High-intensity interval training or HIIT for short has been around for a very long time, but it’s only been until recently that it’s gained popularity and is now seen as one of the top exercises for burning fat and losing weight.
So what is HIIT?
The basic principle of HIIT is to alternate between intense bursts of activity followed by short periods of lower intensity or rest. A simple example of this would be to run as fast as possible for 60 seconds followed by walking for 60 seconds. This would be HIIT in its most basic form, and there are lots of different exercises that can be used to greater effect.
HIIT is fast, fun and efficient
One of the main reasons why people find it so hard to exercise is because they just don’t have the time. A busy work schedule mixed with a busy family life can make it too difficult for most people to find the time or the effort to visit the gym.
How are you meant to get to the gym every morning for 6am, and where are you going to find the energy for a good one hour workout? The alternative may be to go after work, but finding the energy after a very long stressful day at work may not be the answer either.
Does this all sound familiar? Well, HIIT just may be the perfect solution for you, and you will no longer need to spend hours in the gym just to burn off a few calories!
The reason why HIIT is extremely popular is because you only need to workout for 15 minutes to get the same benefits as one hour on the treadmill. So if you’ve always struggled to find the time to workout, HIIT may be the way forward for you.
Usually the best time to exercise is in the morning so your body is given a boost of energy for the rest of the day. So with HIIT you no longer have to mess about getting your gym stuff in a bag and travelling all that way to the gym, when all you need is your very own front room.
HIIT continues to burn the fat
If you’re not already convinced, then here’s another reason to switch. HIIT continues to burn fat for up to 24 hours after your workout, even whilst you are sat at your desk!
Due to the intensity of the workout, your body will attempt to repair itself for many hours after the workout and your metabolism will sky rocket. All of this means you will continue to burn fat even if you’re sat twiddling your thumbs all day doing absolutely nothing. It doesn’t get much better than that!
HIIT will give you better stamina and a healthier heart
HIIT pushes your body into the anaerobic zone, which means your heart rate will be off the charts, and you’ll be very out of breath. It doesn’t sound like much fun and it is extremely hard work, but compare 15 minutes of HIIT to running on the treadmill for an hour, and it makes a lot more sense.
Pushing your body to its limits in such a short space of time has proven to not only dramatically improve stamina, but to also give you a healthier heart. It may seem difficult at first to get into these types of workouts, but after just a few days you will notice how much easier it gets.
No equipment needed
You need absolutely nothing during HIIT other than your gym clothes, a decent pair of trainers, and your very own front room (but leave enough space so you don’t knock over your antique vase).
For HIIT to be effective you need to increase your heart rate quickly and keep it there for a few minutes before you bring it back down to a lower intensity, or to rest altogether before you begin again.
For example, you might decide to perform burpees for 2 minutes straight at a very fast pace, and then rest for 30 seconds, before another set of burpees for 2 minutes. You could continue this exercise for 10 minutes in total, and we can promise that you’ll be sweating and your heart will be beating out of your chest. And all this can be easily done in a very small space.
Dumbbells can be used, but the idea of HIIT is to get your heart rate up quickly and keep it there for a few minutes at a time, and dumbbells may take that focus away. Ideally you want to focus on HIIT only and leave weight training as a separate workout.
Combine HIIT with weight training
The combination of weight training and HIIT is the perfect way to burn fat and retain or even build up muscle. If you’re keen on having a lean toned body, then it’s important not to miss out on the benefits of weight training. However, stamina and endurance is equally important, and this is why the combination of HIIT and weight training will get the job done in half the time.
You’ll see lots of people at the gym who make the mistake of thinking an hour a day will have huge benefits. Well, in some cases this may be true, but it really comes down to what’s achieved within that hour.
A good example of a typical workout at the gym is 20 minutes on the stepper, 20 minutes on the treadmill, followed by 10 minutes on abs and 10 minutes on weights. There is nothing wrong with this kind of workout and you’d certainly see some good results over the space of a few months. However, most people want to get in shape quickly, and if you compare this workout to 30 minutes of HIIT followed by 30 minutes of weight training, there is a huge difference.
HIIT boosts metabolism
HIIT has been proven to stimulate the production of human growth hormones by up to 400 percent for 24 hours after a workout. This increase in HGH will also increase the amount of calories you burn as well as keeping you looking and feeling younger.
To find out more about how HIIT works and to see some great workout tips, please click here.