High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a training technique that requires an all-out, one hundred percent exertion and effort through very short and quick bursts of exercises followed by short rest periods. This type of cardiovascular workout is designed to keep a person’s heart rate level high and over time, burn more fat in a shorter amount of time. This type of training can be done with or without equipment and machines, which makes it very convenient for anyone.
A typical session would include a warm-up of 5-10 minutes where the intensity gradually increases, and then afterwards, you can begin the interval exercises. One should aim to train at a work to recovery ratio of 1 minute of exercise to every 2-3 minutes of active recovery. Active recovery means that you should continue moving while breathing and resting. Some examples of these can be jogging lightly in place or indoor cycling on a flat road. The reason behind this method of training is to allow the muscles to remove the metabolic waste and produce more energy for the next interval. For beginners, start at a lower number of workouts and then gradually work up to doing 10-12 high intensity work intervals per session.
Some of the benefits that can be achieved from HIIT is to train the body to become efficient at producing and using energy from the anaerobic system. The anaerobic system does not depend on oxygen. In addition, HIIT also serves as an effective method to increase one’s VO2max in a shorter amount of time compared to having to run for long periods of time. In a study of sedentary and recreationally active individuals, after only 10 weeks of HIIT, there was a significant increase in their VO2max levels. It was found that in these untrained individuals, they used more fat than glycogen for energy when performing HIIT compared to continuous training. Other benefits include the improvement of blood pressure, cardiovascular health, cholesterol, and abdominal and body weight. Since HIIT requires so much energy to be used, it’s important to properly recover at least one full day in between the training sessions.
Article by Pure Motion Intern – Kayla Fang