One of the biggest fitness trends that is going to make its mark in 2018, according to CNN.com, is high intensity interval training or HIIT. This type of training is different than just going to the gym to lift weights or doing cardio for an hour. This type of training combines aerobic (cardio), anaerobic (like sprinting), and resistance training (free weights) exercises that are programmed to deliver the maximum amount of caloric expenditure burn and fitness results — within a short period of time.
How is it different than traditional group classes?
HIIT classes can range from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the group fitness studio you belong to. Some studios will only do body weight, but others will incorporate all three components mentioned above to deliver the maximum results within your class time.
If you are an avid cardio goer, love yoga, dance, just run, walk or hike, then HIIT is definitely going to take you out of your comfort zone. In the fitness world, we use the term planes of motion. With cardio movements, like biking or running, your body goes in one direction. When you take a HIIT class, you are moving in all the planes of motion. This means you are moving forward, sideways, backwards, at angles, up, down and sometimes all around. As humans, we are not meant to stay in one place, so if we can exercise to mimic real life movements, it helps tremendously. We call this, functional training movements. With HIIT, those movements are elevated to a higher level with out-of-the-box workout routines that are meant to get you leaner and stronger throughout your entire body, especially your core. In addition, the programmed rest cycles are meant to make your heart & lungs recover quicker, so that you can bounce back faster after every exercise sequence.
Why is this important?
The magic with HIIT training is that your muscles are constantly guessing. No one wants to hit a plateau and have their bodies become stagnant. With these classes, we are constantly confusing the body with various movement patterns, different exercises and resistance levels. The end result is an increase in calories burned, better muscular endurance, a stronger and leaner body, and better recovery between exercises.
Why can’t we just do cardio?
Cardio is great, but it does little in maintaining our muscle mass. The problem with cardio addicts is their muscle mass will suffer in the long term. The goal is to maintain or increase that lean body mass through resistance training because we will lose muscle at a faster rate as we get older. In addition, you have the bone density benefit. Lifting weights and constantly challenging your muscles with various resistances and dynamic movements will help maintain bone density, especially in women who are predisposed to higher levels of osteoporosis as they age.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you feel that you have reached a plateau, it just means you need to train at a higher level and be challenged. You don’t have to leave your current fitness place, but at the end of the day, if you aren’t getting results anymore, you need to crosstrain with other modes of exercise. The question to you is: Are you going to give HIIT a try? Don’t limit yourself with comfort, you only get one body, why not get the most out of it and Make Every Move Count.
by Kisar S. Dhillon, Partner, Burntown Fitness