High-Intensity Interval Training workouts, or HIIT workouts, have surged into popularity recently and for a good reason. They are short, effective and generally easy for anybody to partake in. Fitness programs such as Crossfit and P90X have been modeled after this style of workout and have gained tremendous popularity in the last few years.
Why do we love HIIT workouts so much?
Burn More Fat
HIIT workouts push your body to its limits and actually burn more fat than extended cardio sessions. HIIT workouts generally only take 10-20 minutes and have been proven more effective at burning fat and building muscle than 45-60 minutes of cardio. Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but once your workout has concluded your body’ repair cycle also kicks into overdrive and continues to burn fat for up to 24 hours after a HIIT workout.
Have we mentioned that we love HIIT workouts? Not just because they are fast and effective, but also because you can do them almost anywhere and typically don’t need equipment. Most HIIT workouts use only your body weight since the primary goal is maximizing your heart rate quickly. You may find it difficult to come up with an excuse not to set aside 20 minutes to kick your own butt with a HIIT workout at home!
HIIT workouts are short, sweet, and leave your metabolism burning fat and calories for up to 24 hours post workout. Studies have shown that the effort put forth in HIIT workouts can leave your metabolism burning up to 100 more calories per day during the 24-hour period post workout. HIIT workouts also stimulate the production of your natural human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent in the 24 hours post workout. HGH is responsible for revving up your metabolism, burning more calories and is also thought to slow the aging process.
The intensity associated with quickly accelerating your heart rate is not something found in all traditional forms of physical activity. Pushing your heart rate into the anaerobic zone for short periods of time can do wonders for your heart’s health. HIIT workouts have been found to be equal to, and in some cases better than steady-state cardio for cardiovascular health. One study found similar improvements amongst groups that completed roughly 63 minutes of HIIT and those that participated in 420 minutes of steady-state cardio. The substantial improvements to cardiovascular health were achieved in just 15% of the total time with HIIT.
Keep Your Hard Earned Muscle
Traditional forms of steady-state cardio exercise that target weight loss often result in muscle loss. HIIT workouts and weight training have both been found to preserve muscle, even in dieters, while boosting fat loss that comes directly from fat stores.
So how do you go about forming your HIIT routine? The general structure is as follows:
-30-60 seconds of high intensity activity (running, lifting, jumping, etc.)
-90-120 seconds of recovery
High intensity activity is defined as maximum exertion measured with a heart rate monitor. Your goal is to bring your heart rate up to 95% of its maximum rate for 30 seconds.
It is easy to switch up your traditional workout to include HIIT elements. Do you usually run for 30 minutes on the treadmill? Next time try switching it up and alternating sprinting and walking in 1-minute intervals for 10 reps. Not only will you get done quicker, you will also rev up your metabolism for an extended period of time allowing your body to burn more calories.
It is important to make sure you are also eating a healthy diet, with plenty of protein to compliment your workout routine. We love grabbing a Svelte vegan protein shake post workout to help us refuel!
Looking for other HIIT workouts? There are several websites that post HIIT workouts of the day, such as dailyhiit.com.
What are your favorite HIIT workouts? Share with us on our Facebook page or by commenting below!