The newest darling of fitness enthusiasts, HIIT, is it beneficial or not for your fitness regime, asks Deepthi Velkur
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) a term that has been thrown around by fitness enthusiasts over the past few years. Essentially, it involves repetitions of short bursts of intense, ‘maximum effort’ exercise, like sprinting. The periods of burst activity last from anywhere between 20 to 40 seconds.
Why you should try HIIT?
As fit individuals, we all strive to be healthier and be fitter. When it comes to getting fitter, factors like cardiovascular ability, core strength and fat loss are crucial elements.
- Cardiovascular ability refers to strength of your heart. It is very important for reaching and maximizing your fitness potential.
- Core strength helps in having better balance, keeps the body aligned and helps to recover from injury faster.
- Low body fat means you have peak performance in running, flexibility and agility.
Just doing cardio helps to achieve cardiovascular strengthening, fat loss as well as better core strength. But doing only cardio can lead to muscle loss. For those of you who have done cardio, it only gets repetitive and boring over time. The alternative to this is HIIT. It aids in bettering cardiovascular strengthening, assist in fat loss and bolster core strength without compromising muscle mass, and not taking up a lot of your time. For runners, cyclists, triathletes and other endurance athletes it is important to maintain muscle strength and mass as it supports them during long distance events.
How does HIIT build endurance?
If you want to build endurance in a short period of time, then you need to consider the following:
1) Heart rate (how many times your heart beats per minute)
2) Stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped per heartbeat)
3) Heart contractility (the forcefulness of each actual contraction of your heart muscle)
While the terms might sound a bit technical, these are the ones that determines your overall endurance. As each of these variables increase, your blood gets more oxygenated and your muscles also receive more oxygen. So, the heart is the primary component for building endurance through HIIT.
Sculpting your physique and increasing metabolic rate is a fabulous effect of internal training. By working out at your top level of exertion, you burn more calories in a short space of time than other workouts. Sound’s simple? Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it sounds!
If you are an absolute beginner to exercising, then this high intensity method might not be suitable. You need to put in at least 3 weeks of proper training before graduating to interval training to avoid injury.
- Increased Metabolism and Stamina
- Time saver sessions – 3 sessions/week of 15-20 mins is sufficient.
- Anywhere – HIIT sessions use your own body weight and hence can be done at any convenient place.
- Preserves muscle mass and leads to an increase in cardiovascular efficiency as well as increased tolerance to the build-up of lactic acid.
- Improved performance and endurance.
Designing the right interval training routine can be sophisticated or casual. Elite athletes can choose to visit sports performance labs to have blood lactate and exercise metabolism tests done to determine the best interval training routine. Remember that interval training is extremely demanding on the heart, lungs and muscles, and it’s important to have an OK from your physician before you start. It is recommended that you consult an athletic trainer, coach or personal trainer to get a HIIT program designed to meet your fitness goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deepthi Velkur is a former sprinter who is trying her hand at various sports today. A tennis fanatic, who believes that sleep should never be compromised.