Hi everyone. It’s Erik again, back to share even more exercise related information with you. Sorry for the long delay since my last post but with the start of summer comes the end of competition season in swimming which means we had a lot of big competitions in the last few weeks. I am very proud of all my athletes that competed in these meets and am now even more excited for next season to start! I can’t believe this is only a couple weeks away. Time flies doesn’t it?
Today I am going to be discussing a very effective type of exercise called HIIT. Erin and I use these types of workouts on a regular basis in our own training, and we highly recommend them. Please read on to find out more.
What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It may also be referred to as High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE), or Sprint Interval Training (SIT). As these names suggest, this type of training involves various protocols that typically include
repeated brief sprinting at an all-out intensity immediately followed by low intensity exercise or rest. This type of training is less time demanding and a session can vary from 4-30 minutes.
So, what are the benefits to this type of exercise? Well let me tell you. There are many!
Research has shown that even 15 minutes of interval training can be more effective than 30+ minutes of continuous jogging (ie. less time demand with increased results.)
Regular HIIE has been shown to significantly increase both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. HIIE also significantly lowers insulin resistance and results in an increased capacity for skeletal muscles to use fatty acid oxidation for energy production.
This research has included overweight adolescents, older adults, type 1 and type 2 diabetics, paraplegics, patients with intermittent claudication, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and those undergoing cardiac rehabilitation. Evidence has shown that HIIE appears to be both safe and beneficial for all of these population groups.
The body’s long term response to this type of exercise boosts metabolism for the 24 hours following a HIIT workout. This response is achieved because HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This HGH is responsible for the increased caloric burn and fat oxidation, and cannot be achieved by a steady paced aerobic activity.
Healthy body composition
It is difficult for many to lose fat and retain muscle in the process. Steady pace cardio workouts seem to rely on muscle for fuel (especially if on restricted diets), while HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their lean mass while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. (Again, this is a result of the release of HGH).
You can do these workouts anywhere, at any time, and with little to no equipment! It is also very easy to adapt your surroundings to your workout’s needs. Think playing at a park, or even using your furniture at home. This means it is also a very affordable way to exercise.
How to train?
Generally a HITT workout will consist of a warm up period, followed by a protocol of 3 to 10 repetitions of high intensity exercises separated by periods of medium intensity (or rest) for recovery.
Then the workout would end with a period of warm down exercises.
There is no specific formula to HIIT. Depending on one’s level of cardiovascular development, the moderate-level intensity can be as slow as walking. A common formula involves a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery periods, for example, 30–40 seconds of hard sprinting alternated with 15–20 seconds of jogging or walking.
The entire HIIT session may last between four and thirty minutes, meaning that it is an excellent way to maximize a workout when you have limited time.