Some years ago, I was driving down the road on a stifling mid-summer afternoon. It was one of those days where the haze from the parking lot made visible the very sweltering heat I could feel.
As I approached my destination, I distinctly recall, for the first time, seeing a group of young adults of varying sizes and shapes performing a series of strenuous exercises that bordered on the ridiculous.
Given the heat and concrete, the conditions weren’t exactly ideal for outdoor activity. I observed sprinting, stationary jumps with corresponding thigh slaps, and even lunges.
My god, lunges! What I came to learn, only later, was a new phenomenon known as CrossFit. And, what I assumed would be nothing more than a quick flash in the pan has become something far more than a passing fad.
These days, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is all the rage. With a devoted group of participants that resemble something of a cult following, people far and wide have socked loads of their discretionary income into these programs.
So are they really worth it?
Shape Magazine has published a list including 8 benefits of High-Interval Intensity Training. If you like deep dives, check out the article! For those more interested in a quicker look, here are some of the highlights:
You’ll Burn More Fat
In the 24 hours following a HIIT workout, you are more likely to burn a greater number of calories than, say, if you went for a steady-pace run. The workout’s intensity forces your body into hyperdrive, which simply burns more fat.
No Equipment Necessary
One of the factors that discourages people from participating in certain exercise programs is the cost! You can’t ski without skis, gloves, poles, and the right clothing.
You can’t scuba dive without certification and gear. And you can’t bike at a serious level without an ever-more-expensive bicycle. HIIT, on the other hand, just requires you to show up. The workout will not be easy, but it’s far more gear-friendly.
Lost Weight, Not Muscle
While diets are good at shedding pounds, those jettisoned lbs. often come with a corresponding loss of muscle. HIIT allows you to lose weight while retaining the muscle acquired as a result of the workouts. Not bad!
Location, Location, Location
Whether you choose to meet with a trainer or a group is completely up to you. Because HIIT is not tethered to any particular destination, you can perform the activities anywhere and adapt the workouts to the time and space you have available.
HIIT may not be for everyone. I love remaining active, but I’ve never found these kinds of workouts to be my cup of tea. A game that involves a ball is more up my alley. But there’s little disputing the impact of the workouts and the devotion of participants.
With results-based backing, you may find HIIT to be a logical next step. If you’re looking for something new, you may want to give it a try. You may just find a community of people you’d never have known otherwise and a finely toned body to boot.