HIIT – stands for high intensity interval training.
In a nutshell it describes any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity for a fixed period of time and less intense activity or total rest.
The science bit:
HIIT pushes the body into the anaerobic training zone. The anaerobic effect happens in the body when we exert ourselves at 84% of our max heart rate and above. What does this mean? This is where your body’s demand for oxygen exceeds the oxygen supply available. Anaerobic exercise relies on energy sources that are stored in the muscles unlike aerobic exercise which is dependent on oxygen from the air. When we train at this level of intensity for short bursts of energy, we create what is called EPOC or excess post exercise energy consumption. EPOC is an after burn effect of calories burning at rest for up to 38 hours post exercise.
What are the benefits of this type of training?
1) Still burning calories after you have worked out:
What can be better than knowing that you are still burning calories after your workout is done and dusted. Studies have shown that you burn more fat and calories in the hours after a HIIT workout than you do after a steady-pace run.
2) Losing fat not muscle:
One of the disadvantages of steady state cardio can be that you may end up losing muscle mass as well as fat. This is why we always emphasise the importance of resistance training to build and maintain muscle. Research has shown that a combination of resistance and HIIT makes it possible to preserve hard-earned muscle while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores.
3) Time Efficient:
This method of training is about maximising short periods of time rather than wasting unproductive hours at the gym. According to a 2011 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high-intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6 to 8 weeks of endurance training. Although hard work, the time does go quickly and its all over before you know it!
4) You can do HIIT literally anywhere you choose:
You don’t need a shedload of fancy equipment to complete a HIIT workout. All you need is your own bodyweight and lots of energy and drive.
5) Positive endorphins:
Yes this way of training is very challenging but you will find that after a workout of this nature the positive endorphins will truly be flowing and you’ll feel ready to take on the world!