Monday, 7 July 2014

Berkshire Fitness Scene : HIIT

If you follow fitness trends at all you will no doubt be familiar with the concept of HIIT, aka high intensity interval training. These are workouts that alternate between intense bursts of activity and lower intensity activity or complete rest. They've become especially popular as they are time-efficient way to complete a workout that gives you as much aerobic and metabolic benefit as a longer workout at a consistent lower intensity. Metafit is an example of this but there are plenty of unbranded sessions available now too.

Reading Sports Park offer HIIT classes that seem to be extremely popular with both men and women of all ages, if the attendees on this occasion were representative, which I was keen to try. So back to the Sports Park I go! An hour's class consisted of four rounds of four exercises that worked the whole body and core alternately. Each round saw the active period increase and the rest time decrease until the exercises are performed consecutively.

Good Points
  • You're encouraged to work at your own level, pushing yourself as much as you can. 
  • In a class of 30, there was plenty of space to work in and the instructor walked around encouraging us and correcting technique occasionally (although probably not enough).
  • The music choice was excellent. Never underestimate what a difference this can make.

Bad Points
  • I found it hard to pace myself over the hour. If I went again I'd have a better feel for it but I left feeling as though I'd done a fairly regular work out.
  • The class was run well but probably suffered from being held at a Uni where there's quite a transient audience. As such the exercises are probably pitched more towards low-average abilities.
So the verdict? HIIT is a really great way to get a decent all-over body workout that addresses strength and aerobic abilities in a short space of time. The variety that a class like this can offer over a few weeks will definitely help to keep levels of interest and motivation high. However, having experienced metafit, I'm not sure I can ever go back to another form of HIIT.

So far, my favourite class at Reading Sports Park has been M:TV Dance but there are still a few more I want to try!

Have you tried HIIT? What do you like/dislike about it and what's your favourite class?

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