With our busy lifestyles and decreasing spare time within our social week, people need to start training smart and more efficiently. One way to do this whilst burning more calories, losing more fat, and improve your cardiovascular fitness level is by participating in HIIT training. HIIT stands for high intensity interval training.
Before getting into the science, please notice that I didn’t say HIIT would be easier, just that it would take less of your time and generate quick results. In fact, the HIIT approach to cardio exercise is very physically demanding and isn’t for everyone. If you have any health concerns that may limit your ability to exercise at very intense levels, or if you are relatively new to aerobic exercise, HIIT is still a great way to achieve gains very quickly but please use this type of training using fitness professionals.
What Is HIIT and more importantly what’s the science behind it ?
HIIT is a form of interval training that involves short bursts of maximum intensity exercise separated by longer periods of low or resting exercise, for example 20 seconds at 100% maximum effort sprint then 30 seconds rest. There are many different approaches to HIIT, each involving different numbers of high and low intensity intervals, including different lengths of time for each interval, different numbers of training sessions per week and different levels of resistance. When doing this type of training you always need to be mixing things by changing distances, rest times and resistance levels. The higher the heart rate is the more benefits you will gain including cardiovascular fitness and increased fat loss. As this type of exercise involves pushing yourself beyond the upper end of your maximum exercise zone, it offers you several advantages that traditional steady state exercise can’t provide.
Some benefits of HIIT Training
- HIIT training conditions both your anaerobic and aerobic energy systems, this is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power.
- HIIT increases the amount of calories you burn during your exercise session and it is proved to continually burn more calories in the following 24 hours afterwards as it increases the length of time it takes your body to recover from each exercise session, furthermore putting your body in a state of ‘shock’ thus your heart is working harder as it never gets used to doing the same boring thing.
- HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use more fat as fuel under a variety of conditions. This will improve your athletic endurance as well as your fat-burning potential. Scientific studies show that HIIT appears to limit muscle loss that can occur with weight loss, in comparison to traditional steady-state cardio exercise of longer duration.
As previously stated the key element of HIIT that makes it different from other forms of interval training is that the high intensity intervals involve maximum effort, not simply a higher heart rate. So in lemans terms your whole body is working together, thus providing more calorific output rather than just using certain individual muscle groups. With my individual clients at my Manchester Gym I use the rowing machine a lot for HIIT training, in my opinion if used correctly the rowing machine is the best piece of kit in a gym, as it’s a mixture of legs, arms, cardiovascular and power.
If you want to use HIIT to improve performance for a particular sport or activity, you’ll need to tailor your training program to the specific needs and demands of your activity or sport. You don’t need to swap all of your aerobic exercise for HIIT to gain the benefits. You need a good balance, for example, you might introduce two sessions of HIIT per week into your training, along with 1-2 sessions of steady state aerobic exercise. As usual, moderation is the key to long-term success, so challenge yourself, however don’t drive yourself into the ground and always add in specific rest days to make sure you always get 100% out of your HIIT training. By using this training method get ready to see major changes I your body’s aesthetic look and your fitness levels.
For more information call Ollie Lawrence personal trainer Manchester on 0161 399 00 77.
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