Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Is it worth trying high intensity interval training?

By Rebecca Almond

High intensity interval training (HIIT) – sounds tough, right? Well, that’s sort of the point. We caught up with Christian Thomson, manager of London’s HiiT Studios, to learn more about the calorie-blasting workout…

The man in the know,
Christian Thomson
1. What is high intensity interval training?
High intensity interval training is a series of exercises performed in quick bursts at maximum effort, followed by short recovery periods. At HiiT Studios our high intensity interval training classes follow a five-station circuit and take around 20 min. Each station is set up with two exercises that are to be performed for 30 sec, followed by a 15 sec rest period. For example, 30 sec battling ropes (pictured above), 15 sec rest, 30 sec bicycle sit ups, 15 sec rest, then repeat before moving on to the next station. Exercises vary but should involve two or three muscle groups.

2. How many calories will you burn during HIIT?
You can expect to burn between 200 and 400 calories during a 20-min session.

3. What are the benefits of this form of exercise?
It’s so easy to fit HIIT into your day – all you need is 5–20 min to get the benefits (no one lasts longer than that if they’re doing it right!). Scientific studies have found intense bursts of exercise can boost heart health, help hormone balance, increase lung capacity and improve stamina due to the demand for oxygen it places on the body. But the biggest advantage is the effect HIIT has on your basic metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn energy at rest) – it will double for 24–36 hours following the workout, burning even more fat and calories. This is caused by something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which simply means the body has to work harder to replenish its oxygen stores that have been drained by the workout.

4. Who can do HIIT? 
Anyone in good health. When starting a new exercise regime it's best to first seek the advice of your GP, then ease your way into it. HIIT is an effective way to work out, regardless of your current fitness level, and you'll see quick results.
5. How many times a week should you do HIIT?
Three to five times a week for the best results – it is only 20 min after all! But you’ll get the benefits regardless of how many times you do this type of workout.

Fancy giving high intensity interval training a go? A 20-min class at HiiT Studios cost from £7, or search online for workouts to try at home. 

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