Have you heard of it? Have you read about it? Better yet, have you tried it? I believe HIIT is where it’s at, and will get you to the next level of your fitness goals. HIIT is an acronym for high intensity interval training. It is best described as: an exercise executed for a short period of time at a high level of exertion followed by a brief rest period. And then…REPEAT! HIIT is a form of anaerobic exercise. By definition anaerobic means, without oxygen. When I am coaching clients through a HIIT drill, I encourage them with the line: get breathless! This is exactly how you should feel if you are doing it right…breathless! When the body is in an anaerobic state this means that your body’s need for oxygen exceeds its level of oxygen that is available. This is great thing for training. During these HIIT workouts, the muscles like to burn glucose and carbohydrates (and a little fat) to fuel you through the workout, but afterwards will store carbohydrates to replenish all the muscle glycogen used for those bursts of energy. And we want this for the after effects…
HIIT can increase VO2 max. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. We want this high so we can dip into our fat stores for fuel, AKA, energy! Remember that muscle burn? Your body was primarily burning glycogen, but post workout you are burning fat/firing that metabolism!
Our bodies are amazing, smart, and capable pieces of machinery! When they are well taken care of, is taken to the shop for a tune up, and has the fuel it needs, our bodies are capable of running very efficiently. That is EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). For the body to return itself back to a normal comfortable state, it will continue to burn even more calories after exercise to accomplish that task. After a HIIT workout, there is a lot going on!
Our bods start by working to lower the heart rate to a normal resting level. It is also attempting to balance out oxygen and hormones in the bloodstream, adjust to its normal body temperature and ventilation. So all in all, your body is still at work (burning fat) attempting to bring itself back down to its pre-workout state. It could last minutes, hours, or up to 24 hours!
EPOC=you still working after your workout!
The body is amazing! And again, the smarter you train it, the more efficient and beautifully it can perform!
As a huge advocate of balance in life, I cannot speak of anaerobic training without briefly speaking of aerobic training. This type of training is simply defined as, “with oxygen.” Think of the body performing steady state drills such as long hikes, elliptical training, cycling or walking. If you want that machine of yours to perform well in training and in life, I encourage a balanced approach of aerobic and anaerobic training.
I believe that there is something out there for everyone, and HIIT shouldn’t scare you off. I have 20 year old college boys and retired women all in the same HIIT class. That’s the beauty of it. My high intensity may look different than you high intensity. Simply work at 100% and then break for several rounds. HIIT is something you can begin while walking down the block. Simply begin with fast paced walking followed by an interval of slowing down…now pick it up again!
Below is a great example of some drills that can be applied to your workouts. Be sure to click on the workouts category here at Habitude Fitness for some additional HIIT ideas to add to your fitness regimen!
Let’s HIIT the ground running today, tomorrow, and take it to the next level!
“Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Jan. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.
“High-intensity Interval Training.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.
“Reference Guide to Anaerobic Exercise.” SparkPeople. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. “What Is VO2Â Max?” About.com Sports Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013. “Why Does the Respiratory Rate Remain Elevated After Exercise?” LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2013.