So you’ve started exercising and eating healthier odds are you have probably heard the hype about High-Intensity Interval Training commonly known as HIIT. Well, the good thing about it is that its not a hype! HIIT workouts actually work! When it comes down to losing fat while minimizing muscle loss at the SHORTEST time possible, HIIT is the answer.
How short is short? do you have 10 minutes to spare? Yes, you read that right – HIIT can be done in as little as 10 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes. But don’t let that fool you HIIT is exactly what it says it is — HIGH INTENSITY.
So if you want to burn calories, minimize muscle loss, and boost your metabolism in as little as 10 minutes, then keep reading to get started on your first HIIT workout.
What is HIIT?
HIIT is a training technique and it consists of alternating short periods of intense all-out MAXIMUM efforts followed by short recovery rest periods for a duration of a minimum of 10 minutes to a maximum of 20 minutes. HIIT works by keeping your heart rate up helping you burn calories even during your rest periods.
Benefits of HIIT
According to a study, HIIT workouts provide an impressive range of health benefits. These benefits include general, body composition, and practical health benefits.
General Health Benefits include
- Positive metabolic and physiological adaptations
- Promotes metabolic conditioning and muscular strength
- Less systemic inflammation or oxidative damage compared to a sustained aerobic activity
- Facilitates injury prevention
- Increases both aerobic and anaerobic fitness
- Lowers insulin resistance
Benefits for Body Composition
- Effective at reducing subcutaneous abdominal and trunk fat
- Promotes appetite regulation
- Increases skeletal muscle capacity
- Enhances Muscular Strength, Power, and Speed
Practical Benefits Include
- Shorter Training Times
- Equipment Needs Are Lessened, Reducing Costs, Using Less Space
- Emphasizes Constant Variation: Exercises and Movements, Intervals, Equipment, etc., hence Reducing the Potential for Boredom and Adaptation
How to perform HIIT?
HIIT can pretty much be done anywhere you don’t need to go to the gym to get it done, that’s one of the main reasons I LOVE HIIT. You don’t need fancy machines or pretty much anything all. All you need is a little bit of time and some self- motivation to get it done.
For example, performing back and forth periods of 30 seconds of all-out sprinting paired by 45 seconds(depending on your endurance) rest period and repeating these rounds back and forth until you have hit your goal time.
If you are a beginner and have NEVER experimented with HIIT start slow with HIIT to prevent any injuries and focus in building your endurance first. You can build your endurance up by shortening your rest periods or by extending your overall time, but not surpassing the maximum amount of time (20 mins).
Regardless of whether you are a beginner or not HIIT has the ability to be scaled to ALL levels of fitness.
You can perform HIIT by cycling, running, rowing or you can get more creative and combine different bodyweight exercises it all depends on what you enjoy. But for starters, I recommend for you to start with the treadmill or bike and once you start getting comfortable you can try new things and switch it up.
However, I know that not all of us have access to a gym and that’s OKAY, work with what you have and don’t let that stop you, all you need to do is get a little creative.
For example, you can combine 20 seconds of push-ups, 20 seconds of jump squats, and 20 seconds of jumping jacks as fast as you can non-stop for a total of a minute, resting for another minute or less (depending on your endurance) and repeating.
One of the many nice things about HIIT is that it gives you the ability to implement constant variation. This results in less boredom, more enjoyment, and adherence to exercise.
When to Perform HIIT?
As mentioned previously, HIIT is strenuous on the body so try performing HIIT on rest days or AFTER a weightlifting session, but never before. HIIT requires a lot of energy, so performing HIIT before a weight lifting session will most likely affect your performance in the weight room.
How Many Times per week do I need to Perform HIIT?
As previously mentioned, HIIT can be very strenuous on the body, therefore it should NOT be done every day. In fact, if you have never performed HIIT start with 1 session per week and gradually increase your sessions to a maximum of 3-4 sessions per week.
Your body will need time to rest and recover.
Remember to continually challenge your body by either adding more time to your sessions (but no more than 20 minutes) or cutting down your rest periods and extending your working periods to prevent any plateaus to continue seeing results.
Who can perform HIIT?
HIIT has become so convenient and popular that many people often want to try it when they are completely new to working out. If you are completely new to fitness start with getting yourself familiar with the baseline level of low-intensity steady state cardio and strength training before jumping into HIIT.
Where can you do HIIT?
HIIT can practically be done almost ANYWHERE, it’s all about getting creative and just getting it done right then and there.
Implementing new variations coupled with your favorite exercises will increase enjoyment while preventing you from getting bored.
How to perform HIIT safely?
Prepare & warm-up
Warming up is essential when performing HIIT, it’s important to not just jump into it. HITT is an INTENSE workout and without an adequate warm-up can lead and increase your chances of getting injured. So before you start performing your HIIT session make sure to start by performing an exercise to help get your heart rate up.
Slow & Steady is Best
It’s important to structure your HIIT sessions with enough time for rest during the workout. Remember that you need to BUILD your endurance and you cannot expect to do the same as people with an advanced level of training.
Practice Proper Form
The most common reason people get injured is due to performing exercises without the proper form. Beginners are more prone to this because as a beginner you tend to put less focus on form. The nature of HIIT consists of speed and numbers which makes it easier for people to focus less on form and more in speed.
This is especially true if you have never performed an exercise. It’s important to take the time to just get over a new move. Look at yourself in the mirror or even better make sure to go over it with an experienced trainer.
As I previously mentioned, HIIT is INTENSE and can be very strenuous on the body it’s important to allow your body enough time to rest and recover. To get the most benefits out of your HIIT workouts you need to spend time recovering and paying attention to your sleep and nutrition because OVERTRAINING IS REAL.
Can you lose weight with HIIT? Is it Effective?
Most definitely! HIIT workouts are very effective BUT remember, your nutrition is vital and can either make or break your progress.
Stick to a caloric deficient and accompany it with some resistance training, and you will definitely see changes in your body.
HIIT VS LISS (Low-intensity steady-state exercise)
The University of New South Wales conducted a study on young women who performed the high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIT) versus a group of women who performed the steady-state exercise (SSE). The women who performed HIIT lost more central abdominal fat than the group who performed the steady-state exercise. These women performed HIIT three times per week for 15 weeks. As a result, these women averaged a 15% decrease in total fat mass with an average of 10% in abdominal fat during a 15 week trial period.
Research examining the effects of HIIT has produced preliminary evidence to suggest that HIIT can result in modest reductions in subcutaneous and abdominal body fat thus having a greater impact on body composition compared to steady-state cardio.
Now that you know what HIIT is and how it works, let’s look at some HIIT workouts that can be done at the gym, at home, or pretty much anywhere.
Being a mommy of 2 kids is not always possible to make it to the gym but that shouldn’t stop you from meeting your goals either. Remember where there is a will there is a WAY!
To your right-hand side is one of my favorite HIIT workouts that can be done at home or at the gym.
HIIT Workouts at the Gym
If you are at the gym HIIT can easily be done on the treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc. but if you are like me I tend to get BORED easily when I perform my HIIT sessions on these. I like to continually surprise and challenge my body by implanting different HIIT variations.
To sum it all up HIIT provides a vast amount of health benefits, such as an increase in both strength and cardiovascular endurance, improved body composition, and many other fitness outcomes.
However, it’s important to take the adequate time and focus to perform HIIT in a proper manner to prevent any injuries, especially if you are just a beginner.