The fitness industry has seen a rise in the popularity of workout programmes such as Crossfit and Insanity which all fall under the umbrella of HIIT workouts. What do all these exercise programmes have in common and why are they so popular?
High intensity interval training sometimes abbreviated, as HIIT is an exercise format, which involves periods of short intense exercises followed by less intense recovery periods. These routines are overall no longer than 15 to 30 minutes yet provide a host of fitness benefits.
Read on to find out more about the scientifically proven benefits of HIIT workouts.
1. Time efficient
HIIT is an ideal workout strategy for busy work schedules and for those looking to get in shape in the shortest time possible. Research supports that you can achieve more progress in 15 minutes of a HIIT workout than you can gain from running on the treadmill for an hour.
2. Increase fat burning
In a HIIT workout its is possible to burn more calories in 15 minutes than a person would burn at steady state on a treadmill for an hour. The result of training at a high intensity challenges the body to work harder in recovering and repairing fatigued muscles after the session. This results in burning more body fat and calories in a complete day after a HIIT workout than you would normally do from a steady state workout.
3. Improves cardiovascular fitness
Studies have shown that 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subject were able to cycle twice as long as they could before the study, whist maintaining the same pace. This indicated an increase in their cardiovascular fitness and tolerance to lactic acid build up in the muscles.
4. You do not need any equipment
Running on the treadmill, skipping and rowing all work well for HIIT workouts, but no equipment is needed to gain the same results. Exercises such as running outdoors, high knees, jump squats or jump lunges work just as well at increasing the heart rate to give you the same effect.
5. Lose weight, whilst maintaining lean muscle
Some of the negative responses to low calorie diets are a loss of muscle as well as fat, which ultimately lowers the person’s metabolic rate. HIIT workouts along with weight training have been shown to preserve muscles mass ensuring that most of the weight loss comes from fat stores.
6. Increase metabolism
In addition to maintaining muscle mass and increasing fat burning, HIIT workouts stimulate a significant production of human growth hormone during 24 hours after a workout, which has the effect of increasing the body’s metabolism.
7. Free to do it anywhere
Because HIIT workouts are such a simple concept you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints are available to you; a hotel room, at home, in the park, at the gym, on a hill, literally whatever is available to you, you can still have an effective workout following the same protocol.
8. This is most definitely challenging
‘But what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.’ HIIT workouts aren’t for anyone who exercises for social reasons; HIIT workouts are for people who are focused on getting results and getting them fast. You won’t get bored doing these workouts because simply it’s too short a time space to get bored.