You may have heard of HIIT and wondered what it is and if it was something you can do. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. In these workouts, you do a combination of strength and cardio moves for a short amount of time, but at a high rate. The goal is to push your heart rate up very high and very quickly and only take short breaks between rounds (or intervals). This sounds intimidating, high intensity is in the name after all, but these workouts are not reserved for hard core athletes with bulging muscles and little body fat. Still not convinced? Here are seven reasons to try HIIT.
1-HIIT is Fast
Don’t have a lot of time to work out? No problem! HIIT sessions are 20 – 30 minutes long. The goal is to go really hard for the entire time and then you are done with working out for the day. You will probably feel like you may die while you are doing a HIIT workout, but the good news is that it will not last for very long. You do get short breaks during the workout to catch your breath and grab some water. However, the rest of the time you will be sweating and breathing heavy.
2- No Special Equipment Needed
You can do an effective HIIT session with just your body. Planks, pushups, squats, and lunges will all give your muscles a great workout. There are a wide variety of cardio exercises that get your heart rate up in no time – burpees, star jumps, high knees, mountain climbers and good old-fashioned jumping jacks. If you want to incorporate weights or bands into your HIIT sessions, then you can! These will help you get some extra burn in. But equipment is not required, especially if you are a beginner.
3- You Burn Fat Fast
You will burn more calories in these short sessions than spending hours on the treadmill. If you want to lose weight, then you need to burn fat, not muscle. Many people make the mistake of depriving their body of fuel and only doing cardio when they want to lose weight. And they do lose weight, but it is muscle mass and not fat. The short, intense exercises in HIIT are a great way to burn fat without hurting your muscles. (In fact, you will make them stronger, which we will talk about later.)
4- You Burn More Calories After
One of the great benefits of HIIT is that it forces your body to burn more calories after you are finished. Long after you have showered and moved on with the rest of your day, your body is still processing the workout and burning extra calories. The same cannot be said for traditional cardio exercises like running or walking. The extra calorie burn means you will lose even more fat and as a bonus, you can eat a little more too!
5- You Build Muscle
If your goal is to get stronger, then HIIT is for you too. You will build muscles doing power moves and you can also increase your workout efficiency by doing complex moves that work both your upper and lower body. For example, instead of just doing squats, you can add in a shoulder press, working multiples muscle groups at one time. There is no rep limit during HIIT either. So, you can really push yourself to get as many squats, push ups, and lunges as possible. This will make you stronger faster and building muscle makes your body burn even more calories. You will get lean and fit much more quickly this way.
6- It is Customizable
If you are recovering from an injury or know that intense moves like jumping and running are not for you, that is no problem. You can still get your heart rate very high without your feet leaving the ground. You may even be surprised at how winded you get by just moving your arms above your head. If you cannot do a push up or plank on your toes, then do them on your knees. HIIT workouts are designed to challenge you, no matter your fitness level. And as you continue, you will get stronger!
7- It Improves Your Overall Health
In addition to helping you burn fat and build muscle, HIIT workouts also improve your heart health and increase your oxygen consumption. You build both aerobic and anaerobic endurance while doing HIIT, which means you can perform everyday activities like walking, taking out the trash and cleaning with more ease. It also means that it can improve your performance in other sports like cycling, running and soccer. HIIT can also increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, lowering your risk of developing diabetes. HIIT also lowers your blood pressure, which helps keep cardiovascular diseases at bay!
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is an effective way to burn fat and build muscle without spending hours in the gym. HIIT is good for everyone, no matter what your fitness level or body fat percentage. These workouts are designed to push you to your limits so you can get in shape quickly. If you are just beginning, do not feel pressure to go all out and make yourself miserable. You can begin with a more moderate pace and work your way up to more intense sessions. Try to do HIIT session 3 times a week and always modify an exercise if you need to. With consistent practice, you will lose weight and become stronger in no time.