Are you getting the most from your workouts? Are you getting results you can see? Try HIIT!
You’ve heard of HIIT, but why should you integrate it into your workout routine 2-3 times a week?
For a quick refresher, High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is a research-backed training system that alternates between high-intensity efforts and periods of rest. The system burns more calories in a shorter period of time than traditional, longer duration, steady-state training programs. Just 15 minutes of HIIT can burn more calories than jogging steadily on a treadmill for an hour. Plus, this training method will maximize your calorie burn even when the workout is over!
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The Benefits of HIIT are Numerous
1) Increased Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC
Commonly referred to as “after-burn”, EPOC is the body’s natural process of returning to homeostasis or equilibrium. Think of a car engine after a long drive; it stays warm as it gradually returns to its original resting temperature. Similarly, after an intense workout, the body continues to burn more calories than it did pre-workout as it gradually returns to its original state.
After a HIIT workout, your body must consume oxygen and therefore burn calories to A) replenish the fuel your body used for muscular activity, B) re-synthesize muscle glycogen, C) restore oxygen levels, D) work with protein to repair muscles and other tissues and E) restore body temperature to resting levels. This means you burn more calories long after the workout is over than you would after a traditional steady-pace workout.
2) Altered body composition
Research has shown that HIIT workouts favor fat metabolism while inducing the production of a growth hormone called IGF-1 that allows the body to produce lean muscle mass. In other words, you burn fat while building muscle!
3) Increased aerobic capacity
By improving VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can utilize during exercise), your body has a better ability to consume and utilize oxygen. Alternating between the efforts and rests also trains you to breathe effectively.
4) HIIT is beneficial for the endurance athlete
The body learns how to efficiently exploit its different energy systems. The endurance athlete also develops “work capacity” or the ability to tolerate a high level of intensity for a longer period of time. Then, there’s the “mental toughness” aspect that is developed as you push your limits during the intense efforts.
5) Great for your heart
The increased pressure demand of HIIT causes blood vessels to actually get a workout, too! Participants in HIIT programs have shown improved blood pressures and cardiac stroke volumes - the amount of blood pumped by the heart per beat.
6) Perfect for a busy schedule
Short on time? Perfect. Since HIIT workouts produce similar fitness benefits as longer, steady-pace endurance workouts, yet in a shorter time period, you can squeeze a workout in during your lunch break!
7) You’re more likely to stick with it
Studies show that participants enjoy HIIT more than continuous moderate or vigorous exercise. Additionally, you learn to push yourself outside your comfort zone, because you know rest is coming!
HIIT workouts are best suited to those who are already somewhat active and have a healthy cardiovascular system. However, anybody can work up to practicing HIIT routines by starting out slowly and gradually building fitness. Your trainer is a great resource for helping you design a HIIT program that is right for you!