What is HIIT?
—It stands for high intensity interval training and it involves alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods.
—Although there is no set duration, these high intensity workouts typically last less than 30 minutes and vary based on your current fitness level.
How is our body affected with running versus HIIT?
—Running is considered a steady-state aerobic activity which means it is a form of cardio exercise that is paced at a continuous, steady rate. This can be defined as exercise performed continuously, such as running for at least 20 minutes at a pace at which oxygen supply meets oxygen demand; the heart rate stays at a constant pace and you do not become breathless.
—During a HIIT protocol, on the other hand, you vary your energy output and become breathless, or close to it, for short periods of time. You will be performing the exercise activity at a higher VO2 max.
What is VO2 max?
—It is the body’s upper limit for consuming and distributing oxygen for the purpose of energy production and is considered a good predictor of exercise performance.
—It is considered the gold standard for determining peak power output, or the maximum amount of physical work capacity a person is capable of.
What are the health benefits of HIIT?
—A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials found that HIIT training and traditional endurance training both lead to significantly improved cardiovascular fitness in healthy adults ages 18–45 but greater improvements in VO2 max were seen in those participating in the HIIT exercise regimen.
—HIIT significantly lowers insulin resistance compared to continuous training and it leads to a modest decrease in fasting blood glucose levels and weight loss compared to those who do not undergo a physical activity intervention.
Why would HIIT be a good option?
—It provides improved athletic capacity and condition as well as improved glucose metabolism.
—You get more bang for your buck–instead of spending upwards of 90 minutes at the gym, you can spend 30-45 minutes and get similar results.
—You will continue to burn calories after your workout has ended. This occurs because you create an oxygen debt in your body with your workout and as you continue on with your day, your body continues to work to restore the oxygen debt you created.
—It’s more fun! Interval training is a great way to mix up your workouts
—No equipment is needed! You can use a variety of body weight exercises in a short period of time at home or at the office.
Katie Kirby, PT, DPT, OCS