High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) was studied by researchers at McMaster University back in 2010 , and they discovered that “…doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional long-term biking less strenuously.”
The same idea bore out again in 2013, when the Norwegian University of Science and Technology showed that even small amounts of exercise made unfit men much healthier. That’s because even small amounts (just a few minutes!) of intense exercise in men can raise their “VO2max” number, otherwise known as the maximum amount of oxygen their blood can take up. Because the blood’s capacity for oxygen directly correlates to fitness, this is an exciting discovery.
The magic of high intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) lies its ability to keep you burning fat even after you leave the gym. In short, your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen during periods of hard work. Therefore, you accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that must be repaid post-workout in order to get back to normal. The result — your metabolism is revved for hours after you leave the gym.
If you’ve never tried HIIT, keep in mind that it’s a faster-paced, harder workout than you are likely accustomed to. It will also be high-impact on the joints, and will require a greater degree of mental focus to keep you in rhythm. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys letting their mind wander during a run, or enjoys the zen quality of counting slow reps, this might not be the workout for you. And if you have knee or elbow problems, you should definitely try HIIT while wearing a brace or other support wear the first time, just to minimize the strain. Be prepared to be more tired than usual, and line up a bath and some ibuprofen (or anti-inflammatory of your choice) afterward.
So, how do you get started? Well, there are routines available online, or you could follow an online tutorial, like this one:
Or, better yet, you could work with a personal trainer at your WFCC club! If you want to start a HIIT workout plan, our experienced trainers can help you create – and commit to – a schedule and strategy that will get you into your best shape in no time!