HIIT or Miss?: Is High-Intensity Interval Training a Fad or Is It Here to Stay?

Joe Wicks, also known as The Body Coach, is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest ever HIIT session today. Is this type of training just another fitness trend, however, or can it help athletes to improve their performance?

HIIT – The Body Coach’s World Record Attempt

This evening, Joe Wicks, together with a host of fellow exercise lovers, will be trying to set a new world record for the “Largest High Intensity Interval Training Class” in London’s Hyde Park. The session, which is part of the Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park series of events, takes place at the Great Oak Stage. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the class kicks off at 7 p.m.

In order to beat the existing record, the nutritionist and personal trainer will need to attract more than 3,687 participants. That’s the number of people the current record-holders, Herbalife Ltd. (USA), had at their High-Intensity Interval Training session in Los Angeles in March 2015.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, each high intensity section included in the programme that Joe has designed will need to be followed by section of lower intensity exercises for recovery purposes, and each person will need to carry out half an hour’s continuous exercise for their performance to count.

High-Intensity Interval Training – Why Is It All the Rage?

This type of exercise programme is certainly popular at the moment. It’s a central feature of Joe Wicks’s weight loss and workout programme, and his You Tube channel includes a number of free-to-watch High-Intensity Interval Training workout videos.

High-Intensity Interval Training involves alternating between intense exercise and less intense exercise for short periods of time. It’s been proven to be an effective fat-burning tool.

Writing in the Telegraph last month, Joe said:

“HIIT training is about elevating your heart rate for 30 or 40 seconds and then resting for the remainder of that minute. By boosting your heart rate, you boost your metabolism and fire up your body to burn fat.”

He also noted that it’s both an accessible and time-efficient form of exercise.

“You don’t need expensive gym membership, any equipment, you don’t even need proper sportswear,” he said. “And because you are only working out for 20 minutes, it’s not going to eat into your time.”

A Traditional Training Technique – HIIT for Athletes

High-Intensity Interval Training isn’t just the latest craze for people who want to shed a few pounds or tone up, however. This training technique has long been used by athletes wanting to ensure that they are in peak condition, so that they can add more sports medals to their collections.

In fact, Sebastian Coe’s father, Peter, used High-Intensity Interval Training techniques, involving alternating sprints with short recovery periods, when coaching his son during the 1970s. Sebastian (now Lord Coe) went on to win medals at the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympic Games.

A number of different “branches” of High-Intensity Interval Training have been developed since then, including the “Tabata”, “Gibala” and “Timmons” regimes, all of which use the same basic principles.

HIIT training can help to improve athletes’ cardiovascular fitness and have a beneficial effect on the metabolism, so it’s not likely to disappear from sports training programmes any time soon.

Have you tried High-Intensity Interval Training? Will you be participating in tonight’s world record attempt? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook, or leave a comment below.