You’ve probably seen and heard the term HIIT (pronounced ‘hit’) thrown around a lot lately. It’s touted as one of the most effective ways to get the results you’re after – and with good reason. Over time, High Intensity Interval Training challenges your body and improves your overall performance. But for many, the concept of giving it a go may seem daunting or out of reach.
It doesn’t have to be, though. Let’s get started with the basics.
WHAT IS INTERVAL TRAINING?
Putting the high intensity aside, interval training is physical training that consists of alternating periods of high- and low-paced activity for a set amount of time.
This kind of training is accessible to everyone. And you can do it at any time, almost anywhere. Start slow, with longer rest or low-paced activity intervals and work your way up from there. Here’s something you could try:
• An interval of brisk walking followed by a short rest interval. Repeat.
• An interval of light jogging followed by a brisk walk. Repeat.
DO YOU NEED TO BE FIT TO HIIT?
The key to this type of training is that you’re in control of the pace. Interval training doesn’t always have to be high intensity, but it helps to know that high Intensity refers to an interval where you give it your all – and only you can determine just how hard you push yourself.
This means you have nothing to fear when it comes to getting started. In fact many HIIT classes are designed for all levels of fitness and familiarity.
WHERE CAN IT TAKE YOU?
Your body is an incredibly adaptable machine. Once you begin interval training, you will experience something quite magical: super-compensation (the term itself is impressive!), which describes the natural progression your body will experience with regular interval training.
We’re reminded of this every time we see athletes perform at the highest level. Sure they have some genetic gifts, but they’ve also honed their physical capabilities by slowly giving their bodies more and more work over time.
Ever considered tackling a short fun run? When the thought of running is just too daunting, interval training can help you build up to it. For example:
• Week 1 and 2: jog for one minute, walk for 4 minutes. Repeat 5 times.
• Week 3: jog for two minutes, walk for 3 minutes. Repeat 5 times.
Follow a similar format over time, and you can see how eventually you would remove the walk intervals and work up to a 25-minute run