HIIT training is the exercise de jour of the day. HIIT training or high intensity interval training is what drives the exercise phenomena of P90X and beach body. Some Crossfit programs are also HIIT focused.
Exercise programs tend to be a bit trendy. In the 1970’s it was jazzercise and during the 1980’s we saw a lot of Aerobics. In the 90’s step aerobics and Tae Bo were the rage. Most recently in the 2000’s some of the more popular trends included Pilates, Yoga and Zumba.
What makes HIIT training such a hit is that it fits nicely into our culture’s pace and way of life. Here’s how:
Our world expects a lot and wants it yesterday. Speed is important and quick results are expected. HIIT is a workout that promises and often delivers on quick results (often in comparison to other forms of exercise) of better fitness and improved strength.
Most who try this program report feeling a difference in a relatively short amount of time.
As someone who was new to HIIT, this was the most different aspect of the exercise I experienced. I’m someone who loves to run mostly for the fact that I can clear my mind or solve a problem or come up with an idea for a blog (like this one) while I’m running. I get to be mindful and peaceful. Not so much with HIIT.
Instead, HIIT is the ADHD of exercise. You begin one exercise (let’s say burpees- yes, there is an exercise called a burpee and it is as horrible as it sounds) and begin. 45 seconds later, stop and jumping jacks- 45 seconds later, stop, sit up – stop and sprints. You get the idea. In our culture where we don’t want to wait in line, get inpatient if we have to wait longer than 2 seconds for a browser page to load, or stop reading a blog if it’s a bit too long (hang in there, we are half way through), this is the type of exercise that can keep people engage, prevent boredom and in a way, be entertaining.
In this day and age, community and friendships can be hard to find. Groups like Cross Fit encourage a sense of community and relationships. At HIIT classes, you often find a friend or two (or at least begin to recognize familiar faces). You often get support from others and I know many people that have formed solid friend groups from these classes.
And, in this day and age, community is often found online. Most HIIT classes or programs have an online community. For those HIIT programs that can be done independently (such as Beachbody) there are online coaches and support groups to help with questions and keep accountability. And who doesn’t need a few more Facebook Friends or Twitter followers?
Most will likely deny this in the middle of a workout, but HIIT programs can be fun. The monotony of many other exercise programs cause individuals to drop out. Staying on a treadmill while watching CNN for many is a form of torture. With HIIT, there is often an element to fun in the exercises and the constant change prevents boredom and brings a sense of entertainment to it.
We all know (or should) that exercise is good for us in multiple ways. Finding a way to be active that you enjoy is key to living a healthy and long life. HIIT training has settled in nicely to our way of life and likely will be there for a while…until, the next trend comes around.