With so many options of workout formats out there in the world, and even more opinions on which ones are the best, it might be overwhelming to know which one(s) really are the best for YOU. While we encourage people to move their bodies in ways they enjoy and that make them feel good to increase the odds of sustainability, we have a fondness for one particular workout format that we base the majority of our workouts around. That workout format is High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT for short). While HIIT has become increasingly popular (it’s ranked among the top 5 fitness trends since 2014), there are still many people that are unfamiliar with what it is and how it benefits the body, so we thought we’d take the time to break that down today and explain a little more why we focus so much on these types of workouts for our clients at Worth the Work Fitness.
WHAT IS HIIT?
High-Intensity Interval Training is a format of exercise that involves alternating short bursts of higher-intensity work with short periods of rest, or less-intense active rest. Here’s a simple example of how HIIT works: When running, you sprint at an “all-out” pace for 1 minute, and then do a slower, more relaxed paced jog for 30 seconds to a minute. Then you repeat that cycle 4-6 times. It can be as simple as that. But there are a variety of approaches to HIIT workouts and how you can incorporate them into different types of training, especially beyond running. Here at Worth the Work Fitness, we like to mix both aerobic and resistance based exercises to not only get your heart rate up, but also build muscle. Plus, we like to incorporate exercises that work multiple parts of the body at once, so you get to use more muscles and benefit further from the work you are putting in.
WHY WE LIKE HIIT
Probably the most beloved part of HIIT is it’s time efficiency. With this type of workout you can get the most bang for your buck, because you can experience the same (or better) health benefits as other forms of exercise in a shorter amount of time. While there is no set amount of time that a HIIT workout must last, you can typically get significant health benefits from 10-30 minutes of work. That sounds like a much more reasonable time frame to fit into your busy life, doesn’t it?
Another commonly favored aspect of HIIT is what is often referred to as the Afterburn Effect. Basically it means that because of the higher intensity nature of the workouts, your body’s metabolism is elevated and is therefore able to stay in a fat-burning state long after your workout is over.
And we can’t go on without mentioning that you are much less likely to get bored when participating in HIIT workouts because of the way they stimulate your brain to be more engaged in the process. Plus, it helps the already short workout time seem to pass by faster. And we all know that the more we enjoy something, the more likely we are to keep doing it.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF HIIT
So we’ve mentioned that HIIT can lead to the same, if not better, health benefits as other forms of exercise in a shorter amount of time, but what specific health benefits are we talking about? There is a great deal of evidence based research on the benefits of HIIT, and this article outlines some of them in more in detail, but here is a quick run through a few of the big ones:
Not a bad list of things to benefit from, am I right?
Just like any more intense exercise regimen, there are always some levels of risk of injury, so it’s important to recognize what some of those risks are. And it’s equally important to know how to mitigate those risks.
First and foremost, if you have any concern about whether or not HIIT is an appropriate method of exercise for you, the most important place to start is talking to your doctor before engaging in it. This is especially relevant if you have any pre-existing health concerns (especially heart related) or previous injuries. While there are many health benefits in this form of exercise, you want to be sure that it’s an appropriate place for you to start.
To ensure that your body is prepared for a more intense activity, it is always best to take the time to warm up and wake up your body first. We always start off our workouts with a warm up of exercises to raise the heart rate and get your muscles ready for more work.
A key factor in fitness that many people overlook is that it is more important to do an exercise properly than it is to do it quickly. We take a few measures to increase the chances that you are doing things right, even from home. First off, Brett (the founder and trainer at WTWF) is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer with years of experience in the fitness industry under his belt to guide you. In every workout he demonstrates each exercise and talks through what proper form should look and feel like, as well as cues you throughout the workout to help you stay focused on it, even when you are growing tired. We also provide instruction and demonstration of exercise modifications to accommodate for different skill and comfort levels. And lastly, as a benefit of being a WTWF member, you can have access to your personal accountability coach that you can talk with if you have concerns about any specific exercises.
While it may be tempting to maximize the highly effective nature of these workouts by doing them more often, it is because of that effective nature that we don’t have to workout as often. Because of the higher intensity, it is all the more important to allow our bodies time to rest and recover. In fact, doing so is an important part of the effectiveness of HIIT. That’s why our workout calendar only includes 4 workouts a week. So be sure to include rest days and lower intensity exercises throughout the week as well.
I hope this helps give you a better idea of not only what kind of workouts we focus on here at Worth the Work Fitness, but also WHY we love them and do them. We wouldn’t offer you access to something if we didn’t believe in what we’re putting out there.
So if we’ve convinced you to give this workout format a try, we’d love for you to experience these benefits firsthand with a FREE WEEK of our Worth the Work Fitness workouts - no strings attached. Just click here to enter your information and get started!
Written by Kelly Pruim