HIIT! (AKA high-intensity interval training) is super popular amongst the fitness community and has become the favourite way to replace the dreaded cardio. With a zillion YouTubers posting at-home HIIT workouts, we should be making sure that it’s really worth our time. Will it help you lose weight and reach fitness goals? Does it really help you get shredded? Let's find out!
What is HIIT?
High intensity interval training is a style of training that involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by a brief recovery period. For example, 20 seconds of burpees followed by a 40 second rest, which is then repeated multiple times.
Typically, the goal is to have your heart rate reach 80% of its maximum capacity for 5 minutes and have you absolutely smashed by the end of the session.
You’re essentially putting your body under immense stress for a short time and then continuing to do that until you literally can’t do it anymore. Sounds fun right?
HIIT is great if you’re short on time and still want to get in an effective workout, however, will it really help you reach your training and fitness goals? Let’s take a look at the different effects that HIIT has on the body and if it’s going to be worth reserving some time in your busy schedule.
The term ‘work smarter not harder’ can be used to describe HIIT. If your goal is to shred some weight, then this style of training is definitely something you should try.
You might be getting in your cardio with steady state running or walking, and although this is fantastic, HIIT can burn the same amount of calories in a much shorter time.
Unlike other forms of cardio such as running, swimming and cycling, HIIT incorporates a variety of different movements to get your heart pumping. So not only are you giving your heart a solid workout, but your whole body is being targeted. Because of this gruelling intensity your body’s metabolic rate may increase for a few hours after your HIIT session, resulting in the burning of calories even after you’ve completed your workout.
So yes, HIIT can help you lose weight. You’re burning calories, using your muscles and working up an intense sweat all at the same time.
If your main focus is to build muscle, HIIT shouldn’t be the only thing you do. However, during your workout split, HIIT is great for someone who is trying to get their heart rate up but work their muscles at the same time.
HIIT incorporates exercises that will fatigue your muscles such as squats, push ups, lunges and burpees.
If you’re not a regular gym goer and you’ve started HIIT on a whim, you can expect some muscle definition to form. If you’re in the gym bulking up, HIIT probably won’t add to your muscle growth but is a great way to train endurance and keep your heart healthy.
When you train HIIT you’re pushing your body into the anaerobic zone. These are the moments when you’re struggling to breathe, you feel like your body is about to give in and you’re wondering why you even did this in the first place.
When you consistently reach this point, you’ll find that your cardiovascular and respiratory capacity increases.
Each time you train, you’ll notice your endurance getting a little bit better than it was before.
This not only improves your athletic performance but will have significant health benefits in the long run. When you work out your heart, it gets a little bit stronger every time. As you age, heart health is extremely important to an active and happy life. If you put in the hard work now, you’ll be thanking yourself in the future.
If you’re a person that values their time, a 15-minute HIIT session could be a great replacement for your 1-hour jog. Not only is it time efficient, but you also don’t need any equipment. HIIT can be done anywhere at any time, all you need is yourself!
Those YouTube videos will come in handy after all, especially when it’s raining outside and all you have is the space in your lounge room.
HIIT spiked in popularity, but with good reason. It’s quick, challenging and effective. In fact, it’s probably far more challenging than you think. To prepare for your HIIT session, make sure you have enough energy to get you through. HIIT isn’t something to do when you’re feeling tired and sluggish.
If you need the extra boost, make sure to take a pre-workout, so you’re giving 110% to those short bursts. Try the fiery formula by Redcon1, Total War. Smash your HIIT workout and be one step closer to your dream body and long-lasting health.