There are plenty of health buzzwords flying around that make finding the right fitness regime tricky. Functional training, endurance training, anaerobic exercises, fat burning zone, HIIT workouts. The list is endless. And unless you understand the fitness jargon, it can be hard to determine which one is best for your goals.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is more than just a buzzword. This training provides you with the fastest way to shed kilos, boost stamina and strength, and look and feel good. HIIT is fast, furious and challenging – but the good news is sessions are short and you can get results fast.
How we can all Benefit from HIIT
The concept behind High Intensity Interval Training is simple. Exercise as hard as you can for a few minutes. Recover long enough to stop gulping down air, then repeat. This format is the best way to spike your metabolism and build muscle quickly. But HIIT isn’t just for people who want to shape up, build muscle tone or lose weight. It’s a fitness training technique every one of us can benefit from.
Have you ever wondered why we lose energy as we age? Over time, our bodies deteriorate and we become more susceptible to disease. There’s no denying the benefits between exercise and ageing. Regularly activity alters the course of ageing and improves the function of our bodies. HIIT is one of the fastest, most practical ways to build and maintain fitness.
The Link Between HIIT and Oxygen Levels
Believe it or not, oxygen is a destructive molecule to many body proteins, DNA and enzymes. It’s a double-edged sword – we need it and we breathe it, but it can also destroy us. Oxygen gives us life-saving energy. On the flip side, it also kills cells and tissues within us.
When you work out and your body gets that rush, it’s the feeling of oxygen filling your lungs and circulating through your blood. It feels good. There is a vital reason though, why our bodies get addicted to that rush. It’s a positive sign that oxygen is making its way to a very specific and important destination – the powerhouses of all cells, mitochondria. These billions of cells comprise about 10% of our body mass. Mitochondria uses the corrosive and deadly power of oxygen to strip the electrons from the food we eat to create energy in the form of a molecule called ATP.
How much oxygen these cells can consume when we push ourselves to the limit varies, but the result gives a gold standard measurement of aerobic fitness - VO2 max. People that spend more time sitting on the couch will have a v low VO2 max, while endurance athletes will have a high VO2 max. This measurement can give insights into more than just your fitness level. The lower your VO2 max, the higher your risk for illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and cardio diseases.
Because HIIT is a form of training that uses short, intense bursts of movement, it increases your heart rate faster than other workouts. It’s the most effective way to boost the metabolic health of your muscles. These low volume, high-intensity intervals (for example, running as fast as you can for one minute, walking for two minutes and repeating 5-6 times) can boost your endurance after six sessions. As your endurance capacity increases, your VO2 max is boosted, fitness levels are enhanced and susceptibility to illnesses is decreased.
Health Gains Associated with HIIT
Interval training is challenging, however with the pain comes multiple health gains which can slow down the signs of ageing, increase energy and help us feel and look good. Endurance capacity and improvement in your VO2 max are the primary health benefits of HIIT. So, if you could ride a bike for 25 minutes beforehand, after six sessions of HIIT you should be able to ride for an average of 50 minutes. Other health gains include:
- Boosted metabolism
- Increased energy
- Firmer skin, resulting in fewer wrinkles
- Muscle tone improvement
- Reduced body fat
- Improved mental and physical health
The Impact of HIIT Workouts
Interval workouts can be adapted to suit you, from 20 seconds of work to 10 seconds of rest, or 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest. Incorporate 30-second sprints, treadmill runs or walks, 20 seconds fast-pedalling on a bike or 10-second intervals of burpees, front kicks and dumbbells or other weights.
HIIT increases your endurance faster than any other training techniques and offers workout variety. As your strength capacity is boosted, your mitochondria cells start to respond better by taking more oxygen out of the blood and into your muscles, which produces more energy. High intensity workouts are specifically designed to put immense amounts of pressure on your system to produce higher amounts of energy. Health benefits also last longer after the workout has finished.
For more information about what gym equipment you can incorporate into your HIIT workouts, speak with one of our staff today.