What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which is a pretty simple concept in training where you alternate between a high and low/medium intensity exercise intervals to complete a set. The intervals are usually short, but this is what makes it a great cardio alternative to running because of the short bursts of energy that you exude and the minimal rest/recovery that you have.

I usually do HIIT after my workouts if I’m lazy to run home from the gym or the weather isn’t really great to run. It really gives a great burn in the lungs and muscles. I do the workout that affects the muscles that I was working on the day. There are many benefits to it and some risks. The best part of it is that you can do it for as long as 10 minutes and still manage to have a great cardio, fat burning session.

How to do High-Intensity Interval Training

I have posted a couple of HIIT workouts on the blog to show that I am actually into it. There are different ways to doing them but every workout carries the same principle of having high intensity and low/medium intensity exercise/rest intervals.

How you do it dependent on your fitness levels in that you can have training ratios which the common ones would be 1:1 or 2:1 of intense training to recovery periods. How long you train is also dependent on this, but training sessions can range from 10 – 30 minutes for effectiveness, otherwise until failure.

You can have no equipment workouts and some with equipment or in the gym, check out the ones that I have posted in the past and I will be adding more soon:

Health Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training

  1. HIIT like all cardio exercise improves your cardiovascular fitness and VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen you consume as the intensity of an exercise increases), which means you are ultimately fitter with more HIIT.
  2. Burns a lot of calories in a short period of time and studies have been done to show that HIIT burns more calories in a shorter time than other steady-state cardio.
  3. It increases your metabolic rate long after completing the workout which will result in more calories being burned.
  4. The increased burning of calories, if you maintain a calorie deficit, can ultimately help you lose fat.
  5. It doesn’t require a lot of time to be beneficial, therefore can be done when you’re running short on time. At least 15 minutes of exercise excluding warm up/cool down can reap the benefits above and more.

How Often to Do High-Intensity Interval Training

The recovery period of your muscle is at least 24 hours depending on how intense the workout is, therefore you should recover for at least 24 hours between consecutive HIIT workouts. I include HIIT workouts I add to my current workout routine by adding it at the end of my workouts to maximise my calories being burned and fat loss after building muscle.

You can stick to the same workout for about 4 weeks and you will still reap the rewards, but try and change things up after that to keep challenging your body and not become bored with your workouts. Otherwise, you shouldn’t do it for more than 3x per week to ensure enough recovery before the next session to reap the most benefits.

  • Beginners: 1x per week
  • Intermediate: 2-3x per week
  • Expert: 4x per week

When to Do High-Intensity Interval Training

This is dependent on if you’re planning to do HIIT alone or in conjunction with weight training, if you plan on doing it alone, then any time during the day is perfect but ensure that you have at least 30 minutes after you eat something light, before you train.

Otherwise, if it is the cardio session of your workout day, it is best to do it post workout or in your afternoon session, so that you can complete your weight training session at full strength and boost your fat loss opportunity, since you’ve done the muscle building in the weight training already.

Conclusion

High-Intensity Interval Training is something that was established in the 1970s and since then, many type of HIIT variations have been introduced, such as Tabata and AMRAP to name a few and have taken time to participate in each and have felt the burn in each. If you keep challenging your body, it will be very grateful to you for it, so try it out at some point and let us know how it goes.

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