High-Intensity Interval Training has become a highly efficient approach for weight loss and enhancing overall fitness. This workout method entails brief, intense activity intervals followed by rest or low-intensity exercise.
You can effortlessly engage in HIIT workouts using just your body weight or incorporating dumbbells.
This approach enables you to burn more calories in a shorter timeframe than traditional, longer-duration, steady-state training programs. Remarkably, just 15 minutes of HIIT can torch more calories than an hour of steady jogging on a treadmill.
What’s more, this training method keeps your calorie-burning engine running even after the workout is complete! Read on as we take you through what high-intensity interval training means and how it can benefit you.
Table of Contents
What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training comprises brief moments of vigorous exercise interspersed with low-intensity recovery periods. Surprisingly, it is considered one of the most efficient exercise methods, requiring minimal time investment. A typical HIIT session lasts between 10 to 30 minutes.
Its primary goal is to optimize athletic performance when muscles are deprived of oxygen. Including HIIT in your workout routine is beneficial for building strength, improving muscle endurance, and aiding weight loss. During HIIT, you exercise during work periods followed by rest periods.
This cycle is repeated throughout the workout, alternating between the two. These exercises activate and recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers capable of generating high power output. The crucial aspect of a HIIT-based workout lies in engaging in exercises that push you to your maximum capacity.
Activities such as walking or other low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS) do not suffice in this regard. The reason is that your heart rate fails to reach the desired intensity required to fully experience the benefits of HIIT. The type of exercises in a HIIT workout might include:
- Stationary biking
- Plyometrics, like box jumps or burpees
- Weight lifting circuits
- Jumping rope
Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training
It Increases Metabolism
Despite enhancing fat-burning and preserving muscle, High-Intensity Interval Training workouts stimulate the production of human growth hormone (HGH) in your body. The levels of HGH surge by a remarkable 450% within the 24 hours following your workout.
As a result, your metabolism receives a temporary boost, and with consistent HIIT training, your overall metabolic rate can increase. This improved metabolism reduces the likelihood of weight gain and facilitates the efficient elimination of toxins from your body.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, HIIT workouts continue to burn calories even after you have completed the session. Engaging in a HIIT workout jumpstarts your body’s metabolism to a level where the fat-burning effects persist for hours after your workout concludes.
It Improves Cardiovascular
High-intensity interval training can improve your heart’s health whether you have a generally healthy heart or experiencing cardiovascular conditions. It can also promote better metabolic health by positively affecting blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
A study conducted in 2015 observed that a 10-week HIIT program yielded cardiovascular and metabolic advantages comparable to those achieved through moderate-intensity workouts.
The study involved 90 participants who were previously physically inactive. They were assigned to either a HIIT program or a traditional moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) program. The HIIT program required an average total exercise time of 55 minutes per week. This was relatively less than half of the 128 minutes per week spent by participants in the MICT program.
Increased Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC
Referred to as “after-burn,” the body’s natural process of regaining equilibrium or homeostasis is known as EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Analogous to a car engine that remains warm after a long drive and gradually cools down to its initial resting temperature, EPOC ensures that you continue to burn calories even after completing your workout, surpassing the calorie burn of a conventional steady-pace exercise session.
Following an intense workout, the body sustains a high-calorie burn compared to its pre-workout state as it gradually returns to its baseline condition. After a HIIT workout, your body must consume oxygen and therefore burn calories to;
- Work with protein to repair muscles and other tissues.
- Replenish the fuel your body uses for muscular activity.
- Restore body temperature to resting levels.
- Re-synthesize muscle glycogen, and restore oxygen levels.
HIIT Can Increase VO2 Max
While it may seem unlikely that a single workout session can yield significant results, High-Intensity Interval Training proves otherwise. A study was conducted to prove this point where two groups of type-2 diabetes were put to walk at different intervals and a moderate interval five times a week for 4 months.
The results demonstrated notable improvements in the interval-walking group. Specifically, their VO2 max, an indicator of cardiovascular fitness, increased, while no such changes were observed in the continuous-walking group.
Moreover, the interval-walking group experienced reductions in body mass and fat mass, showcasing the effectiveness of this training approach in facilitating weight loss. Additionally, they exhibited improved glycemic control, indicating enhanced management of blood sugar levels.
These findings underscore the potential benefits of incorporating HIIT into fitness routines, even with just a single session.
You’re More Likely To Stick With It
People tend to derive greater enjoyment from High-Intensity Interval Training compared to engaging in continuous moderate or vigorous exercises. Moreover, HIIT enables individuals to challenge themselves beyond their comfort zone, as they know that rest periods will follow.
HIIT workouts are most suitable for individuals who are already moderately active and possess a healthy cardiovascular system. However, anyone can progress towards incorporating HIIT routines into their fitness regimen by gradually and steadily improving their physical condition.
It’s essential to consult a qualified trainer constantly for valuable guidance in a personalized HIIT program that meets your needs and capabilities.
Ideal for Weight Loss
One of the main reasons why HIIT workouts have gained immense popularity is their remarkable effectiveness in weight loss. When aiming to shed pounds, the goal is to burn fat and build lean muscle to enhance fat-burning capabilities further.
HIIT compels the body to tap into its fat stores for energy instead of relying on carbohydrates, leading to more efficient fat loss.
Retaining muscle mass while on a weight-loss regimen is always difficult. However, research indicates that HIIT enables individuals to preserve their hard-earned muscles while maximizing fat burn.
HIIT facilitates greater calorie expenditure during the workout than steady-state cardio and intense exercise stimulates the body’s metabolism long after the session.
This means that your body remains in a state of fat-burning for up to 24 hours following a HIIT workout, resulting in increased fat and calorie depletion compared to a steady-paced run.
In conclusion, to optimize the benefits of your HIIT workouts, integrate resistance exercises, diversify your intervals, and pay attention to your body to prevent overexertion. You can effectively attain your weight loss and fitness objectives by consistently engaging in HIIT sessions and staying committed.
The benefits of HIIT are indisputable, and by integrating these workout sessions into their regular schedules, you can enjoy the perks. HIIT provides a flexible and convenient approach to achieving results and staying motivated within a shorter time frame.