The “What For?” Regarding HIIT Workouts. Discover the benefits of HIIT.

September 30, 2016

First, I would like to give a heads up that this post may get a little thick at times.  I could have very easily made a fluffy, hype post about HOW AWESOME HIIT WORKOUTS ARE, but I decided that I would rather fuel your brains with some real, empirical knowledge regarding high-intensity interval training.  That way you can make an informed decision on whether or not HIIT workouts are something you’d like to check out.

So, what exactly is a HIIT workout?  Let’s take a look.  Simply, HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which means completing rounds of high-level exertion for short bursts followed by either complete rest or very light working rest.  A good example of  a HIIT workout is a Tabata, in which you would complete one specific movement (i.e. air squat) for 20 seconds as fast as you can then rest for a full 10 seconds until you have completed 8 full rounds.  That’s 4 minutes.

So, what’s the benefit?  Why is this style of workout worth while?  The most blatant reason is convenience.  We are busy people and sometimes making time to get to the gym is quite challenging, and let’s face it our time is a currency.  HIIT workouts help remove to remove that barrier.  Get in.  Get after it.  Get out.  (Not that we’re kicking you out.  Please stay to chat and deliver high fives!)

Great!  So, it saves time, but is HIIT an effective workout model?  According to a collection of 10 studies conducted by The School of Human Movement Studies at The University of Queensland, high-intensity interval training was able to increase overall cardio-respiratory fitness by almost DOUBLE that of moderate-intensity continuous training (i.e. jogging for one hour).

Also, as we age our body’s production of both human growth hormone (hGH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF) begins to slow, which has been linked to an increase in signs of aging and decreased healthspan.  Luckily, research indicates that utilizing HIIT for a minimum of 10 minutes appears to elicit the largest production of hGH in comparison to other exercise models.  In addition, the same research indicates that the hGH benefit from HIIT workouts continues for up to 24hrs.  This means higher overall metabolic rate (think calorie burn) for an extended period of time.

In conclusion, high-intensity interval training can save you time while creating significant payoffs in your overall health.  Also, I’d like to acknowledge that that the terminology “high-intensity” could be intimidating to some people.  So let’s take a moment to call a spade a spade.  “High-intensity” is a subjective term, and what is difficult for one person may be easy for another.  HIIT workouts don’t need to involve a comparison of ourselves with others.  Simply come in, give it your all, and reap the benefits.

Until next time!

Coach Casey at Portland TEAM Fitness