This is HIIT – 4 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

By Mona Javid, Program Assistant for Group Fitness and Emily Schmitt, Coordinator of Fitness Programs, Campus Recreation Services

At-home fitness programs – like P90X® and Insanity® – have grown in popularity in recent years.  When you’re ready to work out, you simply pop 1 of the DVDs in and before you know it, you’re jumping, lunging, and squatting your way across your residence hall floor.  Have you ever wished you would get the same total body conditioning challenge, but in a group setting with a real-life instructor?  Look no further than Campus Recreation Services’ fall 2012 group fitness schedule.  – High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is on its way!

What is HIIT?

In activities that focus on improving endurance (i.e. jogging or stair-climbing), we aim to maintain a moderate intensity throughout the workout.  If we judged our performance based on an exertion scale of 0-10, we would remain at a 5-6.  In contrast, high-intensity intervals are done at an exertion level of 7 or higher, and are typically sustained for 30 seconds to 3 minutes at a time.  High-intensity exercises include squat jumps, mountain climbers, and burpees – really, anything that is intended to enhance strength and endurance and uses your own body weight.  Between the intervals are periods of active recovery, which are performed at a lower intensity (4-5).

Benefits of HIIT:

  1. Efficiency. By working at a higher intensity for short time intervals, HIIT allows you to reach your fitness goals without spending hours in the gym.
  2. Improved Aerobic & Anaerobic Fitness. The cardiovascular adaptations associated with HIIT increase participants’ V02 max (an indicator of your body’s ability to take in and use oxygen).  Through HIIT training, the body becomes more efficient at producing and using energy from the anaerobic energy system and more effectively removes metabolic waste from the muscles during recovery intervals, resulting in increased performance.
  3. Increased Metabolic Rate. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), during HIIT, a person consumes more oxygen than in slower, distance exercise, which can increase post-exercise metabolism.
  4. Convenience. HIIT can be done anywhere – at the gym, your apartment, outdoors — and with no equipment. After all, the most valuable piece of equipment when it comes to HIIT is YOU!

The American Council on Exercise recommends that participants engage in HIIT no more than two times a week and have at least one day of rest in between training sessions.

Terps in Training

UMD Fitness participants got a chance to test out HIIT on Wednesday, April 11th at Terps in Training.  The class included a 10 minute warm up, 45 minutes of HIIT, and 30 minutes of Yogafit.  Detailed feedback provided by Terps in Training participants will be applied in developing the regularly scheduled HIIT class.  Check out photos of the event below.

Terps test out High-Intensity Interval Training at Terps in Training on April 11, 2012.

Another sneak peek class – This is HIIT! – – will be held on Thursday, August 2nd at 5:15pm in the ERC Aerobics Studio.  Get more information on this class and other Sizzling Summer Series programming from Campus Recreation Services and the Stamp Student Union at

For more on High-Intensity Interval Training, check out this article from the American Council on Exercise.  Curious about P90X and Insanity?  See a side-by-side comparison of these similar programs.

Share with us! Have you tried P90X or Insanity? Were you at the Terps in Training event? What has your experience been like with High Intensity Interval Training? Are you excited for this new group fitness offering from CRS?

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