An Introduction to HIIT
If you are looking for an extremely effective way to burn calories, then you need to give HIIT a try.
For those who don’t know, HIIT stands for “high-intensity interval training.” This is an exercise system that embodies the principle that “less is more.”
If you are unfamiliar with this exercise system, but you are interested in learning about, then you have come to the right place.
In this short article, you will find out what HIIT is and why it is so effective.
What Is HIIT?
As was mentioned in the introduction, HIIT is an exercise system that works on the principle of “less is more.”
HIIT encourages you to do very short bursts of intense exercise, punctuated with breaks in-between.
The “breaks” often consist of doing light exercise to keep your heart up.
To give you an example of what HIIT set looks like, here is a very typical set that a lot of people who practice HIIT do on a regular basis.
You start out by doing 30-seconds of sprinting, burpees, or deadman sprints. Then, you do 60-seconds of light jogging. This is considered a single set. You then repeat this set as many times as desired (typically, people do 8-10 sets per session).
One of the major components of HIIT and why so many people love it is that it gives you a large degree of freedom when it comes to choosing what sort of exercise you do.
The example given above is just one of the many ways that you can do HIIT.
For example, if you like treadmills, you can do HIIT on a treadmill by setting high-resistance levels and going as fast as possible for a short period and then going back to a brisk jog.
So, no matter your preferred form of exercise, you can do HIIT that you enjoy and that works best for you.
Why Is It Effective?
So, what is it about HIIT that makes it effective?
Why is it that short bursts of intense exercise are better than long periods of moderately intense exercise?
It has to do with the way that your body responds to extremely intense exercise.
The high-intensity exercise, even though it is done in short bursts, kickstarts your metabolism in a way that moderate exercise just doesn’t.
Kicking your metabolism into high gear really helps you to burn calories at a faster rate than you would otherwise.
4 Best Types of HIIT Workouts
If you aren’t already familiar with the idea of HIIT workouts, the idea behind them is pretty simple.
Rather than long exercise sessions, HIIT encourages you to do very short exercise sessions, but it also encourages you to do extremely hard, calorie-burning exercises.
One of the main attractions of HIIT is the freedom to do any combination of exercises that you want.
With this in mind, this article will look at 4 of the best HIIT workouts.
Sprinting and Jogging/Walking
One of the top HIIT workouts that you can do is a combo of sprinting and jogging or walking (depending on your personal preferences and fitness levels).
Why is this on this list?
Well, it is incredibly simple and easy to do.
Everyone out there knows how to sprint and how to jog.
You don’t need to learn how to do any special exercises, which makes it a lot easier for those of us who aren’t sure how to do things like burpees or other high-intensity cardio exercises.
Push-ups and Squats
If you are feeling truly adventurous, you can try push-ups and squats.
This HIIT workout, as the name suggests, involves a combination of both push-ups and squats
Basically, you do a sequence of 10 push-ups and 10 squats (you can do them one after the other or alternate).
Then you rest and repeat.
The reason this is an adventurous workout is that it is fairly difficult.
The mixture of squats and push-ups can take a massive toll on your body, but if you can handle it, it is a great way of burning calories, burning fat, and building muscle.
Treadmill or Exercise Bike Workout
Both treadmills and exercise bikes are absolutely amazing pieces of equipment when it comes to delivering an effective HIIT workout.
The main reason for this is because both of these pieces of equipment come with very useful resistance settings.
So, as you can probably guess, the HIIT workout for both of these pieces of equipment involves turning the resistance level to a very high-setting for a short period, then turning it back down and continuing as normal.
You can easily modify the standard prisoner workout into being a truly effective HIIT workout.
Just do a mixture of push-ups, pull-ups, and squats in rapid succession and then rest.
The numbers are up to you decide and can be tweaked to fit your body better.
This is a good HIIT workout for strengthening all parts of your body and it burns some serious calories.
Why Interval Training Can Make Your Workouts More Effective
Interval training is the process of doing a move and then taking a short break before moving on to the next.
Perhaps the most popular example is HIIT, or high intensity interval training, where a move is repeated for a certain increment of time (usually in 45 second intervals) with a short rest in between (usually 15 second intervals).
Following each rest, a new move is started in the same interval format.
Generally, the interval format will be followed through multiple moves until you have finished a workout ranging from 5 to 60 minutes or more, depending on your endurance levels and the degree of training you’re participating in.
HIIT is extremely effective at raising your heart rate and making use of your body’s natural ability to go hard for short bursts.
The short recovery period gives you the chance to catch your breath, but isn’t so long that it allows your heart rate to lower substantially. Keeping the rest short also keeps the workout very efficient and high calorie burning.
HIIT isn’t the only form of interval training, though.
LIIT, or low intensity interval training, is also a very popular form of interval training that will allow your body to follow a similar interval format–this time with easier moves.
Generally, a LIIT workout will have longer workout intervals since the moves are lower in intensity.
This means you might squat for 1-2 minutes and then rest for 10-30 seconds before moving on to another low intensity move, like side steps.
Either form of interval training can prove to be very effective in building strength and/or burning calories, depending on the type of moves you incorporate.
But, it all begs the question: Is interval training the most effective way to workout? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may have hoped.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong way to structure your workout. Interval training is a favorite for many, especially HIIT, because of its calorie burning potential.
But, you might prefer steady state cardio where you sustain a single pace over a prolonged period of time, which also has its benefits (like building endurance).
Running, swimming, and bicycling are all forms of steady state cardio.
However, if you want to burn as many calories as possible in a short amount of time, HIIT might be a good thing to try.
On the other hand, if you want to work on your strength while still working up a sweat, LIIT might be for you. It all comes down to your goals and abilities.