High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can include any exercises you already know (or new ones for that matter). The difference between HIIT and a regular workout is that HIIT alternates between periods of intense activity and periods of low activity or even rest. You’d get sustained effort with a regular workout throughout the entire process.
HIIT is not just time-effective
But how would the HIIT approach help you more than the classic workout? One of the most important benefits of HIIT is that it’s highly efficient, which makes it perfect for people with busy schedules. A 15-minute HIIT routine can blast more calories than 1 full hour of regular workout. You can complete an intense HIIT workout in as little as 4 minutes using the Tabata training method! We’ll discuss more on that later.
Researchers are strongly backing up the benefits of HIIT training as it can help you burn more fat than a regular, lengthier workout. Through the high bursts of intense effort, you’ll maximize the quantity of oxygen (VO2 MAX) used by your body during exercise. After your body gets in the VO2 MAX area, it will continue to consume oxygen for hours after the workout.
HIIT training also boosts your metabolism for as long as 48 hours after your training routine has ended, having a longer, more powerful effect than you’d get from a regular workout. HIIT also helps you gain lean muscle mass easier.
HIIT gets you into shape faster
Another great thing about HIIT, already proven scientifically, is you can increase your fitness level faster than using the classic, sustained effort type of workout. It’s great for people who are trying to quickly get back into shape, as well as for individuals who are already active but feel they’ve reached a plateau.
Keeps your heart healthy
During the high-intensity time intervals, your heart gets pushed to maximum (or close enough) effort, something most of us are not getting at all. A 2006 study proved that after 8 weeks of short-term sprint interval training the subjects were able to bicycle 2x longer than before the study, while keeping the same pace.
One of the most versatile forms of training
Because pretty much any form of exercise can be incorporated into a HIIT routine, you can still do your favorite workouts. Anything from running, cycling, swimming, climbing, rowing, and CrossFit training to weight-lifting and body weight exercises you can do at home.
Even if you advance to a longer HIIT routine, this method of working out is challenging. You cannot do your workout like a robot. For the high-intensity periods, you have to focus on what you’re doing and how you’re breathing.
Popular interval training methods
Tabata method: 3-minute warm-up; 8x 20 seconds high-intensity/10 seconds rest. Total time: 4 minutes
Little method: 3-minute warm-up; 12x 60 seconds high-intensity/75 seconds low-intensity. Total time: 27 minutes
Turbulence training: 5-minute warm-up; 8-rep weight training sets/1-2 minute of cardio exercise, repeated for up to 45 minutes.
Based on these methods, and others, you can either create your own HIIT workouts or search the web since many of them are going around these days. Happy HIIT-ing!