HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is acclaimed for being the best type of training workout there is to efficiently create a lean body. It’s all-over-body work and high metabolic demand on the body enables you to maintain even musculature and keep your body burning fat long after the workout. Our bodies are created to move in two ways – aerobically (for example, walking at a continuous rate) or anaerobically (for example, quickly moving away from a harmful situation). Anaerobic exercise recruits fat for fuel, and studies have shown that we tend to store up that fat in our abdomen. By alternating between aerobic and anaerobic movement, your body has to work hard to keep up with the blood-oxygen supply needed. Getting your body working hard in a short amount of time means you get to burn more calories, more efficiently. In a busy age where exercise is often down the bottom of our priority list, this is good news.
The key to HIIT is the high intensity bit. Interval training can reach some of these targets, but when you really start to work your body this is when you reach maximum effort. So, if you can no longer hold a conversation and you start to feel yourself sweat, you’re in the max zone. Everyone is different, so the effort required to meet max for one person to the next is going to differ. This is what makes HIIT a really great individual workout, because you get to know what your level of intensity is and aren’t tempted to push yourself too hard because of the fit guy next to you. If you are completing a HIIT workout correctly, you will need about 2 days of rest to enable your body to recover – that is how hard you should be pushing yourself. Although a HIIT workout should only take about 30mins to complete, it doesn’t mean the effort is going to be easy.
Employing a HIIT strategy at the gym is easy and a great way to mix up your work out routine. There are heaps of equipment at your disposal at a gym, so there’s no excuse to be bored. HIIT is fun because you have to be challenging yourself physically and you are constantly concentrating on your moves and what you need to do next. There is no time to chit chat, and there is no time to lose yourself in the music or the screen in front of you. All you need is a plan, and a timer and you are set to go.
You will need:
- A Plan
- A Timer (You can download HIIT timers for your phone. Or an old stopwatch will do the trick too!)
- Water to sip every 10mins
- Equipment ready to go
WARM UP & WARM DOWN
HIIT workouts don’t usually incorporate the warm up and warm down period. This is important because you are going to switch from low/medium intensity to high intensity very quickly. You don’t want to create an injury by going in too fast. Give your body a chance to get the blood moving and to get in the workout mode. Warming down is just as important as moving your body in high intensity will send your blood to the extremities of your body. If you stop cold and don’t warm down slowly, you will get light headed and may feel ill. Give yourself 5 mins of both at the start and at the end to look after your body well.
BEST GYM EQUIPMENT for HIIT
Have a look at what your gym offers and see what you like the best. Are you a runner or a rower? Love to cycle or love weights? Each piece of equipment can be used for HIIT so if you’re in a busy gym, almost anything that’s available can be used. Any piece of equipment that involves your entire body is going to get you working harder, quicker. If you are starting off with HIIT, you would be best to choose equipment that is more concentrated to upper or lower body. To increase your HIIT intensity and give yourself a challenge, incorporate upper and lower body exercises to really get your heart pumping.
HIIT on the TREADMILL
Warm up with an easy jog (5mins).
Find the fastest pace you can handle for a sprint. Sprint for 20secs on/10secs rest with your feet on the sides of the treadmill (4mins). Raise incline by 2%. Repeat 20secs on/10 secs rest (4mins). Raise incline by another 2%. Repeat 20secs on/10secs rest (4mins).
Keep repeating cycle until 20seconds becomes too difficult. Switch to 10secs on/20secs rest at that incline for as many sprints as possible.
Warm down with an easy jog/walk (5mins).
HIIT on the EXERCISE BIKE
Heaps of trainers love the Tabata method for the stationary bike. It’s a HIIT formula that a Japanese trainer developed to reduce training times for his athletes. Dr. Tabata and his team figured out in their research that the most efficient use of HIIT intervals is a 2/1 ratio. So 8 rounds or 20seconds max effort/10seconds rest is all that you need.
Warm up at a moderate resistance for 5mins.
Set your resistance as high as possible so you really have to work super hard. Pedal hard for 20seconds, then rest for 10seconds. Repeat for 8 sets.
Rest for 3-5mins, then repeat again. For the second set of 8, you can get on an upper body machine such as the stand up Sci-Fit to really work your whole body out.
Warm down at an easy pace for 5mins.
HIIT on the ROWING MACHINE
The rowing machine requires complex movement from your entire body, requiring your body to work even harder. In one movement your whole body is in motion, with your upper body getting a full on strength workout. This means more calories torched per session.
Warm up at an easy pace (5mins).
Row hard for 30 seconds, then switch to low intensity for 90 seconds. Repeat for 8 sets.
Repeat the set in increase the resistance to progress and challenge yourself even more.
Warm down (5mins).
We love HIIT at AJ’s too so if you’re keen to give it a try but don’t know where to start, come and ask one of our friendly personal trainers to get you started. They can give you a run down of the equipment and show you the correct movements so you know exactly what you’re doing and can concentrate on putting in maximum effort for your HIIT. Talk to us today!