High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is any exercise technique in which athletes alternate between extreme periods of anaerobic exercise and short recovery periods. The goal of the training is to perform at maximum effort and then recover at about half the effort. HIIT training has become increasingly popular over the past fives years, because of its unique benefits.
What Are the Benefits?
The short duration of the workout means that athletes are working hard the whole time. HIIT also provides new challenges and exercises for seasoned gym members. The results a member sees are directly related to how hard they challenged themselves.
Not only does HIIT burn fat while at the gym, it also stimulates production of growth hormones for 24 hours following the workout. Researchers in health and exercise science at Colorado State University found that just 2.5 minutes of hard exercise can lead to an all-day calorie burn.
Makes Athletes Smarter
A Montreal Research Study found that participants who completed two HIIT workouts a week for four months performed better on cognition tests, because of the body’s ability to oxygenate the brain.
Quick and Convenient
Want to take the workout outside? HIIT can be done almost anywhere and most workouts are 30 minutes or less. Get creative with your HIIT exercises and consider starting a summer boot camp.
No Equipment Necessary
Since the focus of HIIT is to get the heart rate up and keep it there, an athlete typically only uses their body weight to train. Squats, jumping lunges and mountain climbers are just some of the equipment-free HIIT exercises you can incorporate into your workout.
How to Create Your Own HIIT Class
- Start by determining the length of your HIIT classes. While high-intensity workouts are typically designed as 30-minute sessions, they can range anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Make sure to customize the workout for the length of time selected.
- Then select the exercises and the order in which the athlete will perform them. This is where you can have some fun and mix in planks, with pushups and running, or however you’d like to set up the workout.
- The final piece to putting together a HIIT class is to focus on the workout intervals. This is the time spent performing an exercise. Pay attention to the intensity level of each activity and set the interval based on how challenging you expect the activity to be.
Prior to jumping into HIIT training, make sure that your members have a base level of fitness. Individuals living very sedentary lifestyles, who jump into HIIT, may be at increased risk for coronary disease. As you begin with HIIT, limit each member’s training to three sessions per week. A couple months into training and you may find that five sessions a week becomes the ideal for some members.
While interval training is not a new concept, high-intensity interval training could offer your members an efficient workout experience that produces real results.