by Alexandra Schultz

Many people often hear references to high intensity interval training, or “HIIT” training and they are not quite sure what exactly it means. It is not often realized but for those already interested in or performing CrossFit, HIIT an integral part to many of the classes.

High intensity interval training is exactly as it sounds, training at your highest intensity for a period of time, aka “an interval”. An example can be “30 secs of work, 10 seconds of rest”. You work as hard as you can for those 30 secs and then utilize the recovery period. Now that you know a little about the fundamentals of what HIIT is, you may be wondering why it would be something beneficial to add to your training program. I can provide you with three reasons.

  1. It is a work out that is accessible to all levels. We all have different bodies, fitness levels and individual limitations. The beneficial part of HIIT is it can be done very effectively with nothing more than your body. In most HIIT classes the equipment is minimal to none and there are many regression options. Meaning that all you need to bring is your body. There is no barbell work and all the moves can be scaled, to either the highest form of intensity, for those top athletes, or broken down to movements with less impact for those with injuries to consider. It is truly a type of work out for all levels of fitness, but the beautiful part is it can leave you breathless and exhilarated all at the same time. It helps give you that quick and sweaty work out you were looking for to perk up your day and help burn fat. It is fundamental to being an athlete to also be able to hold and handle your own body weight; HIIT is a fun and quick way to develop those skills and can be a stepping stone for entering other fitness formats, such as Crossfit, if you are a beginner to working out.
  2. One of the biggest obstacles to fitting fitness in to your daily routine is time. Many of us are busy. We are parents, husbands, wives, we work, we have other family obligations and the list goes on and on, sometimes fitting in an hour of working out a day is a lot to ask. The great part about HIIT is that it is designed to be done in a short amount of time, the most bang for your buck as some would say. It is an all-out effort for 30 mins and that’s it, then you can go on with the rest of your day. You can get sweaty, get fit, and burn a lot of calories in the shortest amount of time, making HIIT extremely beneficial to even the busiest of schedules. It takes less time than the average hour long lunch break even, and HIIT training can help you burn calories 24-36 hours after the work out!! (AKA even though it only took less than 30 mins of your time, your body is reaping the benefits for days after).
  3. Have you found yourself bored with your current program? Sometimes our bodies get used to the type of fitness we have adopted(example: 40 mins of steady state cardio, not having the same effect as it used to), we hit a plateau and stop losing weight or seeing results or sometimes we just find ourselves getting burned out and maybe even a little bored. HIIT training goes so fast and fits a variety of movements into one class, meaning you can keep fitness in your life and get rid of boredom. You can also target a variety areas (you can train your legs, arms, abs, etc effectively all in one short class) while providing your body and mind with something different than you are used to and all the while still in a motivating group format, so you are not just trying to figure it out alone.

So to summarize, HIIT has many benefits, it is still a great group work out that is available to all body types and all fitness levels, it can be done in 30 mins, making it easy to fit into your day and still burns calories for days after, and it can help long term fitness adherence (which many of us struggle with) by preventing boredom with your current routine but still providing effective fat loss and muscle toning.

So now that you know some facts, is it time to add HIIT to your routine?