What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?

by Betty – Friday, 3. July 2020

What is High-Intensity Interval Training?

The biggest excuse for not working out is often “I just don’t have enough time.” If you have found yourself using this excuse then high-intensity interval training is for you. Whether you prefer working out indoors or outdoors, with equipment or without, you can still incorporate HIIT into your workout. Read along to find out why you should jump on the HIIT train and how exactly you can do that. 

What is it?

HIIT is a variation from traditional cardio with the same health benefits but even higher effectiveness. In a 2016 study, the authors followed one group of participants doing a 10 minute HIIT workout and another doing 50 minutes of steady cardio for 12 weeks. The results showed that the cardiometabolic health of both groups improved by the same amount despite the significant difference in time commitment. 

HIIT is made up of short durations of very intense activity where you are giving it all you got. These bursts of energy are followed by rest or active recovery periods. The alternation between high and low-intensity is perfect for building endurance.  

One way to regulate your intensity levels is by using the Rate Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. It is used in training to get a subjective measure of your exertion levels using a scale from 0-10. You can use shortness of breath, respiration, heart rate, and muscle fatigue as indicators to rate how difficult you find an activity. This method allows you to be more mindful and adjust your intensity level between a high and low exertion level. During the peak of a HIIT session, you should be nearing a 9.

Why is it so beneficial?     

  • It will improve your cardiovascular health. As mentioned before, HIIT may improve your heart health for both healthy individuals as well as those with cardiovascular conditions.
  • It reduces blood sugar levels, particularly important for those at risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • It burns more calories. One study showed that you burn 25% – 30% more calories during a HIIT exercise relative to other forms of exercise with the same duration.
  • It will boost your metabolism. Your oxygen consumption and calorie burning level will remain elevated up to 48 hours post-workout, leading to a higher metabolic rate. 
  • It releases anti-aging hormones. HITT stimulates the production of human growth hormones (HGH) which are linked with increased bone density, increased muscle mass, and increased exercise capacity.      
  • It’s time-efficient. Perfect for juggling fitness with work, social life, and family obligations.

Types of HIIT activities:

You can have your pick of no-equipment exercises such as sprinting, jump rope, or any other bodyweight exercises (think burpees and jumping jacks). Or incorporate your favorite equipment such as a bike, treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike. Once you have decided on your activity, you can try out different time intervals. For instance, running/jump roping/cycling as hard as possible for 45 seconds then doing an active recovery for 2 – 3 minutes. Then repeat these intervals for 15 – 30 minutes. You can increase the length of the high intervals and decrease the length of the low-intensity intervals as you progress.

HIIT at Velocity: 

At Velocity you can get an extremely effective HIIT workout in our Veloburn classes. The great thing about doing HIIT with indoor cycling is that you can track the exact energy you are expending and quantify your improvements over time. Our coaches will guide you through the workout by giving you a target range of RPM and resistance level so that you get the appropriate alternation between high-intensity periods and active rest periods.  

So if you are short on time or you just want to amp up your workout routine, then consider trying a HIIT workout.