THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE: HIIT TRAINING

WHAT IS IT?

HIIT training… what is it? High intensity interval training involves bursts of very high intensity exercise, combined with low-intensity rest periods. Typically, a HIIT workout can range from 10-30 minutes, depending on how high the intensity of the workout is. Even though HIIT training seems quite short and civilised, the vigorous nature produces health benefits like no other.

A HIIT workout can be made up of an extremely large variety of exercises, including:

  • Sprinting

  • Star jumps

  • Push ups

  • Jump squats

  • Burpees

  • Rowing machine

  • Lunges

  • High knees

  • Skipping

  • Boxing

And so, so, so much more! The beauty of this is that a HIIT workout can be completely personalised to you, meaning you can choose the exercises you want to do in the workout…(no more excuses not to!!)

The amount of time you perform a HIIT workout for, and how long your rest period is, is also really loose. It may be dependent on the type of exercise you’re completing, the intensity of your workout or just completely up to what you want to do! For the timing of the work period, you may choose to go off reps (ie. 10 reps star jumps), or time (ie. 30 seconds work high knees), but it is always important to have rest in there between each set! As long as you are preforming short, high intensity intervals of work, followed by a rest period and getting your heart rate up… you’re doing it right!

Like cardio and resistance training, HIIT training also comes with a veryyy long list of benefits!

Some of these include:

  • You burn a lot of calories in a short period of time

A study has compared the amount calories burned during a 30-minute bike, run, weight training and HIIT, with results showing HIIT burned 25-30% more calories than the other forms of training! In this particular study, the work period was 20 seconds (maximal effort), followed by a 40 second rest period. That's 10 minutes work in total, compared to the other exercises which were continuous work for 30 minutes! HIIT training, due to the vigorous intensity means you burn more calories in less time… short and sharp, who doesn’t love that!

  • Your metabolic rate is higher for hours after exercising

Not only does HIIT mean you burn more calories in a shorter period of time… It also means you burn more calories over a long period of time as well! HIIT increases your metabolic rate for hours after exercise, meaning you will keep burning calories, long after you’re finished training!

  • Increase heart health

Just like cardio and resistance training, HIIT will also increase the health of your heart! Check out our blog on resistance or cardio training to read more!

  • You don't need equipment to do it

Because a HIIT workout can be made up of such a variety of different exercises, you can do it anywhere, anytime, with or without equipment. HIIT training can be one of the most convenient training forms as you can do it at home, at the gym or anywhere you like really!

  • Increase fat loss

  • Increase efficiency of energy use

The interval system of work-hard then recovery which alternate in a HIIT session, mean your body becomes more effective at efficiently using energy! It also helps your body become more effective at removing by-products your body produces during exercise such as lactic acid.

  • You can choose your own workouts

  • You can gain muscle

Although not as much as resistance training, HIIT may help you increase muscle mass! This muscle gain however is more likely in individuals that were less active to begin with as their body is adapting to training to start with.

  • Improve your oxygen consumption

HIIT will increase your body’s ability to use oxygen during training. Due to HIIT being largely cardio based, your body will adapt to training by increasing your ability to take in transport and use oxygen within your body.

  • Reduce your heart rate and blood pressure

With all these benefits, it can’t be that easy… right? These are some of the most common mistakes people make with HIIT:

  • You’re making your workout too long

Because of the high intensity of HIIT training, working out for too long will mean you won’t be able to maintain the high intensity, making the training session less effective. Ideally, a HIIT session should go for around 10-30 minutes.

  • You don’t rest

If you don't rest between high intensity intervals, you won’t be able to maintain a high intensity of exercise due to fatigue. It is important to make sure you rest between intervals for the same amount of time you work for or less, in order to give your body time to recover.

  • Your intensity isn’t increasing as you get fitter

As you get fitter you will find it easier to work harder. If you’re not increasing the intensity of your workout as you get fitter (ie. Performing reps faster, decreasing rest time), you may not increase in fitness.

  • You don't warm up properly

The extremes of HIIT training mean your body needs to be warm and ready to work before you start your workout. If you don't warm up you may be more likely to sustain injury.

  • You train too much

If you don't give your body a chance to rest (ie. HIIT training too often), you won’t only diminish the benefits, but may also become injured or exhausted. To avoid this, it’s important to give your body a chance to recover between sessions (including a good diet and sleeping) as well as not over doing the number of HIIT sessions you do.

 

Do I HIIT?

YES! I love a good HIIT session (particularly at Body Fit Training)! I perform regular HIIT sessions during the week to help them stay fit and healthy!

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