HIIT: What, Who and How For Beginners

May 4, 2017
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In 2017, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) still makes it to the top fitness trends of the year for a reason – it actually works! Studies have shown that HIIT workouts promotes faster calorie burning, higher cardiovascular endurance, and better weight loss results.

What’s The Impact of HIIT on Your Body?  

HIIT workouts involve a series of multi-directional and functional moves, such as lunges followed by sprints and box jumps. The exercises are usually chosen because these challenge the person’s power, agility and balance, which may not be present in traditional workouts.

During an HIIT workout, you will work several different muscle groups as well as perform alternating periods of intense activity and active rest. The short bursts of intense exercise are performed at near-maximum effort wherein the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) is at 18 to 19; in an average jog, the average RPE is 13 to 14 in comparison.

The result: Cardiorespiratory endurance improves leading to higher caloric expenditure. The higher amount of calories burned occurs during the HIIT workout and afterwards so you’re basically still burning calories a day or so after it.  

Who Are Its Ideal Candidates?

Not everybody, unfortunately, can engage in HIIT workouts because of the intense demands it makes on the body. The best candidates for HIIT should have:

  • No underlying cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure and irregular heart rate
  • No significant limitations in their bones, such as injuries in their backs, knees, or shoulders
  • Basic knowledge of correct form and technique
  • Generally fit level of cardio, strength and mobility
  • Body awareness including a sense of their physical and mental limitations
  • Interest in a wide range of exercises

If you’re over 55 years old, you should have doctor’s approval, too.

How Can You Start?

You should start slowly but surely in more ways than one. You shouldn’t push your body too hard, too fast because you’re risking injuries and burnout. You’re well-advised to ask a personal trainer at Equinox for a personalized HIIT program, if you want the best results.  

Your personal trainer will likely start with shorter periods of high-intensity exercises and longer periods of active rest. You can then lengthen the exercise part and shorten the rest aspect as your body becomes stronger over time.

You don’t even have to choose an intense workout type, such as CrossFit, to start on an HIIT workout. You can, in fact, choose the treadmill, the stationary bike, or the elliptical trainer for it.  

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