The Ultimate Guide to High-Intensity Interval Training

What is HIIT?

HIIT, short for High Intensity Interval Training, is a method of training where one would give a short burst of max effort, followed by an active recovery period. The set would then be repeated as desired. A common example would be sprinting at 80-100% effort for a hundred meters, rest a couple minutes and repeat.

HIIT training has been the hype lately simply because it’s scientifically proven to burn more fat in a lesser amount of time, as opposed to traditional steady state cardio. What most people don’t realize is that HIIT training methods have been around since forever and is especially practiced by fitness professionals and athletes because of the multitude of benefits that it provides. Just take a look at sprinters. Notice how ripped and dense their bodies are?

Jump To Section:
10 Benefits of HIIT
HIIT Vs Steady State Cardio
A Quick Fat-Blasting Workout to Try Now
Customize Your Own Workout
Final Thoughts on HIIT

10 Benefits of HIIT

Burns More Fat for You

Just this first benefit will get you sold on the idea of incorporating HIIT training into your regime. Traditional steady state cardio burns calories for you only during the workout. HIIT on the other hand, burns calories and fat up till 38 hours, even after your workout is done!

Takes Lesser Time

If only you knew from the start that you could burn more fat faster within a fraction of long traditional workouts, you wouldn’t be spending hours doing cardio, ever. This phenomenon of burning fat faster is due to HIIT’s nature of workouts that are very intensive. Your fitness results is based on how hard you work rather than how long you work


No Equipment Needed

Incorporating training equipment for HIIT training can be great, but you can achieve the same results even when training without equipment. The point of HIIT is to push your heart rate to it’s max to create an after-burn effect known as EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption. This is a process where your body continues to burn calories after the workout, in order to replenish your oxygen levels after a hard HIIT training session.

Train Anywhere

Because you don’t necessarily need any equipment, High Intensity Interval Training can be done practically anywhere. Busy? Can’t make it to the gym? A 20 minute HIIT session at home will do the trick.

Increases Your Metabolism

Your body at any given moment, is in a process of burning calories for you 24 hours around the clock. This refers to your metabolism. A boost in metabolism would help you burn even more calories and shed off fat.

You’ll Build More Muscle

If the only thing you do is long cardio sessions without any form of muscle hypertrophy, you’re just going to end up looking like a skinny and flimsy zombie…which doesn’t make you look any better at all or become fitter. HIIT has been proven to preserve and build even more lean muscle while you shed fat away.

Improves Cardiac Health

Intensive workouts will increase your VO2 max and according to Science News, this will translate to better cardiac health and even prevent major diseases such as type II diabetes.

HIIT Can be Challenging

Most people would hit a plateau after doing the same exercises at the same level of intensity week after week. Fitness professionals knows that you need to change it up every once in awhile to trigger the body into a new level of intensity for greater gainzzz!! HIIT will challenge you into a whole new level of intensity.

Builds Endurance

HIIT training is a good measure of how quickly you recover in between sets. If you train with HIIT regularly, you will notice how quickly you start to recover in between sets and adjust your workout to further challenge your now-improved endurance.

Customizable Workouts

There is no single way to carry out HIIT. In fact, the possibilities of putting together an interval routine is infinite. Fitness sites such as the Fitness Blender literally have hundreds of different HIIT workouts ready for you. This makes HIIT interesting and you can exercise on your own terms.

HIIT Vs Steady State Cardio

Does this mean that I should completely disregard traditional cardio? So, of course here comes the all-time great debate; Which is better? Both HIIT and LISS, also known as Low Intensity Steady State Cardio, has their own unique benefits. Though, we won’t deny that HIIT is definitely more efficient for fat-burning protocols. Here’s a look at 2 major differences of HIIT vs LISS:

Steady State Cardio Only Burns Calories During the Workout

We highlighted earlier that HIIT training creates an after burn effect that makes your body continue to burn fat even after your workout session. Steady state cardio unfortunately doesn’t. The moment your workout ends, your body won’t be burning anymore significant amount of calories.

Technically, if you intend to put yourself at a deficit of 500 calories for a specific day by doing cardio, you’re better off saving your energy and simply eating 500 calories less of food.

Aerobic vs Anaerobic

HIIT is anaerobic and LISS is aerobic.

Aerobic refers to exercises that is intended to improve the efficiency of the body’s cardiovascular system. Aerobic depends on the absorbing and transporting of oxygen while performing the exercise. Apart from weight loss, aerobic exercises helps in improving your cardiac health and fitness endurance.

On the other hand, to train anaerobically is to train without oxygen. Instead, the intense work of anaerobic exercises will result in the creation of EPOC. Basically, EPOC is an after burn effect of calories even after the workout has ended for up to 38 hours. This is actually a process for the body to make up for oxygen deficit during the workout.

The Verdict?

Do both. By doing both HIIT and steady state cardio, you reap off all the benefits from these 2 types of training methods for a better overall health and fitness. Most coaches found that their athletes whom thrive in anaerobic performance but neglect cardiovascular training, would put on a great performance in sports but burn out quickly.

HIIT training can also be taxing on the body and too much of it would result in overtraining. The Fitness Junkie Blog notes that HIIT, just like resistance training, shouldn’t be carried out more than three times a week and should be balanced out with moderate and steady cardio.

A Quick Fat-Blasting Workout to Try Now

To get started, here’s a super quick and effective HIIT workout by the Dailyburn. This workout makes a great illustration that getting in shape doesn’t have to take long hours and can be pretty fun too!

Customize Your Own Workout

Over the recent years, circuit training workouts such as Crossfit and Tabata, have been increasingly popular among the fitness community. HIIT workouts like these allows you to train according to your own terms, make every session an interesting one and accelerate your fitness goals.

Simply list down a few different exercises, execute them in a circuit-fashion and you’re set to get in a grueling yet fulfilling workout. Fitness sites such as Beachbody.com can also help you get started immediately by streaming different popular HIIT workouts that you can follow.


Final Thoughts on HIIT

HIIT training can benefit everyone. If it has helped fitness professionals get to the level that they’re at, it can definitely be good for you too. If you are a beginner, be sure to start off with a less challenging routine. Start with fewer sets, have longer rest periods in between and work your way up as you get fitter.

When it comes to getting fitter in a fun, flexible and efficient manner, High Intensity Interval Training hiits the spot.

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