The short fast training session is quickly becoming more of a usual occurrence in many health clubs. Previously every gym user was spending at least an hour in the gym and every class was scheduled for 60 minute duration. So what has changed? Well, for gym users there is significant research that shows that sessions lasting longer than sixty minutes can have a detrimental effect on your hormone levels, with elevated Cortisol (stress hormone) and subsequent suppression of your anabolic hormones. Both of these effects are the exact opposite to what most gym users are looking to achieve - reduction in bodyfat and a maintenance or increase in muscle mass.
Shorter sessions are also associated with HIIT, or High Intensity Intermittent (or interval) Training. This type of training is receiving a lot of interest at the moment with various research looking at the benefits of short, hard interval, with rest periods in between, to improve anaerobic and aerobic fitness, glucose tolerance and insulin response (related to NIDDM), lipid profiles and even bodyfat reduction. This could be multiple sprints on a treadmill or bike, sets of kettlebell swings or even sled pushing or tyre dragging, but the idea is to perform these for 30-90s to illicit a build up of lactic acid. This build up is linked with challenging the individual’s anaerobic threshold and also with increases in (natural) growth hormone release. Many of the personal trainers that we work with at Jordan Fitness are now only training their clients for 45 periods, because they physically cannot be trained this way for a full hour.
Now many group training classes, so as the ones we help implement at the Klick Fitness Clubs, are realising that most gym users, if pushed hard, neither require, nor can actually tolerate, a full sixty minutes of this type of training. They are pushed within their abilities, and can achieve more benefits than plodding around a gym for an hour. Most users prefer to be able to get in and out of the club, within a 45 minute period, and this can have a great impact on user adherence since they know they don't have to dedicate as much time each week to achieving their goals. The clubs also like it because the users are spending less time within the facility with each visit and it means that they can timetable more group training classes within any set period.
Allan Collins, Director of Education, Jordan Fitness