made it our mission to use the knowledge and technology of this legacy to save lives.

You are now a part of this legacy.

It will not be too long before Intense Health is a big name brand with its own legacy and each Fitness Operator is on the frontline of that legacy; responsible for delivering efficient, effective and safe Interlude Training for all our beloved clients.

Real Exercise

The first distinction between Interlude Training and everything else is the fact we deliver real exercise which contrasts with recreational activity.

Real exercise is physical training that can be performed by an individual over the full duration of their life which has absolute respect for biology, biomechanics and results; facilitates peak physical performance without accruing cumulative damage that would cause them to cease said exercise.

Real exercise is effective, efficient and safe.

Real Exercise:

  • Effectively stimulates muscle fibres as the primary engine of metabolic health and physical performance.
  • Efficiently stimulates muscle fibres by deploying intense muscular contractions which shorten the workout time to the minimum effective dose.
  • Absolutely respects biology, bio-mechanics and reality so that individuals can perform the real exercise protocol for the full duration of their lives without cumulative damage from their exercise routine.

Interlude training protocols and principles adhere to real exercise principles; our competitors do not.

Sports, Cross-fit, High Volume Training, Functional training etc do not strictly adhere to real exercise principles because they fall short on one or more components of real exercise.

Sports have competitive and performance goals which means that at some point in time both acute and cumulative damage is inevitable.

e.g. A rolled ankle from performing an evasive manoeuvre or shin splints from road running.

Almost all recreational and sports activities present a risk to bio-mechanical integrity because the goals of the activity are competitive which requires risks to bio-mechanical health.

Those physical activities without risk are often of insufficient intensity to stimulate positive health adaptations – e.g. Walking.

The Interlude system uses safe controlled movements and Adaptive Resistance Technology to absolutely respect bio-mechanical integrity whilst delivering the intense muscular contractions required to stimulate positive strength and health adaptations.

Intense Health is not against people enjoying recreational activity or sports but we just make sure that what happens inside our training chambers is real exercise.


What is exercise?

“Exercise is a process whereby the body performs work of a demanding nature, in accordance with muscle and joint function, in a clinically-controlled environment, within the constraints of safety, meaningfully loading the muscular structures to inroad their strength levels to stimulate a growth mechanism within minimum time.”

– Ken Hutchins

What is fitness?

The bodily state of being physiologically capable of handling challenges that exist above the resting threshold of activity.

– Doug McGuff

What is health?

A physiological state in which there is an absence of disease or pathology and that maintains the necessary biologic balance between the catabolic and anabolic states.

– Doug McGuff

Volume / Frequency / Intensity 

Intense Health has correctly recognised the importance of intense muscular contractions in stimulating muscle mass and its associated metabolic adaptations.

Unfortunately, most of the industry informed by outdated studies and poor understanding continues to have people exercising too much, too often and with insufficient intensity to trigger meaningful changes in physiology.

Let us go deep on some of the terminology and the underpinnings of how the Interlude principles transform lives.

Intensity Vs. Duration

The Intensity or relative effort of an exercise is inversely proportional to the duration of which the said exercise can be maintained.

restated simply – muscles can either go hard or go long; they cannot do both.

This relationship between intensity and duration is a physiological fact about the nature of muscle tissue not only in humans but across the vast majority of the animal kingdom.

Hard work or intense muscular work is metabolically expensive and it quickly taps the bodies energy systems which automatically caps the duration of the intense muscular contractions.

The Interlude system does not deploy 20 minute workouts because we don’t want to do more – it is a 20 minute workout because several hard all out sets of intense exercise is all the body can handle; with any additional work being unnecessary and potentially compromising to results.

It just so happens the hard or intense work is the greatest stimulus for metabolic adaptions in the human body that result in positive health improvements – it is simply a bonus that intense workouts save time and that we have used smart technology and High Intensity Training wisdom to make it the safest form of exercise.

Intensity – A measure of how hard an activity is expressed as a percentage of momentary muscular failure or work performed over time.

Typically Intense muscular contractions use anaerobic energy systems and will deploy the full spectrum of muscle fibre in a target muscle from slow, medium and eventually fast twitch muscle fibres.

In the domain of strength training Intensity can be expressed by its proximity to momentary muscular failure – a set taken several repetitions short of failure would not be considered intense but an exercise taken almost to or completely to the point another repetition could not be completed would be considered an Intense set.

When you really think about it – it makes complete sense that hard work, works.

You have to give the body the right stimulus to change and upgrade its muscular systems; Intense muscular contractions taken near or close to MMF is a physiological requirement to induce positive changes in a body.


Volume – A measure of how many sets are performed in a workout or on a target muscle group.

Most of the industry led by the bad advice of chemically enhanced super freaks has people performing far too many sets, in an incorrect manner, leading to excessive wear and tear or cumulative damage to the joints of the body.

The Interlude system replaces countless unproductive sets with a small numbers of intense sets designed to send the precise signal to stimulate change whilst minimising wear and tear from overuse.


Frequency – is a measure of how often exercise is performed.

The Interlude system uses an intense training stimulus and this means sufficient rest is required between workouts to allow the body to heal, recover and then super-compensate by building up new muscle tissue along with the associated metabolic adaptations to support the new muscle.

Most other training modalities do not correctly understand the healing process of the body.

Once Intense exercise sends the signal for change the body requires rest to allow for healing and adaptations to accrue.

