By now you’ve all heard of this thing called HIIT training, but what is it really? Can a shorter workout really be more effective? What does HIIT even stand for anyway? I see a lot of gyms that only offer this… is it the only type of workout I need?
What is HIIT
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and yes it is all the rage right now, but the truth is it isn’t really a new idea at all. Fitness professionals have been using this type of training for decades just under different names or as part of a larger workout. Chances are you have done HIIT training without even knowing it. The difference is now there are a lot of scientific studies supporting the idea of short, high intensity bursts; specifically for increased fat burn. This is generally in comparison to a longer duration bout of steady state cardio like running or biking. The workouts can use a variety of formats but will always include a cardio interval designed to push you to maximal effort followed by a rest interval that allows your heart rate to lower and your body to recover and prepare for the next high intensity interval.
Why HIIT is Effective
High intensity intervals elevate the heart rate to near maximal levels and as a result stimulate high calorie burn. This is great, but the real kicker is that elevating the heart rate this high also allows it to stay at or above the fat burning zone during your rest intervals; meaning in a 30 min session you are burning a significant amount of calories. HIIT training, if you can truly push yourself to your limits, also has the potential to put your body into EPOC. This is a phenomenon that allows your body to maintain an extended calorie burn for 24-36 hours after the workout. Keep in mind there is potential for this, but few of us possess the motivation and ambition to push our bodies to this level and maintain it for the required 20 minutes. Plus reaching this state is very uncomfortable and can be accompanied by nausea, irritated bowls, and other general discomfort. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it : )
Ladies after a HIIT workout at Motion Fitness and Massage
In summary… Yes, HIIT training is very effective due to its short duration. If you truly push yourself to your limit you could not physically maintain this intensity level for longer. However, it is important to qualify what HIIT is effective for. HIIT training is a great fat burning tool but should not be the only type of training you do. A good exercise program would include some HIIT workouts but also include slower longer workouts to work on muscular strength and endurance, as well as flexibility. The longer workouts will train your body for cardiovascular endurance and train the systems in your body responsible for sustaining activities for a longer duration. A great training program, like those at Motion Fitness and Massage, are well balanced and works to train all systems in your body.
Every Thursday night a new HIIT workout starts every 30 minutes from 4-6:30 pm. Drop in to check one out!