From vibrating belts and the ThighMaster to the Shake Weight and “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” fitness trends come and go. But once in awhile a new player shows up on the exercise scene with serious staying power. At the top of the list in recent years? High Intensity Interval training (aka HIIT).
Here’s a closer look at this increasingly popular type of workout, along with tips for getting in on all of its body-toning, fat-burning, calorie-crushing benefits.
What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?
After years of being listed as a “possible trend” on the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Health and Fitness Journal’s “Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends,” HIIT training had a huge moment in 2014 when it debuted in the top spot. Since that time, it has consistently remained in the top 10 and continues to grow in popularity at fitness centers around the world.
Defined by ACSM as “repeated bouts of high intensity effort followed by varied recovery times,” HIIT workouts typically include five to eight minutes of intense workout periods during which heart rates should remain within 80 to 90 percent of maximum, alternating with equivalent recovery periods during which heart rates should drop to 40 to 50 percent. HIIT training and bodyweight training are a natural fit, together with exercises like squats, lunges, burpees, and pushups often making it into the rotation.
The Benefits of HIIT Training
HIIT training offers several advantages. For starters, it is incredibly efficient. Workouts usually range between 20 and 60 minutes for a complete workout. This also makes it a weight loss winner.
In fact, research published in the American Journal of Physical and Medical Rehabilitations determined that the combination of HIIT workouts and resistance training, alongside nutritional counseling, positively impacted BMI, metabolic syndrome, and insulin resistance.
Research also indicates that HIIT training has the power to amp up resting metabolic rates while simultaneously helping exercisers target stubborn “problem” areas, like abdominal fat. What is the takeaway? If you are trying to shed pounds and tone up, HIIT training may be your new best friend.
But working out is not just about losing weight. HIIT training also delivers in a number of other ways as well; it supports better heart health, improves endurance and performance, and helps you overcome plateaus.
Additionally, HIIT workouts can also be modified for individuals at all ages and abilities. So as your fitness level increases, HIIT workouts can be adjusted to continue to challenge your capabilities. (For those worried about joining a gym or starting a new program, meanwhile, our 20 best tips for gym newbies is a must-download.)
Putting HIIT Training to Work for You
One of the most attractive things about high intensity interval training is this. Because its principles can be applied across numerous types of exercise, including walking, running, cycling, and swimming, HIIT training never has to feel “stale” or get boring. Every workout is an opportunity to mix things up and try something new.
Not sure if you’re ready for what HIIT has to offer? Signing up for a HIIT training class can help you further optimize your workout under the guidance of an instructor or personal trainer while adding a fun social element.
HIIT training has had a meteoric rise among exercise enthusiasts, and with good reason. There’s no better exercise plan for weight loss. To take the first step on your HIIT training transformation, sign up for a trial pass today.