Every industry has its buzz words and acronyms, and the fitness industry has its fair share; some are quick fads which pass in the blink of an eye, and others last years. As we learn more about how the body works, there are less fads, and more workouts based on research, and with proven results. HIIT is one of those workouts which is here to stay; why? Because it works, is time efficient, and can be applied to so many different forms of exercise.
So, what is HIIT?
HIIT, is an abbreviation of High Intensity Interval Training; easy to see why it got shortened! What does that mean in reality? HIIT is a training technique where you work as hard as you can for a set, short amount of time, and then have a short period of recovery, before repeating these two elements several times to make up the workout. By training like this, you can increase your heart rate higher than if you tried to work at the same level of effort throughout a workout, and as the recovery periods are also short, your heart rate doesn’t drop back down to your normal heart rate in between the work sections. This means that your average heart rate is higher, enabling your body to burn more fat in less time.
The workout which keeps giving!
The benefits of HIIT don’t stop when your workout finishes; because of the way the body has to work during the workout, your metabolism is boosted for up to 48 hours after each session, meaning your body continues to burn fat at a greater rate even when you aren’t exercising.
As if the fat burning benefits weren’t enough on their own, HIIT training also improves cardiovascular health, can reduce blood pressure and heart rate, and may improve insulin sensitivity (this helps fight type 2 diabetes).
This all sounds great, but what exercise should you be doing to get these amazing benefits?
The good news is that you may already be doing a HIIT workout without knowing it. Many classes are based on this style of training; including Boogie Bounce, Zumba and Yoga Shred. But you can also do HIIT in the gym on any piece of cardio equipment, such as the treadmill or the bike, you can do a bodyweight HIIT workout at home, or you can do a HIIT workout outside in the fresh air!
And finally, if you thought you would have to spend hours working out, the good news is that HIIT workouts can be as short as 4 minutes (plus warm up and cool down) when you do a Tabata style workout (named after a Japanese researcher who designed a workout based on a 20 second maximum intensity work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for 8 rounds). Generally, the working phase of any HIIT based workout will be 30 minutes or less, again plus a warm up and cool down. Not only that, but it is recommended to only do these types of workouts up to 3 times a week as the body needs time to recover between each session.
So now you know why HIIT is a more time effective and efficient way to exercise and get the results you want. What are you waiting for? Book your next class now!