If you’ve already tried high intensity interval training, commonly referred to as HIIT, you may be able to understand why some people actually dread their sessions; yet this could be the best way for you to get maximum benefits from exercise and fitness training programme.
Also known as high intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) or sprint interval training (SIT), HIIT is an enhanced form of workout that alternates between short, intense bursts of anaerobic exercise – this might include burpees, jumping jacks, high knees, fast feet, squats and sit ups – with short periods of recovery. Usual HIIT sessions can vary from 4 to 30 minutes. Research has shown you can achieve more progress in 15 minutes of interval training, when done three times per week, than jogging on a treadmill for an hour. According to a 2011 study that was unveiled at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting, just two weeks of high intensity interval training can improve your aerobic capacity as much as six to eight weeks of endurance training.
Research has shown you can achieve more progress in 15 minutes of interval training, when done three times per week, than jogging on a treadmill for an hour
New research has also shown high intensity interval training may be even more beneficial for women. Researchers from three US universities put eight men and eight women, aged 19-30, through a self-paced, HIIT workout using different recovery periods. All had a moderate fitness level and had participated in at least one session of interval training a week. Participants used a treadmill at the highest intensity they felt they could maintain across six four-minute intervals. Recovery periods between intervals consisted of one minute, two minute and four minute breaks. During each interval, each participant’s oxygen consumption and heart rate was measured. The results revealed a significant gender effect.
Across the trials, the male participants self-selected a faster relative pace, yet the female participants worked at a higher percentage of their maximum heart rate. They also charted a higher percentage of their maximum oxygen consumption. The researchers felt this study showed that by pushing yourself to work out at an intensity you consider hard and maintaining recommended work to rest ratios; this can benefit everyone regardless of gender. The rest periods are particularly important to ensure you recover appropriately and get the most out of your workout.
If you still need convincing to give HIIT a go, a 2010 research review published in the International Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports reported that incorporating HIIT into a training programme could improve the exercise performance of well-trained adults by 2% to 4% in less than a month.
Another benefit of HIIT is that it’s great for people that don’t normally engage in any kind of anaerobic exercise. This is the type of intensity where you feel you can’t breathe and your heart feels as though it will jump out of your chest. You may even feel a little queasy the first couple of times you try HIIT, this is not unusual. Anaerobic exercise triggers lactic acid formation and has long been used by athletes in non-endurance sports to promote strength, speed and power. If you regularly lift weights, you will be doing plenty of this type of exercise already. For those that are more used to aerobic activities only, HIIT will train the larger fast-twitch muscle fibers that can increase muscle mass and improve your physique.
the International Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports reported that incorporating HIIT into a training programme could improve the exercise performance of well-trained adults by 2% to 4% in less than a month