Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last decade, you probably will have heard about HIIT. So let’s talk about this type of fitness training!
HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training is one of the most popular training protocols in the world. But what is HIIT? Well, that’s what we’re going to be looking at in today’s guide.
In today’s guide, we’ll be covering all of the bases regarding HIIT, so that you know exactly what it is, how it’s performed, and why it’s so beneficial.
As you probably know, losing weight via cardio is hardly enjoyable. It’s boring, it takes a heck of a long time, it’s stressful, and it isn’t always very effective.
Most people perform cardio in the form of low-intensity steady-state, or LISS for short. As beneficial as it is, some have argued that for calorie-burning potential, LISS leaves a lot to be desired.
On the exact opposite end of the spectrum however, we have HIIT. Here’s a look at your ultimate guide to HIIT.
What Is HIIT?
High-Intensity Interval Training is one of the most popular forms of exercise currently in existence. It has grown in popularity over the last few years and is now most people’s go-to form of cardiovascular exercise.
It is best described as being short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed immediately by lower intensity, more regulated periods of energy.
A very primitive description of HIIT would be walking for 30 seconds before sprinting for 30 seconds, and repeating this process several times.
Although HIIT is primarily performed by people looking to burn fat and lose weight, it can be incorporated into any form of physical activity, including weight training.
HIIT has taken the world of health and fitness by storm, but why has it only recently become so popular? And is it really all it’s cracked up to be?
What Makes HIIT So Special?
For centuries now, we’ve been jogging as a way of getting fit, burning calories, and losing weight. So why the need to change the way we train?
Why is HIIT now more popular than going for a 45-minute jog around the local park when trying to shift a few pounds before your vacation? Well, it all comes down to science.
You see, HIIT is so popular amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts because it possesses the ability to help individuals find the perfect balance when it comes to their anaerobic thresholds.
To understand this, we need to understand the difference between aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise.
This is a typically slow and methodical exercise which is performed over a prolonged period of time. Going for a light jog around the block is a form of aerobic exercise.
This type of exercise, however, is much higher in intensity but shorter in duration.
When you perform the high-intensity parts of the exercise you’ll be training at between 85 and 99% of your maximum heart rate. This basically means that you’ll be working as hard as you can possibly work.
This results in far greater rates of calorie burn, plus it also creates what is known as the ‘afterburn effect’.
The afterburn is a temporary increase in your metabolism which lasts several hours after your workout has ended. This is because your body is working so hard to recover following your training session.
What Are The Benefits Of HIIT?
So, we’ve looked at what is HIIT, and we’ve looked at the basic science behind how it works. Now it’s time to look at the main interval training benefits. Key benefits of HIIT include:
More and more of us are leading increasingly hectic lifestyles and sadly we don’t have much free time for ourselves. This is why people often skip the gym, as they claim they don’t have enough time to train.
With HIIT however, you will save heaps of time. The average HIIT workout lasts just 20 minutes, which means that you can get in, burn several hundred calories, and get out of the gym in a very short space of time.
Despite HIIT lasting just 20 minutes, you can potentially burn off more calories in those 20 minutes than you’d burn off in an hour of steady-state cardio on a treadmill, or slowly jogging outdoors.
Primarily, the main reason why so many people tend to focus on performing HIIT workouts is because of the fact that HIIT is so beneficial when it comes to losing weight.
As mentioned on astral nutrition, “when you perform HIIT you are exercising at near 100% of your max heart rate. You will literally work as hard as your body can possibly work, and the end result is a significant number of calories being burnt off.”
This means that you will lose a significant amount of body fat if you remain in a caloric deficit. Not only that, but there’s the afterburn effect as well, in which you will literally be burning calories off as you rest.
With benefits like that, it’s easy to see why HIIT is the cardio of choice for athletes and casual gym-goers alike.
So, with that, we’ll bring this look at what is HIIT to a close. Hopefully, now that you have a better idea of what HIIT is.
And the next time you feel like trying something new in the gym, you’ll give it a go. Who knows, it could be the secret to that ultra-lean physique you’ve always wanted.
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