High Intensity Interval Training is easily modifiable to tailor different fitness levels and various health conditions like diabetes and obesity. It allows the same, if not more, fitness benefits as steady endurance workouts, but in relatively shorter time.
Why is HIIT a major hit?
HIIT workouts burn more calories than traditional workouts, even more so after the exercise regimen. There is an approximately 2-hour period after a workout where the body is recovering and restoring itself to its pre-workout levels. In HIIT exercises, this period tends to use more energy due to its vigorous contractile nature. This post-workout burn adds roughly 6 to 15% more calories to the exercise’s total energy expenditure.
The hot benefits of HIIT
HIIT training has been shown to enhance aerobic and anaerobic fitness, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, cholesterol profiles, insulin sensitivity which allows the exercising muscles to readily utilize glucose for fuel to generate energy), and reduce body weight and abdominal fat while maintaining muscle mass.
According to a Canadian study, as little as 3 HIIT sessions per week, involving ≤10 minutes of intense exercise within ≤30 minutes per session (comprising of warm-up, recovery between intervals and cool down) has been shown to boost aerobic capacity, exercise tolerance, skeletal muscle oxidative capacity. After only a few weeks, it was also shown to decrease markers of disease risk in healthy people and in individuals with cardio metabolic disorders.
Another study conducted in New Zealand found that remarkable improvements were seen for visceral fat mass (∼10%), V˙O2peak (∼6%), body fat percentage (∼4%) and waist circumference-to-height ratio (∼3%) in low-active adolescent males who performed one HIIT set twice per week.
HIIT your way to athletic endurance
Be it cycling, running, soccer, sprint, swimming, aerobic exercise needs endurance so athletes can go on full throttle without losing steam. Interval training has been an important part of numerous athletic training programs for countless years because a lot of sporting activities like triathlons necessitate short intervals of movement at really high intensities.
Endurance allows both athletes and non-athletes to work out at a given intensity or for a prolonged amount of time such as in marathons. There are a handful of factors that must be integrated to make an athlete’s “endurance profile”. Two of the most imperative factors are VO2 max and lactate threshold. VO2 max, or the maximum rate at which a person’s body can consume oxygen during exercise, is the most popular and probably the most optimal measurement of aerobic capacity. Maximal oxygen uptake can be improved with targeted training. HIIT workouts have been shown to significantly enhance V̇o2max, O2 pulse and power output in physically active men and women.
The best part of HIIT workouts is that it can be performed on all exercise modes. So whichever mode you want to develop athletic endurance for, from aqua training, to cycling, elliptical cross-training, running, swimming, and even group exercise classes such as offered by Les Mills, you’re sure to be able to make it into a HIIT workout.
HIIT has become an exceedingly recognized and widely accepted method of training. Go on and add HIIT workouts to your daily grind and up your fitness to another level.