High Intensity Interval Training
In todays fast paced society, everyone is busy juggling work, socialising and family life which means sometimes the gym can take a set back. I see it everyday in the gym, people joining for a specific goal (e.g holidays, wedding, big event etc), however, once this goal is reached their workouts start to take a downturn, enthusiasm and drive lags which inevitably leads to canceled memberships, weight gain, back to being unhealthy and stuck in a rut.
What is HIIT?
“Brief intervals of vigorous activity interspersed with periods of low activity or rest”
HIIT is a form of exercise training that involves the participant giving 80-100% effort for a given time period followed by a low effort rest interval and repeated over a number of times. This training protocol has been used for over 100 years with reports as far back as 1912 when the Finnish Olympic long distant runners were using interval training during workouts (Billat 2001).
Why is it Effective?
Studies show that HIIT can increase your VO2 max (which is the amount of oxygen your body can use and an indicator of cardiovascular fitness), reduce lactate accumulation and increase enzyme activity to reduce fatigue (Laursen et al, 2005). The study showed that HIIT will not only boost endurance but also overall health due to improved blood pressure results and higher counts of mitochondria activity in muscle cells.
According to the Journal of Physiology (Holland, 2013), you can get the same, if not greater, results in half the time of low intensity longer duration workouts. The study found sedentary men who did 40-60min of cycling at 65% of their max 5 days per week and those who did sprint interval training for less than 12min each time three times per week had similar results (including reduced aortic stiffness and increased insulin sensitivity), this shows HIIT gives the same benefits in less sessions.
Heart Health, Lau et al, (2015) showed HIIT increases flexibility and elasticity of arteries and veins better than continuous aerobic exercise because HIIT increases pressure demand on blood vessels.
Designing a HIIT Workout?
Determine total workout time:
How long you spend on warmup and cool down as well as the number if intervals and work to recovery ratio (e.g. 30min duration = 5 min warmup, 20 min workout and 5min cool down
Determine work to rest ratio:
Several studies recommend a 1:1 ratio, e.g. 30 sec work : 30 sec rest. However, this is interchangeable, a popular HIIT format is Tabata training which involves 20 sec work : 10 sec rest 4min duration (total 8 sets)
Choose exercise types:
Can be in a circuit format, using a single exercise or using a mixture of exercise. For example, in a circuit format we might pick 10 exercises using a mixture of weights and bodyweight exercises using a 1:1 work to rest ratio of 30 sec work 30 sec rest for 20min duration.
Another example would be to pick a piece of equipment like our Wattbike working at 90% for 30 sec work 30 sec rest for 20min, you get the picture? The possibilities are endless.
HIIT can be done anywhere, anyplace with or without equipment!
We personally found HIIT on the WATTBIKE or via a Spinning Class has greatest benefits. HIIT training due to its high intensity can sometimes be hard to perform when training solo. The Wattbike with its built in programmes and changing wattage and cadence designed individually to each person makes training more fun and challenging.
Spinning is another HIIT class we found gives excellent calorific expenditure with literature showing an average spin class can burn up to 500 calories per 30 min class. Spinning and other group fitness classes like our Atlas Elite 30 makes HIIT training more fun and effective, our trainers push you to your limits ensuring a great workout and correct techniques.