High Intensity Interval Training is making its way into main stream fitness programming. This type of training includes intense interval movements (highly elevated heart rate) followed by a timed recuperation period and then repeat. There are many formats in the fitness industry that follow the HIIT training format. Starting with Tabata, interval spin classes HIIT TRX classes. This form of training is not just allocated to the fitness world, but actually has its roots in the athletic world. HIIT training is incorporated in all sports including swimming, running, football, etc.
Why this sudden interest in HIIT training? The most common answer is it is not boring. The rapid movements from high intensity, to recovery and then repeat for the numbered of sets in that session keeps participants focused on what they are doing, making time pass quickly. The intense training also takes less time, and the science says you burn more calories, develop more muscle and increase aerobic fitness more efficiently than long sustained aerobic training, which, of course, can be boring and time-consuming. There are many more physiological responses to this form of training as well, like:
Stronger heart: The bigger the demand from the muscles for oxygen the harder the heart has to work. The harder it works, the stronger it gets and becomes more efficient in supplying the working muscle with the oxygen it needs. The heart is a muscle, but it is the laziest of all the muscles and rightfully so, if you consider that the heart is always pumping throughout our life span, and if not impaired by disease, performs better than any machine yet built. Having said that you need to make it work to increase its strength. This is not an easy chore, and that is why people love training in the fat burning zone. It is comfortable there, and although it most defiantly has its place in training, you need to get out of this comfort zone for increased aerobic benefits and a stronger heart.
Time efficient: Short amount of time with big results. What’s not to like? Moves like burpees and other HIIT Training moves can be performed anywhere, at any time, no equipment needed. Wow! Talk about taking away any excuses to not work out.
Creates muscle and better fat loss: A majority of the moves are weight resistant training, whether you are using your body weight for the resistance, or dumbbells, or machines, the demand is great enough to cause muscle development. The more muscle, the higher the metabolism. The higher the metabolism, the more energy you need, and yep, it gobbles up fat for that energy.
Examples of HIIT Training could include something as simple as doing 30 seconds of burpees followed by a light jog or walk in place for 30 seconds and then repeating the sequence. The sky is the limit in designing these HIIT workouts. Because of the intensity, most training durations last about 30 minutes. Remember to do a warm up and a cool down before and after the session.
I want to point out that even though this is a great way to workout, it is only one of the many components that create a complete fitness program. A fitness program is not an athletic endeavor; it is a system that enhances the quality of your life. Wellbeing for individuals includes nutrition, adequate sleep, flexibility, and a grounded sense of self: taking time to smell the roses, such as meditative walks or hikes in nature, meditation, and spending time with friends and families is just as important as the exercise. Combine all of the above into your lifestyle, and I am sure the quality of your life will benefit from it.