HIIT the Gym

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I (and millions of other people) have a new obsession: high-intensity interval training (HIIT).   It seems that everyday there’s a new study showing how effective HIIT is as a method for keeping the heart in shape, burning fat, increasing muscle, and generally just feeling great. But what I love most about it, and I know I’m not alone in this, is how quickly it’s over.  It’s true that, for the seven, twelve, twenty, or however many relatively brief minutes you’re doing it, you think you’re killing yourself — but then you’re done (done except for the fact that, as an added bonus, you raise your metabolism and continue burning calories at rest).

I love how quickly it’s over because I never have enough time for everything on my to-do list. Between work, child-rearing, housekeeping, socializing, and all the other demands of modern adult life, I was always desperately trying, often unsuccessfully, to squeeze in workouts.  Adopting a HIIT approach has helped hugely — except for one problem; I want to do my working out at the gym. Sometimes it’s hard to justify leaving the house when travel time to and from the gym takes longer than my actual workout. I’ll admit it: Sometimes I just do it in my living room.

How can facilities make it worthwhile for members to continue bringing their workouts to the gym floor when those workouts are short and sweet (well, short anyway)? One answer is machines: Most people do not have treadmills or stairmasters or other such equipment at home. Though it’s possible to raise the heart rate doing jumping jacks in the living room, a thirty-second treadmill sprint followed by a sixty-second walk on the same machine, repeated a bunch of times, is simply more efficient. The trick is making your members aware of this: Convince them that their HIIT routines will work better if they’re carried out using your equipment.

The other answer is personnel. I don’t have a trainer wandering around my living room, giving me tips on posture and performance, pushing me to work harder (if only…). Sometimes, when I’m really in a rush, it’s easy to believe I can do it just as well myself. But the truth is, I work out better when there’s a knowledgeable professional helping me out. We all do.  Just having one in the same room — even just having other exercisers in the same room — makes me push myself harder. I know this. And this is one of the best things any gym has to offer: a supportive community. HIIT might change the game in a lot of ways, but that’s one thing it doesn’t change.

As a fitness facility, you’ve got your core strengths. Machines and personnel are two of them. With HIIT workouts increasing in popularity day by day, you have to find a way to put your core strengths in the service of providing the best HIIT experience possible — and you’ve got to communicate to your members that this is what you’re doing. And not only to your members: You’ve got to communicate it to prospective clients as well. Pull them in by showing them how seamlessly you’ve incorporated HIIT techniques into your facility.

All right now, I’m ending here because I’m off to HIIT the gym.

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