One of the most efficient and effective methods of physical fitness is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  HIIT increases your overall wellness by pushing physical and mental limits. This “training at your limits” approach to physical fitness produces benefits that bleed over into your personal and professional life as well: the strength and grit you show in a workout can also be displayed in the boardroom or during a family crisis. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

Activate Your Talent whole-heartedly believes in High Intensity Interval Training. Before you are able to begin implementing HIIT into your workout routine, you should understand what it is, why it is so popular, how to develop a HIIT program, the safety concerns associated, and the benefits that participants receive. Check out this this fabulous article for introductory information if you are new to ‪High Intensity Interval Training.

What is HIIT?

The intense work periods may range from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long, and are performed at 80% to 95% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate, the maximum number of times your heart will beat in a minute without overexerting yourself. The recovery periods may last equally as long as the work periods and are usually performed at 40% to 50% of a person’s estimated maximal heart rate. The workout continues with the alternating work and relief periods totaling 20 to 60 minutes.

Fitness Session

Why is HIIT Training so Popular?

HIIT training can easily be modified for people of all fitness levels and special conditions, can be performed on all exercise modes, and provide similar fitness benefits as continuous endurance workouts, but in shorter periods of time. This is because HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, especially after the workout. The post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption. Because of the vigorous contractile nature of HIIT workouts, the EPOC generally tends to be modestly greater, adding about 6 to 15% more calories to the overall workout energy expenditure.

How do You Develop a HIIT Exercise Program?

When developing a HIIT program, consider the duration, intensity, and frequency of the work intervals and the length of the recovery intervals. Intensity during the high intensity work interval should range ≥ 80% of your estimated maximal heart rate. The intensity of the recovery interval should be 40-50% of your estimate maximal heart rate.

HIIT workouts are more exhaustive then steady state endurance workouts. Therefore, a longer recovery period is often needed. Perhaps start with one HIIT training workout a week, with your other workouts being steady state workouts. As you feel ready for more challenge, add a second HIIT workout a week, making sure you spread the HIIT workouts throughout the week.

What are the Safety Concerns with HIIT Training?

Regardless of age, gender and fitness level, one of the keys to safe participation of HIIT training is for all people to modify the intensity of the work interval to a preferred challenging level. Safety in participation should always be primary priority, and people should focus more on finding their own optimal training intensities as opposed to keeping up with other persons.

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What are the benefits of HIIT?

  • Prevents or reverses the deficits associated with many chronic ailments
  • Improves insulin sensitivity by an average of 24 percent
  • Reduces the risk of a heart attack
  • Gives a natural boost to human growth hormone (HGH) production, which is essential for optimal health, strength and vigor
  • Significantly improves insulin sensitivity, boosts fat loss, and increases muscle growth
  • Improves anaerobic capacity
  • Improves VO2 max and maximal aerobic power
  • Improves cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic and mechanical functions
  • Increases the percent of fat lost during a workout

*see Additional Resources section for list of sources

Additional resources:

Check out this New York Times article to find out more about the benefits of HIIT.

One of the best studies on the benefits of ‪High Intensity Interval Training.

Tabata is a great form of ‪HIIT and is explained masterfully in this video.

Fantastic article highlighting research that proves the efficacy of short workouts, as long as the intensity is high enough.

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How does Activate Your Talent utilize High Intensity Interval Training?

Activate Your Talent (AYT) believes that everyone is on a unique journey and seeks to move clients to higher levels of overall wellness relative to their current state. We understand the time pressures faced by individuals, so we incorporate HIIT into our dynamic physical fitness programs to maximize return on investment, create workout variety, and provide the ability to benchmark performance. Through HIIT, we push individuals to their relative thresholds; however, we also ensure that our workouts can be easily scaled or modified to meet the relative fitness levels, special considerations, and abilities of individuals. Finally, AYT creates a challenging, yet supportive, environment in which growth is encouraged and celebrated.

Are you ready to take your fitness to a new level?

If you are ready to invest in your personal wellness and development, contact Activate Your Talent or call 512-387-1444!

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If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus; and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – Bruce Lee