Have you heard a lot of talk about “HIIT” workouts lately? You might be thinking, “What the heck is a HIIT workout?” I probably would have thought it was a new kickboxing class!? HIIT stands for “high intensity interval training,” and it’s a huge fitness breakthrough and has become what is now the evolution of exercise. What’s so great about HIIT workouts? Well I’m glad you asked…
HIIT significantly increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
It is not only one of the most effective ways to train, but also the SHORTEST. Yes, you read that right! HIIT workouts burn more calories in less time.
For busy people (umm, everyone?), it saves a lot of time. Cardiovascular endurance efficiency increases faster and you burn more calories in 20 minutes doing HIIT than you do running on a treadmill at a steady state for an hour.
You continue to burn calories long AFTER you’ve finished working out! Research has shown that one session of HIIT can burn calories for 1.5 - 24 hours after exercise…..Hello metabolism boost!
It reduces body fat quickly, particularly in the abdominal region…. 6-pack anyone?
You don’t need equipment and you can literally do it anywhere!
Because of the anaerobic intervals, you preserve all that muscle you worked so hard to build and the body creates more HGH, which slows down the aging process.
After about 2 months of HIIT training, studies show that people can run, bike, swim, etc. faster and maintain that steady state longer than those that didn’t do HIIT workouts.
So how do you construct a HIIT workout?
There are two speeds in a HIIT workout- intense and rest (recovery) – which alternate for a certain period of time. For example, you could do a HIIT interval for one minute, do a recovery exercise interval for two minutes, and then repeat. Ultimately, you want to aim for about 8-10 alternative intense/recovery intervals. During the intense intervals, push yourself as hard as you can for that one minute….. I’m talking huffing and puffing, can’t get a word out, heart pounding out of your chest hard. It’s just for one minute! If you don’t push yourself into that uncomfortable anaerobic zone, you’re not getting the full benefits of HIIT training. A note about recovery: When I say recovery, I don’t mean to go over and sit on a chair or lay on the floor. It is an ACTIVE recovery. Keep moving and don’t stop, ever, even when you really want to.
Let’s use running as an example. A HIIT workout alternating running speed/intensity might look something like this:
Total Workout Time: 25 minutes… Not bad, huh?? Plus, it's more effective than if you were running at a steady state for an hour!
HIIT is not just about running though. It can work for SO many types of exercise, anytime, anywhere. It just has to be a cardio respiratory exercise that can push your heart rate up into that anaerobic “speed” zone. Have some fun with it! You'll be seeing plenty of ideas on here from me, so no worries about that!
Yours in health and resiliency,
* I must stress the importance of doing exercise at the level that you are currently working. If you have conditions such as heart disease or congestive heart failure, research has shown improvement in both conditions using HIIT workouts. However, make sure you are under the supervision of a health care professional before making it part of your weekly workout routine.