Whether you’re a gym freak or someone with an active lifestyle, you might be familiar with the word ‘HITT’ since it has become an essential part of gym workouts. Besides that, the terminology is also popular amongst internet bloggers who constantly post about health and fitness.
So, what exactly is HIIT, and how does it work? Read below to learn everything about a HIIT workout and its benefits.
What is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a fast-paced training session. HIIT workout is a clever strategy for more intense cardiovascular exercises.
This type of workout involves alternate periods of intense anaerobic exercise along with short recovery periods. Most people think that HIIT is restrictive to cardio; however, it is a false narrative. HIIT can also include weights for the short period of exercise.
This type of training session uses anaerobic energy systems for short bursts of energy. Traditionally, HIIT included 20 seconds of exercise with 10 seconds of rest as intervals. However, fitness experts have added modifications to the traditional HIIT, making it even more effective.
How Long Should Intervals Be?
If you’re on a fitness journey and want to incorporate a HIIT workout into your routine, you need to learn how long should intervals be and how it works.
Firstly you need to know that HIIT is not a single workout but rather a way of working out. Therefore, it includes exercises such as running, jogging, aerobics, and strength training.
One of the most fundamental HIIT workouts includes a sprint for 20 seconds, then a slow jog for about 60 seconds. You can perform this on a track or a treadmill as both are equally effective for HIIT.
Besides this, several exercises incorporate strength training along with cardio. For example, kettlebell exercises require you to do a set consisting of the goblet squat, clean and jerk, and swing. A thirty seconds interval follows it before you start the next set.
If you wish to incorporate HIIT into your weight lifting sessions, you can alternate cardio and strength training. For this, do your bench press, squats, or overhead press, paired with alternate running for 30 seconds.
Besides this, including burpees in your training sessions is a great way to boost HIIT. For this, you can combine burpees with jumping jacks or pushups to build muscle. But, of course, you’ll have to rest between the exercises to do your best.
What Are the Benefits of HIIT?
Why are so many people talking about HIIT? Does this alternating training help you lose weight efficiently? Let us now discuss the benefits of HIIT workouts.
1. HIIT Burns More Calories in a Shorter Period
High-intensity interval training helps you burn more calories in a shorter time than steady cardio exercises. It is because HIIT generates a greater excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, also known as “afterburn.”
As a result of the afterburn effect, you continue to burn calories as your body replaces the energy to repair muscle proteins damaged during the exercise, says the American Council on Exercise. This energy-burning process may continue for up to 48 hours after you finish your workout.
2. Ideal for Weight Loss
A HIIT workout is ideal for effective weight loss. The reason is that this interval exercise helps you burn fat and build lean muscle, which, in turn, burns more fat.
One of the benefits of HIIT is that it forces the process of fat burning to release energy. In addition, it means that your body uses fat as the primary fuel for energy instead of carbohydrates.
As a result, it makes losing fat more efficient. With just a diet, it’s hard to lose fat and maintain muscle at the same time. However, studies have shown that with HIIT, you can preserve those hard-earned muscles while burning the maximum amount of fat.
This way, your body stays in a fat-burning mode. Therefore, you end up burning more fat and calories, which is ideal for weight loss.
3. HIIT Regulates Blood Glucose Levels
A recent study by the American Diabetes Association suggested that the benefit of HIIT workouts includes that it positively affects the blood glucose levels of people who suffer from pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes.
The reason is that HIIT helps to regulate appetite hormones by increasing glucose metabolism along with insulin sensitivity. As a result, it helps to regulate blood glucose levels.
4. Increase in Metabolism
HIIT workout benefits your metabolism. The reason for an increase in metabolism is that this kind of training tends to stimulate the production of the human growth hormone (HGH).
The increase in this hormone results in a rise in metabolic activity. Therefore, after consistent HIIT workouts, your overall metabolic rate also increases. A better rate of metabolism is linked to a lesser chance of putting on weight.
So if you have a faster resting metabolism, you’re less likely to put on weight. Besides this, an increase in metabolism also helps the body to flush out toxins more effectively. Incorporating a HIIT workout in your training sessions helps kick start the body’s metabolism to a level where your body is forced into a fat-burning mode.
5. Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness
HIIT workout benefits your heart health as it improves your cardiorespiratory fitness. According to the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine, HIIT improves your VO2max—the maximum rate at which your lungs, muscles, and heart use oxygen during an exercise.
A high VO2 max results in better endurance in aerobic exercises. It has a positive impact on your overall health and wellbeing.
Besides this, HIIT workouts mix in rest time with short bursts of exercises resulting in better oxygen consumption. It also strengthens the heart muscles. In addition to this, HIIT workouts reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
6. HIIT Helps With Weight Loss Plateaus
If you’ve fallen victim to a weight loss plateau, then it’s time to incorporate high-intensity interval training in your workout sessions. A person experiences a weight loss plateau when their metabolism slows down, and they can no longer lose weight despite following their diet and workout regimen.
However, remember that it is natural to hit a weight loss plateau. You don’t have to quit training when you reach this stage of your fitness journey.
Besides this, it may also take you some time to notice weight loss. Therefore, you must stick to your training sessions while introducing new exercises to your routine. Furthermore, since HIIT helps with the metabolism and fat-burning process, it can overcome your weight loss plateau, forcing your body into the fat-burning process once again.
Hard work with short rest is the essence of high-intensity interval training. With HIIT, you can push your body to its limits to benefit more.
Also, ensure that you maintain a consistent level of effort in all your workouts sessions. Besides incorporating HIIT into your training sessions, you must stay active throughout the day for a faster and safer weight loss journey.