For the last few years, High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has been gathering around an increasing pool of proponents. HIIT has been around since the 1970’s, but was primarily utilized in the development of athletic endurance and capabilities. This workout method is characterized by short bursts of full-out, high-energy anaerobic exercises interspersed by short period of low activity. An example of this would be doing a full sprint at maximum speed for 30 seconds, then walking for 1 minute, doing this cycle for about 10-15 minutes.
In contrast, a steady-state cardio workout is done with exercises on a constant pace for a longer period of time. For example, using the treadmill for about an hour. The argument for this method is that lower intensity exercises utilize more fat as fuel, as opposed to higher intensity exercises. While there is some truth to that, HIIT offers more benefits than steady-state cardio workouts because of the following reasons.
Increased Metabolism and Afterburn
HIIT workouts have been proven to burn more calories compared to steady-state workouts. The bursts of high-intensity exercises result to higher oxygen consumption leading to a higher rate of calorie burning. Higher intensity exercises consume more oxygen during the activity, creating an “oxygen shortage, and causing your body to take in more oxygen during rest intervals. Further research also shows that more calories are burned up to two hours after an HIIT workout, as opposed to a steady-state workout, and this effect sometimes continue up to 24 hours after exercising.
Higher Fat Burning Rate
Any workout will lead to fat burning, but it has been proven that short, intense exercises leads to more fats burned, over time, than steady-state workouts. This means that you can burn the same amount of fat by doing a HIIT session for 30 minutes, rather than using the treadmill for an hour or two at about 50% intensity.
No Time, No Place, No Problem
Aside from other benefits, HIIT routines typically consume less than half the time needed, as compared to a steady-state workout, for the same results. Studies have shown that people doing HIIT tend to stick to the workout regimen than those people who are doing steady-state workouts.
HIIT workouts can be done almost anywhere. You don’t need to go to the gym to get that high-intensity juice flowing. Instead of doing a leisurely jog around the park, or your neighborhood. You can do the short bursts of maximum speed sprints instead. Higher-intensity push-ups, squats or sit-ups right in your living room. One exercise that’s really trending right now are the Burpees. All you need for this exercise is a space that can accommodate the length of your body. To maximize the results from HIIT, make sure to have protein shake afterwards. Check out our Tera’s Whey protein reviews.
A note of caution. Since HIIT involves high-intensity, anaerobic exercises, be aware of what your limits are and tailor the exercises accordingly. Better yet, it is advisable to consult a medical professional before embarking on this fitness journey.