Most of today's health club operators know that high intensity interval training (HIIT) training is much more than a simple trend or a buzz phrase. If implemented properly, high-intensity group exercise can diversify your brand, your revenue and, most importantly, keep your members happy and coming back for more.
Yet, properly implementing a HIIT program can be tricky. To achieve long-lasting success with HIIT, club operators must not only understand the best practices in interval training, but also grasp the physiology at play that makes members feel good and see results.
In Club Industry's latest free webinar—"HIIT - Creating Safe and Effective Programs that Generate Results and Revenue," sponsored by Les Mills—Jinger Gottschall delivers a thorough, data-driven presentation on all things HIIT. Gottschall holds a doctoral degree in integrative physiology and is the founder of FITOLOGY, a group fitness studio in State College, Pennsylvania.
At FITOLOGY, Gottschall doesn't hesitate to advertise HIIT's many benefits. In her presentation, she uses research data to demonstrate that HIIT can lead to boosts in vigor, self-esteem and total sleep time and sleep quality, while diminishing one's sense of tension, confusion and total mood disturbance.
Finding the right balance with HIIT can be as much of a challenge for club operators as it is for their members. Gottschall prescribes a specific weekly HIIT formula to her clients: two high-intensity sessions, two or three strength sessions (never back to back), two to three moderately intense cardio sessions and one flexibility session.
Warmups are one aspect of HIIT that Gottschall believes many trainers overlook. She recommends a three-to-five-minute integrated warmup at the beginning of every session. The warmup should be fairly intense and can dictate intensity for the rest of the session, she said.
Gottschall recommends that trainers administer the longest intervals (90 seconds to three minutes) early in a HIIT session in order to boost members' heart rates. Tuck jumps are one of her favorite exercises that can elevate heart rates early in a session, she said.
Gottschall often imagines her clients on an X-Y-Z coordinate axis and tries to ensure they're exercising in every direction—vertically, laterally, etc.
"Helping [clients] understand the 'why' [behind HIIT] is huge in getting them in the door," Gottschall said. "If you can get them into that [heart-rate] zone, there is a little bit of magic with respect to what [HIIT] will create physiologically, and the feelings they have after are really something that keeps them coming back and is unlike no other."
For more on Gottschall's presentation, check out the free, on-demand version of the webinar.