HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically it means any workout that includes bursts of activity followed by fixed periods of active rest. You can workout in intervals either doing a set number of reps as fast as you can (trying to beat your time each round) or a set amount of time while trying to do as many reps as possible. You are working at your max effort for short periods of time and your recovery is also very short and still active.
This can be done while running by doing sprints of one-minute on and thirty-seconds off. You can also set up a circuit of four of five exercises and try to do as many rounds as you can in a given amount of time.
There are many different types of HIIT training, but a very common one is called a Tabata. A Tabata HIIT means 20-seconds on and 10-seconds active rest, repeating 8 times. This is only 4 minutes of exercise, but it will burn more fat, and get you more exhausted than if you were to run on a treadmill for 30 minutes. Tabata’s are great for boosting metabolism. HIIT increases your resting metabolic rate (RMR) for up to 24-hours after your workout due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which helps you burn more calories throughout the day, even when you aren’t active. Basically, HIIT is great for your body. How awesome is it to be able to burn extra calories while doing nothing?! A little bit of hard work can go a long way with a HIIT workout.
So, wake up 5 minutes earlier and start your morning with a Tabata – it can be as simple as doing jumping jacks for the 20-10 pattern for 4 minutes. It will wake you up, rev up your metabolism, and probably make you less likely to eat junk food and be lazy throughout the day. If you start the day off right with a quick cardio session, you are more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day.
There are many benefits of HIIT exercise, here are just a few:
- Time efficient. HIIT’s are great for those of you with a busy schedule. There is no longer the excuse of ‘I don’t have time to workout’ anymore. A Tabata takes 4 minutes out of your day. Everyone can make time for a 4-minute workout.
- Fat burner. Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the intensity of a HIIT will kick your body’s repair cycle into hyper drive – which means your burn more fat than a longer, steadier cardio session.
- Great way to challenge your body. If you’ve hit a plateau in your weight loss and don’t understand why. It may be because your body isn’t being challenged anymore. At some point your body gets used to your workouts. This is why it is so important to switch up your routine and PUSH your body to its max sometimes.
- Heart health. Pushing your anaerobic threshold (which is what HIIT does) helps keep your heart healthy!
- No gym necessary. HIIT’s can be done with equipment, but they can also be done with nothing but your own body weight. Check out my 7-5-14 HIIT workout for an example of a HIIT done without equipment.
- Still gain muscle. Some people are scared to do cardio because they are afraid of muscle loss. HIIT workouts can work as both cardio and strength depending on the exercises you choose – double points!