What is HIIT?

HIIT fitness training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular over the last few years. It has gained a lot of exposure thanks to a number of trainers championing it on social media. It's quick, easy and accessible, making it a great option for people wanting to incorporate fitness into their daily lives. But what is HIIT and how does it benefit you? 


What is HIIT Training?

High Intensity Interval Training is a type of training involving short bursts of intense workout followed by rest periods, repeated for a length of time (usually 20-30 minutes). It was first used in the 1970's by the athletics coach Peter Coe, inspired by the training of Woldemar Gerschler and Per-Olof Astrand. The training involved repeated 200 metre sprints with 30 seconds recovery between each sprint. In 1996, Izumi Tabata used a similar method in his study of Olympic speedskaters, this time involving 20 seconds of high-intensity exercise (approx. 170% VO2max) followed by 10 seconds rest. This was repeated for 4 mintutes. 

The HIIT training common today works on similar methods used in the initial trials, with a mix of cardio, body weight and sometimes resistance exercises. The level of intensity of workout can be controlled by you - you can work at your own pace, with longer recovery periods and gentler workout periods to make it easier if necessary. The idea is that you are able to push your body to a higher intensity during the short work periods than you would during continuous training, causing your system to adapt more due to the increased load. 


Why is HIIT so popular?

HIIT training has become popular over the last few years due to it's simplicity and the quickness of the workouts. It can be done with no or minimal equipment, at home or outside meaning you don't need a gym membership and can easily fit it into your daily routine. Exercises and intensity can be easily scaled so that you are able to work at your own level. 


What are the benefits of HIIT?

High intensity interval training enables people to work at a higher intensity than during longer workouts, but for short bursts. It works the anaerobic system during the high intensity and the aerobic system during moderate intensity. Therefore in the same session you will increase cardiovascular fitness and anaerobic capacity. HIIT has been proven to significantly lower insulin resistance compared to continuous training, helping to decrease fasting blood glucose levels and improve weight loss. According to a 2011 study, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training. The intense exertion also fires up your metabolism, helping you to continue to burn fat and calories for up to 24 hours after working out. 


Can anyone do HIIT?

Interval training is safe for most people, however it is always advisable to consult your doctor before taking on any new exercise routine especially if you have existing health conditions. We also suggest training with a qualified professional who can adjust exercises, work and rest times to suit you and your goals. 


If you would like to give your body a kick-start and incorporate some HIIT training into your life, why not join our Spring Into Fitness package and we will guide you through personalised HIIT sessions, with a healthy diet to support your training. 


See our full interview on the benefits of HIIT training for Spa Breaks here https://www.spabreaks.com/hottub/2016/12/hiit-fitness-comes-bailiffscourt/

Top tips for sticking to a fitness routine

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It's that time of year again; the gyms are packed and everyone is out running in the evenings, adorned with their new lycra and gleaming trainers. It's great seeing so many people getting active and making positive lifestyle changes after the indulgence of Christmas. But how do you make sure these habits stick past February? Here are our top tips:



Find something you enjoy!

Without a doubt, when you are doing something that makes you happy you will want to continue to do it. Exercise can be fun, but sometimes it takes thinking outside the box to find something you really enjoy. There are plenty of alternatives to the gym, from salsa dancing to bouldering and the main thing is that you are moving your body, getting the endorphins flowing. 


Make the time for IT

It takes at least 3 weeks to form a habit, but realistically 8-12 weeks gives you a good chance of that habit sticking. Often we don't give things enough of a chance as work and family commitments begin to overtake before the routine has fully cemented itself. Why not build your fitness into your work and family life instead? Try cycling or running to work, or take your kit and get out for a little run around at lunchtime. Make a point of avoiding the lifts and escalators and even incorporate some desk exercises into your tea break. If you want to spend more time with your family why not get them involved? Schedule your exercise into your diary so that you won't fill the space with something else. 


have a plan

Failing to plan is planning to fail! It's normal to decide to get fit and simply spend half an hour on the treadmill plodding along a few times a week. This is far better than sitting on the couch doing nothing, but it may not give you the best results in the quickest time... and let's be honest, if we don't see results we loose interest fast! A personal trainer is the obvious way to get some advice and guidance about the best way to approach your fitness and most will also give you workouts and plans to follow. They will also help you to highlight your goals, making sure you are working out effectively to achieve these. If this isn't your thing, set yourself a timetable and try to stick to it, varying the activities and workouts you do to ensure that your body is continuing to adapt.



