The lowdown on – High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Posted: 18th September 2013 by Get Fit Stay Fit in Uncategorized

How this new trend is changing the face of exercising?

MEDIA RELEASE:  Monday 10 June 2013

FROM: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

It’s easy to get confused about whether new trends in fitness are worth investigating. After all it seems every week there is a new piece of equipment on sale in the stores promising to get amazing results, or a new reality TV programme showing some celebrity with a range of new tricks to whip people into shape. But not all fitness trends are fads; in fact there is some amazing research being undertaken in exercise and fitness that we don’t see on infomercials, but will make a difference to the way you train.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of those trends. But let’s put that word to the side. A trend is something that comes quickly into fashion and gets replaced by something new just as fast. HIIT is here to stay, and is changing the way we exercise and the results we get.

For a start, what is HIIT? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is a type of training that combines hard work periods of exercise, with less intense recovery periods in an interval format. Our bodies are not designed to work at high intensity for extended periods so combining the work and active recovery means we can work at a much harder level as we have time to rest.

One of the key benefits to this type of training is that it is fast; a great session that will have some great benefits can be completed in less than 30 minutes. This makes it much more achievable than a group exercise class, or an hour on the cross trainer for those with time constraints.

What does it involve? There are many styles of HIIT training; some very well known ones include ‘cross fit’ and ‘tabata’, but HIIT is not limited to these formats. Cross fit can involve equipment you would see in the average gym, but can also use no equipment whatsoever. This is another advantage of HIIT training – it’s something you can do almost anywhere.

Health benefits

There is research to back up the effectiveness of high intensity training vs the more traditional way we have got our heart rate up in the past. The latest research suggests that high intensity workouts can be just as beneficial as longer, steadier state workouts. In a study on children, Duncan Buchan from the University of West Scotland found that the benefits gained from shorter bursts of exercise were just as effective at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, BUT these benefits occurred with a much shorter workout time.

Risks and how to mitigate

As with all exercise and sports there is some risk involved, and HIIT is no different. When embarking on an HIIT style programme, you want to make sure you are doing exercises and working at an intensity that is right for you. The best way to ensure this is to work with someone who can support you along the way, someone who can be present and supporting you as you workout, rather than following a video on the internet or having a friend share what they do.

Choosing just who is qualified enough to assist you can be a difficult task; some trainers may look great in their gym gear, but this does not mean that they necessarily know their stuff. The safest way to ensure you get the best advantage of this new type of training is to only work with a REPs Registered Exercise Professional. Registration with REPs is the recognised standard in New Zealand, and the only certain way to ensure you are getting both a safe and effective HIIT workout.

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MEDIA RELEASE:  Monday 27 May 2013

FROM: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

The obesity and inactivity rates in NZ and worldwide are alarming. What can be done about these trends to save our kids from a life of battling lifestyle diseases and obesity? Local statistics show the prevalence of obesity in children and young people in NZ and worldwide is increasing, with the 2006/07 New Zealand Health Survey finding that:

  • One in twelve children (aged 2 to 14 years) were obese (8.3%)
  • One in five children were overweight (20.9%).

Overseas statistics are no better with a tripling of the number of children who are overweight or obese in the last 30 years in the US.

The World Health Organisation has long identified the major links between childhood obesity and chronic diseases in adulthood. Their research suggests overweight children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, increasing the risk of developing diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure. This makes getting our childhood obesity problem under control more important as it is not something that we can expect kids to naturally ‘grow out of’.

“Obesity is a serious problem and it’s getting worse,” says Dr Louise Signal who is director and lead researcher of several studies from the Health Promotion and Policy Research Unit (University of Otago, Wellington). “Our research shows that it’s a significant health issue that will have huge costs for the public health system in the future from diseases such as diabetes. Physical inactivity often plays a key role in the development of obesity, and obesity often impacts negatively on an individual’s level of physical activity. It can be a difficult cycle to break”.

Perhaps it’s no surprise that in NZ our kids are not as active as they once were with the same NZ survey finding that only 55.2 percent of young people aged 15 to 24 met guidelines for physical activity (that is they had completed at least 30 minutes of exercise on five or more days of the past week). If that hasn’t got you worried, then a recent report issued by the Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) will. They are examining the connection between disparities in fitness and academic performances and outcomes, in an effort to understand the impact that one may have on the other, and to close the achievement gap. This research is uncovering that obesity and inactivity does not just have the immediate health impacts mentioned above.

