What is HIIT?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It consists of short (relative term), high intense bouts of exercise with shorter rest periods. This is a great way to get back into a groove after the holidays. There are a slew of health benefits including promoted heart health, increased strength / muscle definition, and metabolic boost. Other benefits include the short duration, little to no equipment needed, or if you like equipment, and endless amount of variations.
First, it’s great for your heart. Starting slow and working your way up in intensity can do wonders for your heart.
Consult with a doctor first, then hire a trainer if you’re still a bit reluctant to try anything out. A well planned workout from an experienced trainer with focus on consistent form, tempo, and time clock management could be the best investment you make in yourself this year. You’ll get your heart rate up, decrease blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, and expedite recovery heart rate.
Muscular Strength / Growth
While cardio of any type will get your heart rate up, short bouts of compound movements will stimulate muscle growth. Adding a small amount of external resistance (weight vest, free weights, band resistance) can help, too.
It’s a great way to boost your metabolism. Considering some people don’t move much during the day, this is a way to engrain functional movements into a day- to – day basis.
Shorter bouts of intense exercise makes your body adapt to the quick changes in pace and, in consequence, burns more calories. Again, this is why you opt for an experienced trainer. These short bouts could be as short as :10-:15 seconds and the same amount of time off, depending on your current activity level.
Also, one thing to keeping in mind that the more lean muscle your body has the more calories you burn at rest.
Okay, so by now you understand the health benefits, but what about busy people? Parents of multiple kids and / or jobs, full time students with part time jobs, or just single bachelors / bachelorettes who have little to no free time?
It’s a great workout when you’re in a time crunch. Workout duration can vary, but it’s not out of the ordinary to break a sweat within the first 5 minutes. As time goes on and your endurance increases, you can add in more volume, resistance, or decrease the rest periods.
Minimal Equipment Needed
Homebody? Frequent traveler? Saving money on a monthly gym membership? A lot of it can be bodyweight exercises and done in a small space. Anything with a higher rep range with respect to personal strength and fitness levels can suffice.
Exercises with Machines
If you’re a gym goer and want to change things up, or you have access to a home gym, these are just a few favorites we like to use.
Airdyne / Assalt Bike
If you’re looking for a way to slow down time, this is your guy! Commonly known as air bikes and assault bikes, airdyne bikes provide a great total body workout. Using only air for resistance, it’s pretty humbling how much work you have to do to keep the fly wheel turning.
You can gauge the intense bouts and duration based on duration or calories burned. The faster you go the more challenging it will be.
Sleds / Prowlers
Probably one of my favorites pieces. They have a great carry over for all sports and provide functional strength and endurance. The best part, it’s straight up grunt work. Nothing fancy, just load it up and move it.
Prowlers also provide a wide array of options and movements in all planes of motion. You can attach TRX straps, harnesses, ropes, and bands, just to name a few.
These come in a variety of weights, sizes, and bounce classification. Great for carries, reactionary, and endurance and explosiveness, med balls have gotten popular and are almost a staple in any gym you go to.
Much like prowlers, ropes offer a lot of freedom in exercises. Different movement patterns as well as rope lengths / weights all play into effect. Step patterns while using ropes is an option as well.
A great tool if you’re doing body weight exercises and want more of a challenge. Most of them are adjustable in 2-3 pound increments, top out at 40-50 pounds, and are fairly inexpensive. Most of them are washing machine safe, too.
Clearly, there are multiple benefits to HIIT. It improves heart health, helps boost your metabolism, and is convenient for both time, space, and equipment. Most importantly, if steady state cardio isn’t your thing, it helps get you away from it. Either way, please inquire with your family physician to see if you’re able to perform strenuous exercise. If you get the thumbs up there, be sure to hire an experienced trainer. If you’re interested, send an email to get started (email below.