It’s the beginning of a new year: you feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to take on all that 2018 will bring you. Many of us look at the beginning of the new year as the perfect opportunity to set a new year’s resolution. New year resolutions help keep us motivated and on-track, as they are a way for us to hold ourselves accountable for our own actions. New year’s resolutions are not useless, despite what some may claim, and in fact are a great first step towards living your healthiest life.
Last year brought great changes to the world of health and fitness—the growing popularity of portable fitness trackers changed the way individual’s workout. Using these applications and technologies to enhance our workouts perfectly mimics the high demands of today’s world. Everyone wants to be fit and healthy, but not everyone has the time to spend hours in the gym everyday, which means we must find a way to balance our health into the other responsibilities that come with a busy lifestyle.
Despite it all, 2018 is about the hustle—this year, I encourage you to rid your life of any negativity that may be pushing you further away from your goals and instead prioritize what is best for you. If becoming more active and healthy is a part of your new year’s resolutions, it’s time to leave the excuse of having no time in 2017 along with the rest of your unhealthy habits. Become the healthiest version of yourself in 2018 by using the fitness trend that is easy to understand, versatile, efficient and proven to make our bodies work. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the number one fitness trend that will dominate 2018.
What is HIIT?
High intensity interval training is a form of training that includes intervals consisting of short bursts of high-intensity exercise, which is then followed by recovery intervals consisting of less-intense forms of rest exercise. These intervals are then continuously repeated throughout the duration of the workout, until the entire routine is complete. The timing of intervals varies depending on the type of workout performed, the goal outcome of the exercise, and the individual capability of the performer. Generally, the shorter, high intensity intervals range from 10-60 seconds, while the recovery intervals range anywhere from 45 seconds to 4 minutes. Once again, these timings are not concrete and are highly dependent on the individual due to the intensive nature of the training method.
To help you understand this form of training more clearly, here is an example of how you can easily incorporate HIIT into your next treadmill session:
- 3 minutes of jogging at a moderate pace
- 30 seconds of high intensity sprinting
- 2 minutes of jogging at a moderate pace
- 30 seconds of high intensity sprinting
- 5 minutes of jogging at moderate pace
- 15 seconds of sprinting at one’s maximum threshold
This fitness trend came out on topof 2018 for one main reason: it actually works. Often times, fitness trends are more disappointing than anything, and finding evidence to support them is nearly impossible. HIIT is fortunately not one of these trends, as its’ efficiency and proven results lie upon a bed of empirical evidence and scientific studies. The science behind the regime is simple: the intensive nature included in the high-intensity intervals sends your body into overdrive and raises your breathing, exertion and heart rates astoundingly fast. You remain working at this maximum threshold for only moments before you immediately transition into the recovery period. Although this is called a rest or recovery period, it is more of an active-rest period, since you do not stop activity completely but only slow it down drastically. You remain in this recovery interval just long enough to recuperate from the intensive burst of exercise, but not long enough to completely deplete the breathing, exertion and heart rate you build up during the intense interval. These intervals are then continuously repeated for the duration of the workout, leaving you dripping in sweat and a step closer to achieving your 2018 goals.
HIIT is extremely popular for its efficiency and versatility. It has been found that replacing continuous, moderate-paced exercise with HIIT can cut your training time by a third. This is because the intensive nature of the intervals forces us to work harder than we would when performing a moderately-paced exercise. This means that the 300 calories you may burn throughout your entire 1.5 hours of moderately-paced resistance training can instead be burnt in only 30 minutes of high intensity interval training. Despite everything, it is important to keep in mind that although HIIT has been scientifically proven to be a great form of exercise, individual results will vary depending on personal performance, capability and other health factors such as one’s metabolic rate.
Its’ versatility comes from its capability of being integrated into both cardio and strength/resistance exercises. You can use HIIT as a way to torch calories during your cardio session, or as a way to build strong, lean muscle with resistance training. You don’t need a gym membership, let alone equipment to perform several different HIIT exercises, which leaves you with no excuse to not incorporate it into your workout routine.
A new year brings new opportunities. Having a brand new, fresh start gives you the opportunity to reflect on the goals and outcomes you hope to achieve throughout the following year. For many of us, we usually have at least one or two goals surrounding health and fitness on our resolution list. Whether it’s to shed a few extra pounds or pump out a few extra reps, high intensity interval training is a form of training that can help you get there.
By Julia Solimine