By only deploying 2-3 workouts per week per client we are allowing our clients bodies to accumulate maximum recovery and benefit from the Interlude workouts – smart.

Excessive frequency is the greatest danger to a body as it essentially provides a chronic stressor for the body resulting in chronic inflammation, a weakened immune system and cumulative wear and tear.

Getting the frequency right allows for the correct balance between catabolic and anabolic states which is a requirement of an organisms health – too much frequency creates excessive catabolism within the body which will rapidly decrease health markers.

Sprint vs Marathon

Although we do not advocate the speed of sprinting due to the injury risks the comparison between sprinting and long distance running serves as a great example of the consequences of exercise modality.

Sprinters perform intense muscular contractions and collapse across the line after a mere 100 metres of travel.

The sheer effort exhausts the sprinters slow, medium and fast twitch fibres in mere seconds and their physiques are muscular and powerful – they are genetically predisposed for muscularity but the intense training builds upon this genetic potential.

Compare this to a marathon runner who performs at a low intensity but for an incredible duration of time.

The marathon runner maintains a steady pace for a long period and eventually collapses across the line after several hours of work – they are genetically predisposed to have smaller muscle but the training in some sense rapidly reduces muscle size in order to maximise efficiency and the fast twitch fibres are never engaged.

Interlude is more akin to the sprint event except we use load, speed limiting technology and excellent exercise form to create intense muscular contractions without the dangers of explosive movements used in sprinting.

Stimulus / Response 

We already mentioned the need for recovery when discussing frequency of training but it cannot be emphasised enough.

It is a very common question from clients about whether they need to do something extra in between our Intense Interlude sessions – the short answer is no but recreational activities or an average of 3 hours weekly movement is recommended for a healthy lifestyle.

It is very important to understand the relationship between stimulus and response when it comes to exercise.

The Interlude workouts are very intense and after a few months of our guidance clients become very capable at delivering peak performances inside the training chamber.

If the client attempted their own strength training regime in between the Interlude workouts they would prevent their body healing properly and fully realising the potential improvements induced by the Interlude workout.

It is like picking a scab or trying to heal a sunburn by hopping in a tanning bed the day after your skin peeled.

The body has a natural recovery process following exercise which is dictated by genetics and heavily augmented by diet and lifestyle factors – if you or clients short circuit the healing process it  suppresses the benefits that could have accrued if the client had simply let their body heal and lay down some new muscle tissue.

The Interlude protocol understands the twin forces of stimulus and recovery and seeks to allow clients to heal further and faster between workouts giving us a huge advantage in delivering real results with real exercise – who heals the most wins.

When the training stimulus and recovery are harmonised clients will capture peak performances in most sets of most workouts showing a clear forward trend in terms of strength development – fortunately we have precise tools for such a measurement but if we do not get this balance right clients will experience plateau’s and perhaps backwards trend lines in their performance.

Stress, hydration and nutrition all come into play when it comes to recovery so be careful not equate a poor nights sleep with insufficient time between workouts – it is important not to be too fastidious about performance but a general upward trend is the ideal.


It goes without saying but one workout is not sufficient to maximise the health of a client.

The process of stimulus / response or workout / recovery is an ongoing process.

Each new workout and recovery cycle will yield improvements in muscle mass and physiology but the clients body needs this process to be continued for the duration of their life, always attempting new peaks of performance until their genetic potential is reached and then maintained.

The body requires regular stimulus to keep this process of catabolism and anabolism to continue in an upward trend; with the result being a strong capable body which is fighting fit against the ravages of time and ageing.

As clients progress under Intense Health tutelage, Fitness Operators need to deploy a variety of techniques to keep stimulating the clientele into positive adaptation.

There is a genetic peak and age will always have its way but the Intense Health promise is to keep the ravages off time at bay for as long as possible and this requires progressively challenging workouts.

Interlude Training Continued

Interlude training represents a moment in time where clients can put aside the outside world with all its stress and responsibility and dedicate a small part of their schedule to focus solely on their health.

During this interlude our clients are expertly guided through an intense Interlude workout which effectively, efficiently and safely stimulates their body into making positive health adaptions – using the primary mechanism of intense muscular contractions.

The Real Food dietary approach developed by Director Andréia combined with adequate rest allows the positive adaptations of the Interlude workout to take effect so that clients health rapidly improves.

Interlude Training Protocols contain the imbedded knowledge and wisdom of a long list of High Intensity Scientists and Trainers as well as the 20 year Personal Training experience of Director Marcelo Mesquita.

At the core of the Interlude workout is three values.


These three values are taken seriously and all Fitness Operators are expected to embody these values inside the training chamber and in their own workouts.

Effectiveness – High Intensity Exercise to stimulate muscular adaptations.

Efficiency – Brief 20 minute workouts to give people more time to enjoy their new health without a compromise to results.

Safe – Industry leading instruction on real exercise form and technique to ensure muscles are worked hard but bones and joints are never compromised – Intense Health Fitness operators are expected to be form freaks.

We spend a great deal of time educating and developing the Fitness Operating team to ensure you have all the knowledge, tools and practise necessary to deliver on the three core values – all you need is to do is to pay attention, ask questions and have a positive attitude to progress.

We the Intense Health TEAM will love to see you in one of our Clinics for a free trial experience.

YOU must experience to understand…


Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.


Marcelo is the co-founder and Director of Exercise Physiology at Intense Health, Perth's #1 Private Strength Training and Nutrition Clinics.