Ok, so we’ve all heard about high-intensity interval training (HIIT) but do we actually know why this type of exercise sends our bodies into fat-burning overdrive? According to trainers and experts, if you do HIIT right, you can burn up to 500 calories in a 30-minute session. So, a lack of time is no excuse.
The central concept of HIIT is to train in intervals with alternating intensities and speeds. You give all-out, one hundred percent effort on the high-intensity bursts, followed by short recovery periods. The key to HIIT is never allowing your body to adjust to one intensity level – so make sure you switch things up. One of the great things about HIIT is that it works for a lot of different exercises, including sprinting, burpees or box-jumps. You can even use an elliptical, stair-mill or punching bag as long as you really mix up the high-intensity spurts with a few low-intensity intervals and not the other way around!
HIIT is super-efficient, and research shows you can achieve more in just 15 minutes of interval training three times a week than jogging on the treadmill for an hour three times a week! A 2011 study from the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting found that 2 weeks of HIIT improves aerobic capacity the same amount as 6-8 weeks of endurance training. So, if you have a busy schedule, no need to go for a grueling long-haul gym session, just prepare to burn for 15 minutes! We know what we’d prefer!
You won’t just burn more calories during HIIT workout; you’ll also burn more fat, thanks to the intense exertion which kicks your body's repair cycle into overdrive. The fat-burning phenomenon will also carry on 24 hours after a HIIT workout (yeah, you heard us right)!
During regular workouts, most people don't push into the anaerobic zone (that hellish place where you’re heart is about to explode and you can't breathe). But in this case, HIIT training pushes your heart to its limits, making it stronger and healthier.
Don’t have a gym membership? No problem! Don’t have a jump rope? Don’t sweat it. What’s great about HIIT is that you don't need any equipment! If you have a treadmill, bike or rowing machine then great! But, if you don’t, then it’s all about high knees, fast feet, jumping lunges and dreaded burpees to blood pumping. Since it's such a simple concept (go at max for a short period then follow with a recovery interval) you can adapt it to whatever space constraints you have. So, you can literally do it anywhere – a hotel room, field, and even a tent!
A study by Jeffrey W. King of East Tennessee State University revealed HIIT increases the resting metabolic rate for 24 hours following a workout. So, the fat-burning party isn't over once you hit the shower - it keeps going and going! HIIT also stimulates HGH (human growth hormone) production, which is not only responsible for caloric burn, but can also slow down the aging process, helping you stay young inside and out!
HIIT forces you to work harder than ever before, and harder than you ever thought possible. So, prepare to bleed, sweat and cry!
Top Tip: check out Joe Wicks' aka The Body Coach 15 min HIIT workouts.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos