High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – What is it and Will it work for me?
HIIT has literally hit the headlines in pretty much all fitness publications, gyms and even the main stream press but what is it and will it work for me?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of interval training, an exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. HIIT is a form of cardiovascular (CV) exercise. Usually HIIT sessions last from 4 to 30 minutes. These short, intense workouts provide improved athletic capacity and condition as well as improved glucose metabolism.
In the 1970’s Peter Coe used a form of HIIT to train his son Sebastian Coe. In 1996 Professor Izumi Tabata conducted a study initially involving Olympic speed skaters. The study used 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated continuously for 4 minutes (8 cycles). This study concluded that against a group doing normal training the Tabata group gained anaerobic benefits in less time. Other studies have since been carried out proving that HIIT has many other benefits which I will cover later.
In 2006 Justin Corcoran, an ex-Royal Marine, turned these principles in to a structured workout called Metafit. Here are a few of the benefits of a Metafit HIIT workout session.
Increases Your Metabolism
Combing high intensity with interval training results in Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which speeds your metabolic rate and translates into a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a complete HIIT routine. This means you’ll still be burning fat even after you’ve left the gym. This is commonly known as “after burn”.
No Equipment Necessary
Metafit HIIT uses only your body weight, since the focus is on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there. These workouts result in optimal muscle building and muscle retention coupled with fat loss and increased calorie burn.
Increase Your Aerobic Capacity
Most people aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic zone (the place where you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest). But in this case, extreme training produces extreme results. One 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
Preserve your Muscle Mass
Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Humans lose 2 to 4% of their lean muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 25. As a result of this loss of muscle mass the metabolism slows down by 5% every 10 years. So the combination of resistance training and HIIT can reverse or the very least arrest this process.
Stimulates the Production of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which can slow down the aging process
In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out.
Increases you Fat Burning Potential
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) accounts for 65 to 75% of calories burnt in a day. The majority of calories stored as body fat are used at rest. Increasing your RMR is the best way to increase your fat burning potential. After a Metafit workout your RMR will remain elevated for a minimum of 24 hours. 1lb of lean muscle requires 50 calories per day to survive. Therefore, increasing lean muscle mass increases calorie output and metabolism.
Summary of the effect of HIIT on the Endocrine System
- Boosting HGH (Human Growth Hormone), testosterone & serotonin; these hormones not only keep you feeling good, but also looking young and vital whilst protecting muscle and bone density.
- Avoid cortisol production & release – cortisol is released by stress and elevated levels causes the body to store fat around the abdomen.
- Avoid fat storage and muscle catabolism (breaking down of muscles).
- It has been proven that LSD (Long, Slow, Distance) training can negatively alter hormone levels – HIIT is the opposite of LSD training.
HIIT classes should last between 20 to 30 minutes. HIIT is short bursts of maximum exertion to failure. If it lasts an hour it is not HIIT. The Metafit moto is “Quality not quantity” so we can keep our training at maximum to boost your metabolism. Classes that last an hour must be based around endurance & aerobic training so can’t be considered as HIIT. The exercise routine changes every month and uses unique music to help you work out hard. The sessions are taken by qualified Metafit instructors.
With so many benefits and short sessions why not try a class near you? At Chili Leisure we run Metafit HIIT classes every week in our open air gym in Cómpeta, Costa Del Sol, Spain.