The Health Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training like CrossFit
Article by: Thomas Oentoro
High intensity interval training or more commonly termed as HIIT has become increasingly popular in recent times. This kind of training is based on repeated sessions of high intensity effort followed by recovery times. CrossFit, as one of the proponent for high intensity training and the world’s fastest growing name in the fitness training industry, has shifted the HIIT workouts to new paradigms through its highly transformative HIIT programs, sessions and novel methodologies.
While HIIT has helped evolve fitness training program from being a mundane individual session, CrossFit has projectiled fitness training into the sport of fitness and games. The competition aspects of every CrossFit session makes it fun for the participants. CrossFit prescribes constantly high intensity functional movement training that involves weight lifting, gymnastic and monostructural or cardio exercises. The WOD or the Workout of the Day is similar to HIIT. Depending on the goal, a WOD typically runs between 7-15 mins.
Why does CrossFit training have gained so much popularity?
CrossFit training is amazingly flexible and scalable. It can easily be adopted and used by everyone of all fitness levels and specific conditions like diabetes and obesity. You can perform CrossFit workouts using a variety of apparatuses and type of exercises and a diverse array of functional movements, which can be modified to suit individuals with different fitness capacity, skills and abilities – starting from body weight movements from push up, pull up, air squat to weighted back squat, overhead press and deadlift with loaded barbels. CrossFit can be for everyone regardless of age and their fitness level.
CrossFit burns more calories
Another reason behind the popularity of HIIT and similar to those prescribed by CrossFit, lies in the fact that it delivers similar fitness advantages of continuous endurance workouts but in a shorter span of time. This is because you continue to burn calories hours after a HIIT workout. This after workout effect termed as EPOC or “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” typically lasts 2 hours after the workout has ended, your body continues to consume energy in order to restore itself to pre-exercise level. Since CrossFit workout usually include weighted component, the EPOC is likely to be higher, adding around 8 to 15 percent more calories to your overall workout energy consumption.
CrossFit enhances overall health
There are plenty of research showing that HIIT has been observed to enhance aerobic and anaerobic fitness level, cardiovascular health and regulate blood pressure, insulin sensitivity, cholesterol profiles, maintenance of muscle mass, body weight and abdominal fat. At CrossFit, the HIIT programs are developed while taking into account the duration, frequency and intensity of the work intervals and length of recovery periods. Intensity percentage during the high intensity work interval should be equal or more than 80, of the estimated maximal heart rate. The work interval that is being felt as “hard” to “very hard” by you, is a good subjective indicator. In addition, the intensity percentage of the recovery interval should be 40 to 50 of the estimated maximal heart rate. This is usually a very comfortable physical activity in order to let you recover and get ready for the next work interval.
CrossFit is more efficient than ‘regular’ workouts
CrossFit workouts are ideal for a busy routine, whether you desire to squeeze during a lunch break workout or to get in smart shape for an upcoming event. More progress can be achieved in just 15 minutes of HIIT session than jogging on a treadmill for an hour. A study presented by the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting in 2011, only 2 weeks of high intensity intervals enhance aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training. CrossFit sessions, are highly efficient, being made by taking into consideration all these authentic and precious researches.
CrossFit is heart friendly
Most of the people are not habitual of pushing into anaerobic zone (the zone where you feel you can’t breathe and your heart is about to jump out of your chest). However, in HIIT case, extreme training yields extreme results. As per one of the studies, after 8 weeks of HIIT sessions, participants were able to bicycle twice as long as they could do before the study, with the same pace.
CrossFit helps with fat loss, not muscle loss
If you have been on diet, you must know that it’s difficult to not lose muscles along with fat. While constant state cardio could induce more muscle loss, studies reveal that both HIIT and weight training workouts enable dieters to preserve hard-earned muscles while making sure most of the weight loss results from fat stores. The exclusive HIIT sessions and workouts are 100 percent guaranteed to achieve these benefits.