How much time do you have? Five minutes? Ten? Fifteen? If you have a few minutes, a little space, and the right attitude, you can get a calorie busting, fat burning workout pretty much anywhere.
So What is HIIT?
HIIT, which stands for High Intensity Interval Training, is believed to be developed in it’s modern form by Peter Coe, who built on the principles of German professor Woldemar Gerschler and Swedish physiologist Per-Olof Astrand when he was training his son. The idea of HIIT was truly popularized in the 1990’s by Izumi Tabata, a professor at the Ritzumeikan Graduate School of Sport Health Science. Tabata gives much of the credit to Irisawa Koichi, a Japanese speed skating coach, for much of the technique’s development. Tabata is one of the most popular HIIT workout styles, though it is rarely performed correctly!
In the actual Tabata protocol experiments, athletes worked up to 170% of their VO2 max for twenty seconds, then took a ten second rest period, then went back at it again and again for eight total rounds (that’s a lot of Oxygen!). They’d then receive a short break and begin again. Results for these short workouts performed four days per week, with one standard intensity day showed some superiority over five standard intensity training sessions. Our members do plenty of Tabata training, but we don’t exactly take people to 170% of VO2 max because, well, we like our members to be alive. In fact, Tabata wondered about the practical application of his protocol to the general public because he found that it took an enormous amount of focus and motivation to perform effectively.
Tabata is just one type of HIIT training, there are many others. I recommend checking out Wikipedia’s great Wiki about HIIT if you want more information.
So Why Do We Love HIIT?
Let’s be honest, we don’t all have time to workout for 60-90 minutes or more every day, and many of us aren’t trying to be bodybuilders. We want maximum results, in a realistic amount of time. Slogging away on a treadmill while you read Better Homes and Gardens might be fun for some, but me, I’d rather get in, kick butt, and get out in 45 minutes or less; also I’m not a big Better Homes and Gardens guy, I’m currently into You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero and Five Plus One by Chas Wilson (in case you’re looking for a couple of great reads). In short, no pun intended, HIIT workouts are, well, short. Ranging anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes, you can burn more calories, shed more fat, and gain more endurance than you would in twice the time doing a “standard” workout.
It’s Not Boring
I hate to use the term “not boring”, but in all honesty, fun seemed a little over the top when describing HIIT. These workouts keep you guessing, keep you going, and keep you looking ahead the whole time, just trying to get through the next movement. With that type of novelty and intensity, you usually have a tough time getting bored.
Yeah I said it, HIIT is HARD, but there’s not a whole lot in life worth doing if it’s easy. You’ll be sweating, you’ll be tired, you might even be cursing your instructor (no finger pointing, but you know who you are!). At the end of the session though, you’ll feel great, you’ll feel tired, and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something, because you know what, you have!
It Carries Over
What does that mean? Well, because of the intensity of HIIT, your body gets all the metabolic benefits of the workouts throughout the day. This means that you’ll be burning calories well after your workout is over. What that doesn’t mean is that you should eat that Ben and Jerry’s Pfish Food ice cream after dinner, I said to a friend, not myself, yesterday, when I had a spoon in my hand.
You Can Do It With Friends…
Yay friends! HIIT is great for friends to train together. Because they are short, not boring, and challenging, we can motivate each other and stay “into it” the whole time. Plus, it’s great for friendly competition. “How many burpees did you get” is a common question you may hear around HIIT folks. Enjoying the challenges of a tough workout with friends can be very rewarding, we even have married couples that train together and compete against each other. You know what they say, “The family that sweats together stays together”, that’s a thing right?
So what’s your favorite HIIT workout? Tabata, AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible), rowing, biking, resistance training with shorts breaks? Whatever it is, keep doing it, make sure you rest, and enjoy the challenge!