If you want to get fit and healthy, and reap the rewards of a super toned body – you might be thinking you need to spend hours and hours in the gym.
But you’d be wrong.
If you put the effort in – serious effort – then you can get all the benefits of a long workout, in a much shorter amount of time.
How does 20 minutes sound?
High Intensity Interval Training
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a common feature of many workouts these days, and we have a number of classes at Hale Country Club & Spa which utilise the principle. But why is it so popular, and does it really bring greater benefits to our training?
According to research in The Journal of Physiology, working out more vigorously, for a shorter period of time, can actually be more effective than traditional endurance training and cardio routines, particularly in terms of strength building and calorie burning.
Just 20 minutes of working out in 30 second bursts (followed by 4 minutes of recovery) produced the same results and improvements in participants as 90 minutes of continuous cardio at a moderate rate.
It’s also the most efficient way for elite athletes to train, so it stands to reason that you can benefit from the HIIT method of working out too!
This research follows that conducted by Dr. Izumi Tabata in Tokyo, who performed a study on a group of Olympic speed skaters, in a bid to pinpoint the most effective training regime.
Trying out a number of different interval periods, in comparison with a control group of athletes training at a steady pace, he found that a 20 second high intensity blast of exercise, coupled with 10 seconds of complete rest, produced the best results.
Doing just 4 minutes of exercise in these 20/10 second intervals is the equivalent of almost an hour of a steady-state cardio workout.
How HIIT Works
HIIT workouts amp up the number of calories your burn, powering your metabolism, boosting fat reduction, and increasing your muscle mass. High intensity cardio bursts can also help improve your overall time if you’re training for a race, increasing your cardio capacity and helping your muscles to last longer, at a more intense level.
If you do it properly, you’ll get a superb aerobic and anaerobic workout.
But the key is your intensity. You have to go all out, push to your absolute limits until you’re almost dead, and then have a total recovery period too. Working flat out for a short period of time, and then completely resting is what gets you the results.
You should aim to be reaching 85-90% of your maximum heart rate during those intense blasts, and then dropping back down to 60-70% during your rest period.
The high intensity will put your body in a state of EPOC – excess post-exercise oxygen consumption – which is where you’re playing catch up with the amount of oxygen you’ve just used.
This means your body has to work hard, and burn calories, in order to get back to a state of normality. The harder the body has to work, the more calories you’ll burn.
Your heart adapts during that rest period, so it’s important to focus on recovery as much as the high intensity. Plus, you’ll need to fully recover in order to give it your maximum again on the next round.
Want to try a HIIT class at Hale? We’ve got plenty to choose from.
- Insanity is one of our most popular, and is truly insane. You’ll work to your absolute max, without a doubt.
- Grit is Les Mills HIIT offering. Pumping music and a choreographed high intensity workout.
- Metafit will get you into the best shape of your life, with plenty of intervals to get your teeth stuck into and your heart pounding.
- Power Hour uses the core principles of interval training, coupled with a longer, hour-long workout to give you extra benefits too.
Balance HIIT With More Traditional Workouts Too
Longer, low intensity, steady-state cardio sessions – like a brisk walk, gentle jog, or cycle ride, shouldn’t be forgotten about though.
They help your muscles recover from HIIT workouts, giving them time to repair and replenish damaged tissues.
Be sure to incorporate them into your workout schedule too.