High intensity interval training, otherwise known as HIIT, classes can allow students to be actively engaged and entertained throughout their workouts. At Plattsburgh State, students take advantage of those benefits daily.
PSUC Group Exercise Director Connie Fesette said her favorite thing about HIIT workouts is that people can burn more calories in less time.
HIIT consists of a variety of exercises using intervals of intensity to keep people’s muscles engaged and blood pumping.
The different styles of HIIT classes provided by different instructors make it easy for students to find something they are comfortable participating in.
“We have instructors for many things, with probably 10 or so that are certified to teach HIIT,” Fesette said.
PSUC junior psychology major Emily Alexander said she starting dancing at a young age, and her love for being active is what inspired her to become an instructor, along with her passion for helping others.
Alexander has been taking HIIT classes for about three years, but this semester is her first teaching the class. Another HIIT class she teaches is Dance Fitness, on Tuesdays from 7-8 p.m. She said this program can have a variety of positive effects for people who are willing to give it a try.
“It’s a full body workout. You get strengthening and cardio,” she said. “It’s just a quick way to get an entire workout in.”
There’s a variety of health benefits associated with HIIT. Fessette said participating in HIIT workouts can result in reduced blood pressure, improved cardiovascular health, lowered cholesterol and reduced abdominal fat. Lowering stress is another benefit.
Fesette said the time benefits are what would really appeal to college students.
“I used to run eight miles, now I do stair-training,” Fesette said. “I cut my workout time from an hour and 10 minutes to probably 30 minutes but still got the same positive effects.”
Alexander said she understands some people can have negative experiences with HIIT.
“If someone is in the wrong environment, they might be discouraged,” she said. “They might not feel like they are capable of doing everything.”
Alexander leads her classes with a fun and encouraging attitude, and she enjoys challenging the members of her class.
“It should be a happy environment, just to come, have fun and work out,” she said. “My favorite part is when they tell me that my class was hard, but they still come back.”
Senior student Alyson Houston has been taking HIIT classes for a year.
“I think it’s such a great workout,” she said. “I sleep better, and I have more energy during the day.”
Houston said the positive atmosphere of the class gives her a lot of motivation.
The class always begins with a warm up, but the exercises performed in class are constantly changing. Alexander uses different sets of exercises to allow members of her class to get a full body workout but try different and new things at the same time.
“I like to be well rounded,” she said. “I pick a body part and then find an exercise that fits into the routine.”
Alexander said she makes sure each part of the body is being worked evenly, so participants don’t fatigue certain muscles.
“I’ll usually pick out an arm exercise and pair it with a leg exercise,” she said.
Fesette said the high intensity of HIIT workouts raises students’ heart rate high enough so their body will keep working even after they’ve finished their workouts.
“There’s generally a two-hour period after exercise where you’re still burning calories,” she said.
Fesette said change in eating habits and social environment and the stresses of college life are the perfect reasons to start taking HIIT classes.
The PSUC Fitness Center offers some form of HIIT class six days a week, Fesette said.
From circuit to cross-spin, there are a variety of classes that fall under the HIIT umbrella.
“In spin classes you’re doing sprints and then you stop, or hills and then you stop,” Fesette said.
The fitness center also offers a cross spin class the combines cardio with exercises used to target certain areas of the body, such as legs or arms.
“It’s a great way to burn excess calories, feel good about yourself and meet new people,” Fesette said. “People who have the same goals as you, they can really motivate you.”
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