Ever seen a cheetah on a treadmill? Neither have we. We are a huge fan of the High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT workout.
HIIT is a form of training that combines short intervals or bursts of maximum or near maximum efforts alternated by rounds of low effort or recovery. For example instead of a medium pace jog on a treadmill at say > 7/8 km/h for 45 minutes you would do a 1 min sprint or run at 13 km/h followed by 30 seconds of walking at 5 km/h and repeat this combination for only 15-20 minutes.
According to the Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Birmingham, high-intensity interval training can be a time-saving alternative to endurance training. Even though High Interval Training takes half the time, it can result in the same health benefits that we get from endurance activities.
The researchers recruited 16 young sedentary males with an average age of 21 to compare the effects of endurance training and sprint interval training. Some of the participants did six weeks of endurance training, (40 to 60 minutes of cycling five times per week). The rest did high-intensity interval training, (four to six repeated 30-second “all-out” sprints on bikes interspersed with 4.5 minutes of low-intensity cycling, three times per week). In the next phase of the study, researchers took muscle biopsies before and after the participants completed 60 minutes of cycling.
It turned out that both forms of exercise — five hours of endurance training and just 90 minutes of HIIT — helped reduce aortic stiffness (which affects how quickly blood travels through the arteries) and increase whole body insulin sensitivity (how efficient the body is at processing glucose). That’s important because it means HIIT and endurance training were equally effective at helping decrease the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
This study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that, in adults and kids, High Intensity Interval Training is a more time-efficient way to see the same health effects we get from endurance training. Specifically, research suggests High Intensity Interval Training can increase skeletal muscle oxidative capacity (how efficiently muscles use oxygen) and improve exercise performance. We can even reap these benefits from low-volume high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves 15- to 60-second bursts of high-intensity cycling interspersed with two to four minute intervals of low-intensity cycling.
So Why Should You Start Doing More HIIT Workouts? It comes down to this:
1. HIIT TRAINING IS MORE EFFECTIVE. YOU SAVE TIME & WILL STICK TO IT.
HIIT takes less time, and packed schedules are one of the main reasons why adults don’t exercise. The great thing about HIIT is that it takes half the time and is far more effective than your minutes on a treadmill. There is also evidence that people are more likely to stick to HIIT training routines than endurance regimens.
2. YOU WILL FEEL ENERGISED AND BURN FAT LONG AFTER YOUR HIIT WORKOUT.
Doing a daily 10-20 minutes of High Interval Training leaves you feeling energised. It boosts your metabolism at the same time, leaving your body to remain in fat-burning mode, long after you trained.
3. HIIT TRAINING IS FOR EVERYONE!
Even better news? Scientists say HIIT is appropriate for people of all ages and fitness levels. So, there’s no reason not to do it! .
So How Do You Start?
A good method to start implementing some HIIT in your fitness regime is to get up 15 minutes earlier, drink 2 glasses of water and do 4-8 minutes of HIIT training. (For the not-so-early-birds amongst you: leave on your PJs and jump in your sneakers in the bedroom.) By the time your get under the shower, you will have done your body plenty of good and simply saved a lot of time. You can even skip the coffee: you won’t need it after this energy-burst.
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1.Sprint interval and endurance training are equally effective in increasing muscle microvascular density and eNOS content in sedentary males. Cocks, M., Shaw, C.S., Shepherd, S.O., et al. School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, U.K. Journal of Physiology 2013 Feb 1;591(Pt 3):641-56. [↩]
2.Sprint interval and endurance training induce similar improvements in peripheral arterial stiffness and flow-mediated dilation in healthy humans. Rakobowchuk, M., Tanguay, S., Burgomaster, K.A., et al. Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. American Journal of Physiology 2008 Jul;295(1):R236-42. [↩]
3.Similar health benefits of endurance and high-intensity interval training in obese children. Corte de Araujo, A.C. Roschel, H., Picanco, A.R., et al. University of Sao Paulo, School of Medicine – Division of Rheumatology, Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil. PLoS One 2012;7(8):e42747. [↩]
4.Similar metabolic adaptations during exercise after low volume sprint interval and traditional endurance training in humans. Burgomaster, K.A., Howarth, K.R., Phillips, S.M., et al. Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Journal of Physiology 2008 Jan 1;586(1):151-60. [↩]
5.A practical model of low-volume high-intensity interval training induces mitochondrial biogenesis in human skeletal muscle: potential mechanisms. Little, J.P., Safdar, A., Wilkin, G.P., et al. Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Journal of Physiology 2010 Mar 15;588(Pt 6):1011-22. [↩]
6.Evidence based exercise – clinical benefits of high intensity interval training. Shiraev, T., Barclay, G. University of Notre Dame, School of Medicine, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Australian Family Physician 2012 Dec;41(12):960-2. [↩]
7.Low-volume interval training improves muscle oxidative capacity in sedentary adults. Hood, M.S., Little, J.P., Tarnopolsky, M.A., et al. Exercise Metabolism Research Group, Department of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2011 Oct;43(10):1849-56. [↩]
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