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HIIT - What is it, why is it so popular & can everybody do it?


HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) has grown to become one of the most popular fitness trends in recent years.

Why is it so popular? - Is it because it's one of the quickest, most-effective ways to burn calories, build muscle endurance and change your body composition or because we are all so busy we want results quickly and we have less time in our day to squeeze in exercise? The answer is both!


Time is one of the most common reasons for non-activity. A HIIT session makes it possible to fit around an individual's hectic lifestyle. So, it becomes more achievable, as we can more readily fit in a 10 minute workout and because the session is based upon short bursts, we work harder and so reap the results quicker.


What is it? - HIIT can be described as repeated bouts of short/moderate duration exercises (generally between 10 and 60 seconds) at a high intensity or 'all-out' effort with recovery intervals at low/moderate intensity or rest which allows for partial recovery. This enables the exerciser to perform at an elevated intensity stimulating the body to adapt and become fitter. The recovery time can be adjusted depending upon the individual's fitness level and the type of exercise being performed. HIIT workouts are famously made up of explosive, full-body movements like burpees to rev your heart rate and use up so much energy that your body experiences something called post-exercise oxygen consumption - the "afterburn effect". This is where you'll burn extra calories for up to 48 hours after your HIIT workout!


That's all well and good for fit people but does it rule out the older population, people that have injuries, reduced mobility or those that are morbidly overweight? The simple answer is no! High Intensity doesn't necessarily mean High Impact, you don't need to be running, jumping or doing burps to work out 'HIIT style'!


Can everybody do it? - High Intensity is different for each individual and that's why it's suitable for everyone. Working as hard as you can for 30 seconds for example may be doing jumping jacks, walking up & downstairs, or completing knee lifts whilst seated in a chair. It can be high impact cardio, strength building bodyweight or equipment based, a core based Pilates workout or a combination of all of them. Whichever form of HIIT training is suitable for you, will improve your mental and physical wellbeing. Just look at some of the benefits to be had from HIIT Training.


Improved aerobic fitness - reducing cardiovascular risks


Increased body's ability to store carbohydrate as glycogen for energy rather than as fat


Increased fat burning due to elevated metabolism post-workout


Improved body composition - reduce fat & increase lean muscle mass


Improved insulin sensitivity - reducing risk of Diabetes


Reduced cholesterol


Improved mobility & energy levels


HIIT Training is a quick, effective way to include fitness into your lifestyle. Just a few times per week is suitable and if the high impact HIIT is your choice include a Pilates or stretch based class into your weekly exercise to assist recovery.


Nicola Rayner Fitness offers HIIT Circuits, Pilates and other exercise classes. For details please contact - fitone@live.co.uk

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