If you’re looking to break a sweat but you find yourself constantly in a time crunch, High Intensity Interval Training could be the perfect resolution. High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT for short, is hailed as the ultimate time efficient workout as it typically requires less time than a traditional workout regime.
Here’s everything you need to know about HIIT workouts.
What is HIIT?
HIIT training is a workout strategy which requires short bursts of intense training. This then alternates with brief, low intensity rest periods. A typical HIIT workout lasts anywhere from 20-30 minutes making it an attractive alternative to more traditional hour-long training sessions.
It’s also a sure-fire way to squeeze in daily exercise, even for the most time-poor of us. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly half (49.4%) of employed people spend the majority of their day sitting.
A recent study revealed that a sedentary lifestyle, which includes sitting for long periods of time on the train, at work and while watching television, can have disastrous ramifications on our health. A HIIT workout is a short, yet effective way to combat an overly sedentary lifestyle, even on time constraints.
What is a HIIT workout?
The beauty of HIIT workouts is they are adaptable and can be easily modified depending on your fitness and energy levels.
Here are some examples of HIIT workouts:
- Sprints: Whether you’re on a treadmill or in your neighbourhood, you can incorporate HIIT training into your run. You can do this by alternating between short, intense sprints and rest periods of jogging or walking.
- Cycling: Using a stationary bike, try peddling for intense, short intervals.
- Mountain climbers: In the plank position, try 30 seconds of high intense mountain climbers and then 30 seconds rest.
- Rowing sprints: On a rowing machine, row intensely for 30-60 seconds followed by a short break.
- Kettlebell swings: Using a kettlebell, swing with both arms for an intense core-engaging exercise. Alternate between the swings and rest periods.
Are HIIT workouts good for weight loss?
Most medical studies agree that HIIT workouts are just as effective, if not better, than traditional medium intensity continuous training (MITC).
The BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine Journal found that after 12 weeks of HIIT training, study participants experienced “significant weight loss and BMI reduction” which equated to up to six per cent of their initial body weight.
Why choose HIIT workouts over traditional workouts?
HIIT workouts are favoured over traditional workouts because it has the ability to deliver maximum results in a shorter time span. This is attractive to those who may only have 20-30 minutes in their day to dedicate to exercise.
Similarly, the ability to sustain high intensity over a shorter period of time also reduces the risk of fatigue which could affect form and performance.
What are the benefits of HIIT workouts?
Time efficient: Besides being a great way to exercise, HIIT workouts are time efficient making them attractive to those who have hectic schedules.
Adaptability: HIIT workouts are also tailorable to your exercise and skill level. You can adjust the intensity level, interval times and the total duration of the workout day by day.
Weight loss: Studies show that HIIT workouts are just as effective, if not more so than traditional MICT workouts.
Broader health benefits: Whilst the broader health benefits of HIIT workouts are difficult to generalise, studies have shown that this method of training can have significant positive effects on cardiovascular health.