HIIT: What You Need To Know
You might have stumbled upon the acronym HIIT when making your sports related research. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, a form of exercise that involves little spurts of intense activity followed by brief moments of rest.
Interval training has lots of benefits such as efficient calorie burning, blood sugar reduction, helping get rid of excess body fat, endurance building, and cardio improvement. We will discuss these benefits in full detail within this article.
Maybe you’re a beginner when it comes to training and exercise, and you’re wondering what would work for you best. In that case, this article will also show you various examples of high intensity interval training for beginners.
By the time you finish reading this guide, you’ll be able to get started on your own HIIT workout.
What Is High Intensity Interval Training?
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is known under other names like Sprint Interval Training (SIT) and High Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE). This training goes on in intervals, as it is a series of cardio exercises you do until you’re too tired to go on. These exercises are short, going from 20 seconds to 90 seconds and each of them must be intense enough to push your limits.
This training has been proven to be more effective after various studies were carried out. More and more people are getting into it. This is because the benefits of doing high intensity interval training exercise workouts surpass the benefits of doing a normal workout.
A normal high intensity interval training workout could take about ten to thirty minutes each day. And because these exercises are intense but short, they are perfect for the average working-class person; the one who doesn’t have “enough time to work out”.
The activities that you would do during your workout out are not fixed. They could go from body weight exercises like sprinting, biking to cardiovascular exercises. The only thing that matters is that you build your resistance up and try as much as possible to push your limits as hard as you can. Your heartbeat must speed up when you’re talking high intensity interval training exercises.
Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training Exercises
High intensity interval training exercises have proven to be great because of the numerous health benefits they offer. It is a well-known fact that intense workouts over short intervals simulate the body’s natural processes better. Let’s talk about these benefits.
1) Burn A Lot of Calories In a Short Period of Time:
A lot of people are trying to lose weight, but they go about it the wrong way! Instead of doing short exercises, they prefer to go the gym and do long distance exercises like jogging on the treadmill.
Contrary to what a lot people think, these exercises have its own share of health risks as well. Why? Because they tend to decrease testosterone and increase stress hormone levels like cortisol. As a result, your body stores fat more easily instead of losing it, your joints break down, you age even more quickly, and it could lead to hormonal imbalance.
High intensity interval training workouts are the best way to effectively break down calories and lose weight as a result. Let’s explain:
On average, your body burns five calories for every liter of oxygen you consume. When you exercise, the oxygen demands on your body make it easier for you to lose calories, during and after the workouts. High intensity interval training workouts work well because these ones use a lot more energy, both during and after the workout period. As a result, more calories are burned.
Making use of these high intensity interval training weight loss exercises would help you lose calories in a shorter while than traditional long-distance exercises would.
2) Beginner Friendly and Cost Efficient:
High intensity interval training for beginners are cost effective. Why? Because they don’t need any extra equipment. Sure, you could decide to make use of a bike, or a jump rope but it is not completely necessary to do these exercises with equipment. All you need is some open space.
You could implement exercises like high knees, lunges, jumping jacks or fast feet into your high intensity interval training workouts. All of these exercises utilize a lot of body weight and speed up your heart rate.
Using equipment like dumbbells could reduce the efficiency of HIIT workouts because the objective is to push your heart rate and not your biceps to its maximum limit. The best HIIT workout can be done even without advanced equipment.
3) Makes Your Heart Healthier:
A lot of fitness enthusiasts try to improve their physique but they don’t push into that anaerobic zone. They don’t push themselves hard enough that they feel their hearts are about to jump out of their chests. High interval training workouts help with this.
Though the exercise intervals are short, the intensity is high. And so your heart rate is increased and so is your energy consumption. Doing high intensity interval training workouts helps strengthen your heart and helps with your intake of oxygen.
Also, recent studies have shown that HIIT training are generally useful in the improvement of VO2max and it is way more effective than steady long-distance exercises.
VO2max is often referred to as “max aerobic activity” or “max oxygen uptake” and it is a measure to show just how well oxygen can be used for energy in your body. Basically, it goes to show how well your body is coping with exercise.
If we want to get specific, VO2max, measured in milliliters, is the highest amount of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of your body weight. This is an important indicator to a person’s fitness level, and eventually their heart health.
When you do HIIT exercises, the blood volume in your body expands. In effect, the heart muscles grow bigger, healthier and stronger. This is because when you push your heart to its highest limit, your HIIT cardio limit is increased over time.
As a result of this, you will notice that your ability to work out will be higher. And you will need less and less recovery time after every set of exercises.
4) HIIT Could Help Reduce Blood Sugar Level:
According to some studies, HIIT has been shown to reduce the blood sugar level in your body and builds up more insulin resistance than steady long-distance exercises do.
So, people who are at risk for type 2 diabetes could benefit a lot from these exercises. Further research showed that individuals with type 2 diabetes could also benefit from these exercises as they help reduce blood sugar level.
A healthy person can benefit from this too. This is because high intensity interval training workouts help with insulin resistance. It has been proven that people who do HIIT workouts have their glucose levels better managed than those who do steady and long-distance exercises.
5) Helps Burn Fat:
We talked about HIIT exercises and its power to burn calories. These also burn fat and lead to weight loss. This is because the intensity of these exercises prompts your body’s repair cycle to go into hyperdrive. You will also get rid of unhealthy visceral fat with these exercises.
Even if your exercise duration tends to be much shorter when doing HIIT workouts, you would probably burn more fat than someone who does steady-state workouts.
6) Builds Endurance:
With high intensity interval training workouts, you build up your endurance, and at a much quicker pace. This is because the training gets adapted to the cellular structure of your muscles. This will basically allow you to be able to withstand any type of exercise.
