In recent years, HIIT workouts have been taking the exercise world by storm. However, if you’re just starting out on your exercise journey, you might be thinking, what is HIIT and why should you be doing HIIT this year?
Any exercise is good for you. It’s a sad fact that we are more sedentary than people would have been a hundred years ago. Granted a lot has changed in the last 100 years. Technology has made our lives easier and we don’t have so much manual work to do nowadays.
Although there are a lot of positive changes with regards to different lifestyles, it is undeniable that we just aren’t getting the same exercise as part of our daily lives.
Therefore, it is crucial that we make the effort to get enough exercise in order to stay fit and healthy. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds but there is one workout regime taking the world by storm that may solve your problems: HIIT WORKOUTS!
What is a HIIT Workout?
HIIT Workouts consist of alternating between short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by a short duration of rest. For instance, 45 seconds of star jumps, followed by 15 seconds of recovery.
To create an effective workout, pick a number of exercises and repeat each cycle to last 15 to 20 minutes.
E.G: 4 EXERCISES X 5 CYCLES
Or build a workout of different exercises that can reach a duration of up to 45 minutes.
As a beginner, HIIT workouts are great for flexibility. Begin with a 15-minute workout and build up strength and stamina. Each week add an extra exercise or cycle for a longer workout whilst also increasing the intensity of each move.
Who is HIIT for?
Most people will be able to execute HIIT workouts to reap the benefits which will be discussed further in greater detail. However, there are some people who should not perform high-intensity workouts due to their health.
Anyone who suffers from the following should avoid HIIT workouts until their health improves:
- Anyone who is injured or who suffers from heart, joint or back problems
- Anyone with bladder weakness
- Pregnant women, or women in the first 6 months postpartum
- People who do not know how to perform exercises with correct form
The list above is fairly self-explanatory but it must be said that those with health problems could cause more damage to their bodies.
Those new to HIIT or those who are unfit should take things easy at first to get their body used to this kind of exercise.
Simply start off with a 15-minute workout (30 seconds on, 30 seconds recovery) and gradually add to the workout and increase intensity. This will allow the body to become accustomed to high-intensity manoeuvres without causing any injury.
What are the benefits of HIIT workouts?
You might think HIIT is too simple to be effective, but the proven benefits of HIIT workouts cannot be ignored.
Life is chaotic. We are constantly on the go between working, managing family time or leading a busy social life. Therefore it’s not always possible to free up enough time to visit the gym each week.
HIIT workouts are efficient. Taking as little as 15 minutes to complete, HIIT workouts can easily fit around a busy schedule. Got a free 15 minutes at the beginning of your day or on your lunch? Bust out a HIIT and burn some fat!
Spending 15 minutes of interval training four times a week will achieve more progress than an hour on a treadmill.
You can also boost your aerobic capacity (amount of oxygen consumed during intense exercises) in a fraction of the time with a HIIT workout when compared to endurance training.
We all have a little fat to lose. A calorie-controlled diet and a good fitness routine is the only way to lose fat. Fact.
Like any form of exercise, HIIT burns calories. Quite a few of them actually. But did you know that you continue to burn fat and calories for up to 24 hours AFTER your HIIT workout? This is because the metabolism doesn’t return to normal after an intense workout.
Intense exercises cause the body to use more oxygen than normal thus creating oxygen debt. To return the body to its resting metabolic rate, oxygen needs to be replaced.
Any exercise that requires the body to consume more oxygen will use more energy – thus burning more calories.
NO Equipment or Gym Membership Needed
A HIIT workout is cardio exercises executed with maximum effort. It’s not necessary to use any equipment or possess a gym membership to work up a sweat.
With exercises like burpees, mountain climbers and star jumps an effective workout that elevates the heart rate can be created at home without spending a penny.
Although, if you do have any equipment at your disposal you can incorporate a treadmill, elliptical machine or an exercise bike. The same principles of 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest would apply.
Feel great after a HIIT Workout
It’s common to feel pretty amazing after completing HIIT workouts and this is attributed to the release of endorphins.
A study released in 2017 shows that higher intensity exercises encourage the brain to release more endorphins than slower exercises. The ‘high’ after a workout makes us feel great which boosts motivation to workout more frequently.
It’s clear to see there are many benefits of HIIT routines from better fitness, fat loss and improved mood.
However, the key is to find an exercise that you enjoy – then you’ll want to do more of it.
What is your favourite type of exercise? Let us know in the comments!