Like so many, the health and fitness industry loves a good acronym. HIIT is the buzzword on everyone’s lips right now. It’s also the basis of the training component of 28, so here’s the lowdown on what it is and why everyone’s talking about it.
What is HIIT and what makes it so effective?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and there’s a reason everybody’s talking about it: it works!
HIIT involves repeated bursts of high intensity exercise interspersed with low intensity recovery periods. This enables you to achieve results in improved muscle tone, fat burning, strength building, endurance and cardio fitness all in less time than by other methods.
The reason HIIT is so effective is that it produces excess post-oxygen consumption, or EPOC (yes, another industry acronym!). EPOC raises your resting metabolic rate for twenty-four hours or more after your training session. In other words, it turns your body into a fat-burning machine.
Is HIIT right for me?
In our hectic world, it’s easy to see why HIIT is so popular. We are all looking for ways to streamline our lives, so, if you could achieve the same fitness results (or better) in less time, why wouldn’t you?
HIIT sessions can slot into anyone’s daily routine, making them more sustainable in the long term than other workouts.
Before jumping on board though, here are a few things to consider:
The term ‘high intensity’ is relative.
It generally means performing at 9/10 of your capacity, but your 9/10 may be very different from that of a twenty-year-old athlete, or a sixty-year-old returning to training after a sedentary period.
Not all HIIT workouts are going to be right for you.
Before diving into a HIIT workout, first ask yourself, ‘are the movements right for my body?’.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all HIIT workout. You need to ensure there are progressions and regressions of all available movements, that’s set at a suitable intensity to challenge your current fitness level; but not so intense as to put your body at risk of injury.
Should you do HIIT every day?
The short answer is no. You need some Yin to your Yang to ensure you have balance and proper recovery time built into your weekly fitness regime.
What should a balanced, weekly exercise routine look like?
With all of this in mind, 28 has been designed around a weekly workout schedule to achieve positive results and sustainability.
Over the course of the week, my program works out your whole body using HIIT principles.
The program is balanced as follows:
- Monday: HIIT functional lower body focus with low impact options available.
- Tuesday: HIIT functional upper body focus with low impact options available.
- Wednesday: Stretch and breathe a combo of gentle core and mobility moves from yoga and Pilates.
- Thursday: HIIT cardio emphasis including boxing with low impact options available.
- Friday: HIIT full body blitz with low impact options available.
- Saturday / Sunday: Choose from one of the 28 active recovery options cycle, run, walk and stretch, yoga, Pilates, or swim.
Active recovery sessions are important in order that you keep the activity momentum going, and I’m also a big believer in encourage our 28ers to try different kinds of physical activities that they may never have considered before. Variety is the spice of life!
The challenge with any regular exercise routine is to achieve effective results in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable. The HIIT approach is a great way of blending both.