Everyone knows that the secret to a happier, healthier you is a regular dose of exercise. Working out releases endorphins, a hormone responsible for relieving stress and triggering a positive mindset. It’s also a great way to stay in shape, prevent disease, and increase your quality of life.
But most people find it hard to squeeze in a fitness routine in their busy schedules. Tons of “fitness” fads capitalize on this by offering a lose-weight/bulk-up-quick scheme through special diets, pills, drinks, and routines that supposedly work like magic. But these so-called magic bullets are too good to be true and they never deliver the results they promise IF they deliver results at all.
If you want to find the right balance between an efficient workout and an effective one, you should consider HIIT classes or workout regimens. We firmly believe in HIIT’s ability to help you hit your fitness goals! We back the idea so much that it’s the core of ALL of our group fitness classes.
Read on to find out what makes HIIT so great.
What Is High-Intensity Interval Training?
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is an umbrella term given to a wide range of workouts that integrate both short bursts of intense exercise and low-intensity recovery periods in the same set. There are many different kinds of exercises you can do for HIIT; weight training, swimming, biking, and tons more.
For example, HIIT running would include sprinting for maybe 30 seconds to a minute of sprinting, followed by a period of light jogging for 1-2 minutes. That makes one “set” or “round”, and you do 4-6 rounds in one workout session. The average HIIT workout usually takes just 10 to 30 minutes—making it easy to slot in for even for the busiest people.
The goal of HIIT is to boost your heart rate up a lot in a short amount of time, then alternate it with rest periods to allow your body to recover. This allows you to get all of the benefits of an intense workout without spending 2 hours a day at the gym.
The Benefits Of HIIT Training
HIIT Burns A Lot Of Calories Efficiently
Although everyone has their own fitness goals, whether it’s to lose weight or gain muscle, the ultimate result of exercise is burned calories. The more calories you burn, the leaner and fitter your body will be.
Running on the treadmill for an hour at a light pace can burn anywhere from 200-350 calories. Lifting weights will burn maybe around 400-600 for a 90-minute to two-hour session. In comparison, studies have shown that HIIT allows you to burn the same amount of calories but in half or even one-third of the time.
So if your goal is to shed calories in the shortest amount of time possible, high-intensity interval training is a great alternative to a standard gym routine.
You Can Do HIIT Anywhere
Ideally, you want to stay active a few times a week. But life gets in the way, and you end up missing a few days here and there. Maybe you skipped a workout because the spin studio was just too far. Or maybe you’re away from home, in a hotel room, or somewhere else where it’s impossible to get to a gym.
You can’t make any more excuses with HIIT. Because the concept is incredibly simple—just exercise however you want at maximum intensity for a short period of time, then have a recovery period and repeat—you can change your workout to fit the space you have. And all you need is a little bit of room to move around!
There’s No Equipment Necessary
So many workouts require a ton of equipment like jump ropes, weights, yoga mats, exercise balls, resistance bands, and plyometric boxes. But even simple gym equipment can cost a lot of money that most people don’t have to spare.
While some people do use gym equipment for their HIIT leg workouts and upper body routines, you don’t need any fancy, expensive tools to reap the same benefits. In fact, you might even benefit more without equipment, since you can focus on workouts that only require one piece of equipment: your body. Jumping jacks, burpees, high knees, and sprints are all great HIIT exercises you can do on your own, anywhere and anytime.
You’ll Increase Your Metabolism
Your metabolism is what converts the food you eat into calories, which is then turned into energy that fuels your body throughout the day. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn, and the more weight you can lose. Genetics and your lifestyle are the major contributing factors to your metabolic rate, but HIIT can certainly help!
Most workouts increase your metabolism a little, but research has shown that high-intensity interval training increases the intake and flow of oxygen in your body, which in turn increases your metabolic rate significantly. And this increased metabolism lasts for hours—even up to a whole day—after an HIIT routine.
This means that you can continue to burn calories effectively for a long time after you step off the treadmill.
It Helps Build Endurance And A Healthier Heart
Most beginners start out with a low level of endurance, which limits the amount of time they can spend working out. This, in turn, limits the benefits they can reap from exercise. HIIT is an effective way to build up your endurance, since you can shorten or lengthen your high-intensity periods depending on your current fitness level.
So, if you’re just starting out, you might do 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise then 2 minutes of low-intensity recovery. As you move along your fitness journey, you might start doing 1 minute of high-intensity exercise followed by 1 minute of low-intensity recovery. This way, you can keep doing the same movements and exercises while avoiding that dreaded plateau.
If you keep pushing yourself through HIIT, you can easily reach high heart rate levels that improve blood flow throughout the body. This anaerobic zone is the sweet spot for better heart health.
High-intensity interval training isn’t just another get-fit-quick fitness fad. In fact, fitness experts agree that it’s one of the most effective and efficient ways to exercise. You can burn a lot of calories, improve your endurance, boost your metabolism, and get your weekly recommended dose of physical activity—and all for just 30 minutes a session.