What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and why should you be doing it? HIIT is a method of physical training that alternates between intense bursts of activity alternating with periods of less-intense activity or rest/recovery. An example of this would be sprinting for 1 minute followed by walking for 1 minute. You would repeat this 2-minute interval six times for an intense 12-minute, fat-burning workout. It's simple, effective, and backed by science. Here are eight reasons you should be doing it:
1. IT'S EFFICIENT - In a time-crunch? HIIT is the perfect workout for those of you with a busy schedule. It's about quality over quantity and science supports it! Research shows you can achieve more physical progress in 15 minutes of HIIT (done 3x a week) than jogging on a treadmill for an hour. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, a 2011 study showed that just 2 weeks of HIIT improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training.
2. YOU'LL BURN MORE FAT - Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but it will boost your body into a hyperactive repair cycle. Which means, you will burn more calories and fat in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after a steady-state cardio session.
3. IT'S HEART HEALTHY - People aren't used to pushing themselves into the anaerobic zone (the place where you're lungs are on fire and you feel like your heart will beat out of your chest). In this case, these intense training methods produce intense results. This study found that after 8 weeks of HIIT, people could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.
4. NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED - Anything plyometric like jump squats work great to get your heart rate up fast. Can you use equipment? Yes, but it's not necessary. Using some equipment like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because it distracts your focus. You want the focus to be on increasing your heart rate, not building your biceps.
5. LOSE FAT, NOT MUSCLE - When it comes to trying to lose fat and not muscle, the struggle is real. Steady-state cardio encourages muscle loss, but studies show that weight training AND HIIT workouts allow those looking to preserve their hard-earned muscle to keep it. The weight-loss that you'll experience comes from fat stores which makes HIIT the best option to burn fat and keep muscle.
6. INCREASED METABOLISM - Not only is HIIT amazing for burning fat while keeping the muscle you worked so hard for, it stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450% during the first 24 hours after your workout. HGH is responsible for increasing your caloric burn and slows down the aging process, helping you look and feel younger.
7. DO IT ANYWHERE - I've literally seen people bust out some burpees while waiting in line at the grocery store! HIIT is completely adaptable to wherever you are regardless of the location or even the weather.
8. IT'S CHALLENGING - Have you seen people talking away while they are on the treadmill? I have. That's not a workout, that's a false sense of exercise. When it's time to work out, it's time to work out. Focusing on HIIT and performing the exercises will not only challenge your body, it will challenge your mind and help you improve your levels of focus in all aspects of your life.
If you implement HIIT into your workout regimen, you will be amazed at the results that you will see. Remember, consistency is the key! Please share this article with someone you think may benefit from it. Please comment with your experiences with HIIT and exercise and how you've been affected. Keep working toward being hard to kill by civilizing your mind and making savage your body.