Posted on 13 Jun 2017
HIIT Training .... What it is and why it works
The key to any successful training or fitness routine is variation. The same exercise or programme repeated continuously will give you results for a short period but soon your body will adapt and become accustomed to the same old routine. Chances are your body will plateau, and you will fail to see further improvements in fitness levels and results. Variation is absolutely key to success and even many of us who do have some form of fitness routine established will find themselves attending the same gym class every week, or running the same route over and over. While there is nothing specifically wrong with this, results can rocket far more rapidly by adding another form of training into the mix. Let me introduce HIIT... Or high intensity interval training. I'm not saying HIIT is the magic pill to aid everybody's weight loss or fitness goals but the nature of the workout is what makes it so effective.
For starters you can complete a session anywhere, at home, in a hotel room, outside or in the gym. On top of that it is incredibly time efficient and a session could be anywhere between 8-20 minutes depending on personal goals and fitness levels. Those two factors alone mean if you are serious about your goals you could set your alarm just 20 minutes earlier and have a successful workout to kickstart your day without even leaving the house!
The format is simple, short sharp bursts of intensive exercise followed by short rest periods. These short work periods allow you to push your heart rate up much higher and push yourself much harder than you would be able to maintain in a longer session, a spinning class for example. The short rests allow you just enough time to take in some nice deep breaths of fresh oxygen and regain control of that heart rate ready to go back in for more. The nature of the exercise means it will work to improve both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems whereas longer, endurance type sessions tend to focus on the aerobic energy system alone.
It is completely adaptable to you as an individual as you are in charge of your work and rest times. You may start at 30 seconds of intensive work followed by 30 seconds of rest, initially for a total of 10 times around. As your fitness increases you may extend the length of your overall session, or begin to increase the work period and decrease the rest period, so you will be working for 40 seconds with a 20 second rest period. There is no right or wrong way to do it as long as you are pushing yourself to the max within the given work periods. The range of exercises you can use are limitless. You can focus on bodyweight exercises alone, such as jumping jacks, squats, press ups or high knees, or you can add in various equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells or resistance bands, making it a fantastic way of working out for someone who gets bored easily!
HIIT is so accessible and anyone can do it anywhere, all you will need is a stopwatch, some water and maybe a towel to mop up the sweat!
The team at Fitfarms are here to coach you through the various training principles and explain the importance of variation in a routine. If you think you have reached your plateau, feel stuck in a rut or need the knowledge to get you started then book yourself onto one of our weight loss and fitness retreats and we will help guide you towards your goals!