Studies show that people were able to do exercises in much less time than usual after they took part in high intensity interval training workouts.
Also, the fact that your body’s intake of oxygen is increased when you do HIIT workouts plays a lot in improving your overall endurance. As mentioned earlier, the increase of VO2max in your body helps in strengthening your heart and gives you the ability to work out even more. It also makes your recovery time shorter, which is a great thing.
7) Helps in Building and Retaining Muscle:
Yes. You can build up and retain muscles with high intensity interval training workouts. This is because when you do these workouts, you build up anabolic hormones, which is efficient in helping build up lean muscle in some individuals.
While this muscle growth will be more pronounced in areas that work the most (like the legs), HIIT workouts are a great way to build and maintain your mass muscle throughout the entire body as well. It has been proven that these exercises are better than long-distance and steady-state workouts, which tends to break down your muscle mass to use it up as fuel.
Even though weight training workouts are considered better for building up muscle mass, HIIT workouts could help as well.
8) Slows Down Aging and Stimulates Mental Health:
According to some research conducted at the Mayo Clinic, HIIT workouts could help to reverse aging in our cells. This happens when there is more production of proteins in the body, and these ones help in fighting signs of aging.
Also, HIIT workouts have proved to be a sure way to build up your mental health. When you do high intensity interval training workouts, you are pushing your limits and working to find a best version of yourself. This could in return make you stronger, not only physically, but also mentally.
Choosing What Works Best For You
There are no specific exercises that you must do to start your high intensity interval training workouts. You choose what you believe would work best for you. Make sure to push your limits and do all the exercises you choose to do properly. Else, these might not work.
How To Start High Intensity Interval Training Exercises
You’ve seen the benefits of high intensity interval training workouts. It is not difficult at all to start high intensity interval training exercises. You can integrate them into your workout program very easily.
It doesn’t matter whether you were active or not before deciding to do these workouts. All you have to do is choose the activity that you want to start with. Look for an open space and that’s about it.
Now let’s see how an HIIT workout session goes:
A good HIIT workout starts off with a warmup, some sets of high intensity exercises separated by intervals (during which you perform some low intensity exercises) then a cool down period. Remember that, you are aiming to push your limits with these exercises, so you have to do them at a maximum intensity that your heart rate can handle.
The number of times you choose to repeat a particular exercise depends on what you choose. You could repeat an exercise even two to three times, which each repetition being about 20 seconds. Exercises like running, uphill walking, lunges, jumping jacks and stair climbing have proven to be effective high intensity interval training exercises.
There is no single way to integrate HIIT workouts into your routine, nor a definite exercise sequence for success. It all depends on how active you are, and how high your level of cardiovascular development is. Just make sure that the ratio of high intensity activities to rest periods is 2:1, else you might fail.
High intensity interval training sessions could go from ten to thirty minutes. To maximize time and push your body effectively to its limit, we suggest using a timer so that the time you use will be accurate.
Sample High Intensity Interval Training Exercises:
If your aim is to work on your body and make it become the best version of itself, HIIT workouts are a great way to go. With them, you keep on seeing improvements because you don’t give your body the time to get used to just one workout routine.
The less time you rest after you workout, the more efficient your HIIT workouts are becoming. But we highly suggest waiting at least 48 hours before starting another HIIT workout session.
High Intensity Interval Training Exercises At Home With No Equipment:
High intensity interval training workouts don’t constrain you in terms of location and time. You can do an HIIT workout at home in the morning, in the afternoon or event after work. Make sure to set up a schedule and follow it accordingly.
Here are some high intensity interval training workouts you can easily set up and do at home.
14 x cross over squats
Make sure to keep your feet slightly turned out and hip width apart from eat other. Make sure that you have tightened your core then push your hips backwards and bend your knees, almost as if you were sitting down.
As soon as you get your hips to angle 90° or lower, put your right hand on your left foot, then stand up again going through your heels, making sure to keep your bum squeezed at the top.
Do the same thing, but instead of your right hand on your left hand, put your left hand on your right foot.
Repeat this fourteen times.
12 x jumping lunges
Do a normal forward lunge. Position your feet hip width apart then go forward as you move your body lower. Stop when your knees are at a 90°angle
Try to keep your torso upright and as straight as you can throughout the exercise.
As you get into the position, with as much energy as you can muster, jump off the ground, making sure to switch the position of your legs (still in the air) so that when you land, you will drop into another lunge, but this time, with the other leg facing the front.
Repeat twelve times and make sure that your landing is as gentle as possible.
High intensity interval training workout exercises are a great way to burn fat and calories at the same time while retaining or building up lean muscle. These exercises, like the name implies, are very intense and are designed to push your limits.
HIIT workouts are challenging. You cannot say you will do this while watching television or gossiping with a friend. There is no room for distractions because all throughout the sessions, you will be pushing yourself hard. For the more experienced exerciser, it is a new challenge. And for those new to the world of exercise and fitness, there are HIIT workouts for beginners that lead to positive results.
High intensity interval training workouts have a lot of benefits, not only in the long run but in the short run as well. These exercises help you to burn fat, lose calories, reduce blood sugar level and help in building up endurance.
So if you are short on time and want to see quick results, HIIT workout exercises are for you. These exercises are really intense so it is better to do them for about ten to thirty minutes each day. Make sure that you do not do them multiple days in a row as this could lead to exercise fatigue.
Most importantly, you should consult your doctor or fitness trainer if you decide to up your workout routine or change it. This is especially important if it is your first time doing high intensity interval training workouts.