HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is the most popular trend in fitness right now—yet it’s also the most misunderstood. “Hard work, short rests’ is the essence of HIIT, but depending on the results you want to see there are five main variables that are subject to change. In this blog, we’ll run you through how to get HIIT workouts right (because they’re easy to get wrong)!
Key Variables within a HIIT Session
Work and Rest Duration
If you’re interested in HIIT then you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the concept of “time on” or work duration. There is a delicate balance between time on and “time off”, or rest, that shifts depending on your exercise goals.
An endurance-based workout will increase work duration and proportionally decrease rest duration, for example 40 seconds on and 20 seconds off. The opposite is true for power-based workouts.
It’s called high intensity for a reason! To get the real benefits of HIIT you should be pushing hard during your “time on” without going all out. The intensity should be sustained with a consistent level of effort across all the work periods to be effective.
You can gauge this subjectively by reporting how hard you feel your body is working on the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale—a method of measuring the intensity of physical activity. Try and keep your score constant across every interval.
Alternatively, if you have access to a heart rate monitor then you can measure the intensity using heart rate zones. Know your target heart rate and try to maintain this for each work period. For high intensity work this is typically 75-85% of your maximum heart rate. Find out your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220 beats per minute.
The fourth variable is the type of rest that you choose to buffer your work period with. As tempting as it can be to stop completely it can actually help to engage in active recovery.
If you’re unsure what active recovery actually entails, think jogging on the spot, pedalling slowly on an exercise bike, or other methods to keep your body moving at a low intensity. By keeping your body moving you can flush out lactic acid ahead of your next work period.
Last but not least we have the total workout volume, or number of intervals that you do. If you’re new to HIIT, it can be beneficial to start with a low volume and go as hard as possible. By doing too many you may find yourself unable to maintain the intensity by the end of your workout, deriving no real benefit. When it begins to feel easier, add more intervals to your workout.
HIIT Sessions in Fitness Gaming
The basics of hit are work, rest, repeat! With this in mind, you can apply HIIT to a fairly wide range of training methods—including gaming exercise. With this in mind, the Quell game isn’t like most home workout games. We apply the principles of HIIT training to fitness gaming to make it the most effective method of game exercise out there.
HIIT is one of few workout methods that yields logistical benefits. They’re flexible and can take as long as you like. This makes it the perfect training method for the Quell game—which has a pick up and play style. Fit in a quick fitness gaming session after work, during your lunch break, or whenever suits you!
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT yields more benefits than most workout methods. Firstly, it burns more calories during the workout itself, as well as afterwards thanks to the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. During EPOC, your body adapts to the exercise you’ve done as it returns to its normal resting state after a workout, and the effect only increases with exercise intensity.
Furthermore, HIIT can increase your VO2 max—the maximum rate of oxygen consumption that your body can process during a workout. This is the most accurate measure of cardiovascular fitness. By increasing it you’ll be able to work harder, for longer.
There’s no better way to start your fitness gaming journey!
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