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HIIT Training - What is the research showing?

Monday June 27th 2016


How? Well there is now a large body of research showing that high-intensity interval training or “HIIT” training is proving to achieve similar if not greater health benefits in far less time than conventional steady state exercise. This type of training involves only very short bursts of physical activity followed by recovery periods. The short, sharp nature of this style of training makes it particularly appealing for the time poor, the elderly and those who do not generally enjoy regular exercise.

What are the benefits of HIIT?

HIIT training has been shown to improve:

  • Abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass
  • Aerobic and anaerobic fitness
  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular and Pulmonary health
  • Insulin sensitivity and Type II Diabetes
  • Cholesterol profiles
  • Cognition

How does HIIT training work?

So, once you choose your exercise method (ie exercise bike, running, etc) all that is required is 4-6 sets of all-out efforts of 30-60 seconds followed by short recovery periods of 1-4 minutes. Do this 2-3 times per week and you will see just how effective this type of training can be.  For example, a 2014 meta-analysis on individuals with life-style induced chronic diseases, found that improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness, as measured by VO2 max, of those individuals who completed a HIIT exercise program were nearly double that of individuals who completed a steady state exercise program1.

Why is HIIT so effective?

The benefits are believed to be related to the fact that HIIT workouts tend to burn more calories than traditional workouts, due to the increased energy demands and fat oxidation in the post exercise period (known as EPOC or Excess Post Exercise Consumption). EPOC is higher after HIIT training as this is the period in which the body restores itself to pre-exercise levels, which generally requires more energy after all-out high intensity exercise. 

 IMPORTANT: For your own safety and well-being, please seek advice from your health care professional before commencing any style of HIIT training to ensure that it is right for you. 


[1] (Weston KS, Wisloff U, Coombes JS (August 2014). "High-intensity interval training in patients with lifestyle-induced cardiometabolic disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Br J Sports Med (Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis) 48 (16): 1227–1234. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2013-092576)



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