All this research points clearly to a problem that needs to be solved at a national and international level, but what can we do right now as parents and caregivers of the next generation? The Ministry of Health recommends that Children and young people should:

  • Throughout each day, do 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity
  • Be active in as many ways as possible, for example, through play, cultural activities, dance, sport, recreation, jobs and going from place to place
  • Be active with friends and whanau, at home, school and in their communities
  • Spend less than two hours a day (out of school hours) in front of the television, computers, and game consoles.

Fitness NZ in conjunction with REPs have developed Guidelines for Children in Exercise Facilities to ensure children have fun in a safe environment when they use gyms or recreation centres. As REPs Registered Exercise Facilities are required to follow these guidelines, it is important to choose a REPs Registered Exercise Facility to ensure you receive the safest exercise advice for both you and your child.

The guidelines recommended that all facilities that provide exercise programmes to children have systems and processes in place to ensure they are safe and supervised at all times. Supervision ratios vary depending on the age and activities of the children. Everybody involved in the delivery of exercise programmes to children should be qualified and registered with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs). Registration requires staff to be qualified and trained to understand children’s exercise needs, and includes a range of other requirements, such as a police criminal record check.

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Is Your Diet Making you Fat?

Posted: 6th May 2013 by Get Fit Stay Fit in Uncategorized

MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 29 April 2013

Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Fresh vegetables are important components of a healthy diet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FROM: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

It’s no secret that as a nation we are the fattest, and most unfit we have ever been. This is despite all the advances in health and science that should be helping us live a longer and healthier life. In fact the NZ Ministry of Health research puts one in four adults (aged 15 years and over) in the obese weight category (27.8%).

It’s is also no secret that we are spending a lot of money on diets and diet products in an effort to lose weight and be more healthy. So why is it that in a country that spends a significant amount on weight-loss plans, food and products (In New
Zealand low-fat food sales account for $100 million a year alone), we are still getting fatter? Could it be that the many diet plans and products are in fact not helping us lose weight at all in the long run?

It’s a case of, as the old saying goes – ‘if something appears too good to be true, then it probably isn’t true’. So before you get out your credit card and start the latest diet fad, here are some clues that your diet programme, or product may not be all it’s promising to be:

It contains an ingredient that promises to assist in melting away fat
No one chemical, food or supplement is going to make you healthier. It’s a combination of a balanced diet and
regular exercise that will help you maintain a healthy weight.

It claims to take no effort
Any change of lifestyle is going to be challenging, and changing your eating and moving more is no exception.
Those who succeed know it takes effort, but work through the challenges. The added advantage of exercising
is that it has other benefits such as improving your mood, and increasing your energy levels, which will make
the effort worthwhile.

You don’t need to exercise
While the latest diet product may claim that you can lose weight effectively without exercise, the World Health
Organisation reports that physical activity is fundamental to energy balance and weight control, and the
Ministry of Health recommends lifestyle approaches rather than single factor approaches to weight loss. In the
words of Dr Robert Butler of the Longevity Centre, USA: “If exercise could be put in a pill, it would be the most
widely prescribed medicine in the world”.

There is no magic diet plan, pill, or product required for improved health and weight-loss. The key is a
combination of improving your diet, in conjunction with regular exercise. Rachel Marks, a REPs Registered
Trainer from All Active says “any plan that says that it will help you lose weight in 6-12 weeks, will end in
failure. The focus for any weight loss/exercise plan should be on what you can achieve and maintain for the
rest of your life”.

So instead of looking for a quick fix, the most effective and safest way forward in New Zealand is to talk to a
Registered Exercise Professional about making exercise a part of your weight-loss plan… no pill required!
They have all of the knowledge and skill required to help you make exercise part of your life.


  • Ministry of Health Wellington NZ 2010. Implementing the Clinical Guidelines for Weight Management in New Zealand 2010/11: Implementation Plan.
  • World Health Organisation -Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health
  • US Surgeon General’s report on activity and health
  • A focus on Nutrition: Key findings of the 2008/09 NZ Adult Nutrition Survey
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Top Exercise and Fitness Trends to Watch in 2013

Posted: 18th April 2013 by Get Fit Stay Fit in Uncategorized

MEDIA RELEASE: Monday 15 April 2013

FROM: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)

Tired of the same old workout? Feel like you are spending hours on the treadmill each week and getting nowhere?
Want to spice up your exercise routine but need to know you are investing your time and money wisely? Keen on using the latest trends and information to get yourself in shape?

