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High intensity interval training, or HIIT, has gotten a lot of attention in fitness circles in recent years, and for good reasons. Today, Athletic Republic in Toledo would like to offer a brief overview of HIIT and a few of the benefits it brings to the table for the athlete in training.

What is it?

HIIT workouts are an alternative to steady-state, ‘traditional’ cardio such as running or cycling. A HIIT workout consists of periods of intense effort interspersed with short recovery periods; the goal being to jack your heart rate up to its maximum and really tax your system, then allow yourself a little recovery, and to repeat that process a number of times.

What are the benefits?

Traditional cardio is a perfectly fine way to develop good cardiovascular fitness and strength, but if you’re looking to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your workouts, HIIT’s far superior because:
  • It works both aerobic and anaerobic fitness - jacking your heart rate up and leaving yourself gasping for breath a number of times during one workout is a fantastic way to tax your anaerobic fitness levels and boost lung capacity, heart strength, and recovery ability. Traditional cardio focuses much more heavily on developing aerobic fitness, so doesn’t have quite the same effect.
  • It takes up less time - studies have shown that the health benefits of five 60-minute steady-state cardio sessions a week can be gained from three half-hour HIIT workouts, leaving you more time to focus on other elements of your training.
  • It kickstarts the ‘afterburn effect’ - the afterburn effect refers to the increased metabolic rate experienced after a HIIT workout; an increased metabolism burns through calories faster, keeping you lean and efficient.
  • It boosts production of human growth hormone - increased levels of human growth hormone mean that, should you hit the weights a short while after a HIIT workout, you’re likely to see increased muscle growth.

All of these benefits are tremendous, but it’s important to vary your workout regimen, too. Don’t switch out steady-state cardio for HIIT entirely, as traditional cardio is necessary to maintain great aerobic fitness and endurance. Instead, include both HIIT and traditional cardio in your routine. A HIIT workout can tax your system like no other, too, so it’s even more important than usual that you take care to get the right pre- and post-workout nutrition.

Athletic Republic doesn’t just offer advice here on our blog, we also offer the best sports training in Toledo. If you’d like to push yourself to new heights, our scientifically-developed programs are the way to do just that. Call (419) 882-0661 to learn more.