High intensity interval training (otherwise known as HIIT) is definitely one of the big buzzwords in fitness these days.
And unlike some training methods and diets that peak, plateau and then lose steam and die, this one doesn’t seem to be a fleeting fad. If anything, it’s gaining more momentum with each passing year.
HIIT is certainly one of the various tools we use with our clients to help them gain fitness. This doesn’t mean every day is the most intense workout of your life. Far from it. It simply means sprinkling in high-intensity interval training into our regular strength and conditioning program has proven incredibly valuable to our clients.
And now there’s even more reason to believe HIIT should be included in your training diet, especially if you have Type II diabetes, or are susceptible to developing it.
A study published in April 2017 from the University of Turku in Finland looked at HIIT and insulin sensitivity.
The study monitored a group men in their 40s and 50s, all of whom were diabetic or prediabetic—meaning their blood sugar levels were close to being considered at diabetic levels—and examined at what happened with they added HIIT into their training.
In only two weeks of HIIT training, the group of diabetic and prediabetic men saw their blood sugar levels, their insulin sensitivity and their glucose metabolism improve dramatically. In fact, their blood sugar was reduced to the same level as the control group, which included healthy men with regular blood sugar levels.
The Turku study is certainly not the only one that suggests HIIT improves health. Previous research also shows exercise can lower blood sugar levels as much as diabetic medication can. This one simply suggests HIIT is a particularly powerful type of training when considering metabolism and insulin.
5 Other well-researched benefits of HIIT include:
- It’s a great way to burn fat
- It increases your metabolism
- It’s good for your heart
- It helps increase cardiovascular endurance
- It helps increase your VO2 max (a measurement of how efficiently your body uptakes oxygen)
Again, this isn’t to say we promote a daily dose of 100 percent effort intensity training that leaves you in a heap of sweat and vomit. Making every day the hardest day of your life is counterproductive as it will undoubtedly lead to physical and emotional burnout.
But pushing, and even maxing out, your intensity level periodically—via both interval training and a more sustained effort—continues to prove its effectiveness both in the academic studies and at gyms like ours.