Then look no further – here are the top exercise and fitness trends to take you through 2013 and beyond.
It’s important to know the difference between a trend and a fad when investigating any new fitness product that
you come across; a trend is ‘a general development or change in a situation or in the way that people are
behaving’ whereas a fad is ‘a fashion that is taken up with great enthusiasm for a short period of time’.
So while that infomercial fat blaster may be the most popular thing this week, it’s not going to give the results
promised and will be replaced next week with a new miracle machine.

If you come across something new in exercise and fitness and aren’t sure whether it’s worth investing in, look
at what REPs Registered Exercise Facilities and trainers in your area are doing. With the right training and
experience behind them, they will be using only the best and reputable products, and will be able to give you
the right advice on how to use them. So without further delay here are the trends to keep an eye on this year:

Small Group Training
Boot camp style classes were the buzz over summer, with classes springing up in parks and beaches all over the country offering a no frills approach to training. While the winter weather will see many classes move indoors, the small group style of training will remain popular. In a nutshell small group training is about taking all the good parts of working one on one with a personal trainer, and combining it with the fun of a group.

With a REPs Registered Personal Trainer in charge, it’s the best of both worlds; all the advantages of the professional support and motivation you get one on one in the gym, with all the fun of a group session.

Bodyweight Training
Your body is one of the best pieces of equipment in the world, and you own it already. Bodyweight training has
always featured in workouts but has been gaining in popularity, as it’s the gym you carry with you everywhere.
But we are not just talking pushups here; the range of functional exercises that can be done using just bodyweight is astounding. It’s all about technique! The secret to an effective total body workout is making sure you do the right exercises with the right form. REPs Registered Personal Trainer Theo Bostrovas from Les Mills Wellington uses bodyweight training with his clients . As Theo says, “it’s a great tool as it takes your training back to some basic movements which do not rely on a machine”.

Martial Arts Style Training
REPs Registered Personal Trainer Paula Braakhuis from Les Mills is a fan of martial arts style training saying,
“You will learn coordination and determination, and you will become stronger (physically as well as  mentally/emotionally) and more flexible!” The great news is that martial arts style training is not just limited to your local boxing club, with many REPs Registered Trainers and Facilities offering a range of martial arts inspired options including one on one sessions, and pumping group fitness classes.

Eating for Life
Forget all those calorie controlled diets and promises of rapid weight loss with no effort. The trend now is eating for life. Eating a well balanced diet full of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and plenty of fresh fruit and veggies is going to improve your health, trim your waistline, and put a smile on your face. If a diet plan looks too good to be true it probably is – sustainable results require real food and a long-term commitment to healthy eating and regular exercise.

Educated, Certified and Experienced Fitness Professionals
That’s right. In New Zealand we are lucky to have a world class exercise professionals registration system, so
choosing the right trainer and exercise facility is easy. Why use a REPs registered trainer and facility? If you
are going to invest time and money into your health, exercise and fitness, you want to ensure you are getting
safe and effective advice. Just as you wouldn’t let a Doctor advise you on medical matters with no measurable
standard of education or knowledge, it is important not to leave your physical health and fitness in the hands of
someone who could have, as far as you know, gained their knowledge through an internet search.

The Real Cost of Not Exercising

Posted: 4th April 2013 by Get Fit Stay Fit in Uncategorized

Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

MEDIA RELEASE: Tuesday 2 April 2013

FROM: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals

Those of us without bottomless budgets have noticed the cost of living is increasing. When the budget comes under scrutiny, it is often our recreation and fitness costs and memberships, that face being cut along with other ‘non essential’ items.

However the cost of your gym membership, or personal training is likely to be much cheaper than the cost of not exercising. New Zealand, along with the rest of the world is facing a dramatic increase in medical and health costs due to lifestyle factors and inactivity. The cost of inactivity alone was 1.3 billion dollars in 2010, according to a recent report commissioned by a group of our country’s local councils. Inactivity and other lifestyle factors create a serious financial burden, and we aren’t just talking the odd sick day. While the government is currently picking up the tab in many cases, when it comes to serious illness and disease, we all pay in the end through taxes and other related costs.

A Growing Problem

The increase in the waistlines of New Zealanders has lead to an increase in health related illnesses. The 2008/09
New Zealand Adult Nutrition Survey found that one in three adults were overweight (37.0%), and one in four were
obese (27.8%). With a population of 4.4 million, over 1,000,000 New Zealanders can be classified as obese.
The cost of obesity is to often linked with other serious health issues including type 2 diabetes, ischaemic heart
disease (IHD), stroke, several common cancers, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and reproductive abnormalities which
lead to loss of income, and potentially stretch the New Zealand health dollar to breaking point.

