We all have that body goal we want to achieve, or that higher fitness level we want to reach. And a regular workout is a great way to achieve fitness gains. But one thing that can often stand in the way of progress is the time commitment that is involved in getting fit. It can put many people off starting and even more off completing their goals.
However, there is a certain type of workout – known as HIIT – that can help you make the most of the little time you have for workout sessions. Research has shown that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) can achieve maximum fitness gains in a fraction of the time it normally takes. It is unbeatable when it comes to burning fat, and can even help you build your muscle too.
So, what exactly Is HIIT?
HIIT is an acronym that stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. It is an intense form of cardiovascular exercise. The aim is to attain a high heart rate quickly and for short bursts of time, with brief recovery periods at intervals in between the exercise. In essence, what you would gain with a four-hour low or medium impact exercise routine, can be gained with 20 minutes of HIIT. There are many forms of HIIT and they all have their own separate time frames, but all forms of HIIT emphasise brevity.
Who Is HIIT For?
You might be wondering whether or not HIIT training is for you. The answer lies in what you seek to achieve with the training. At a basic level, HIIT is for anyone and everyone who wishes to keep fit. Having said that, you must discuss it with your doctor first, if you have any health concerns and you’re thinking of taking up HIIT. Once your doctor clears you though, you’re good to go.
HIIT is particularly suited to those who are too busy to engage in a normal full body workout routine. If you have very little time every day to fit exercise in, then HIIT is for you. As soon as you finish work, you can hit the gym and have a brief 15 to 30 minutes HIIT, and the benefits will be just a great as if you’d done an hour in the gym.
HIIT is also particularly suited to those who are looking to burn fat. Provided you stick to the rules of HIIT, you will notice impressive results, fast. You can also tailor it to certain areas of the body. So, if you particularly want to burn belly fat, then the routines can be targeted to results in that particular zone.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT has many health benefits. We’ve listed just a few here:
You’ll have a healthier heart
Working out to the point where you almost totally lose your breath, you feel your heart is going to burst through your chest, and you’re sweating for ten, might feel awful! But when you experience that feeling, you’re entering what is described as the anaerobic zone. And it’s really good for your heart. Anaerobic exercise is great for your getting your blood circulating, transporting oxygen around your body, reducing your blood pressure and studies have shown that this can help you build strength, get stronger bones, improve your muscle mass, and increase your aerobic capacity. Our anaerobic system only kicks in during short bursts of exercise and the benefits can be felt after just a minute or two of any form of intense exercise. Anaerobic exercise is important for good overall health, and doctors advise that anyone, whatever their age, should be participating in some form of anaerobic exercise every week.
You don’t need props or expensive equipment for HIIT
One off-putting thing about other forms of workout is that you often need to purchase expensive kit to take part in it. HIIT can be done without the need to buy any items at all, and you don’t even need access to gym equipment. Your routines can include jumping, skipping, lunges, running, climbing the stairs; basically, anything that will increase your heart rate rapidly. That means you can exercise anywhere, anytime, and without needing to spend any money.
Burns fat, fast and slows down aging
As well as giving you a healthier heart, HIIT is also brilliant for burning fat. This intense form of exercise produces a hormone called HGH (Human Growth Hormone). This hormone helps to increase the rate of fat being burned up to 24 hours after the workout has finished, and even helps you slow down the process of aging. You get two benefits for the price of one intense interval training session.
HIIT is designed for busy people. With a quick 15-minute HIIT session, you can burn 25%-30% more calories than you would during a much longer, traditional workout that combines low and medium intensity exercises.
And the best thing is that you will continue to burn calories even when you finished the HIIT session. That is because, when you raise your heart rate significantly, your metabolic rate increases and it stays high even when you have finished your exercise as your body needs time to adapt to the changes and recover.
It is important to note, however, that since these workouts are intense, you should not try to do them on consecutive days. Try to space out when you do the workouts. Maybe 3 times a week, but not back to back. That’s because, remember when we mentioned about the growth hormone? You don’t want too much of it settling and causing unintended side effects.
Conclusively, if the question you’re asking is, “is HIIT for me?” the answer is almost certainly in every case, yes. Whilst it’s best to get checked over by a doctor before starting if you have any health concerns or complaints, it is an otherwise safe and effective way to lose weight, burn calories, gain muscle mass, and keep your heart and body healthy. And as results can be achieved in just a fraction of the time of ordinary workouts, it’s great for busy lives too!