HIIT, or High-Intensity Interval Training is something I'm certain you've heard about. It's everywhere and very 'on trend' at the moment. For good reason.
There are many ways to manage weight and increase fitness. HIIT and LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) are two such ways and here we will compare the two.
Now, in the past, it's commonly been thought by some people that the only way to maintain your weight or increase fitness is by a steady run for an extended period of time.
LIISS, steady running for example, will absolutely burn calories and help with fitness. However, this stops when you cease exercise. As with all exercise it increases cortisol (stress hormone) levels, creating a catabolic environment. Catabolism in simple terms is when your body burns off/gets rid of muscle. Aside from this, your body will also increase Grehlin secretion post-LISS - this is the hormone responsible for hunger. Altogether - LISS for fat-loss works and fitness gains, and it’s important to mix up your training but there are other options.
HIIT will of course also burn calories. However, this calorie-burning effect will last for hours after completion of the session. Again HIIT training will also increase cortisol levels. However, with it, testosterone and human growth hormone levels are also increased. This anaerobic activity (like hard short and explosive strength circuits) will create an anabolic (muscle building) environment within the body, and an overall boost in metabolism. Don't panic and think you're going to turn into Arnie though. That's not the kind of muscle building we're talking about here. Grehlin levels are suppressed also which prevents that post cardio binge. Therefore, HIIT training spares muscle, increases fat burning and boosts metabolism. Plus, it can be completed in as little as 4 minutes! Your intensity must be high, so high that you couldn't possibly speak, your muscles burn and your breathing is difficult. Then rest and repeat.
Your intervals can be anything from sprinting, bodyweight exercises or even include weights and kit (sometimes called HIRT - High-Intensity Resistance Training). The goal is to push your heart rate super high; thus pushing your body into an anaerobic zone. Tabata training is one well-known example of this where you work at 170% effort for 20 seconds and take 10 seconds rest for 8 rounds.
You get maximum bang for your buck here; especially if you're short on time. Be aware though, it's not suitable for everyone (medical conditions, beginners to fitness), and you should always get a medical check before conducting a new exercise regime. And remember, like this attached article states, it's a tool to be used wisely and this above description is a simplified version.
Every week we work with multiple businesses for corporate fitness sessions. Here they come down to Hyde Park for a private group workout. They bring their colleagues, clients and friends. We do a range of exercises, however, HIIT/HIRT is often present and for good reason. This usually consists of 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off of weights, functional training kit and bodyweight exercises. It's great fun and we tailor it for complete beginners (for example drop it to 30/30 or similar).
Like to know more or see how we could help with your corporate fitness? Get in touch.
In summary, metabolic conditioning stresses your body through a bout of exercise, you recover, and you repeat. This is the crux of how you become fitter and stronger. You must be mindful that intensity of exercise determines energy metabolism and that it needs to be utilised as a tool and not as the sole focus for the session.