You may have noticed a recent increase in HIIT gyms or High-Intensity Interval Training gyms popping up in your local neighborhood. Some big names that you may have seen or heard of are OrangeTheory Fitness, Row House, F45 and other boot camp style classes.
Because of their popularity, you may have a few friends who joined and are trying to get you to join with them. I want to help you figure out if these gyms are something that will be beneficial for you and if these styles of classes will help you reach your goals.
Let’s start by giving a definition of what HIIT training is. HIIT training is a style of workout where you work very hard for a short amount of time followed by some rest. It was designed to give you similar cardiovascular benefits in a short period of time as you would get from a longer period of less intense cardio. The key here is that your work periods must be short and intense.
Gyms that then took this model and turned it into a 45-60 minute full-on workout really missed the science behind HIIT training.
There are a few reasons I don’t like this HIIT training model and there are a few reasons I do like this model.
Let’s start with why I don’t like this model
- It is impossible to work at the right intensity for so long (45-60 Min Class)
- You have an increased risk of injury
- It’s probably going to make you hungry (Bad if you want to lose weight!)
- You’re not truly getting stronger or building muscle
- Being hot and sweaty does not equal success
- All those half-naked models you see in the ads actually strength train
Not everything is bad about HIIT though. There are a few reasons I do like the HIIT class model.
- People enjoy it so it gets them doing something (Better than sitting on the couch)
- They have a great community aspect
- The classes usually have high energy instructors
- There is usually great comradery between clients
I am not saying that all HIIT classes are terrible or that everyone needs to stop right now. I just want to be clear that if your goals are to lose weight, get strong, tone up, and feel better about yourself HIIT training is not going to be your best option.