HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and the average workouts take between 10 and 30 minutes. This makes them ideal if you have a busy schedule.
But what makes HIIT different from other short workouts is the intensity of each exercise you perform. During a HIIT circuit, you’ll do one type of exercise for a short period of time as hard as you can.
After that, you’ll rest, walk in place, or jog to keep yourself moving and give your heart rate a chance to calm down. Then, you’ll repeat the high-intensity exercise again.
This cycle lasts for up to 30 minutes and can be done literally anywhere. The only thing you need is enough room to exercise.
But aside from giving you a quality workout in less time than your average gym session, HIIT workouts pack a ton of other benefits. Here’s what you need to know.
- BURNS TONS OF CALORIES IN A TINY AMOUNT OF TIME
The common way of thinking about workouts is that the longer you push yourself, the more calories you’ll burn. And, to an extent, this can be true.
But with HIIT, you’ll be able to burn just as many calories as with a steady cardio session but a lot quicker. For example, if I run for 40 minutes and you do HIIT for 20 minutes, we’ll likely burn the same number of calories!
- HELPS YOU KEEP BURNING CALORIES EVEN AFTER THE WORKOUT
HIIT workouts help your body burn calories even after the workout is over. This type of training increases your metabolism during the workout but also after you’re done exercising.
This study shows that two minutes of sprinting and 30 minutes of running will lead to the same increase of your metabolism that will last for more than 24h!
The more amped up your metabolism is, the more calories you’ll burn. So if losing weight is one of your fitness goals, HIIT may help you to lose weight more quickly.
- HELPS WITH FAT BURNING
HIIT will help you increase your general cardiovascular fitness and your anaerobic threshold.
This means that during exercise your body will remain in the aerobic (fat burning) zone for longer, before switching to the anaerobic pathway.
The result? You’ll be able to exercise for longer and at a higher intensity and still burn fat.
- CAN REDUCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS AND LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure increases your risk of stroke, heart disease, and countless other health problems. And while regular exercise can help you lower blood pressure, it’s not always enough.
Sure, medication is always an option, but HIIT workouts help you give your body the tools it needs to lower it on its own.
But that’s not all it does—HIIT can help you lower your blood sugar levels consistently. If you’re struggling with insulin resistance or have struggled to lose weight, this is great news! Your body can start to right itself and function the way it’s supposed to.
SHOULD I DO HIIT?
So, by now you’re probably wondering if HIIT workouts are the answer you’ve been looking for. After all, they’re short, they’re effective, and they’re fun. But they’re not the only thing you need to do to start losing weight.
You still need to eat a good diet rich in lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and avoid processed foods and sugars whenever possible. Exercise is only one component of weight loss. But by combining HIIT workouts and a healthy diet, you’ll see results quickly.
Also, if you build muscles easily (especially on your legs) and you want to slim down your lower body, you need to make sure you’re doing the right type of HIIT.
As I said, HIIT is great but routines that have a lot of burpees, squats and lunges may add bulkiness to your legs.
I have a lot of full body HIIT workouts that will help you burn lots of calories without adding bulk. Here are some of my favorite HIIT routines: