HIIT training, have you heard of it? Well, according to ACSM its one of 2014 top fitness trends. HIIT training or high intensity interval training has become quite popular in the last year and for good reasons. But before I get started on that, if you don’t know what HIIT training is, this is how it works. HIIT training is a type of cardiovascular based workout, but instead of biking or swimming or running for 30 minutes or more at a moderate intensity, it alternates between sprinting and resting. The high intensity intervals are generally performed anywhere from 30 seconds to 5 minutes, with a recovery interval that is equal to or longer than the high intensity interval (“High intensity interval,” ).
In the last year HIIT training has gained popularity for its many benefits. Here are just a few:
- Significantly increased aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
- Decreased fasting insulin and increase insulin sensitivity.
- Reduced abdominal and subcutaneous (just under the skin) fat.
HIIT training is also an incredibly efficient way to workout. Just 15 minutes 3 times a week can burn more calories and fat than running for an hour at a moderate intensity (“High intensity interval,” ). Participants in a study were compared in a 20-week endurance training program vs. a 15-week HIIT training program. Despite the lower energy costs and the shorter program, participants in the HIIT training showed greater reductions in body fat (Tremblay, Simoneau & Bourchard, 1994). No wonder it’s so popular!
Another great thing about HIIT training is that it’s not only efficient but adaptable as well! You don’t need any equipment to do it. Just get your heart racing, you can adapt it to whatever space and time constraints you have. It can be high knees in place or jumping rope or sprints down the sidewalk. Make it what you want and make it fun!
If you are looking at trying HIIT training it can be difficult to decide where to start. There are so many variations that there is not really a set protocol (which is what makes it such a flexible routine). The best thing to do is experiment with shorter and longer periods of speed and recovery times to find what works best with you. To avoid injury it is suggested to do HIIT training only 1-2 times per week and as always if you are thinking of starting something new, make sure you consult with you doctor to make sure this type of exercise is okay for you. So, there you have it, a great way to get the full benefit of your workout even in a time crunch.
High intensity interval training . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.acefitness.org/fitness-fact-
Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J., & Bourchard, C. (1994). Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and
skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism , 43(7), 814-818. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed /8028502