Chances are, if you’ve read a fitness magazine, stepped foot in a gym, or are even the slightest bit interested in fitness, you’ve heard about high-intensity interval training (also referred to as HIIT). Because of the nature of these exercises, you’ve probably heard that “HIIT is the only way to burn fat” or “If you aren’t doing HIIT, you’re wasting your time at the gym.”
One popular kind of HIIT workouts is CrossFit. Over the past 10 years, CrossFit has become a multi-billion dollar industry because of the simplicity of its business model. It’s straight-forward, to-the-point, and effective.
In the 80’s, Jazzercise was all the rage with stay-at-home moms. In the 90’s, there was a huge rise in step aerobics. The 2000s welcomed the BowFlex and at-home solutions for working out. The newest, hottest trend is HIIT workouts. But this trend is beginning to look like more of a lifestyle. And it might be around for the long haul.
HIIT Popularity Ensues
If you have jumped on the HIIT bandwagon, you’re not alone. There is a 166% year-over-year increase in the CrossFit Games. People who have dedicated their workout regimen to HIIT workouts gather and compete. It’s a huge deal, and that’s only one kind of HIIT workout.
One reason CrossFit and HIIT workouts are so widely popular is because they can be adjusted and modified for any type of person – whether overweight or have health complications. HIIT workouts are just as effective as a normal workout because you burn more calories in a shorter period of time, especially after the workout.
The after-workout period called “EPOC” stands for excess postexercise oxygen consumption. This is generally a 2-hour period of time when your body is restoring itself to its pre-exercise levels. You burn calories during this time because your body is expending energy to re-stabilize and balance out levels. After a HIIT, you can lose up to 15% more calories because of the quick, vigorous nature of the workout.
The workouts are effective, fast, and a great way to burn calories.
The Rise of CrossFit
CrossFit is the perfect example of this trend. These kinds of exercises involve working out as hard as you possibly can for a short period of time, followed by a short, less-intense period of working out. The exercises can vary and use a combination of plyometrics, strength training, yoga, cardio, and stretching. Special gyms are being built to accommodate this kind of fitness – CrossFit has over 11,000 affiliate gyms in the United States.
Ten years ago, CrossFit was virtually unheard of. But it rapidly gained popularity from fitness professionals that were looking for something new and challenging – and something that didn’t require a ton of time. Results were quick and because of the nature of a HIIT workout, it is a not a time-consuming workout.
But, like all workout trends and fads, CrossFit is not without controversy. People either love it or hate it. Not only does CrossFit present a whole host of potential injuries, but often times CrossFit memberships are expensive, and the results aren’t what is advertised. Looking at CrossFit ads, the men and women have large, sculpted muscles and they are “huge.” But that isn’t the case with many CrossFitters. The workouts are fast and intense and that doesn’t guarantee a sculpted physique like long term fitness regiments do.
Are You Cut Out For CrossFit?
Due to the nature of these maximum intensity workouts, there is maximum risk of injury. Cardiovascular complications and orthopedic injuries are common in people who attempt HIIT workouts. Especially if you aren’t accustomed to working out.
Because this type of workout is aimed toward people who regularly workout, it was originally designed to offer something new and challenging to fitness professionals. That being said, they are at risk for getting injured just the same as a person who leads a sedentary lifestyle.
The ACSM advises that before starting a HIIT workout routine, you establish a foundational level, or base level, of fitness. By working out regularly 3 to 5 times a week, you start training your body to get enough oxygen and muscle strength that is required to perform HIIT workouts, and will lessen the likelihood of musculoskeletal injuries. When you are establishing a normal workout routine, it’s important to learn proper form and technique so when you begin a HIIT workout, you aren’t performing the intense exercises incorrectly.
If you have a family history of heart diseases, diabetes, high cholesterol, or if you smoke or are overweight, it is highly recommended that you consult with a physician before starting a HIIT workout program. Taking precautionary safety measures can help lessen the risk of injury.
HIIT At Home
The beauty of these high-intensity workouts is that you aren’t confined to going to a gym or a CrossFit box. There are plenty of no-equipment exercises to help burn calories in a fast and effective way.
By combining bodyweight movements at intervals of work and rest, push yourself as hard as you can for 30 seconds, follow with a period of rest, then repeat.
Knowing you have the ability to workout at home takes away any excuse for not being able to make it to the gym. Too snowy or cold to go outside? Work out at-home. Traveling for work? Work out in your hotel room. These workouts only take 15 minutes due to the high intensity of the routines.
An easy way to get started with learning a HIIT workout and getting into a regular fitness routine is by using a personal trainer. gymGO allows trainers to work with clients on a live, 2-way video platform so you can get the one-on-one attention like if you were in a gym. Because gymGO is an at-home solution to reaching your fitness goals, incorporating a HIIT workout into your routine is a fast and effective way to burn calories and blast fat.
Visit gymgo.com to learn more about how you can get started on an at-home HIIT workout!