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Get fit with HIIT Intervals

19 May 2016

High-intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) has become one of the most popular forms of exercise over the last five years. Consisting of short intervals of ‘maximum’ intensity exercise, separated by intervals of low to moderate intensity exercise or periods of ‘active rest’, HIIT is a sure-fire way to increase fitness and shed fat fast.

Stephanie McLennan, UniRec's Group Exercise Co-ordinator, recently attended FILEX 2016, a fitness convention in Melbourne and has brought back the most up-to-date fitness trends and research to share with UniRec's Group Exercise Programme. Out of everything covered during the three-day conference, HIIT was one of the most talked about topics.

After hearing all the great things Steph learnt while she was away, we asked her to put together some basic information to share with members to let them know why HIIT is such a hit...

  • Quick results – HIIT involves periods where you push yourself beyond the upper end of your aerobic exercise zone. Because you’re working at maximum effort during the high-intensity intervals, you can expect to see improvements much faster than with regular exercise.
  • Shorter workouts – Because HIIT is so intensive, it allows you to get in and out of the gym fast. Work hard for short periods and you will take your fitness and fat loss to the next level in no time.
  • Burns more calories – HIIT increases the time it takes your body to recover from a session, therefore increasing the amount of calories your body burns during and after exercise.
  • Uses fat as fuel – HIIT causes metabolic adaptations that enable you to use fat as fuel. Not only will this improve your athletic endurance but it will also increase your fat-burning potential.
  • Reduced muscle loss – Unlike traditional steady-state forms of cardio, HIIT appears to limit the muscle loss that typically occurs with weight loss.
  • Relative to you – No matter what your level of fitness, anyone can incorporate HIIT into their exercise regime. ‘High-intensity’ is relative to your current level of fitness, so as long as you push yourself beyond your comfort zone, you’re going to see improvements.
  • Tailor-made – HIIT can help improve performance regardless of what sport or activity you train for. Just make sure that the exercises you choose to do within the high-intensity periods incorporate similar movements and target the same muscle groups that you’d generally use in your sport or activity.

With all of this in mind, including a HIIT-focussed class in our weekly Group Ex timetable for our members to enjoy (or not!) is a no-brainer.

HIIT Intervals is a 45 minute class designed around short bursts of maximum work-rate followed by active recovery. The class tests participants’ fitness levels and pushes their bodies hard, while offering a variety of different cardio and resistance exercises during each interval. Anyone looking for a class that increases fitness and strength, burns calories and leaves you dripping with sweat by the end should definitely give it a go. Classes are held on Monday and Wednesday mornings, from 6.00 - 6.45am weekly.

Other Group Ex classes incorporating HIIT principles include Rev Express, Step Intervals, and Body Blast.

For the full Group Ex timetable and information about other classes on offer, click here.