Make Your Next Workout a Total HIIT
Are you looking to step your game up in the gym? Do you want to improve your heart health but dread spending anymore than 10 minutes on the cardio machines? Well then we have the solution for you! This week we will be breaking down the popular training style known as HIIT so that next time you hit the gym your workout will be a total hiit.
HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is one of the most popular fitness trends right now as it is cutting down time on the cardio machines, and making a big difference in people’s fitness levels. So if you are one of those people who can’t stand running/cycling/stairmaster-ing/rowing for 30+ minutes straight, but you still want all of the benefits, HIIT is definitely for you!
So how do you HIIT?
The key part of HIIT is that it has to actually be high intensity. In all of the studies I reviewed to write this article, the HIIT protocol required participants to train at 85%-95% of their max heart rate during the working portion of the intervals. So if you want to try HIIT, you have to be prepared to really push yourself during the effort interval if you want to reap the rewards. In terms of how to structure your intervals, most protocols use a 1:1 effort to rest ratio. So if you decide to hop on a treadmill, you would sprint for 1 minute, and then lightly jog or briskly walk for the following minute and then repeat that for your prescribed time.
Speaking of rewards…
Efficiency is everything when it comes to HIIT. Whether you are finishing off a strength training session with some bodyweight HIIT, or just trying to get a quick sweat going on the treadmill, HIIT will cut down the time you are required to workout, without sacrificing any benefits that you would get from a moderate intensity, continuous training style program. A review published in the Journal for Sports Medicine looked at years worth of studies and examined the effectiveness of HIIT on cardiovascular fitness. They concluded that HIIT was more effective than MICT (moderate intensity continuous training) when it came to improving vascular function, and improving insulin sensitivity in participants. A study published in the Journal of Physical Sports Medicine tested this type of training on obese men and found that
“Focusing on lifestyle improvements, integrating short duration, high-intensity training appears to be an effective strategy for enhancing health in a short period of time in overweight/obese men.”
They also reported that this form of exercise was well tolerated by the participants and had 100% compliance with no events of adverse effects. One study out of Australia is even looking at how HIIT can help women quit smoking! For those of you looking to boost your peak power output, a study published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Neuronal Interaction found that HIIT training improved peak power output, and increased spinal spinal excitability. Lastly, for all of our long distance runners out there, HIIT can benefit you too! Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise published a study that found that trained runners could improve their maximum velocity at their VO2 max, improve their VO2 max, and improve their submaximal heart rate during exercise.
Last but not least!
Safety is always important. As with all things in the health and wellness field, HIIT is not a one-size-fits-all workout. Someone may need 8-9mph to get their heart rate up during the effort interval, but someone else may need a walking pace on an incline to get their heart rate up. If you do decide to include HIIT into your workout regime, make sure you do what is enough for you.
Want more information on HIIT? Check out these videos and podcasts to learn more.