What is HIIT?
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of interval training, a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense anaerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods, until too exhausted to continue. One of the most common misconceptions about exercise that it is necessary to spend hours busting your butt and sweating buckets to obtain benefits like weight loss, muscle growth and improved overall health and well-being. Instead of working longer, work smarter by using short intervals of extremely high-intensity exercise.
How does it work?
- HIIT works well in boosting your performance because it is an anaerobic exercise which means Oxygen is not present with anaerobic exercise. When we exercise anaerobically glycogen is used as fuel. During anaerobic exercise your body builds up lactic acid, which causes discomfort and fatigue at sustained levels. For this reason anaerobic exercise or high intensity exercise happens in short bursts.
- Without lactate, you would not get fitter in response to training to the same degree you do with it. Lactate production during intense exercise stimulates a phenomenon called mitochondrial biogenesis after exercise. The mitochondria are little factories inside the muscle cells where aerobic metabolism occurs—that is, where oxygen is used to break down fats and glucose to yield energy. An increase in the concentration of mitochondria inside muscle cells is one of the major adaptations to training that improve endurance performance. And lactate makes it happen. This is one of the reasons high-intensity interval training is such a potent performance booster.
- Anaerobic exercise helps build lean muscle mass. Calories are burned more efficiently in bodies that have more muscle. Anaerobic exercise is especially helpful for weight management in that it helps to burn more calories even in a body at rest. Anaerobic exercise can also help build endurance and fitness levels.
- It’s a great workout for burning fat, boosting endurance, toning up all over and building explosive speed and strength. It’s also a great time saver because it cuts out the need for lengthy workouts.
- HIIT can also increase metabolism, reduce insulin resistance, improve cardiac function, and produce faster gains in endurance levels than steady state cardio training.
The core of HIIT is the interval of pushing yourself to the max, and taking time to recover and give your 100% again.
HIIT can be modified for people of all fitness levels and people with various medical conditions including being overweight and people with diabetes. But that said the body has to heal after this type of training so it is not recommended that you perform HIIT every day – usually it is recommended to perform this type of training a maximum of 1-3 days per week (it’s important to note that more is not better).
1. Saves time
2. No equipment needed
3. You can do it anywhere
4. Mix things up
5. Improve VO2 max. In theory, these gains in maximal oxygen, called VO2 max, should mean better health.
6. Increase EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), also means that you burn calories even after an exercise bout.
7. Burns fat just as much as cardio or even more calories at shorter period of time
8. Your Metabolic Rate Is Higher for Hours After Exercise.
A great format to start with is to do high-intensity movements for 30-60 seconds, then rest for 30-60 seconds. Remember, HIIT is all about intensity, so focus on maintaining your intensity, even if that means doing fewer sets at first. You can keep adding more sets as you build up your body.
Steady-state cardio, which involves low- to moderate-intensity exercise performed at 60%-70% of one’s maximum heart rate (MHR), to burn body fat.
HIIT cardio, on the other hand, involves intervals of high-intensity exercise–at a rate near 90% MHR–followed by intervals of slower-paced active recovery.