The latest gym buzzword is HIIT, but what does it stand for? This popular fitness trend is popping up everywhere — and with good reason. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The intervals consist of heavy (90 to 100 percent effort) and light (20 to 30 percent effort) workloads for a pre-determined amount of time. The latter is considered “active recovery.” For example, HIIT would combine a heavy workload like sprints for 45 seconds, with a light workload like walking for 20 seconds.
It’s always a good idea to change up your workout routine so the body doesn’t become used to one exercise. HIIT workouts keep the body “on its toes.” The most common reason people do HIIT is because it’s an efficient and quick workout. Athletes also utilize HIIT to increase the fast-twitch muscle fibers and to strengthen the heart muscles. While HIIT is not intended to completely replace cardio, it can be used to complement a regular workout routine, added in two to three times a week.
HIIT and cardio workouts are both amazing for your body because they utilize different energy systems – anaerobic and aerobic energy. During anaerobic HIIT sessions, muscle cells must rely on other reactions that do not require oxygen to fuel muscle contraction. Aerobic exercise, such as walking on the treadmill, provides adequate fuel and oxygen so muscle cells can contract repeatedly without fatigue. The body is most efficient at producing an organic chemical called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which causes an intracellular energy transfer to the cells through aerobic metabolism. However, at higher intensities when energy is needed immediately, the anaerobic pathways can provide the necessary ATP much more quickly. So, what does this all mean? It means that with anaerobic workouts such as HIIT training, our body can only sustain high-intensity activity for a brief period of time, we simply run out of energy. The active recovery period during an anaerobic workout, such as walking after you run, allows aerobic metabolism to produce and replace ATP in the involved muscles.
HIIT is super-versatile, easy to incorporate into your current fitness routine, and can be done just about anywhere. All you need is a routine that consists of body-weight exercise and best of all because of the high intensity component of this routine, the total workout may only take 15 to 30 minutes to complete. It can also be performed in the weight room with alternating upper and lower body exercises, and limited rests in between. Try this Village inspired at-home or self-led gym workout for HIIT enthusiasts and first-timers alike.
Jump Rope or Jumping Jack Interval Workout
Complete the following circuit four times, resting one-minute after jumping rope or doing jumping jacks in each round.
- Mountain Climbers – Reps: 45
- Pushups – Reps: 20-30
- Front Plank – Duration: 1 min.
- Jump Rope or Jumping Jacks -Duration: 1 min.
For any questions about HIIT or further instruction, members are welcome to chat with any of the professional fitness experts at The Village Health Club and Spas. We invite you to explore what the buzz surrounding HIIT is really all about!