In the mix of present-day workout trends, High Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT training, aka Interval Training) has been growing in popularity in every corner of the fitness world. This isn’t much of a surprise; interval training is an efficient way for you to maximize your workout in a relatively short amount of time.
The set-up is simple. Interval training combines two levels of intensity: a high intensity “sprint” period and a lower intensity “recovery” period. You alternate between these two levels for a set amount of time and voilà, you have an easy, efficient workout.
Why Interval Training?
The idea here is that these short bursts of high intensity exercise increase your cardiovascular output to a level greater than long, steady distance exercises. Recent research has shown that pushing your heart and lungs to this higher level of output has a multitude of health benefits.
Studies presented by the American College of Sports Medicine have shown that interval training improves cardiovascular and metabolic health and is very effective at burning fat while maintaining muscle density.
Don’t be discouraged when I throw out words like “intense” or “sprint” either. Interval training only refers to the structure of the workout, switching between a higher and lower level of work. The actual exercises are limitless and can be applied to all levels of fitness.
A simple example is doing intervals while running. Alternating between 60 seconds of running and 60 seconds of walking is a great interval workout that will help boost your metabolism and aerobic ability greater than long distance jogging or walking. If you are looking for something harder, try 60 seconds of jogging and 60 seconds of sprinting. Any combination will do.
Most cardiovascular workouts involve 30-60 minutes of performing a steady paced exercise like running, walking, swimming, or cycling. With interval training, the same amount of work (and in some cases more work) can be done in a compact, 20 minute workout.
And studies have shown that even after your workout your body continues to work at an elevated state (i.e. burns more energy) anywhere from 2-24 hours post-exercise.
So if you’re looking to increase your aerobic ability, improve your metabolism, release some weight, or you just want a simple and challenging workout, give interval training a try next time. Feel free to ask any of the trainers here at AFF for tips, or come get a guided interval workout at one of our GX Burn classes here on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:15pm.