Five questions with a Les Mills SPRINT instructor.

If you’re a fitness junkie, chances are you’ve taken—or consistently take—a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class. The benefits of HIIT are tremendous, including reducing your resting heart rate, increasing your lean muscle mass and burning more in a shorter period of time. But when you hear the term “HIIT,” you probably don’t typically associate it with indoor cycling.

24Life asked group fitness instructor Derek Tempongko, who teaches Les Mills SPRINT at 24 Hour Fitness, what makes SPRINT different from a typical cycling class, and why cyclists and non-cyclists alike should consider upping their fitness game with this intense class.

24Life: What is Les Mills SPRINT, and what makes it different from a normal cycle class?

Derek Tempongko (DT): SPRINT is 30 minutes of HIIT on a bike. A participant repeats short bursts of efforts at maximum or all-out intensity, interspersed with short periods of rest. It adopts HIIT training concepts; during the 30 minutes, participants spend up to 20 minutes above 85 percent of their maximum intensity.

What makes it different is first, it’s a HIIT class using an indoor bike as an equipment to train. Second, the short intervals of effort demand the participants give it their all, followed by complete recovery. Third, HIIT training provides the participant the opportunity to experience Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC, or “afterburn”) where the participant can still burn calories after the workout. I believe SPRINT can help participants get fit faster, get leaner and burn lots of calories.

24Life: What type of music can I expect in a SPRINT class?

DT: The genre is mostly electronic. The music delivers the energy and motivation for a participant to get into the mindset of working hard and fast.

24Life: Many cycling classes incorporate arm and upper body work into their ride—what about SPRINT?

DT: In SPRINT we only ride the bike, a mix of standing and sitting. No other exercises or movements by the upper body are performed.

24Life: Why should someone who typically takes normal cycle classes try a SPRINT class?

DT: Participants ready to challenge their fitness level—ready to take it to the next level—will want to try SPRINT class. The specific changes we get from HIIT include rapid improvements of VO2 [the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use], body composition and metabolic health. The repeated spikes of maximum intensity in SPRINT are responsible for these dramatic changes.

24Life: On the opposite end of the spectrum, why should someone who doesn’t like cycling take SPRINT, instead of forcing themselves to go to a regular cycle class for the benefits of cycling?

DT: For those who don’t take cycle classes but want to get fit faster, or just doesn’t have a whole hour to spend in the gym, then SPRINT is a perfect class to add to their exercise routine. SPRINT uses the indoor bike to train as a piece of equipment. So SPRINT isn’t presented and delivered as another 30-minute cycle class.

Try a Les Mills SPRINT class at 24 Hour Fitness.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Les Mills