High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is when you alternate between intense bursts of cardio exercise and moderate or low intensity recovery periods. It is not necessary to spend as much time training because the intensity and force makes this technique more effective.
An example of a HIIT workout is sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then walking or jogging slowly for 1 minute. You then go back and forth between the intervals for 10 minutes until you complete a full HIIT cycle.
Studies have shown that engaging in this technique is as effective as doing traditional cardio for longer periods of time. It helps to jump start processes in the body that are generally only affected by extended workouts. It is even known to decrease blood sugar levels and can help people regulate their insulin levels.
Benefits of HIIT
In his article “High-Intensity Interval Training: The Ultimate Guide” Josh Bryant talks about a recent study where a group that did HIIT lost a greater percentage of body fat compared to a group that did traditional cardio.
This is because the “high intensity” segment of the training increases the levels of growth hormones, mitochondrial function, and other components to continue the fat burning in the body for hours after you finish working out.
No Need for Fancy Equipment
You don’t need a gym or any fancy equipment to go running, jump rope, or bike. All you need to do is to work out in a way that gets your heart rate pumping so that you’re really out of breath when you finish.
Typical cardio and bodyweight exercises will do the trick for you—quickly move your feet, jump, and lunge. The best part of not needing equipment or a class is that you can do this technique pretty much anywhere you go.
Lose Weight, Keep Muscle
Studies show that regular cardio leads to muscle loss along with the fat. HIIT training along with weight training can help you preserve muscle while still losing fat. That way you can lose weight and keep your muscle mass.
Jump Start Your Metabolism
Training hard means that your body will need more oxygen to clear the excess lactic acid and this causes EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is colloquially known as “afterburn effect” and it allows your body to burn calories between 24-48 hours after you finish your HIIT workout.
The more intense the workout the harder the body has to work to bring in oxygen, which in turn burns more calories.
How to Start
If you are in good shape it is recommended to start off with interval sprinting. Warm up by jogging or walking for a few minutes, then run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then spend the next 4 minutes jogging slowly or walking fast. Alternate between the intervals for 4-6 times to complete the workout.
If you are overweight, obese, or not in great shape, 30 seconds to 4min of a quick walk at an incline should raise your heart rate to the recommended levels. Continue until you need more intense training to increase your heart rate.