An Introduction To HIIT

Bootcamps and outdoor fitness programs are all about maximizing your results through an effective mix of community with a killer workout all while maximizing on your very limited time. How do they do this? Traditionally we’ve been told that getting good results means hours on end at a gym or staring hopelessly into the abyss as you torture yourself on a treadmill. This isn’t the case with outdoor fitness and bootcamps! The secret? HIIT!

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, and is commonly referred to exactly as it reads, “hit”. It’s one of the biggest trends in the fitness industry over the past couple years, but don’t let that discourage you. Things trend for a reason, and in the case of HIIT it trends because it works.

The basics behind HIIT are simple: a whole lot of movement at your maximum capacity for quick bursts, followed by a short time for recovery (often active). The result is a quick elevation of heart rate, exercise intensity like you wouldn’t believe, and the power to burn a ton of calories.

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What makes it unique?

At this point you may be thinking: “I don’t get it, just seems like cardio at the end of the day. Why not just run around the block a few times?”

The thing that sets HIIT worlds apart from traditional low intensity cardio, say going for a nice run, boils down to two things: anaerobic metabolism and EPOC.

Anaerobic metabolism is basically what your body is using to break down energy stores when it can’t get enough oxygen to do it the normal aerobic way. In other words, your body gets on an oxygen deficit it needs to replenish when you are doing HIIT.

Then we have EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. EPOC happens after the workout stops, but it can continue for hours and hours. It basically means your body is still working hard, putting forth the effort, and burning calories just to replenish your oxygen stores that you depleted during the workout. So the hard work may be over, but your body continues to sculpt and burn into the night.

These two things combine to make HIIT super helpful for making the most of a fat burning workout with a limited amount of time.

The best part: flexibility!

The thing that is really helping make HIIT a staple in the fitness world, and especially in outdoor fitness and boot camp programs, is its flexibility. It can be adapted and tailored for a variety of fitness formats and goals.

Love weights, body weight exercises, sprints, or burpees? (Does anyone love burpees?!) There are ways to incorporate all of these things into a HIIT program. Bootcamps especially are full of adaptations!

They may have you sprinting stairs then actively walking down them for the recovery. Maybe they put you on a minute of power jumps followed by 30 seconds of slow lunges.

The key is HIIT can be tailored to your goals without sacrificing a ton of time, which makes it something your sure to experience in some capacity as you venture into boot camps and outdoor fitness regimens.

 

Nick Holland

The Outdoor Squad