Understanding the Basics of HIIT
If you’ve done much reading about health and fitness, you’ve likely heard about High Intensity Interval Training, commonly referred to as HIIT. It would be easy to dismiss this type of exercise as a trending fad that will disappear in time. However, it is far more than a trend—it’s the best way to maximize your fitness results and minimize your time commitment. With the hectic schedules most people have, this is becoming more important than ever. So what is HITT training read on to find out more.
What is HIIT training?
The best way to explain HIIT is short bursts of high energy activity, followed by a period of rest or low intensity activity. This less intense period allows the body to recover briefly from exerting all of its energy during the high intensity intervals of the workout. Here is an example of a HIIT workout:
• Warm up of 5-10 minutes of light cardio such as jumping jacks, jogging, or even fast paced walking
• 45 seconds of a single arm exercise using hand weights
• 15 seconds of rest
• 45 seconds of a second type of arm exercise using hand weights
• 15 seconds of rest
• 60 seconds of cardio such as jumping jacks
• Repeat 4-6 times and follow with a cool down
One of the best things about HIIT is that it can be converted into virtually any type of fitness routine. It is commonly used by runners wanting to increase their speed and endurance. Running timed sprints as fast as possible with only a short period of rest between helps condition the runners’ body to have powerful bursts of movement and quick recovery times, increasing cardio endurance and strengthening muscle endurance as well. Biking, boot camp workouts, body weight workouts, biking outdoors or spinning classes, and even swimming workouts can be completed using a HIIT interval format. No matter what activity you choose, completing your fitness routine in max effort intervals will help you learn what your body is truly capable of and boost your confidence in your abilities. It’s much easier to tackle a difficult task for 30-60 seconds at a time than 30-60 minutes at a time!
HIIT vs Long, Steady Workouts
Workouts of any variety are an excellent way to increase the number of calories you burn, but not all workouts offer the same types of benefits. When it comes to on-going benefits, HIIT stands out among all types of workouts for one reason—the ability to burn more calories after the workout is completed than any other type of workout.
Because this type of training requires max, or near max, effort for short bursts over and over again, your metabolism kicks into high gear and continues to function at full speed for hours after the workout is completed. There’s no need to train for an extended period of time trying to reach and stay in your ‘fat burning zone.’
As little as 15 minutes of HIIT can help boost your endurance and the calories you burn at rest for several hours after you complete the workout. For most purposes such as weight loss and general fitness, workouts of high intensity intervals should only last between 15 and 60 minutes. Extending the workout to a longer time frame by increasing resting times can hinder the results. Similarly, repeating too many intense intervals without allowing your body to recover properly can reduce the benefits also because your body becomes extremely depleted.
If you’re completing short HIIT workouts of 15-30 minutes, completing them up to five times a week is typically safe and effective. If your workouts extend closer to 60 minutes in length, it’s a good idea to rest a day in between workouts. That doesn’t mean you have to take every other day off, just give the muscles you chose to work out a break. If you do a sprinting workout on Monday, follow it with a day of weights on Tuesday, focusing on your arms and giving your legs time to recover. It is the recovery day that will be producing results and changes in your muscles as they rebuild, especially if you are just starting the fitness routine.
Slow and steady workouts are great if you’re training for endurance sports such as long distance running and certainly do have their place in a well-rounded fitness regimen, but they don’t condition your body to perform at its peak ability.
If you want to get the best workout without having to plan your life around your fitness schedule, HIIT is usually the best option, whether your goal is to burn body fat and lose weight or improve your strength and endurance. Even if you’re not convinced HIIT is a good option for you, you should give it a try—after just a week or two, you’re certain to change your mind when you realize how great the results are!
To you good health Louise from Fresh Start
I hope you have enjoyed my blog on HITT training. Here at Fresh Start we love this type of exericse and weave it into each fitness boot camp day. When I teach my kettle bell class I have minute periods of HITT where we take our heart rates to the maximum. I say ‘come on guys let’s push our heart rates through the roof’. Richard my husband takes a class called The Extreme Fat Burn Class and he incorporates HITT into this class too! Our morning power walks all have hills in them to to elevate our heart rates and get us breathing hard which is a great start to the day. Our Muay Thai sessions are taken by authentic Muay Thai trainers and they push our guests to the max and every part of your body is working super hard. I also teach ‘Insanity’ which is a pre-choreographed HITT style class. Here at Fresh Start we take our programme very seriously and want our guests to get the very best results and our goals are your goals! If you want to find see what our guests are saying here is a link to our Trip Adviser page.