By far the most important tip when it comes to sticking to a new fitness routine - commitment. As mentioned, it takes a few months for a new routine to become habit and you need to be in it for the long game. There are no quick fixes, no magic pills and no fast tracks (despite what lots of people might try to sell you!) We find a good way to commit is to sign up to an event, whether a 5km fun run or an ultra-marathon. Be realistic about your ability and what you can safely push your body to. Being locked in to an event gives you the motivation to train; the sense of achievement that comes from completing the event encourages you to continue. 


you can't out-train a bad diet

Most, but not all, people decide to take up exercise because they want to loose weight. This is great because it has so many positive effects, helping to boost the metabolism, burn fat and tone muscles including the heart, all of which help to improve mood and self esteem. However, the biggest influence on weight loss is diet. As they say, it's 20% exercise, 80% nutrition (or there abouts), meaning there's no point in running every evening to loose weight if you're going to come home and eat fish and chips! If you want to make your fitness routine a habit and you are starting it because you want to loose weight then you really need to address what you eat so that you achieve your goals - otherwise, again, you will not see the results and will loose interest. The topic of nutrition is a big one, not to be overlooked, and definitely in need of it's own blog post!... tbc... 


For those of you wanting a bit of guidance, we have a handful of spaces left for our New Years Resolution package, the perfect way to kick start your fitness and make sure the habit lasts. Contact us to arrange a complimentary consultation! 


The hidden benefits of exercise

This week I have done consultations with 2 new clients and when it came to asking them WHY they wanted to take up personal training my face lit up at their answers

"for my mind", "to de-stress from work" and "for fun"

The health and fitness industry bombards us with images and slogans that cement an idea of fitness being a way to get your summer body, get stronger, get slimmer, all whilst pushing/punishing your body. Perhaps because it's easier to sell something visual, the 'other' outcomes are often ignored. However, in light of Mental Health Awareness week I thought I would highlight these hidden benefits of exercise.

Happy - It's a well-known fact that exercises releases endorphins, those wonderful hormones that make us happy. Just 10 minutes can make a massive difference, especially over time. How often have you dragged yourself to the gym despite feeling a bit flat, only to leave feeling better?

Connected - even if the air isn't that 'fresh', being outside and feeling the elements on your skin is an amazing way to feel connected to where you are. Our lives often revolve around computers, virtual worlds, smart phones. Turning everything off and getting outside brings us back to our reality, in a good way.

Alive - there's nothing quite like the feeling of your heart beating and sweat dripping down your back to remind you that you are alive. Sometimes life can get monotonous, but adding a challenging workout can help break the day to day grind. 

Accomplished - fitness and exercise are a great way to challenge ourselves. Whether it's a 5km run or lifting a weight you never thought you could, that sense of achievement adds to our inner confidence and feeling of self worth. 

De-stressed - it's almost an oxymoron! How can something make you feel more alive, energised and 'pumped' yet also de-stressed? Exercise can be almost meditative - whether you are on bike, lifting weights, doing a HIIT workout - whatever you are doing, you are co-ordinating your mind, body and breathing in order to do it correctly. Your brain doesn't have the time to worry about work or life, it's too busy trying to do the exercise. This time out of your day to day thoughts gives your mind a rest and allows those stresses to melt away. 

The list could go on...! 

It's no secret that we live in a culture that is growing in size (width ways!) and tackling this with exercise is important. However, focusing on the benefits that aren't so visual help to move that motivation to something internal. This is when the changes you make become long term and when you can really become fit for life, for the rest of your life!

Making the most of the great outdoors - the benefits of outdoor exercise

As the sun finally starts to appear it's time to head outdoors again! We love training outside, it makes us feel so much more energised than being inside an air-conditioned room with equipment buzzing.

There are so many benefits to training outside including fresh air and vitamin D, something we don't get that much and really need to make the most of! Outdoor workouts can be far more adventurous and creative than inside a gym. From sprints up the beach to step ups on a bench, using our surroundings to help us get fit can remind us how easy and simple it is. It also helps us to appreciate where we are and actually take the time to enjoy it. 

When the weather isn't so good (because let's be honest, this is the UK) working out in the rain and wind also has it's benefits. Sometimes it feels like a massive challenge just to put your trainers on. The feeling of achievement when you get home from a run or workout, or even a bootcamp, is amazing. Tired, muddy, wet, you know you've put the effort in and that's what will get you the results. It's not always meant to be easy, but these moments remind us how strong we are! 

With the rise in popularity of mud runs and assault courses, outdoor group fitness sessions have also become appealing. Working out in a group has it's own pluses - camaraderie really helps you to work harder, as does a bit of friendly competition. Whilst solo exercising can help you to switch off, group classes are often a lot of fun! 

So what are you waiting for? Get outside and get active! Our Fit Club is starting up again in Horsham in May, with a special option for the youngsters too. Contact us now to book your spot, or to bring a session to a group near you.