While it’s hardly the new kid on the fitness block, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is having a definitely having resurgence on the scene.
Perfect for those short on time that need results fast (a.k.a. all of us), HIIT is gaining distinct popularity with women, leading to a rise in women’s-specific fitness boutiques, including Sydney’s new female-only circuit gym, ZADI Training, whose programs are built around the profound benefits of HIIT for women.
Keen to learn a little more about why HIIT workouts are so effective for us ladies, we caught up with Adala Bolto, CEO and co-founder of ZADI training, for a full breakdown on all the benefits:
1. Reps and Sets
When it comes to fat loss, research has found that women can handle significantly MORE work in the gym than men. In fact, we often do better with higher rep ranges which luckily is something that is often factored into HIIT training, especially if that HIIT training was programmed specifically with women in mind.
Why? Women generally have more type I fibers, or slow-twitch fibers, which are used for endurance exercises and take longer to fatigue (i.e. distance running, high rep weights). On the flipside, men generally have more type II, or fast-twitch fibers, which are used in short bursts and explosive, movements but tend to tire more quickly.
Higher oestrogen levels also mean that women tend to recover faster than men, as oestrogen is an anti- catabolic hormone. To get the most out of training, women typically benefit perform more reps per set as a result.
Women also burn a higher percentage of fat when training than men, and a lower percentage at rest, which is another reason why HIIT can be so effective.
2. It’s great for using all of your energy systems and burning fat
HIIT is a great way to get maximum benefit out of your workout, especially if you are time poor. It boosts your metabolism, burns a tonne of calories and helps to build endurance.
Due to the work vs. resting periods, it’s is also great for teaching your body how to efficiently use it’s energy systems. HIIT is also great for burning fat, but not necessarily muscle if you are refueling correctly post workout.
3. It’s an effective workout if you want to measure your results and progress
More HIIT workouts, including ZADI use heart rate monitors to help participants measure their results and keep track of their intensity however it may surprise people to learn that fat burning can actually occur at a much lower heart rate than most people realize.
In fact, if you train at a less intensity (ie. 60-70 percent of your individual max heart rate) and you stick with this heart rate for around 55-65 percent of your session you may reap great weight loss benefits.
Burning fat is different for every individual, so you need to find the right burn zone for you. The best way to do it is find your max heart rate (220- your age) and the determine your best fat burning range which will be 60-70 percent of your max heart rate. The key is to stay in this heart rate (which is a moderate intensity) for a little longer if you want to burn more fat.
4. Our Cycles
Many women will find that they feel stronger during the first half of the cycle, when the female sex-hormone, oestrogen, is at its highest making it a good time to test heavy lifts, increase weights, or perform HIIT training. During this time the body will experience a higher pain tolerance and should respond more efficiently to resistance training leading to greater, faster muscle gains.
In the second half of the cycle, oestrogen levels decrease and progesterone increases, which can lead to fatigue, mood changes and other symptoms that can affect performance in the gym.
During this phase some women may need to back off the heavy lifting and increase endurance and cardio training at submaximal loads, as the body is more efficient at burning fat in this time. The body will likely retain water in this phase as well, so exercising will help sweat out excess fluid.
There is something about HIIT training that seems to bring out teamwork and camaraderie in people, so if you want to make friends and get down in the trenches with others who want to work hard, HIIT group training is a great way to do it!
The overall atmosphere of the studio plays a huge part as people often participate in exercise in their free time. It is very important that people enjoy spending their time there and this helps with building motivation.
This is why millennial trends are showing that people are willing to invest in their fitness in exchange for the community and culture experience. Fitness boutiques may be more expensive than big chains but they are proving to deliver more targeted results.
Words by Adala Bolto, CEO & co-founder of ZADI Training
Adala Bolto, has been in the fitness industry for over 12 years, and she just launched launched a new fitness movement for women that’s set to be a game changer and also the first of it’s kind. In 2017 (launching in June 1018), Adala co-founded ZADI Training with Diana Williams the CEO of Australia’s No. 1 health and fitness club Fernwood. ZADI is the first ‘franchise’ network to offer female specific HIIT and functional combination programs – endorsed by exercise science, innovative technology, smaller trainer/ participant ratios and an environment which promotes targeted fitness. ZADI uses the most effective metabolic circuit training methods, designed exclusively for women and endorsed by renowned exercise scientist Damien Kelly.
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