Are you up to speed with the benefits of HIIT?

Are you up to speed with the benefits of HIIT?

Shorter, harder, better, sweatier.

 

Interval training.

 

It’s the intense workout you love (‘cos it’s quick) and hate (‘cos it hurts).

 

Here at Enliven, we harness HIIT principles to up the ante in your workouts.

 

(But always do it mindfully - we’ll explain more later.)

 

Instead of gruelling 2-hour gym marathons, we prefer to minimise time on the treadmill and give you workouts that get the job done. (And please note: treadmills are banned in this studio unless we’re watching a dude on YouTube try to dance on one, and fail).

Enter: HIIT (high intensity interval training).

 

What is it?

 

It’s a way to shorten the duration of your training by upping the intensity, which flicks some profound fitness switches in the human body. Instead of 90 minutes of steady, same-pace, same-intensity cardio, a HIIT workout might look like: flat out sprinting for 20-30 seconds followed by a few minutes rest, repeating this simple pattern up to 10 times.

 

Most of the workout is actually spent twiddling your thumbs. Well, twiddling your thumbs while sweating profusely - with bursts of blinding speed and energy between times.

 

You’ve gotta go hard to get results.

 

This looks like: reaching 90% of your max heart rate for a set time, then slowing it down sharply during timed rest.

 

What are the benefits?

 

Training for intensity, rather than duration, has been praised by fitness professionals and the science community alike.

 

HIIT training has been shown to:

 

→ change you at a cellular level. The stress of intense training makes cells open different channels and pathways, preparing to deal with stressors more effectively next time.

 

→ increase muscle glycogen content. Meaning? Your muscles store energy more efficiently. Instead of making more body fat, your body will store excess energy in muscle tissue for those badass sprints it knows are coming.

 

→ provide the same benefits as endurance training. In well under half the time. In fact, one study comparing endurance cycling for 4.5 hours per week and cycle sprints for 1.5 hours per week (most of that time being active recovery) showed no discernible difference in metabolic outcomes. Both groups obtained the same result; one just had more time to socialise.

 

→ be just as effective for heart health as conventional cardio. It improves arterial stiffness and blood flow, as shown in this study.

 

→ be more sustainable and enjoyable in the long term. A review showed that participants were more likely to keep up their exercise routines if they were based on shorter, more intense training vs. long-form cardio. Which means? Consistency, improvements, lifelong results.

 

What are the drawbacks?

 

Nervous system

 

Like anything, you can have too much of a good thing.

 

HIIT is hard on the nervous system - which is fine if you’re only doing it once or twice per week AND maintaining a good level of fitness and general health.

 

But do it every day like SOME gyms and bootcamps (not mentioning any names) and you’re setting yourself up for depletion, exhaustion and injury.

 

Bad posture and injury

 

Due to the nature of HIIT (i.e badass) any postural misalignment you have will be exacerbated. This can lead to strains, injury and poor performance.

 

Before hurtling into space at warp speed, be sure to enlist the help of an Enliven to assess you on form and posture.


As you can see in our Posture-First Pyramid, power, speed and high performance sit right at the top - the last things to add, after your foundation is solid. You can also read more about improving your posture, here.

 

Postural correction joint stability flexibility

 

The upshot

 

We like to see HIIT as one tool in our fancy fitness tool belt, which is why we never make our members do it two days in a row.

 

HIIT isn’t an ‘easier’ alternative to endurance by any stretch, rather, it’s an efficient and exciting alternative to loooooong slooooooow marathon runs. (Which also have their place, says Jen).

 

And at Enliven, it fits within a larger framework of fitness.

 

Just like our philosophy on nutrition and lifestyle, we believe that variety is key to healthy movement.

 

Even though we love HIIT for the time-save and mental challenge, we still love a good run, hike, swim, weights sesh, game of tag in the park. We’re never going to replace every workout with HIIT - it’s simply a killer tool in our training kit and a fun, challenging way for you to move.


Have you tried it? What are your thoughts?

 



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