Over the past few years HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, has changed the way we think of fitness. When you hear the words High Intensity Interval Training, you immediately picture fast-paced, SUPER intense, short-duration workouts. And that is indeed exactly what HIIT is. If you’re like me and enjoy perusing fitness blogs (such as this one!) on a leisurely Sunday morning, you likely have seen over and over again headlines touting HIIT as the best possible form of exercise and encouraging the masses to give it a try. BUT, have you ever wondered why HIIT is so effective?
HIIT typically combines short bursts of high-intensity exercise with a short period of recovery. For example, you might perform as many jump squats as you can in 30 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of low-intensity TRX rows, or 45 seconds of mountain climbers followed by 10 seconds of rest. A good number of our classes here at Nourish Northwest incorporate HIIT, and we encourage you to try one if you have not already!
Not only does HIIT make the workout more exciting by keeping you on your toes (literally), it also has a number of physiological benefits. During High Intensity Interval Training, your heart rate increases, your metabolism spikes, and your energy consumption increases, thus burning calories. One of the physiological benefits of HIIT that makes it so effective actually occurs after the workout. Following a HIIT workout, your body continues burning calories as it works to restore your systems and hormones to baseline levels. This is considered “afterburn” or EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) and occurs for hours after that HIIT workout. Likewise, High Intensity Interval Training has a number of longer-term benefits including improving your cardiovascular health and increasing your body’s anaerobic and aerobic threshold.
This is not to say that your evening jogs or other steady-state workouts should go out the window, however it may be beneficial to incorporate some HIIT workouts into your weekly exercise regimen. If you have not already, be sure to check out one of our many HIIT classes offered every week!