The ‘Heart of the Matter’

Behavioural risk factors (including unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) are responsible for about 80% of coronary
heart disease worldwide. It’s a simple fact that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major risk factors to heart
disease; a risk factor that is easily controlled through moderate regular exercise.

A recent research study from Liverpool’s John Moores University found that exercise not only helps prevent heart
disease, but also may actually repair heart tissue already damaged. The research reported in the European Heart
Journal showed that regular and strenuous (enough to make you sweat) exercise may lead to the development of
new heart muscle. The researchers suggest that damage from heart disease or failure, could be at least partially
repaired through 30 minutes of running or cycling a day, at enough intensity to work up a sweat.

Worth thinking about, according to the Mental Health Foundation, there is increasing evidence linking physical activity and improving mental health. At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, on most days of the week, can improve mood and decrease anxiety and stress. Physical activity is also known to have a role in preventing serious mental illness such as depression. It is those feel good chemical endorphins that hold some of the benefits for mood and mental health. They are the body’s natural painkillers, and are responsible for that positive feeling experienced after physical activity. The cost of depression is both personal and financial. People with major depression take more time off work, report more work performance limitations, make greater use of health services, and report poorer health-related quality of life.

The solution is simple! – Either we open our wallets for increased government intervention of lifestyle diseases caused by inactivity,OR we can open up the front door, and get out there and exercise.

Examples of the cost to repair the damage caused by an unhealthy lifestyle and inactivity:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft (re-channel blood flow to the heart) – $38,000 to $57,000
  • Cardiac angiogram (diagnostic test for suspected heart disease) – $3,800 to $4,800
  • Gastric bypass (a common weight loss procedure) – $17,000 to $35,000
  • Total hip replacement – $19,000 to $25,000

Sources and Links:

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Mend a ‘broken’ heart with exercise

Posted: 20th February 2013 by Get Fit Stay Fit in Uncategorized

PRESS RELEASE: February 2013

From: The New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals

Leave the roses and chocolates for Valentines Day. The real way to show someone you love them is to get
him or her exercising. Why exercise? Behavioural risk factors (including unhealthy diet and physical inactivity) are responsible for about 80% of coronary heart disease worldwide, causing premature death. What better gift to give your loved ones than a longer, healthier life.

It’s a simple fact that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the major risk factors to heart disease, and one that is easily controlled through moderate regular exercise. If you want to save you and your loved ones from being a statistic, there is no better place to start than with a regular dose of good old fashioned exercise.

And the news just gets better. A recent research study from the Liverpool John Moores University found that exercise might actually repair heart tissue already damaged by heart disease. However, despite how simple preventing it can be, the statistics on heart disease in New Zealand show the message isn’t getting through.

In New Zealand:

  • 40% of deaths annually can be attributed to cardiovascular disease
  • A person dies every 90 minutes from coronary heart disease
  • One in twenty adults have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease

If you want to improve your fitness, how much and what type of exercise you do is important, but any exercise is beneficial and a good place to start, and you don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits initially. You will see bigger benefits by getting help and advice from a REPs Registered Exercise Professional who will have the knowledge and skill to help you make the most of your workouts, and help you exercise at the right intensity. They will ensure that your exercise is safe and appropriate for your current health and fitness level.

The good news is that:

  • For each hour of regular exercise you will gain about two hours of additional life expectancy, even if you don’t start until middle age.
  • Doing just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, even in 10 minute chunks, can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as reducing your risk of stroke and high blood pressure.

And what about those who already have heart disease?

Proving that it’s never too late to get started improving your health by exercising, let’s head back to that research study. The research reported in the European Heart Journal showed that regular and strenuous (enough to make you sweat) exercise, may lead to the development of new heart muscle. The researchers suggest that damage from heart disease or failure could be at least partially repaired through 30 minutes of running or cycling a day, at enough intensity to work up a sweat.

So there’s no better way, to show someone you love, that you care than getting off the couch and heading out for some exercise.

What is the NZ Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs)?
REPs is an independent non profit organisation administrating the New Zealand exercise professionals register to ensure that the public receive safe and effective exercise advice. Using REPs Registered Exercise Professionals is the “Warrant of Fitness Check” that an exercise professional and facility meet New Zealand and international standards to deliver exercise advice and instruction.

Sources and Links:

NZ heart foundation
World Health Organisation