High Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) is a great way to amp up your workout, or really get the most out of it if you’re pressed for time. The idea is to alternate between short periods of intense exercise with short periods of recovery time - usually performed anywhere from 10-30 minutes using ratios like 30 seconds to 60 seconds, or 30 to 40 depending on your comfort level. HIIT can be applied to any type of exercise from cycling to running and kettlebell swings to performing sets of burpees - granted it’s something that can be repeatedly done in intense spurts (bench presses may not be the ideal workout for this). Too many people fail to get the recommended amount of daily exercise necessary to lead a healthy life, HIIT can help change that.
Before performing rounds of HIIT, be sure to stretch and warm up - intensity is the keyword here and no one wants to exhaust their body before they even have a chance to get started.
Here are some of the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training:
Helps Build Muscle
HIIT helps build up endurance because there are only short periods of rest during training, and the intense bursts keep your body working hard. Whatever muscles you are using during your workout are likely to build very quickly - especially if you’re new to regular exercise.
Burns More Calories
During your actual training the calories you burn during HIIT are relatively identical to the amount burned in the course of a regular workout. But after your session is where the change really occurs - during something called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC is when your body burns more calories to heal the wear on your body after an intense workout, which of course leads to building muscle (as mentioned above) and losing weight (mentioned below).
Helps You Lose Weight
Because of EPOC, HIIT contributes to weight loss by burning more calories allowing you to shed fat faster. Also gaining muscle always helps to cut fat as well. Studies have shown that people who perform HIIT workouts burn more fat than those who perform moderate continuous exercises like running or jogging.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease affects many people and in the US it accounts for more than 25% of deaths. Having good cardiovascular health can reduce your risk for heart disease and help you live a longer life. HIIT strengthens and supports your circulatory system. Your heart pumps blood through your circulatory system in order to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Endurance training, and HIIT in particular, is a great way to improve oxygen consumption and keep your system in check.
Bonus: HIIT also increases blood flow to the brain.
These are just some of the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training. Doing these workouts regularly can help you stay healthy, and save time if you don’t have a full hour to carve out of your day for a long training session. The intensity may be difficult at first but if you keep at it, like anything, it’ll get easier.
And like starting any new workout, please be sure to consult a medical professional before you begin to know if it’s the right exercise for you.