The Fitness Zone

The 2023 Top Fitness Trends Review: #7 High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Dec 06, 2023 | by Steve Irwin

In this series of articles we are going to take a look at the top ten fitness trends for 2023 as created for the annual ACSM’s (American College of Sports Medicine) Health & Fitness Journal worldwide survey [1]

The survey list actually covers 20 fitness trends as collated as part of the survey, but we’re just going to focus on the Top 10 and dive specifically into some background information about the trend, how it can benefit you as a fitness consumer, as a fitness professional and also add some general guidance and / or recommendations.

So here we go… It is Number 7 on the List: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

The Number 7 Fitness Trend for 2023: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Are you looking to take your workouts to the next level and achieve your fitness goals faster? Look no further than High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is a workout strategy that has taken the fitness world by storm in recent years and for a good reason.

HIIT workouts involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise, where your heart rate soars above 80% of your maximum, followed by brief periods of rest. The magic of HIIT lies in its efficiency – you can achieve more in less time. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting your fitness journey, HIIT can be tailored to your fitness level.

While HIIT has gained immense popularity, it’s essential to note its evolving trends. It rose to the top spot in fitness trends in 2014 and 2018, consistently ranking in the top five between 2014 and 2021. In 2022, it briefly dropped to #7 but maintained its position in 2023.

There’s no shortage of variety when it comes to HIIT. You can choose from many different formats which also offer differences in modalities such as dumbbells, barbells, sprinting, cycling, bodyweight exercises, and even stair-climbing.

A Brief History of High-Intensity Interval Training – The Meteoric Rise of HIIT: 20 Years of Fitness Revolution

High-Intensity Interval Training has transformed the fitness industry over the past two decades. What began as a niche training method has now become a staple in gyms, studios, and home workouts across the globe. The popularity of HIIT can be attributed to its remarkable effectiveness and versatility.

HIIT’s journey to fitness stardom started around the early 2000s when fitness enthusiasts and trainers began to recognize its potential. This training method involves alternating short, intense bursts of exercise with brief rest periods. Its ability to deliver incredible results in a shorter time frame caught the attention of busy individuals and fitness enthusiasts alike.

The enduring appeal of HIIT can be attributed to its efficiency, effectiveness, and adaptability. Its ability to deliver impressive results in a short amount of time continues to attract fitness enthusiasts, making it a crucial part of the modern fitness landscape. As the fitness industry continues to evolve, HIIT is likely to remain a dominant force, shaping the way we approach health and wellness for years to come.

The Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

HIIT offers a myriad of benefits, making it a popular choice for those looking to shed pounds, boost cardiovascular fitness, and manage their time effectively.

  • HIIT is a powerful tool for weight loss. The high-intensity bursts of exercise followed by short periods of rest or low-intensity recovery exercises rev up your metabolism and keep it elevated for hours after your workout. This post-exercise calorie burn, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), helps you torch fat and shed those extra pounds more effectively than traditional steady-state cardio workouts.[2]
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness is another standout advantage of HIIT. The intense intervals push your heart rate to its limit, strengthening your cardiovascular system. Over time, this can lead to better endurance, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of heart disease.
  • One of the most appealing aspects of HIIT is its time efficiency. With busy schedules becoming the norm, HIIT workouts can be completed in a short amount of time, making them a perfect fit for even the busiest of individuals. You can achieve substantial results in as little as 20-30 minutes, making it easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
My Top 3 High-Intensity Interval Training Workouts

Regardless of what stage you are at with your health and fitness journey, I always find the K.I.S.S (Keep It Super Simple) principle to program design works best… there’s no need to overcomplicate things!

Here are three HIIT-focused training programs tailored for beginners, intermediates, and advanced clients. Remember to consult with a fitness professional or physician before starting any new exercise program, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns.

20-Minute Beginner HIIT Program:

Warm-up (3 minutes):
Light jogging or cycling

Workout (15 minutes approx):
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete the circuit twice.

Dumbbell Goblet Squats: Hold a dumbbell close to your chest and perform squats.
Push-Ups: Bodyweight push-ups to target the chest and triceps.
Jumping Jacks: Classic bodyweight cardio exercise.
Dumbbell Bent-over Rows: Use a dumbbell for back and arm strength.
Sprinting in Place: High knees to simulate sprinting.

Cool-down (2-3 minutes):
Stretching

30-Minute Intermediate HIIT Program:

Warm-up (5 minutes):
Jogging or cycling, gradually increasing intensity.

Workout (18-20 minutes approx):
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete the circuit three times.

Barbell Squats: Use a barbell for added resistance in squats.
Burpees: A full-body exercise that includes a push-up.
Cycling Sprints: 30 seconds of all-out cycling, followed by 30 seconds of low intensity.
Mountain Climbers: Engage the core with this bodyweight exercise.
Dumbbell Thrusters: Combine a squat with an overhead press using dumbbells.

