The HIIT Trend
Today’s fitness world is cluttered with trendy, buzz-word rich workout regiments that can leave you feeling confused about the best way to burn calories, tone up and raise your heart rate for optimum health. Here’s one thing to look for in whatever cardio exercise you’re checking out in 2018: “HIIT”. It stands for “high intensity interval training”, and it works because it combines cardio and strength training into one calorie-torching, muscle-defining workout. There are lots of popular classes that adhere to the HIIT philosophy – cross fit, boot camps, body pump and Tabata. The important thing is to make sure the class description mentions “HIIT” in some form. Here are a few things to know about HIIT classes and exercises:
1. HIIT classes may not be immediately for everyone because they push the limits of endurance. However, HIIT classes are something everyone can work toward, an exercise that can be scaled to meet an individual’s fitness threshold with a conscientious instructor, then help that individual push past their personal benchmark with time on task. The high-intensity intervals described in a HIIT routine applies differently to each person. One exerciser may have a different fitness level than the next. It’s important to understand where you are in your fitness journey and push yourself hard, but appropriately. Look for HIIT classes, but also talk to the instructor or gym owner about how you can participate in the class safely and to your maximum benefit. I have done CrossFit for years and always scaled the daily workouts back to help me meet my individual goals of toning my body, but not adding new muscle. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for suggestions on how to modify these routines to meet your individual goals and fitness needs.
2. If you want to start preparing for a HIIT class, you can mimic the principle at home and ramp up your endurance before you get into a crowded gym. You simply need to do short bursts of a challenging cardio exercise (think 85-90% of your maximum heart rate) followed by a longer period of rest. That doesn’t mean rest as in doing nothing, but instead doing something less strenuous. Think about sprinting hard for 30 seconds, then power walking or jogging for 90 seconds. If you’re just starting your new commitment to fitness, scale this down to power walking fast for 30 seconds, then normally for 90 seconds. Repeat multiple times, anywhere from 10-30 minutes, as your body begins to ramp up.
3. The HIIT philosophy helps to maximize your workout in several ways, including the natural stimulation of HGH production - or human growth hormone. These are amino acids that your pituitary gland secretes. HGH produces anti-aging affects, including boosting your metabolism. HGH helps you burn calories and fat even after your workout is over. This also means you are lowering your risk of heart disease, getting more control over your blood sugar and strengthening your bones. Regardless of where you are in your fitness journey, you can incorporate HIIT principles to help boost your metabolism and charge your workouts to feel and look better.