FITNESS TIP

people in gym doing burpees
Rachael Holt

WHY HIIT?

Rachael Holt, Fitness Director

This coming year, all Parkpoint facilities will be offering new HIIT training classes. You may have heard of the acronym “HIIT,” but what does it really mean? HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Interval training is not new to the fitness industry, however, changes and adaptations to the HIIT we use today stem from empirical research that proves HIIT training does in fact enhance overall cardiovascular function and improve VO2 max, aerobic, and anaerobic capacity better than steady-state training alone. When we push the heart to beat a little faster, for a little longer, then drop the heart rate down significantly for short periods of time, we can condition the heart muscle very quickly in comparison to long distance running, biking, etc. A person can only push themselves as hard as they have trained. Meaning, if you run a 10-minute mile every day for one year, that mile is easy and completely attainable on any good day. If you were asked to run two miles and shave off one minute, the likelihood of achieving that task is small. HIIT training conditions the heart to do more, faster, and with less cardiac output over time.

Most everyone can benefit from HIIT training. If you feel unsure that HIIT is right for you, consult your physician before taking a class or setting up a new routine. Knowing your own limitations is key with this type of workout. Parkpoint trainers are very knowledgeable and can help create a HIIT training program that will work for you while being mindful of personal limitations, making accommodations to the workouts when necessary. There are several different types of HIIT workouts. Some popular ones are Tabata, which is four minutes straight of one activity, for a set amount of time, with small rest periods. EMOM, which stands for “Every Minute on the Minute,” is exactly what it sounds like. You do a new exercise every minute until your time is up, then you rest. Kickboxing is usually timed for a 2.5- to 3-minute intensity, with a 30-second cool down period. The longer and harder you train, the more conditioned your heart and body will become. However, not everyone is built the same. Some people have fierce endurance but are weaker in strength, while others have extreme power but limitations on endurance. The good news is HIIT training helps with both types of people, and is phenomenal for cross training. Being well-rounded in our workout routine is important. If you do yoga, try swimming or jogging. If you kickbox or Zumba, try hot yoga. If you are an avid hiker, try cycling. And if you do all of these things and have never tried HIIT before, do yourself a favor and find out what you are made of. HIIT can be a challenge, it can test your abilities, and train your mind to focus, your body to listen, and your heart to become not only the hardest working muscle in the body, but one of the strongest.

We look forward to offering this new workout to our members very soon. If you have questions about what it looks and feels like, ask a trainer on our floor, and we can set you up for a few free sessions once we are ready to launch!

Fun Fact: The masseter is the strongest muscle in the human body. It is located in the jaw and is one of the muscles of mastication or chewing.