HIIT workouts - how they work
If you keep hearing about HIIT’s magic fat-burning qualities but aren’t quite sure if you believe the hype, we’ve got the facts. Here’s how HIIT transforms your body - and how to get started.
Spending too long in the gym but not seeing noticeable results? Then maybe it's time to switch to HIIT, otherwise known as high intensity interval training. HIIT is efficient, convenient and extremely effective. It involves quick bursts of intense exercise, interspersed by short periods of rest or light activity. Most HIIT sessions last around 30 minutes, while other forms of HIIT such as Tabata training can last for as little as four minutes.
More tips on strength training here.
But how does HIIT work, exactly?
Give it your all
If your heart isn’t leaping out of your chest during every interval of a HIIT workout, then you’re simply not working hard enough. The clue’s in the name: these hardcore workouts demand you exercise as intensely as possible, pushing your body to its very limits.
This is why HIIT sessions are so short in comparison to other, more traditional workouts. It’s impossible to go all-out for long periods of time. But as gruelling as they can be, your efforts will be rewarded. The harder you work, the more strain you’ll place on your body, forcing it to adapt. And that’s where the magic of HIIT lies...
HIIT burns lots of calories, fast
While long-distance running requires our body to conserve and slowly release energy in a bid to reach the finish line, HIIT is the polar opposite. You’ll be begging for every last ounce of energy your body can spare until the next rest period eventually arrives. As you work multiple muscle groups and raise your heart rate considerably, your body needs to take in a higher amount of oxygen, which results in a greater calorie burn. That’s why it’s good if you’re panting furiously after your eighth burpee in 30 seconds - it means those extra calories are making an exit, and fast.
It supercharges your metabolism
The benefits of HIIT continue even after your workout has ended, which is always a win in our books. Thanks to the wonders of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), your metabolism stays at an elevated level, burning calories even if you’re sat idly in front of the TV. During this time, your body will begin to restore its depleted energy reserves and slowly repair the muscle proteins that were damaged during exercise.
How often should I do HIIT?
While it may be tempting to do HIIT on a regular basis, overtraining can lead to poor performance during each interval, and you won’t be able to reach the levels you should. It’s best to stick to three days a week if you can, so that your body has ample to time to recover from the intense nature of the workouts.
So… are you ready to begin?
If it wasn’t abundantly clear, HIIT is a physically demanding form of exercise. But if you’re up for the challenge and want to reap the rewards that shorter, more intense workouts can provide, there’s no better alternative than HIIT.
Need some extra encouragement to hit your HIIT goals? Why not hire a Holmes Place personal trainer to help push you further than ever before?