What Is HIIT? Your Ultimate Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training
One of the most challenging but most rewarding exercise programs you can perform is HIIT workouts. But what is HIIT? And how come you’ve been hearing more about it lately?
It may sound complicated, but we promise to teach you what HIIT workouts are and help you decide if it’s the right program for you.
What Is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is, as the name implies, an intense workout meant to take your cardio to the next level.
In a high-intensity interval training workout, you perform a high-intensity workout in a burst; then, in between, you perform a low-intensity workout before starting up again. For example, you could run as fast and as hard as you can for 30 seconds, then walk for 30 seconds, and repeat. This lets your body reach its peak fat burning, endurance, and strength-building level.
When done correctly, it can be a game-changer for you trying to lose weight and gain muscle.
One of the main reasons HIIT is so effective is because it produces EPOC or excess post-oxygen consumption. EPOC raises your resting metabolic rate for the next 24 hours, sometimes even more. This allows your body to continue burning fat while you rest!
This isn’t the only benefit of HIIT either.
When you have a busy schedule, as most of our clients do, high-intensity interval training is perfect to fit between meetings or during your lunch break. Even just 15 minutes of HIIT done three times a week can be better than jogging on a treadmill for an hour those days.
Promotes Heart Health
When you work out alone, you don’t get into the anaerobic threshold your body needs to truly see results. HIIT exercising gets you into this zone quickly since there isn’t enough time for your heart to rest, even during the low-intensity periods.
When you enter this zone more often, you’re helping your heart get the exercise it needs to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body.
You Don’t Need Equipment!
We love promoting exercises that require little to no equipment for you to get started. Many of the activities associated with high-intensity interval training programs use your own body and some space. Running, biking, jumping, all of these you can do to successfully complete HIIT exercises in the comfort of your home or office.
Weight Loss, Not Muscle Loss
When you diet without a training program, you often lose fat along with muscles. With HIIT, that’s not the case. You can keep your muscles while burning fat with regular HIIT workouts.
Negative Effects of HIIT
Since we talked about everything good HIIT can do for you, it’s time to discuss some of the negatives to help you determine if it’s right for you.
Cortisol Levels Spike
Exercise is a stressor to the body; even though you need it, it can become too much. When you push yourself past your limit, it can increase the cortisol levels in your body. This can initiate our bodies ‘fight or flight’ response.
While these spikes help our bodies grow stronger, too much of it can negatively affect us. Stick to no more than 3 HIIT exercises per week to keep everything in optimal ranges.
When you exercise, your body uses the fuel available for processing. The first to go is the free sugar in your body; then, it will take from glycogen. Glycogen is the form of carbs stored in your liver and muscles.
When you rest, your body will naturally restore its glycogen, however, it becomes dangerous when you never rest. That’s why it’s so important to not overdo the HIIT workouts, so your body can restore its natural levels.
Going Too Hard
When you look at the negatives of HIIT workouts, it comes from doing too much, too often. That’s why it’s recommended to never do more than three days of HIIT workouts and never do them on back-to-back days.
Is HIIT Right for Me?
It’s always best to talk with your doctor before starting any new training program, especially if you have previous health issues. That being said, HIIT can be the answer to your fitness struggles.
If you’re in good shape and work out regularly, you can start HIIT without many problems. However, if you’re new to working out, you should stick to a more manageable workout program before jumping in.
Best HIIT Workout
Remember, HIIT training is for your cardio workouts. To improve your aerobic fitness, you should do a 1:1 work to rest ratio. That means work hard for 60 seconds, rest for 60 seconds.
When trying to work anaerobically or explosively, a ratio of 1:5 would be perfect for you. That means you work for 15 seconds, then rest for 75 seconds. You can do any of these exercises remembering those ratios.
Keeping your interval in mind, perform each of these exercises in order.
- Mountain climbers
- Jump rope
Repeat these exercises until your reach your 15 minutes.
Just because it’s a cardio workout doesn’t mean you can’t build those ab muscles during!
- Bicycle crunches
- Hanging knee raises
- Oblique crunches
- Half burpees
Remember to follow your chosen interval for the timings, and repeat these until your reach 15 minutes!
Start HIIT Personal Training Today
What is HIIT? Now you know! Remember to start slow, then build yourself up to a point you’re comfortable with.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to us if you need help with your HIIT workout or need a personalized training plan for you! We’ve been helping people like you for years reach their fitness goals, and we can’t wait to help you too!