A popular ‘buzz term’ in the fitness industry at the moment is HIIT training. High-intensity interval training was founded through research conducted by a Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata. Otherwise known as ‘Tabata’ training, HIIT is a training regime I have believed in since I studied to become a personal trainer. You all know I am a science girl so of course, I won’t preach if it hasn’t been proven! Tabata’s research was published in 1996 and showed that athletes ‘HIIT training’ experienced greater anaerobic threshold improvements and also improved their maximal aerobic power (VO2 max).
HOW DO YOU HIIT?
Typically, Tabata training consists of 20 seconds of ABSOLUTELY FLAT OUT OVER 200% EFFORT followed by 10 whole seconds recovery (I use the term ‘recovery’ fairly loosely). This 20/10 ratio continues for 4 minutes to complete a round. Exercises are kept fairly basic to allow efficient turn around (and we all know I love efficiency).
Running, squat jumps, mountain climbers, high knees, skipping are all good examples. As a trainer, depending on clients’ capabilities, ability to breathe, stay upright etc., I can vary round lengths accordingly.
I CAN HEAR YOU ALREADY…..WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT???
The NUMBER ONE EXCUSE I hear for not training is “I just don’t have time to exercise”. Well, with some HIIT incorporated into your workouts even for 4 minutes, you will improve both anaerobic and aerobic energy supply systems. Put more simply, you will decrease your chances of feeling like you’re going to throw up. Isn’t that exciting?! This is achieved in a much shorter time compared to hours of exercise.
Still haven’t sold you? HIIT has also shown (at the American College of Sports Medicine) to improve blood pressure , cardiovascular health , insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass.
HIIT workouts 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 session is completed.
The post-exercise period is called “EPOC”, which stands for excess post exercise oxygen consumption. This is generally about a 2-hour period after an exercise bout where the body is restoring itself to pre-exercise levels, and thus using more energy (calories).
So, next time I saunter over to the desk to pick up my stopwatch, don’t worry, I have your best EPOC interests in mind. I care about your anaerobic threshold and I have method to my subtle madness and smile…..we don’t even have to talk!