Have you heard about HIIT? High-Intensity Interval Training is a workout style that has created a buzz in the fitness world for some time now and takes an alternative approach to build endurance and burning fat.
What is HIIT?
As the name suggests, HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by a period of less intense exercise, known as recovery, then repeating this cycle several times for between ten and twenty minutes in total.
HIIT can be done either indoors or outdoors, with the kit that is available to you. In fact, virtually any aerobic exercise can be used for HIIT training, from running or cycling to using a treadmill, jump-rope, or elliptical trainer.
Why Is HIIT Different?
The main difference between HIIT and other forms of training that build endurance is that the same results can be achieved in less time. Without getting too scientific, our bodies use two forms of energy during bouts of physical activity.
Anaerobic, meaning without oxygen, is the type of energy used during the activity of up to one minute. After, aerobic energy is produced through the burning of carbohydrates and fats. In endurance training, which involves extended periods of exercise, only the aerobic energy system is used. When performed correctly, HIIT uses both forms of energy.
Anaerobic energy is used during the short “push yourself to the limit” section, while aerobic energy is used during the recovery. HIIT, then, offers a more rounded solution to building up these energy systems and your endurance.
A typical HIIT session begins with a warm-up of 5 – 10 minutes in duration, which is essential to warm up the muscles and reduce the possibility of injury. Taking running as an example, you would start with a fast sprint – of anything from 10 seconds to 1 minute, depending on your current fitness level.
This would be followed by spending twice the amount of time you sprinted for, jogging more slowly – so if you sprinted for 10 seconds, you have 20 – 30 seconds of recovery before sprinting again. It is important to note that you must keep moving during the recovery, as this helps to prepare your body to return to intense movement.
A HIIT session is always finished off with a cool-down, and it is suggested that you perform this type of workout a maximum of twice weekly, with one rest day between sessions.
Why Choose HIIT?
- HIIT has been the subject of numerous studies, and the physical benefits of this style of training are many. Several studies have shown that this type of training has a stimulating effect on the metabolism and can help burn body fat and improve general health and physical condition.
- HIIT workouts are shorter than your typical gym session, so they can easily fit around your lifestyle and is not time-consuming.
- Anyone who is in general good health can benefit from including HIIT in their fitness routine. However, it is wise to consult with your health care provider to discuss your plans.