High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become the hottest thing on the fitness scene. Though this type of training has been around for a while, HIIT has just recently become mainstream. A recent study that was published in the November/December issue of ACSM Health & Fitness Journal found HIIT to be the number one fitness trend for 1014.
High Intensity Interval Training a type of exercise that involves short bursts of physical activity, followed by a shorter (sometimes active) rest or recovery period. HIIT workouts usually last anywhere from 4 -30 minutes, and are known for making you want to puke and die once completed. Programs such as Insanity and P90X are the most common forms of HIIT and though these workouts are short, they are tough. If you’ve ever talked to someone who does HIIT, you have probably heard them say it’s the hardest and most intense workout that they’ve ever done; which is why they are freakishly obsessed.
There isn’t really a specific formula to HIIT, but the workouts usually consist of a warm up, three to ten reps of high intensity exercises divided by medium intensity exercises for recovery, and a cool down. The high intensity exercises are to be performed at, or close to maximum intensity (100%) and the medium intensity exercises are to be performed at about 50%. Since there is no exact formula, the type of exercise really depends on the specific individuals cardiovascular level. A common formula for HIIT is a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery. So say you do a hard sprint for 30-40 seconds, then you would do 15-20 seconds of light jogging or walking.
Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training
Time Efficiency. If you want to get fit and loose weight quickly than this is the fitness trend is for you. Why spend hours at the gym when you can build muscle and loose fat in less than 30 min? These workouts can be done anywhere and the time period for results to be show is significantly shorter than traditional workouts.
Increased Cardiovascular Endurance. According to one study that was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. But wait there’s more! If you think 30 minutes is still something that you can’t swing, than I have one word for you, Tabata. With this training method you can perform a complete HIIT workout in only 4 minutes. Pretty freaking sweet if you ask me.
Increased Metabolic Rate. Not only do you burn an absurd amount of calories with HIIT, but you burn more fat. High Intensity Interval Training kicks your body’s repair cycle into overdrive, meaning that you will keep burning calories after your workout at a higher level. This afterburn effect is called Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. This speeds up your metabolism and can keep it running at a faster pace for up to 48 after a workout. It’s like free calorie burning!
Challenging and Entertaining. One of my favorite quotes is that from Kevin Trudeau, which is “Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” Though these workouts are short, they are tough. Your body is designed to be pushed to its limits and these workouts will do just that. One thing I can promise you will happen when you participate in an HIIT session, you will break a sweat and you will have fun doing it. These workouts are designed to have variety so as to keep your body from hitting a plateau. So you will most definitely be sore (in the best way possible), but you will definitely not be bored.
Minimal to No Equipment Needed. Since HIIT is mostly based on bodyweight exercises, you don’t necessarily need to have any equipment. The main focus of High Intensity Interval Training is to get your heart rate up and keep it there, and this can be done without kettlebells or dumbbells. Like we said before, there are many different forms of this fitness trend, but in a lot of cases you can do this type of workout anywhere with little to no equipment.
Just like any other fitness trend, choosing the right type of workout for your personal schedule, style and fitness level is key. If you are looking to blast fat, stay entertained, and work your ass off in a short amount of time, then the newest trend on the fitness scene, High Intensity Interval Training, is the right choice for you. Do a little research and find a local gym near you that offers one of these awesome HIIT based classes and you will not be disappointed. If joining a class is not in the cards for you at the moment, take a look at some Tababa exercises and give it a try. High Intensity Interval Training, 2014’s number one fitness trend. All the cool kids are doing it.