8 reasons you should start HIIT
High-intensity interval training – more commonly referred to as HIIT – is characterised by short bursts of super-intense, heart-pumping movements like sprints, burpees, or jumping jacks. HIIT gained popularity when people discovered that they could get a solid workout in an extraordinarily short amount of time. “HIIT is over really quick,” says exercise physiologist William Alexander, “short bursts of high intensity work means your session is over nearly before it started.” In an age when we’re busier than ever, it makes sense that this aspect of HIIT is particularly appealing. But here’s the kicker, HIIT isn’t just a time saver or a godsend for lazy people. This is why.
It really works
“From the heart to the muscles to the metabolic system – all are pushed to the limit during a HIIT session, and the body’s natural response is to function more efficiently,” explains Alexander. “Studies indicate that HIIT offers significantly higher benefits compared to moderate intensity exercise – even just one HIIT session a week will get you stronger, leaner, and in better shape than if you spent double the amount of time doing steady-state cardio.”
It can be done anywhere
“HIIT works well as an equipment-free workout, so you can do it no matter where you are,” says Alexander, “whether it’s outside, in a hotel room or your living room.” HIIT workouts can utilise your own body weight, so any workout that gets your heart rate up quickly such as running, plyometrics, high knees and jumping jacks can be turned into a HIIT workout.
It increases your metabolism
“After a HIIT session, your metabolic rate will stay higher for longer,” says Alexander, “this is because your body’s repair cycle goes into hyper drive.” This means in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout your body is still burning calories and fat. “This is due to the higher resistance component involved in HIIT, which means you consume more oxygen than a non-interval workout routine. The excess amount of oxygen consumed helps increase your rate of metabolism.”
It helps you use energy more effectively
“HIIT uses a system of work-hard-then-recovery intervals, alternating between high intensity workouts with short resting periods,” says Alexander, “consequently, your body learns how to efficiently use the energy that comes from your body’s energy systems and recover from bursts of intensity quicker.”
It helps build endurance
“HIIT adapts to the cellular structure of muscles which enables you to increase your endurance while doing any type of exercise,” Alexander tells us. Studies show that people who participated in HIIT for eight weeks were able to double the length of time they could ride a bicycle while keeping the same pace.
It’s good for heart health
“It’s hard for most people to push themselves to an anaerobic zone where you lose your breath and feel your heart pounding incredibly fast,” Alexander says. “With interval training it’s easier to push yourself to that level, because of the rest interval that comes soon after you reach that point.” This helps keep your heart super healthy, and assists blood flow effectively throughout your whole body.
It’s always challenging
HIIT workouts offer seasoned pro’s a new challenge, and beginners a quick way to see amazing results. “Because you are constantly pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll never get bored with your workout,” Alexander says.
Wanna get your HIIT on? Try out this full body HIIT workout!