Why You Should Be Doing HIIT
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of training that is steadily growing in popularity and is backed up by some very intriguing evidence. Many gyms offer some type of HIIT class, and the popular workout program CrossFit is based in high intensity training. Anyone who is looking to reach their fitness goals, whether those are for performance or for solely aesthetic reasons, can most likely benefit from utilizing HIIT.
What Is It?
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. So let’s get this out of the way right now, don’t call it “HIIT Training”. The “T” already stands for “Training”, so you don’t need to say the word “Training” again. It’s like people who say “ATM Machine” (shudders) … is that a machine that makes automated teller machines, or are you just saying the word “machine” twice on accident?
Anyway. HIIT is when exercise movements are performed at HIGH INTENSITY in specific work/rest intervals. One of the most popular styles of HIIT is Tabata – where you work for twenty seconds performing as many reps as possible, then rest for 10 seconds (usually repeated for 8 rounds which is 4 minutes total). This can be done with push ups, sit ups, pull ups, air squats, running, etc. It means that you will basically sprint for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 and repeat.
20 on 10 off is not the only form of HIIT, different people use a lot of different formats, such as an EMOM (every minute on the minute) format. This is where you work for a minute and then switch to another movement for a minute, then switch again, etc. You are performing a movement at HIGH INTENSITY for a minute, then moving on to something else at the top of each minute.
Any interval training when done at a high intensity is considered – you guessed it – HIIT. HIIT takes on many forms, but is typically done for short periods of time, usually less than 20 minutes.
What are the benefits?
The benefits if HIIT all essentially boil down to the fact that you can get an extremely good workout in a very short amount of time. In fact, many studies (1, 2, 3) are showing that HIIT routines can be just as beneficial as routines that are twice as long but lower in intensity and effort.
This means that busy people who “don’t have time to work out” might actually be able to get amazing workouts in 30 minutes or less per day.
Amazing workouts, in this case, means workouts that burn fat (4), build muscle (5), and increase metabolism for up to 24 hours after exercising (6). Some individuals might even get as good of cardiovascular gains by doing HIIT as they would by doing much longer running workouts (7).
That’s pretty nuts. That means by just working out at a higher intensity, you can significantly cut down on the amount of time it would typically take to get a beneficial workout. So you might as well drink some caffeine, pump up the music, and get after it!
How do I start?
Whether you’re doing HIIT or any other training routine, we suggest you do it under the watchful eye of a knowledgable coach or trainer. The high intensity nature of this type of exercise could mean that if you aren’t performing the movements correctly, you might be doing more harm than good. Please, take time to learn the movements correctly and get professional help!
If you already feel comfortable with simple bodyweight movements and want to ride this wave of motivation to work out RIGHT NOW – start HERE or HERE! You don’t need any equipment for those workouts and they can be done anywhere.