Have you heard about High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and want to get started yourself? We provide you with a complete starter-kit for knowing everything there is like the many benefits, how to structure your HIIT workout, several HIIT workout routines and top ten HIIT exercises that you can easily incorporate in your daily life. Let’s get started!
What is high-intensity interval training (HIIT)?
HIIT workout is a cardio and muscle strengthening workout which includes short periods of intensive exercises followed by a low-intensity or recovery period. During the intensive period, your body works in the anaerobic range meaning your heart rate goes up almost to your maximum rate. If the body works at intensities at or above the anaerobic threshold gradually over time it can stay at higher intensities before feeling fatigue. This is what makes HIIT workouts great for weight loss but there are many other benefits of HIIT workouts.
You can choose from a range of exercises which can be done just with your own body weight, in the gym, outside or with equipment. You can be the creator of your own HIIT cardio workout and can choose exercises, length and repetitions according to your liking and fitness level. HIIT is for you if you like to push yourself, train hard and are motivated to work through the burst of increased intensity.
Benefits of HIIT
It can be done everywhere
The great news is that HIIT does not require a gym membership, kilometers of running paths or any equipment. You can choose from many exercises which do not require more space than that around you.
It is time efficient
HIIT is ideal for those with a busy schedule having to juggle dozens of tasks on a daily basis. The average time of a HIIT session is just about 20 minutes while at the same time being more efficient than moderate-intensity continuous training such as jogging. What’s more, studies showed that you receive similar or better results by training less time per workout and fewer times per week.
It burns more calories in less time
Studies have proven that compared to moderate-intensity continuous training such as 40 minutes of jogging, HIIT burns more calories in far less time. The sudden boost of intensity is met by an increase in energy needed to perform the movements hence more calories are burned. But the best news is still to come. While you already burn a lot of calories during the training, due to your increased metabolism you will continue to burn calories after your workout which can last up to 24 hours.
It burns fat
Backed up by several studies, HIIT shifts your metabolism towards using fat for energy. By practicing fewer times a week and with less time compared to moderate-intensity continuous training the test persons lost body fat, waist circumference and visceral fat surrounding the organs. Therefore HIIT is also perfectly suitable for weight loss. If you worry about losing muscle while performing your HIIT cardio workout, you can relax. Studies showed that compared to moderate-intensity continuous training, fat is burned while more muscle mass is preserved.
It improves your endurance
Gradually over time, your physical endurance will increase. This can also benefit your moderate-intensity training, other workouts or simply your general fitness when walking up the stairs or playing with your children.
It improves your maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max)
Maximal oxygen consumption is the ability of your body to transport oxygen efficiently from the heart, lungs and other parts of your body to your working muscles. Your working muscles take the oxygen to produce energy. With HIIT, compared to moderate-intensity continuous training, you reach an improvement faster in less time meaning with the same amount of oxygen your time until exhaustion will double.
It improves high blood pressure
Studies have proven that especially for obese individuals and people with high blood pressure, HIIT can contribute to decreasing high blood pressure.
It lowers blood sugar levels
Compared to continuous training, HIIT in combination with the appropriate diet has demonstrated to significantly lower insulin resistance and maintain an even amount of blood sugar in your body.
Where to practice HIIT
- At your home The easiest way to get started is to do your HIIT practice at home. Like this, you have zero excuses not to exercise basically as there are no drives to the gym, no bad weather and changing and showering is easily done after your workout. HIIT workouts at home are are also great for beginners or people who are not comfortable with the idea of exercising in large groups or gyms.
- At your gym If you already have a membership why not incorporate your HIIT practice into your gym routine? Exercise machines such as the bicycle, the treadmill, stairmaster and elliptical are perfect for choosing different levels of resistance during your HIIT gym workout. You can also mix and match your practice on the machines with exercises on the floor such as push-ups, burpees and lunges.
- Outside Outside in nature, you can find numerous ways to practice HIIT. Being outside in an open space gives you the ability to do several running sprints. Every object you come across can be integrated into your HIIT workout such as hopping left and right over a big rock, jumping up and down a bench or using a flight of stairs.