8 Reasons You Need High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Published on: 
11 October 19
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10 min read

High-intensity interval training, better known as HIIT, is a hugely popular form of exercise all over the world. It’s stayed on top of the trends for an impressive five years since coming in at number one in the American College of Sports Medicine Fitness Trends in 2014. The benefits of high-intensity interval training are scientifically-proven and can help your clients take their training to the next level.

The world’s fastest-growing franchise, F45, are the champions of HIIT and are all about functional and effective training. The hugely successful empire is built on the premise that if you work hard, you only need to train for 45 minutes to burn fat and build muscle. In this article, we will discuss the top eight benefits of high-intensity interval training and how it can push your clients at the gym. 

What is High-Intensity Interval Training? 

If you’re a gym owner or personal trainer, the likelihood is that you already know a ton about HIIT. It’s been a common component of exercise for a while now, designed to improve health and fitness. But, if you’re still on the fence about whether to incorporate HIIT workouts into your class schedule, let the benefits of high-intensity interval training speak for themselves. 

Ever since it came onto the scene, HIIT has been the buzzword of the fitness world. The intense workout has consistently ranked in the top three of the annual Worldwide Fitness Survey of Fitness Trends

High-intensity interval training promises the best workout in the shortest amount of time possible. The session uses bursts of intense exercises followed by short, low-intensity recovery periods. At fitness studios, this would usually be a combination of aerobic and resistance training.  

In terms of your heart rate, the definition of HIIT is precise. It means reaching at least 80% of your maximum heart rate for one to five minutes, alternating with periods of low-intensity rest. HIIT is a quick and effective type of training that increases endurance without the boredom that can arise from a traditional cardio workout. The interest in HIIT continues to grow with more and more research showing the relationship between HIIT and improving health indicators. 

What Does a Typical HIIT Workout Look Like? 

benefits-of-high-intensity-interval-training

HIIT workouts look very different from your standard continuous exercise like jogging. You can train for as little as 10 minutes, but in general, they tend to top out at around 30-45 minutes. HIIT is all about quick training sessions that deliver the maximum results. Two or three days of HIIT exercises a week is enough as long as you add in 24 hours of rest between each session. 

One of the advantages of HIIT is that it can look however you like. You can use a combination of bodyweight exercise, sprinting, jumping rope, biking, and more. Here are some great examples of HIIT classes from popular fitness studios and gyms.

Après Ski at F45

In locations all over the world, this HIIT workout combines weighted moves like lunges and squats with cardio exercises on the floor and bike.

Orangetheory Fitness

At Orangetheory, you wear a heart rate monitor so the coach can monitor your heart rate and let you know when to really push it. A 60-minute session alternates between cardio and weights. Classes tend to be very inclusive and welcome a range of ages and abilities. 

Fhitting Room 

With a few different locations in New York, the studio is known for its crazy HIIT workouts. The upscale fitness boutique studio combines five essential building blocks of fitness with strength circuits and interval training. Think walking, jogging, running, lifting, bending, and climbing stairs. Clients get personal attention from the coach in a group exercise format that aims to motivate and prepare people for everyday life and movements.  

Hot HIIT Class at Bode

Based in Manhattan, Hot HIIT is taught on a yoga mat. It combines the power of HIIT with hot yoga. The sweaty session aims to burn fat faster and build long, lean muscle in a shorter period. 

NEO U

At their New York location, NEO U offers a HIIT style Bootcamp with a range of options. The GO Bootcamp uses high-intensity training that focuses on strength, cardio, and core. 

8 Reasons Why HIIT Needs to be Part of Your Regular Routine 

A full-body HIIT workout that focuses on strength consists of several bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, mountain climbers, and push-ups. The great thing about HIIT is that it can be built around goals and abilities. By incorporating HIIT workouts into your gym schedule or offering HIIT-style outdoor bootcamps, you can help your clients get results. Here are eight reasons why HIIT should be a part of everyone’s regular workout routine. 

1. Burns Calories Efficiently 

One of the main selling points of HIIT is that you can burn a lot of calories in a short time. With the modern lifestyle being super busy, cutting out time to exercise can be tough. HIIT workouts cater to the people who want an effective workout and don’t have a lot of time to spare. 

In a recent study compared with weight training, biking, and running, 30 minutes of HIIT burned 25-30% more calories. During this study, the HIIT repetition consisted of 20 seconds of high-intensity, followed by 40 seconds of rest. This means that the HIIT group actually exercised a third of the time of the other groups. 

Who doesn’t want to burn more calories in less time? The combination of active and rest periods maximizes your calorie burn and increases cardiorespiratory fitness in half the time. This is the body’s ability to supply oxygen-rich blood to your working muscles.  

