Are you wondering what is the hype over HIIT?
HIIT or high intensity interval training has been a popular form of exercise that alternates periods of exercising at high intensity with periods of moderate rest in between. This training is in contrast to the steady-state exercise where the intensity is lower but the duration is longer.
Let’s look at some of the great reasons to use high intensity interval training.
#1 HIIT combines two of the most effective fat-burning methods
- High Intensity Training – It pushes the body to its maximum level, achieving muscle fatigue and maximum oxygen use in a short period. As the muscles work harder, the body will require more oxygen leading to a maximised afterburn effect. This means that the body continues to consume oxygen and burn calories up to 48 hours after working out.
- Interval Training –Alternating periods of intense workout with periods of moderate-to-low intensity exercise boosts the body’s metabolism significantly, longer than a steady workout of longer duration. A 20-minute HIIT workout burns more calories than a 20-minute steady state workout.
#2 Builds Lean Muscle Tissues
Studies show that HIIT produces more testosterone, which is critical for boosting muscle size and strength, than steady-state workout. Thus, doing HIIT with greater intensity can aid in muscle growth and strength.
#3 Effective for Losing Fat, Not Muscles
HIIT has been shown to stimulate the production of human growth hormone (HGH). This is essential for a person’s optimal health and strength.
HGH also helps in boosting fat loss and increasing muscle growth. If you have been on a diet, you know that as you cut calories, you will also lose muscle mass. However, 24 hours after a HIIT workout, the body produces 450% more HGH, allowing your body to build and preserve lean muscle mass while still getting rid of excess fat.
#4 Exercise Intensity Can Be Measured Easily
You can use a scale of perceived exertion to measure your exercise intensity, with 1 as the lowest intensity and 10 as the highest intensity you can tolerate.
During the high intensity interval, HIIT should be performed at the scale of 8 or higher for periods lasting 30 seconds or less, depending on the exercise involved and your level of fitness.
Recovery interval should be slightly longer than the high intensity interval or until breathing is quick but under control.
#5 Improves Stamina
Many people are not used to pushing their bodies to the anaerobic zone, where you can hardly breathe and you feel like your heart will jump out of your chest.
HIIT utilizes both your anaerobic processes and your aerobic metabolic system. By improving these systems, you will greatly increase your ability to tolerate high intensity exercise, allowing you to improve your stamina.
#6 Quick And Convenient
The days of not having enough time for exercise are long gone. With HIIT, the total time required to achieve your ideal fitness level is lower than the time needed in steady-state method.
Whether you are at home, in the gym, or at the park, HIIT workouts can be performed almost anywhere. One HIIT session can be 30 minutes or less. Now, everyone can spare that time.
#7 No Need For Any Equipment
Since the focus of HIIT is to get your heart rate up and keep it there, you only need to use your body weight.
Running, biking, swimming, rowing or jumping rope can work well with HIIT. There is no need for dumbbells or any other gym equipment for muscle building and fat loss.
#8 Reduces Boredom
Boredom is one of the reasons why people stop exercising but HIIT workouts do not offer you the luxury of being bored.
The workouts are too short to let your mind wander. Either you are too busy pushing it very hard or you are busy trying to catch your breath before the next interval.
INTERVAL TRAINING METHODS
Interval training differs in length for intervals and the level of intensity during workout. This can be performed in many ways but we will look at running or jogging for simplicity. Change it up for variety to keep it interesting.
Here are some ways of performing HIIT depending on your level of fitness.
Interval Training for Beginners
If you are new to exercising, it is best to start slow. Do not push yourself too hard. Allow your body to recover and avoid injuries.
- Warm up for 3 minutes
- Jog for 1 minute
- After one minute, walk for 1 minute
- Repeat this as many times as possible
As you progress, you can make it a little harder by using a 30/30 routine where you walk for 30 seconds and jog for 30 seconds. Perform this routine 2-4 times a week until you are able to progress to intermediate level.
If you are healthy and fit, or have been exercising for 6 months or more, you can try the intermediate interval training.
This consists of a jog-run program.
- Warm up for 3 minutes
- Run for 1 minute. You don’t have to sprint. Achieve a good run to get the most out of the routine.
- Jog for 1 minute
- Repeat this routine for as many times as you can
You can add intensity by doing a 30/30 routine where you jog for 30 seconds and run for 30 seconds. Perform this routine 3 times a week for 10 – 20 minutes.
This training has to be intense and you should be extremely tired to achieve your desired outcome.
- Warm up for 5 minutes
- Perform an all out sprint for 30 seconds
- Jog for 1 minute
- Repeat for as many times as possible
As you are getting used to this routine, increase the intensity by performing a 30 second jog and an all out sprint for another 30 seconds. Perform this training 3 times a week for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your fitness level.
Studies show that the ideal form of exercise is short bursts of high intensity exercise. Before you start doing high intensity interval training or any other workout, it is best to consult your physician first.
Since HIIT can be very intense, you should only perform this training 3 times a week to allow your body to recover. It will only take a few minutes of your time, thus, having no time to exercise is no longer an excuse now that HIIT can be tailored for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Learn more about high intensity interval training at TheHIITMan.com
About the Author:
Sheryl Alfaro is an author and blogger who often writes about a variety of topics related to health and fitness. Visit TheHIITMan.com to learn more about HIIT workout routines.