What is HIIT really?
Well, it may look like a keyboard with a sticky key, but HIIT is far more than that. HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training; in other words, kind of scary training if we’re yet to master LIOTWTNGOT – Low-Intensity Training When There’s Nothing Good On Television.
You may have seen promos proliferating the internet in our modern, time-poor digital age – ‘Get fit in ten minutes’ or ‘Lose those unwanted pounds in one ad break’. Or words to that effect.
That’s the essence of the HIIT workout mentality. HIIT offers none of the laborious hour-long trudges from machine to machine a traditional gym program throws at you to lose weight or gain muscle tone; HIIT is like a highlights reel of gym training, done and dusted in next to no time; an almost non-stop blur of frantic activity.
It’s not for everyone, but it’s here to stay and if hitting a gym for an hour or more throws your entire day out of whack, it might be time to consider some fast and furious HIIT.
So let’s get down to some HIIT specifics…
What’s a typical HIIT workout?
Well, there’s no such thing; a HIIT workout can encompass hundreds of variations and all kinds of exercises. Essentially HIIT is a high-intensity cardio workout whereby you go hell for leather at an exercise for short bursts followed by short, low-intensity recovery time. Then another exercise and recovery until you’ve completed your short-sharp routine or fallen in an exhausted heap.
One thing’s for certain; you’ll get hot and sweaty very quickly and your heart rate will soar. Be it a workout based on heart health, strength and weight training or fat burning and weight loss, HIIT is an intense workout.
As a result, it’s not for everyone. If you’re just starting out and are on the unfit side of fit, HIIT is definitely not an option; not yet. Build core fitness first with moderately intense workouts and seek regular advice from a gym instructor or personal trainer.
How long is a HIIT workout?
Basically, it can as short as 5 minutes and that might be plenty long enough to start. As your fitness grows and adapts to the intensity, your workouts can extend to 30 minutes if desired. But the key to HIIT is hard work for a short period.
What are the benefits of HIIT?
Well, it’s the fast lane to fitness, pure and simple. If you can cope with the gasping for air and burning muscles, HIIT may well be a worthy addition to your weekly routine.
Some of the more accepted benefits of HIIT are:
· Fat loss in a fraction of the time
· Higher energy expenditure
· Muscle growth
· Improved strength and power
· Less belly fat
· Leaner tissue
· Improved metabolism
· Potential 24 hour continued fat burning post-workout
· Less time commitment
· Fast results
If you’re serious about training and want to give HIIT a go, make sure you talk to an expert first. If you have a personal trainer, great; they can assess your fitness and design a HIIT workout to suit. They’ll also adapt your program over time to ensure your body never goes into cruise mode.