Healthy Living Magazine

by

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT (pronounced ‘hit’), can be done anywhere with little or no equipment, is simple to follow, and takes very little time. Great for beginners, as well as experienced exercisers looking for more challenge, a HIIT workout improves cardiovascular and muscular fitness, improves metabolism and increases fat loss. Good news for today’s time-crunched generation!

The HIIT workout challenges the cardiovascular system through quick, challenging bursts of activity, with exercisers working at 7 or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, or at 70 to 80% of their maximum heart rate. Intense work is followed by a period of rest or lower intensity activity to let the body recover.

For example, the exerciser might perform a high knees run or burpees for 20 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeating this cycle for four minutes. Total workout time would be 12 to 20 minutes and would include two to four rounds of different exercises in each four-minute block.

Another example would combine 30 seconds of high intensity and two to four minutes of low intensity exercise. Other popular HIIT formats include Boot Camp classes, Extreme Interval Training workouts, and the more recent SHRED workout.

Have a Heart!

HIIT is even being used for recovering heart patients. A recent conference hosted by the Ontario Society for Health and Fitness addressed the benefits of HIIT for older adults and cardiac patients. Erich Baumhard is a fitness counselor and personal trainer with the Town of Whitchurch Stouffville Leisure Centre, a ‘heartwise’ facility which works with Newmarket’s Southlake Hospital on the rehabilitation and treatment of cardiac patients. “Interval training is considered the best way for your cardio system to train and adapt,” says Erich. “HIIT can be introduced safely for cardiac patients to improve heart function and limit repeated cardiac episodes.”

Going for Gold

Why has HIIT become the gold standard of fitness training? According to Shanon McMillan, personal trainer with York Region’s Coreshots Fitness, most of us have little time to work out and want a quick fix, and HITT training is efficient and great for calorie burning. “Thirty minutes of high intensity training is the equivalent of a one-hour run,” she says.

If this sounds too good to be true, consider the research. A study conducted by exercise physiologist, Dr. Peter Lemon, at The University of Western Ontario, found that six bouts of 30 seconds of high intensity interspersed with four minutes of low-intensity running burned over twice as much fat as typical aerobic cardio, despite spending half as much time on the treadmill.

So if you thought slow and steady always wins the race, especially when it comes to calorie burning, think again. In the past, exercise physiologists advocated ‘steady state’ cardio as most efficient for fat loss because relatively more fat (and less glycogen) is burned by the body as a source of fuel at lower intensities. As a result of this thinking, fat-burning workouts such as jogging, long walks and low intensity aerobics classes have dominated fitness programs for many years.

This research remains valid: your body does in fact burn more fat relative to glycogen when you jog, but you need to look at total fat burn. At higher intensities, you burn more total fat even if the fat/glycogen-burning ratio is lower; that’s because the number of total calories consumed is greater.

As an added bonus, a HIIT workout also burns more total fat due to the EPOC effect (excess post exercise oxygen consumption), resulting in an increase of as much as 37% more fat burning up to 14 hours post exercise. Comparatively, a long aerobic jog results in virtually no caloric burn post workout.

Balance is the Key

Most fitness trainers espouse blending both approaches to exercise. You need longer duration cardiovascular training to build your cardiovascular fitness base as well as HIIT training to build strength, burn fat and increase your metabolism. Research at The University of Western Ontario has shown that although short intervals and long runs produce similar fitness increases, they do so through different mechanisms. Interval work stimulates greater gains in muscle efficiency, while long distance running produces more adaptation in the heart.

“It’s important to mix it up,” Shanon advises. “Try doing two 20 to 30 minute HIIT workouts a week and one longer cardio workout of 40 to 50 minutes duration.” Ideally, include a yoga or stretching workout once a week as well, and if time permits, one weight-training workout a week to round out your program.

Don’t Overdo It!

Beginners who want to be ‘bikini-ready’ in a month by benefitting from HIIT’s promise of quick fat-loss should be cautious of doing too much too soon. Too much HIIT can cause overtraining syndrome, injury and burnout. It’s crucial to consider volume and intensity when you are starting out.

Limiting HIIT workouts to two, maximum three, times a week with a 48-hour rest between sessions is important for recovery, as is sufficient sleep and healthy eating. “HIIT is fat-burning, but it can also cause injury,” says Erich. “People need to get away from just losing weight and focus on being athletically minded, building muscular strength and a good cardio base.” Balance and overall fitness are crucial to staying injury-free.

