High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are one of the most well-known forms of exercise. This seemingly simple workout is mainly known for its effectiveness, especially in regards to fat burning. However, because this workout is usually done in a short period (typically ranging from 15 to 30 minutes), some doubt its effectiveness.
In this guide, we are going to explain what HIIT workouts are, how to perform HIIT workouts, and all the top benefits of HIIT workouts aside from burning fat.
So, without further ado, let’s get started – and let’s burn that fat afterward!
What Are HIIT Workouts?
Simply put, HIIT workouts are any type of workout that alternate between intense activity and mild to low activity or possibly even complete rest. This is a pattern that you should complete in a short period, say, within 15 minutes.
There is no specific way of performing a HIIT workout. As long as you follow the high-to-low activity pattern within a short period, it can be considered a HIIT workout.
The key to making HIIT workouts effective is by getting intense during high or intense phases to help raise your heartbeat. Some doubt the effectiveness of HIIT workouts because they are usually done in as little as around 15 to 30 minutes only. But the whole point of HIIT workouts is to push your body within this short period.
How To Perform HIIT Workouts
As mentioned earlier, there is no specific way of performing a HIIT workout. As long as you follow the high-to-low pattern over a short period, that can be considered a HIIT workout. You can do a high-intensity weight workout during this period or do something like run hurdles.
Here is an example of a HIIT workout: Run as fast as you can for 15-20 seconds, then take a 1-2 minute walk. Then simply repeat that pattern over and over again for around 15-20 minutes.
HIIT workouts can be done with or without equipment, and it can be done with virtually any exercise: jogging/running, pushups, squat jumps, stationary bike workouts, dumbbell workouts, etc. Because of this, HIIT workouts can be easily incorporated into your workouts. Or, if you can’t find the time to work out, you can start by devoting at least 10-15 minutes of HIIT workout every day.
Benefits Of HIIT
HIIT workouts can offer some great benefits for your health and fitness. Here are some of the benefits that you can get if you perform HIIT workouts or adding them to your workout:
1) Helps You Burn Fat
Let’s start with why HIIT workouts are very popular: it is known to help in burning fat.
HIIT workouts help you burn fat by forcing your body to exert bursting and intense effort in a very limited time again and again until you finish the whole interval. When you put your body into overdrive (on such an interval phase), your body will be forced to utilize fat to keep up with the intense activity.
What’s more, this fat-burning phase will continue for as long as 24 hours, even after the initial workout is done. This is because your body needs fat to get the energy it needs to recover after such an intense period. In other words, your body is still burning off fats while you’re done working out!
2) Increases Your Metabolism
Aside from helping your burn fat, HIIT workouts can help increase your metabolism as well. This happens because HIIT workouts can promote the production of human growth hormone (HGH). Production of HGH is already great in itself, but one effect of it is increased metabolism.
3) Improves Your Oxygen Consumption
Oxygen consumption is very important if you want to endure longer and/or more intense physical activities.
Oxygen consumption is how your muscles can utilize oxygen when performing demanding activities. If your muscles cannot utilize oxygen well, you won’t be able to endure much in intense activities or exercises.
To improve oxygen consumption and overall endurance, endurance training is used to meet that goal. However, HIIT workouts can help you with endurance and oxygen consumption as well.
The major difference between traditional endurance workouts and HIIT workout is their timeframe: endurance workouts are typically long while HIIT workouts are short. Nevertheless, both can achieve the same goal of improving oxygen consumption and overall endurance.
4) Makes Your Heart Stronger And Healthier
The extreme nature of the HIIT workout will push your heart to its limit and make it stronger in the process (assuming you’re doing HIIT workouts properly). Just for example, in one interesting study, participants can bike twice the distance and keeping the same pace after doing 8 weeks of HIIT workouts. This is just one example of what HIIT workouts can do to your heart and endurance!
5) Can Help You Keep Your Muscles While You Burn Fat
Depending on our routine, muscle loss can sometimes happen as we burn off our fats. One good example of this is long-term cardio exercises: if your workout mainly consists of cardio only, you would burn fat, but you might lose your muscles as well. This is why cardio is done for only a short period, especially if building muscles is your priority.
If you want to burn off your fat without the risk of losing your muscles, consider performing HIIT workouts. You will mostly burn fats with HIIT workouts instead of muscles, so you’ll preserve your muscles and burn only fats.
6) You May Gain Some Muscles
Not only will HIIT workouts keep your muscles as you burn fat, but you may also even gain some muscles from it! However, the muscles gained from HIIT workouts are little compared to traditional muscle-building exercises such as weight training.
If your primary aim is muscle building, consider weight training or adding some muscle growth supplements, like Anadrole or Ghost Size, to your routine. However, it will not hurt to get in some HIIT workouts!
7) It Is Very Practical Even For The Busiest Person
Don’t have time for the gym? Is gym membership, or are workout equipment too expensive? Don’t have a good place to work out? I’m sorry to say, but HIIT is going to break these excuses!
As already mentioned above, you can easily get started with HIIT workouts (though doing it is never easy!)
No equipment? No problem! You can perform HIIT workouts using your very body alone. No place? No problem! You can do HIIT workouts in your garage, a park, or your bedroom after you wake up.
Above all, you can do HIIT workouts, even if you have a busy schedule. All you need to do is devote at least 10-15 minutes to a HIIT workout. If you can’t start a workout routine because of your schedule, maybe you can get started with a HIIT workout routine!
Mistakes To Avoid While Doing HIIT Workouts
Although HIIT workouts are a simple method of working out, you still need to do it properly to make it work. If you don’t properly do it, it won’t be as effective as it should, and you may even hurt your body in the long run.
When performing HIIT workouts, here are some mistakes you should avoid to make your workout as effective as possible:
- Not being intense enough – You need to be as intense as possible during high-intervals to make HIIT workouts effective. Otherwise, you won’t get much from the workout.
- High-intervals are too long – High-intervals are done in very short amounts of time to force you to burst all your efforts. If you go longer, it’ll take more time for you to recover, and you’ll just diminish the intensity in the process.
- Taking too much rest (or low-intervals are too long) – The whole point of low-intervals or even rest is to help you recover quickly for another shot or intense exercises. However, if you take too much rest, you’re going to slow down the fat-burning mechanism of the workout.
- Skipping warm-ups and cool-downs – Although HIIT workouts are typically done only in around 15-30 minutes, it does not mean that you will skip warm-ups and cool-downs. These two are necessary for conditioning your body to the workout and helping you recover quickly afterward.
- Not having proper form – Although HIIT workouts are an intense workout, never forget your form to make the most of your exercise and avoid any possible aches or injuries.
Should You Give HIIT Workouts A Try?
If you can move and are a healthy human being, HIIT workouts could be a great addition to your workout routine. Whether you are at a gym, in a group class, or even at home, you can typically do them just about everywhere. That’s just one of the many things that make them great.