Why You Should Try HIIT
HIIT workouts have been the biggest craze in fitness for the past few years now. There’s a reason for that; the huge list of benefits and the small (if any) number of cons means that this style of exercise is every fitness enthusiasts best friend. But you don’t have to be built like Arnie to gain the benefits of HIIT. Here’s why you should be trying HIIT…
How It’s Done
Before we start I’ll give you a quick insight into HIIT for those who are unfamiliar with the concept. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. In a nutshell, this means that you exercise in intervals of time (usually 20 or 30 seconds) per minute and then rest for the remaining minute, allowing your body to recover for a short period of time before working out again. This action, repeated 15-20 times results in a HIIT workout that reaps huge rewards.
Build Lean Muscle and Burn Fat Effectively
People workout for various reasons. Some people want to lose weight while others want to build muscle and look bigger. But what about those who want to do both? Most exercises conflict between burning fat and building muscle. However due to the power of HIIT workouts, you can actually achieve both! No this isn’t witchcraft, but just pure science. The nature of the high intensity involved in this workout means that the heart rate is hugely elevated so the body requires more oxygen. This increases fat burning but at the same time doesn’t reduce muscle mass that long periods of cardio can result in. Incorporating strength training with heavy weights into this training will still burn fat but also build muscle at the same time.
The most common issue amongst people who want to get fit is that they can’t find the time. Things such as a busy working life, family commitments, hobbies and just the everyday hustle and bustle of life in 2017 means that it’s hard to find time to get a good workout into your normal day routine. This is where HIIT comes into its own. A good HIIT session lasts from anywhere between 15-20 minutes which is a very small proportion of your day. This type of exercise can be done by waking up 20 minutes earlier, taking 20 minutes out of your lunch or even just before you go to bed. Make you sure you shower afterwards though as the sweat storm it provides isn’t pretty!
The sheer versatility of HIIT workouts means that you’re not restricted to gyms. By this I mean that you can do a HIIT workout using any equipment to hand whether it be dumbbells, kettlebells, skipping ropes, treadmills, exercise bikes or even nothing at all. You can perform a great HIIT session by just performing a mixture of push ups, burpees, mountain climbers, planking and much more. This type of exercise can be done anywhere, so you don’t have to wait until you hit the gym to workout. So, if it’s sunny, do it in your garden. If you’re on holiday, do it in your hotel room. You have absolutely no restrictions or excuses.
Brighten Up Your Day
It sounds like the exact opposite of what it should do but exercise does in fact give you energy. If you’re feeling sluggish or lethargic then working out will give you a boost of energy that, that extra cup of coffee won’t provide. This also holds true to HIIT exercises. Performing a simple 15 minute HIIT will revitalise you and give you so much energy throughout the day, especially if you work out thing first in the morning. Another bonus to working out in the morning means that if you exercise in a fasted state, then it will improve fat burning as your body will tap into its fat resources as a means of energy. The body’s need for energy also provides the needs for carbs and healthy fats. Because of this, you can eat carbs and fats on training days as your body needs them for energy so you can eat good wholesome foods, without the guilt!
Suitable for Everyone
It doesn’t matter if you’re an Olympic runner or a professional couch sitter; HIIT exercises can benefit anyone. These exercises push anyone to their limits which is why they’re so beneficial. Beginner’s HIIT exercises can involve a number of gentle exercises including squats, jogging on the spot, high knees, jumping jacks or cross jabs. These low impact moves mean that almost anybody can get a good workout and reap the rewards of this type of routine. More advanced users will incorporate weights into their workout and decrease the rest time in between moves (for example: 40 seconds of kettlebell swings with 20 seconds rest). Use this as a rule of thumb for how much you should be doing:
- Beginners – 20 seconds work/40 seconds rest
- Intermediate – 30 seconds work/30 seconds rest
- Advanced – 40 seconds work/20 seconds rest
Pick 5 different exercise and count this as 1 set. Perform each set 3 times and you’ve got yourself a 15-minute HIIT session.
More Efficient Calorie Burning
Incorporating HIIT exercises into your routine is great for being more efficient with your calorie burning. Studies have suggested that performing a 20 minute HIIT will burn more calories than going on a hour long run. This is due to the body’s reaction to the stress it endures when performing cardio for a long period of time. The body will react and adjust to the strains of the elevated heart rate so after a 20 minute period you won’t be burning as many calories as you would with short bursts of intense exercise. What’s more, is that your body will still be burning calories for a period of time after your workout with HIIT training. Your body’s need for oxygen will be much greater than if you perform a steady session of cardio so this in turn promotes a greater rate of calorie burning even after you’ve finished exercising. This style of training also speeds up your metabolism. HIIT lowers insulin resistance which leads to decreased fasting blood glucose levels. So, what this basically means is that your body will be much more efficient in digesting food and burning calories even when you’re resting.
HIIT exercises aren’t the be all and end all of fitness. Depending on what you want to achieve it would be a bad idea to dismiss all other aspects of training. However, for a good, solid overall workout that builds muscle and burns fat, then you can’t go wrong by trying High Intensity Training Intervals.