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High intensity interval training

You’ve probably seen the term ‘HIIT’ doing the rounds of the gyms and personal training studios of the Gold Coast over the last couple of years, as the phenomenon grows in popularity. But what is HIIT, and why is it so popular?

The HIIT exercise method has become one of the most popular workouts chosen by both athletes, gym junkies and beginners throughout Australia.

HIIT, or ‘high intensity interval training’ is an exercise method designed to burn more calories than regular workouts, in a fraction of the workout time. By definition, HIIT involves doing short bursts of high-intensity training, followed by periods of recovery in between. Whether it’s a three-minute workout or a seven-minute slog, the workouts are designed to take less time than it probably takes you to get to the gym! HIIT involves working out with maximum effort for a very short burst of just a few minutes, and then spending the remainder of your session recovering at a slower pace.

Because of the intensity of the workouts involved, it’s recommended by experts that most people attempt no more than three HIIT sessions per week. If ‘no more than three workouts per week’ sounds like a dream come true to you, read on, and find out all there is to know about HIIT and how it’s helping millions to lose weight, keep fit, and maintain the results.

HIIT has actually been around for years, being practiced by elite athletes across the globe. In fact, sports scientists have been aware of the benefits of short bursts of intense exercise for quite a while now. The first time the term HIIT hit the scene, however, was after a study published by McMaster University showed that short, 30-second sprints on a bike, for a cumulative total of three minutes produced the same results (in terms of muscle cell adaptations) as a steady, 2-hour long bike ride. Since that discovery, hundreds of other studies have been made into the effects of interval training. 

Although it was first espoused by sports scientists for athletes, high intensity interval training can benefit everyone, from a beginner simply trying to lose some kilos to an elite level athlete. The beauty of the HIIT method is that it can fit into anyone’s schedule, as it requires so little time to complete each week.

That means there’s no more “I don’t have time to work out” excuse!

In saying that, given the intensity of HIIT, it’s important to consult a qualified personal trainer who’s experienced in this type of training. This is because it’s critical to ensure that the workout fits your personal abilities and doesn’t aggravate any existing injuries – or cause any new ones, for that matter! Consult with a personal trainer who can develop a HIIT workout plan specifically for you, and can monitor and assist you during your workouts, to avoid any problems.

From running, to sprints, to burpees, to lifting weights, to boxing, and more. HIIT can involve a range of different activities, depending on your goals and abilities. They key is that each activity is done with maximum effort for a short burst of time. For you, that might mean 30 seconds of lightning-fast burpees, followed by a recovery break, before another set, and then another. The beauty of HIIT is that your workout can be designed to incorporate the activities that will best benefit you, and keep you interested!

The ‘Tabata’ workout is one such iteration of high intensity interval training, which has been studied to reveal some remarkable results. In one recent study by Auburn University Montgomery Kinesiology Laboratory saw participants who completed 20-second bodyweight squat jump sets, with rest breaks of 10 seconds, for a total of 10 minutes (eight minutes total exercise) burned an average of 13.5 calories per minute. They also doubled their metabolic rate for more than 30 minutes after the workout.  

“This particular style of interval training has profound effects even on short-term post-exercise metabolism,” says lead researcher Michele Olson, Ph.D., principle researcher at the Auburn University Montgomery Kinesiology Laboratory. “It would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise to shed the same number of calories you can in a four-minute Tabata.”

Your own workout might involve less repetitions, longer rest breaks, and a different activity altogether. Like any other exercise, it’s all about seeing what works for you, starting off with shorter bursts, and building up as your ability and fitness increase.

HIIT has been found to be one of the most effective exercise techniques around! Not only does it burn more calories during and after the workout, it involves a fraction of the time commitment of other exercise methods and is easy to fit into a busy schedule. Most importantly; there have been many health studies conducted over the years that have demonstrated enormous health benefits of HIIT. So all things considered, because of all of the positive benefits and the great results that HIIT helps you to achieve, it’s the perfect long-term exercise strategy. At Integrated Health Specialists, we’ve helped many of our clients lose stubborn weight that’s been haunting them for years. If you’ve struggled to lose weight, and to find an exercise program that fits into your lifestyle, HIIT could be the answer you’ve been looking for.

To boost the effects of HIIT on your weight loss and health, pair with an intermittent fasting eating plan. Read our most recent blog about just this, here.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with us at Integrated Health Specialists and speak with our very own Gold Coast personal trainer today, to build a HIIT workout program that will have you losing weight and feeling great, fast!

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen