What’s HIIT All About?

You probably didn’t know it, but chances are you’ve taken a HIIT class before…or at least some version of it. Tabata. Intervals.

Let’s first define tabata and HIIT

Tabata– 20/10 x 8=4 This translates to 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, 8 rounds totaling 4 minutes. Also translates to a 2:1 ratio. This form of interval training was created in 1996 by Dr. Izumi Tabata.

HIIT– (High Intensity Interval Training) Much like tabata in that it incorporates short bursts of work followed by a rest. But with HIIT, the combinations, intervals and exercises can vary. You can choose from a 1:1 ratio, 3:1, 1:2, etc.

Next let’s talk about the list of HUGE benefits with HIIT workouts.

  1. Maximal O2 consumption– also known as VO2 max. This may sound like something only athletes need to focus on right? Yes, they should and do, and so should you. All you need to know is that an increase in your VO2 max is an increase in your overall cardiovascular strength, cardio-respiratory strength, and endurance. Because of the noted improvement in cardiac output, a study done by Ulrik Wisløff found that HIIT is even safe for clinical patients with heart disease (with physician approval).
  2. Utilizes both type I and II muscle fibers– Easily put, type I fibers are for endurance (long, sustained periods of aerobic exercise). Type II are your power and speed fibers. HIIT workouts recruit both of these muscle fibers giving you an effective fat burn while also building and/or maintaining lean muscle. More bang for your buck in a shorter amount of time.
  3. Effective for all abilities and ages– There was a time where athletes feared these types of workouts. Based on multiple studies and publications, HIIT training is highly beneficial to the training athlete. Not a full on triathlete or marathoner? Neither am I! HIIT is for all. Really, it is. The beauty of these workouts is they can be geared to a broad spectrum of abilities.

The list of benfits from HIIT workouts continue with improved blood sugar counts, higher HDL (the good stuff!), 24-48 hour fat burn which leads to weightloss WHICH leads to less stress, better sleep and improved emotional health.

My suggestion is to hit up (nice one) a fitness facility near you and maybe recruit a friend to come along. Once you try it, you’ll see for yourself all the different people with varying abilities getting involved. The beauty of group fitness in my opinion is the blending of individuals with all different types of abilities and goals into a room creating a strong connection and community over time.


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