2. Build Endurance 

Your V02 max is a measure of endurance. It calculates the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use and is also a big signifier of overall health. Several studies have come to the same conclusion. High-intensity interval training leads to significant improvements in V02 max compared to other forms of exercise in a shorter time. 

Traditionally, endurance training has been used to boost oxygen consumption. This would be long and continuous sessions of running or cycling at a steady pace. But, HIIT can produce the same effects and in a shorter period. Not only do you improve your oxygen consumption with HIIT, but you can do it in half the time of traditional forms of endurance training.  

3. Boost Heart Health 

The majority of people aren’t used to pushing themselves into the anaerobic zone; that feeling where it feels like you can’t breathe and you might collapse on the floor. According to one study, extreme training can produce extreme results. After eight weeks of HIIT workouts, participants could cycle for twice as long as they could before the study started. 

Studies on interval training report the most significant heart health benefits. Less intense training programs with shorter intervals carried the least benefits. Improving your heart health has a ton of benefits and can reduce the risk of developing problems like heart disease.

4. Increase Metabolism and Higher Metabolic Rate After Exercise 

Who doesn’t love to burn calories after exercising? One way HIIT helps you do this is by keeping your metabolic rate raised after you’ve finished your session. Numerous studies have shown that HIIT can keep your metabolic rate elevated for hours after exercise. Due to the sheer intensity of HIIT workout, your body can burn additional calories as you get on with your day. 

Some researchers have even found that HIIT boosts your metabolism after exercise more than weight training and jogging. It seems that HIIT helps your body shift to using fat as fuel rather than carbs. This increases the fat-burning effects of HIIT that it is so well-known for. 

As well as increased fat-burning, HIIT stimulates the production of human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450% in the hours after your workout. HGH is responsible for increasing your caloric burn and slowing down the aging process, so it’s a win-win.   

5. Flexible and Convenient Exercise 

HIIT can sometimes sound a bit intimidating to new gym-goers. But, HIIT isn’t just for hard-core fitness junkies. An advantage of HIIT is that you can tailor and customize it to your needs and abilities. By changing the time intervals and intensity of training, it can be entirely approachable for all levels of fitness. The goal of HIIT is to get your heart rate pumping, and how this happens will look different for everyone. 

As HIIT can cater to so many abilities, classes can vary in difficulty. To find out if the interval is intense enough for you, measure your heart rate. It should be spiked, and you should find it difficult to speak. Although uncomfortable, this is a sign that you’re pushing your body. Boutique studios like Orangetheory Fitness provide heart rate monitoring equipment, which makes it easier for clients to know when to rest and when to push themselves. 

6. No Equipment Needed 

This one benefits everyone from gym-goers and personal trainers to fitness studio owners. Although you can use equipment during a HIIT session, you don’t need any for a sweaty workout. This is ideal for fitness businesses like outdoor bootcamps that rely on an open space without equipment. 

Running and bodyweight exercises are both perfect for HIIT and don’t require any equipment. Movements like high knees or jumping lunges can quickly get your heart rate up. You can perform a HIIT workout anywhere at any time, adding to the convenience of this type of training. You can sneak in a workout in the morning, lunch, or evening that fits entirely around your schedule. 

7. Lower Heart Rate and Blood Pressure 

There’s a large body of research that suggests HIIT can help to reduce heart rate and blood pressure. In the short term, when you workout, HIIT will increase blood pressure. However, over an extended period of time, you should notice a decrease in blood pressure. The main reason that HIIT helps with blood pressure is down to its ability to reduce the stiffness of the artery walls, leading to a reduction in blood pressure. 

When your heart is pounding faster and faster, it can be hard for people to really push themselves. Interval training makes it that little bit easier as it includes rest periods in between high-intensity exercises. Over time, this can help to lower the resting heart rate, improving overall health, and reduce the chances of developing a heart condition. One study found that a HIIT exercise program is superior to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) in improving heart rate.   

8. Lose Fat Not Muscle 

A significant reason why a lot of people choose to do HIIT over other forms of exercise is because of its fat-burning and muscle building effects. When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be challenging to lose fat without your muscles taking a cut as well. It appears that steady-state cardio encourages muscle loss, whereas HIIT and weight training preserve muscle while ensuring maximum weight loss. 

One study found that by performing three HIIT workouts a week for only 20 minutes, participants lost 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of body fat. They didn’t change their diet at all, so the weight loss was entirely down to their exercise regime. The most important takeaway from this study is that the fat loss included a 17% reduction in visceral fat. This is found around your internal organs and considered to be a disease-promoting type of fat. 

In Summary 

From improving cardiovascular fitness and burning fat to reducing heart rate and blood pressure, there are countless reasons to offer HIIT workouts to your clients. The benefits of HIIT are undeniable, and by adding these types of workouts to your clients’ regular routines, they can reap the rewards. High-intensity interval training provides a flexible and convenient way to see results and stay motivated in a shorter period of time. 

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