HITT the Fitness Fast Track
Throughout the 1980’s and ’90’s a fierce debate raged amongst fitness professionals as to which was the most effective form of cardiovascular fitness. Today, no such debate is necessary. Studies conducted over the last few years have left absolutely no doubt that the most effective way to improve heart health, get in peak condition and strip fat from your body is to train with maximum intensity for short bursts with minimal rest periods. The name given to this type of workout is High Intensity Interval training and if you’re not doing it, you’re cheating your body out of a whole lot of goodness. Let’s find out why;
It is incredibly time efficient
It will burn a lot of calories while exercising
It will boost your metabolism for the next 24 hours, turning your body into a fat melting machine
It will increase your VO2 Max, allowing for amazing heart health benefits
It will enhance you ability to recover from intense cardio making you a more effective player of any sport
How to HIIT It
Your HIIT workout can be done on any type of cardiovascular equipment. Experience has found that it works best on a stationary cycle or a treadmill. HIIT also works fantastically well on the running track. Here’s how to do it:
Warm up with 2 minutes at a steady state
Perform 20 seconds at your absolute maximum intensity. If running you should imagine that you are being chased by a doberman! Don’t leave anything in the tank – go all out.
Rest for 10 seconds – no more.
Repeat for another 7 rotations – try not to let the intensity drop off.
Warm down for 2 minutes.
HIIT the Road
Part of the beauty of HIIT is that your workout will be over before most guys have finished lacing up their gym shoes. You’ll be able to head out the door, feeling great in the confidence that you’ve done more in 6 minutes than they will in the next hour. Then you can HIIT the road and get on with your day.
Is HITT training appropriate for beginners?
Yes, as long as you warm up. While you’re getting used to the program, you need to build up the intensity. So, in the 20 second ‘go’ phase, start at an intensity level that prevents you from talking and then increase the speed each session until you are truly going all out.
What scientific studies have been done to support HITT training?
In 1996, Professor Izuni Tabata led a study involving Olympic speed skaters who performed 20 seconds of ultra-intense exercise followed by a 10 second recovery. This was repeated for 8 cycles. A control group did steady state training. The first group showed a higher increase in V02 max as well as greater anaerobic benefits.(1)
Since then there have been a number of studies that have supported Tabata’s findings. A 2009 study by Giblin, et al showed that HITT training for just a few minutes brought greater benefits in terms of cardiovascular fitness and fat loss than steady state training that lasted much longer.(2)
Tabata I, Nishimura K, Kouzaki M, et al. (1996). “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max”. Med Sci Sports Exerc 28 (10): 1327–30. doi:10.1097/00005768-199610000-00018. PMID 8897392.
Little, Jonathan P; Adeel S. Safdar, Geoffrey P. Wilkin, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, and Martin J. Gibala (2009). “A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms”. Journal of Physiology 588 (Pt 6): 1011–22. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2009.181743. PMC 2849965. PMID 20100740.
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