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HIIT – Should This Be Your Workout?

Woman with Kettlebell

High Intensity Interval Training

I’m sure you’ve heard of High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT.

Many people are doing it.

What is it? Who should do it?

What we really need to know first is: What is a high intensity exercise? What are intervals?

High Intensity

Examples of high intensity exercises could be weight lifting, jogging, running, bicycling, and swimming.

Since high intensity exercises work your muscles hard, they need more oxygen. You will also experience what is called the “after burn effect.” You’ve stopped exercising, but your body still consumes more calories. This effect can last for 24 hours and even up to 48 hours.

Here’s a surprise – not everyone is the same. (I know, you knew that.)

What I consider a high intensity workout might be like a walk in the park for you.

What’s important is for you to find activity levels that provide enough of a difference for you.

man walking

For example, sprinting for the high intensity portion but running for the slower interval.

Or running compared to jogging.

Or maybe jogging for the high intensity versus walking.

Interval Training

Like I mentioned, the idea of interval training is doing an intense exercise but then taking a break. The break could be moving more slowly or it could be stopping and resting.

For example, jogging for 30 minutes is a non-interval training workout.

What if instead you did this: jog for 4 minutes and then walk for 1 minute. If you repeated this six times, then you would have 30-minutes of interval training.

High Intensity Interval Training

By combining HI with IT, you get HIIT.

When these are combined you have one of the best ways to burn fat and build muscle.

Researchers have found that HIIT is better than just a regular workout. Better in what sense? How about this:

27 minutes of HIIT three times a week produce the same physical benefits as 60 minutes of cardio five times a week.



Hence, HIIT is better in two ways.

  1. It requires less time per workout.
  2. It requires fewer workouts each week.

HIIT Methods

Three of the most popular HIIT methods are Tabata Method, Little Method, and Turbulence Training.

My personal favorite is Turbulence Training created by Craig Ballantyne.

In the basic method he recommends weight training sets alternating with cardio sets.

His workouts may take up to 45 minutes, however, you only do them three times per week.

You can read a bit more about Turbulence Training here.

Important Warning

As the name says, HIIT is intense.

Therefore, it’s not for everyone. It may not be right for you.

Please, before starting HIIT, look closely at your current fitness level.

You should always start slowly and build up over time. You don’t have to become a star today.

Also, always warmup before starting rigorous exercise.

Infographic

The following infographic (from Greatist) gives you a lot more detail about HIIT.

Guide to Interval Training

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