Are you ready to HIIT it?

With our upcoming Les Mills GRIT Release 27, we wanted to provide an insight into how HIIT works. Les Mills Head of Research, Bryce Hastings, reveals why you need to add high intensity training to your routine.

So you’ve been hearing a lot about this HIIT thing… and a few of your hard-core fitness friends are raving about the results. But even the words: “High. Intensity. Interval. Training” sound so scary it’s enough to make you break into a cold sweat. Don’t fear! HIIT doesn’t need to be scary.
Let’s break it down. HIIT (high intensity interval training) involves short, intense bursts of exercise, followed by periods of recovery. The basic recipe is to go as hard as you can for a short period of time, rest, and then repeat.
This proven training method, particularly the use of the recoveries, allows you to keep reaching your maximum training zone again and again, shocking your body each and every workout.
Research shows us that this type of training helps burn calories for hours after your workout*, but it also results in 9% more fat loss** and is overall 17% more effective than your standard aerobic or “steady state” training***. So what’s not to love?

So the question is – are you ready to HIIT it?

The thing is, HIIT is… intense! It’s best served on top of a base level of fitness and other moderate exercise to really get the benefits. To answer that question – it’s important to know where you are in your fitness journey. You might fall into one of roughly three categories:

1. You’re totally new to fitness

In this case, jumping head-first into HIIT is almost definitely a bad idea. In order to get your body used to exercise and your fitness up, we recommend 12 weeks of consistent moderate intensity exercise including strength, cardio and core/flexibility training each week. Check out Les Mills’ SMARTSTART guide for everything you need to know on building your base. When you’re just starting out, frequency is more important than intensity, so take it slow and try to form some habits that will stick.

2. You’re an intermediate exerciser

Once you have a base level of fitness, the secret to ultimate fitness and results is not in adding volume, but intensity. Now is the perfect time to introduce HIIT to your existing schedule. Try replacing an hour a week of your normal training routine with 1-2 HIIT sessions, and watch your results soar! Check out the results of a group who did exactly this when compared to a group who carried on their normal training.

3. You’re an experienced exerciser or athlete 

The great thing about HIIT is that pushes you to hit your own maximum training zones every workout – there’s no cruising. So even if you are super fit or an athlete, HIIT will still give your fitness a serious edge. Check out the results an elite womens’ football team saw from adding just 2x HIIT sessions a week to their pre-season training.

So where do you sit on the fitness scale? If you’re ready to HIIT it, we’re about to launch the latest Les Mills GRIT Release 24!
Places will be available to book soon. Please check our app regularly or ask at reception!

Launch Week: 14th – 18th January


*20 minutes of HIIT leaves you burning fat for 9 hours after the workout. Laforgia J, Withers RT, Gore CJ. Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2006;24(12):1247-1264.

**HIIT is 9 times more effective for fat loss than steady state training. Tremblay A, Simoneau JA, Bouchard C. Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism. Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental. 1994;43(7):814-818.

***HIIT is 17% more effective than steady state training. Schjerve IE, Tyldum GA, Tjonna AE, et al. Both aerobic endurance and strength training programmes improve cardiovascular health in obese adults. Clinical science. 2008;115(9):283-293.

This piece originally appeared on the Les Mills website.

return to articles