Cool-down (5-7 minutes):
Stretching and light aerobic activity

45-Minute Advanced HIIT Program:

Warm-up (7-10 minutes):
Dynamic stretching and light cardio.

Workout (25-30 minutes approx):
Perform each exercise for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. Complete the circuit four times.

Barbell Deadlifts: Strengthen your lower body and back with heavy weights.
Dumbbell Renegade Rows: Incorporate dumbbells and push-up variations.
Hill Sprints: Sprint uphill for 30 seconds, followed by a slow walk down.
Bodyweight Plyometric Exercises: Include exercises like box jumps, tuck jumps, and squat jumps.
Cycling Intervals: Alternate between 45 seconds of high-intensity cycling and 30 seconds of low-intensity.

Cool-down (8-10 minutes):
Stretching and deep breathing exercises

Make sure your clients have proper form and appropriate weight for their fitness level. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise program. These programs are intense, so they should be adjusted based on individual fitness levels and goals.

Top “Tips” for Fitness Professionals When Using High-Intensity Interval Training with Clients

HIIT is a powerful tool that fitness professionals can use to help their clients achieve their fitness goals efficiently. By assessing individual needs, applying progressive overload, and emphasising variety and recovery, personal trainers, fitness instructors, and strength and conditioning coaches can harness the benefits of HIIT to maximise their clients’ results and overall fitness journey.

Incorporating HIIT Into Programs:

  • Assessment and Individualization: Before incorporating HIIT into a client’s program, fitness professionals should conduct a thorough assessment to gauge their current fitness level and goals. It’s crucial to tailor the intensity, duration, and exercises to match the client’s abilities and objectives. What works for one client may not be suitable for another.
  • Progressive Overload: To ensure safety and continual progress, fitness professionals should apply the principle of progressive overload. This means gradually increasing the intensity and volume of HIIT over time. Begin with shorter work intervals and longer rest periods, then progress to longer work intervals and shorter rest periods as clients become more conditioned.
  • Variety and Recovery: Incorporate a variety of HIIT protocols to keep things fresh and prevent plateaus. It’s also essential to emphasise the importance of adequate recovery between HIIT sessions. Overtraining can lead to burnout and injury, so encourage clients to listen to their bodies and ensure they have enough rest and sleep.
  • Nutritional Guidance: HIIT and nutrition go hand in hand. Encourage your clients to follow a balanced diet that supports their fitness goals. Provide guidance on macronutrient intake, meal timing, and hydration. Explain the importance of fueling their bodies adequately for HIIT workouts and how to optimise post-workout nutrition to aid recovery and muscle growth. Offering nutritional support alongside HIIT can significantly enhance the effectiveness of their training programs.
  • Tracking and Accountability: Help your clients set specific, measurable, and achievable goals related to their HIIT workouts. Utilise fitness apps, wearable devices, or training logs to track their progress, such as the number of intervals completed, rest intervals, and performance improvements. Regularly review and discuss these metrics with your clients to keep them accountable and motivated. This data-driven approach not only helps clients stay on track but also allows fitness professionals to fine-tune their programs for optimal results.
In Conclusion

HIIT is a versatile and time-efficient approach to weight loss and cardiovascular fitness. Its effectiveness in burning calories, improving heart health, and its time-saving nature make it a smart choice for individuals striving to lead a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Please Note: The information provided in this article are the opinions and professional experience of the author and not all activities are recommended for the beginner or participants with underlying health conditions. Before following any advice or starting any fitness, health, and wellbeing journey please consult with an Allied Health Professional and / or General Practitioner.

REFERENCES

  1. ACSM’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2023: Thompson, Walter R. Ph.D., FACS
  2. Excess Postexercise Oxygen Consumption After High-Intensity and Sprint Interval Exercise, and Continuous Steady-State Exercise: Exercise Science and Health Promotion Program, Healthy Lifestyles Research Center, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona.
  3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CRF) in Healthy, Overweight and Obese Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Studies: Movement Behaviours, Health and Wellbeing Research Group, Department of Sport and Physical Activity, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire L39 4QP, UK. Institute of Clinical Exercise and Health Science, University of the West of Scotland Lanarkshire Campus Lanarkshire, Scotland G72 0LH, UK.
Steve Irwin

Steve Irwin

Steve has spent the last 19 years in the Australian Fitness Industry as a Group Fitness Instructor, 1-1 Coach, State Manager, Business Owner and is currently an Educator for the Australian Institute of Fitness. A lifelong fitness enthusiast he started his working life in the Military which guided him into the fitness industry where his passion for helping others on their health and fitness journey has been realised. Steve believes that for anyone thinking about getting fit or healthy they should “just get started” as “doing something is better than doing nothing”.

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