When beginning a HIIT program, be sure to include an adequate warm-up and cool-down, and be careful of progressing too quickly. “Beginners should do a minimum of four weeks of a periodized program of strength and cardiovascular training of four days a week to build a cardio base, and then introduce HIIT,” says Erich. He also recommends consulting a trainer before starting a fitness program and/or seeing a physiotherapist if you experience recurring injuries.

Anyone Can Do It

HIIT may sound intimidating and challenging, but if you progress gradually and build a fitness base, it can be an effective workout for every fitness level. “Everyone’s definition of intensity is different,” says Shanon, “and every workout can be modified to the individual. The problem is that people don’t take the options to modify.”

Shanon encourages her clients to know their limits, which makes them feel better about themselves and encourages them to return. “If people work too hard, they get injured and don’t come back. I always give three levels for an exercise and allow people to feel comfortable doing level one.”

For the more experienced, HIIT differs from what people have done previously. “Anything different benefits the body and challenges it,” says Shanon. HIIT can also be incorporated into just about any activity, for example, by using kettlebells, boxing, step, warrior ropes, spinning, rowing or running.

So, while HIIT can provide an efficient workout for every level, remember to progress slowly and know your limits. Find a trainer or instructor who can both motivate you and modify workouts to your fitness level. Look for a Boot Camp, SHRED, HIIT or Tabata class at your local fitness facility for a great way to build muscle and burn fat more efficiently.

This trend is here to stay, so jump on the bandwagon to greater health and fitness and try a HIIT workout today!

Tiffany Moffatt is a certified Personal Trainer Specialist, Fitness Instructor Specialist, Pre and Postnatal Specialist (Canfitpro certified) and freelance writer who has worked in the fitness industry for 25 years. tiffanysbeyourbest.blogspot.com.

 

 

37 thoughts on “It’s a HIIT! Get Fitter Faster with High Intensity Interval Training

  1. Hey, very nice blog. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

    Health And Fitness Courses

  2. hi!,I like your writing very so much! proportion we communicate extra approximately your post on AOL? I require a specialist on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that is you! Looking ahead to see you.

  3. Hi there i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this
    piece of writing i thought i could also make comment due to this brilliant article.

  4. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this submit and if I may just I desire to suggest you some attention-grabbing issues or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles regarding this article. I desire to read more issues about it!

  5. Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my website thus i came to “go back the choose”.I am attempting to in finding issues to enhance my site!I guess its good enough to make use of a few of your concepts!!

  6. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here frequently.
    I am quite sure I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here!

    Good luck for the next!

  7. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

  8. This is the right web site for anybody who wants to find out about this topic.
    You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally
    would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a topic that’s been written about for
    a long time. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

  9. Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask.
    Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?

    My website discusses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to send me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!

  10. Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site
    with us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers!
    Terrific blog and terrific style and design.

  11. Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that I
    have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case
    I’ll be subscribing for your rss feed and I am hoping
    you write again very soon!

  12. Great tremendous things here. I?¦m very happy to see your post. Thanks a lot and i am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  13. It is the best time to make a few plans for the longer term and
    it is time to be happy. I have learn this submit and if I may just
    I wish to recommend you few fascinating issues or suggestions.
    Perhaps you can write subsequent articles referring to
    this article. I desire to read even more things approximately it!

  14. Hello! Quick question that’s entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Many thanks!

  15. I just want to mention I am new to blogs and honestly enjoyed this blog site. More than likely I’m planning to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with really good well written articles. Cheers for sharing your website page.

  16. I found your blog web site on google and verify just a few of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the excellent operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. Seeking ahead to reading extra from you afterward!…

  17. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your weblog. You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested. Many thanks!

  18. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, great blog!

  19. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome web log!

  20. Have you ever thought about publishing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog centered on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e mail.

  21. Hello there, You have done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

  22. I do like the way you have presented this particular concern and it does indeed present me some fodder for thought. On the other hand, because of what I have observed, I only trust when the actual commentary pack on that men and women keep on issue and don’t embark upon a tirade regarding some other news of the day. Yet, thank you for this fantastic point and while I do not concur with the idea in totality, I respect your point of view.

  23. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do some research about this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such excellent information being shared freely out there.

  24. I?m amazed, I must claim. Really hardly ever do I experience a blog that?s both informative and also entertaining, as well as let me tell you, you have struck the nail on the head. Your idea is impressive; the problem is something that not nearly enough people are speaking intelligently around. I am very satisfied that I stumbled across this in my look for something relating to this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.