What is this magic HIIT workout everyone speaks of? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. The meaning is as simple as its name. You are going to perform high intensity workouts for specific intervals of time. These high intensity intervals are followed by low intensity or rest intervals to give you time to recover. Why would you need to recover? Well the goal is to go as hard or as fast as you can so a period of rest or lower intensity is welcome right? Let’s jump into the reasons to dabble in this training style.
1. Efficiency – In this day and age everyone is super busy. That ideal 60-minute workout in the gym is not always feasible. Performing an effective HIIT workout can take at most 20 minutes. 20 minutes seems a lot more palatable for our fast-paced society and can be just as effective if not more effective than the longer more time consuming workouts.
2. Burn more calories – In order to burn fat, we need to increase our oxygen intake. When you perform a more demanding workout, your body needs more oxygen to compensate for the extra effort. Long after the workout is finished your body is still in need of oxygen and we call this EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). The more work you do the longer your body is in EPOC and the more calories you burn.
3. A healthier heart – Who doesn’t want to have better cardiovascular health? Pushing your body to its limits will force your body and your heart to get stronger to better “defend” itself against this stress you are putting on it. When your workout regimen only consists of steady state cardio and resistant training you are not pushing your body into an anaerobic state which doesn’t always encourage an increase in stamina.
4. Increase your metabolism – Your body can experience a boost in metabolism lasting up to 48 hours post workout. This is made possible by HIIT’s ability to build muscle and we know that muscle burns more calories. On top of that anaerobic exercise increases your energy expenditure (energy use) which requires fuel to accomplish (calories!!! J)
5. Lose fat, not muscle – Steady state cardio has a bad rep for burning muscle (thing of the physique of long-distance runners). However, this is not the case with HIIT, which requires short bursts of fast movement (think the physique of a sprinter). Studies have shown that the body produces higher levels of HGH which encourages the body to preserve its muscle mass while getting rid of excess fat.
6. You don’t need a gym – HIIT workouts can consist of very simple body weight exercises (check out our post on body weight exercises for examples). Pick 3-5 exercises and perform that at max ability for 30 seconds and then rest 30 seconds and keep doing this until you hit 20 minutes. You can easily complete this in your home.
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