We have all been talking about the wonderful merits of High Intensity Interval Training for quite a while now. I have loudly proclaimed it as a feature of my sessions, but I have a nagging suspicion that I have never fully explained its implications or its objectives.
HIIT in a nutshell is intense bursts of exercise (can be anything cardio) followed by rest or less strenuous exercise. The catch is that during those bursts of exercise, we should be pushing ourselves to the point where we feel like our heart will burst from our chest, we are exhausted and we cannot speak….
Before you all decide to trade in your Chocolate sessions for (dare I say it) a yoga studio, I’d love to tell what the research is saying about the benefits of HIIT:
Extreme Results: 2 weeks of HIIT can give better results than 6-8 weeks of plain endurance training. After 8 weeks, one group of cyclists was able to cycle twice as far at the same pace as they had before training
Metabolism: Muscle mass is preserved with HIIT unlike steady state cardio. That nice high metabolism is therefore maintained.
Anti ageing: HIIT participants showed 450% (that’s a lot) increase in Human Growth Hormone in the 24 hours after a session. HGH regulates the ageing process and has huge fat burning implications
Perfect for peri menopausal and menopausal women: many women may find themselves putting on weight during this time despite continuing their usual walk/low intensity workout. HIIT has been found to be far more effective in controlling menopausal weight gain
Post Exercise: More fat burning for longer following HIIT. You may feel noticeably warmer for a long time afterwards, so huge power bit savings!
Short (but not sweet) : You can achieve noticeable results from just 15 minute sessions, 3 times per week. More benefit than running for 1 hour on the treadmill. Truth be known, you don’t need me to do this workout!
You get to chat (and rest) - after each burst! There is a ratio of 1:2 or 1:1 exercise/rest
Post session, you will feel invigorated instead of exhausted!
So you may have noticed that a lot of the above revolves around cardiovascular and fat burning benefits that yes, we all love. However we still need our strength, flexibility and toning components. So don’t worry, I won’t be trading in our beloved blue balls for a stopwatch just yet!
One last proviso: those with cardio vascular issues should not participate to the speechless level! Also, if you are ill, full permission to visit your yoga studio or take that long slow walk.
And finally, my favourite quote/mantra for HIIT sessions: “That, that doesn’t kill me, will make my gluts bodacious”.