Why you can benefit from HIIT
You may have heard of HIIT. It has been around for a while now. There is a good reason why HIIT looks to be here to stay. It is not a passing fad. For women in their late 30s, 40s and beyond HIIT can be a powerful weapon in curbing weight gain that seems to happen around this time.
What is HIIT?
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a type of training that combines:
-very high intensity bursts of physical activity (so high that you are not able to actually sustain them for very long) – with
-short periods of rest.
The rest periods enable your body to make a partial recovery between bursts which means that you can continue to put a lot of effort into each set of work.
As you do more of this type of training, your ability to recover improves – a signal that you are getting fit. This does not mean that you will find HIIT any easier – it just means that you will be able to push even harder during the intervals of work.
What sort of activity would I be doing in an HIIT session?
The work involved in an HIIT session is performed at 80 to 95 per cent of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate. It could consist of cycling, running, swimming or group fitness exercises such as burpees or jump squats. The work section of the HIIT should be perceived by the person doing it to be “hard” or “very hard”.
Typical HIIT sessions could be:
-up to 3 minutes of hard work followed by 3 minutes of lower intensity work or rest, repeated twice; or
-3 to 5 sprints for 30 seconds followed by 4 to 4.5 minutes rest between each sprint; or
-a “tabata” timing sequence of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds.
Sometimes we might include a minute of HIIT towards the end of the session eg, a run followed by a number of squat jumps up to the minute.
What are the benefits of HIIT?
First – because of the difficulty of the work you can expect to burn more calories during a typical session than you would if you were exercising at a slow steady pace.
As well as burning more calories during the workout, you will continue to burn calories for up to 2 hours after a session during the period when the body restores itself to pre-energy levels. During this post exercise period the body uses up more energy than usual.
HIIT has been proven to accelerate fat loss and also to markedly increase aerobic and anaerobic endurance over a relatively short period of time when performed regularly.
How often should I do HIIT?
Your body needs to recover after an HIIT session so it is not suggested that you do it every day. To begin with you might like to do one session a week and then build up to 2 or 3. The good thing about HIIT training sessions is that they can be performed in as little as 15 minutes. HIIT is an extremely time efficient method of training that can deliver great results.