HIIT Training – High Intensity Interval Training

What is HIIT Training?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT workouts are usually split into two interval periods of work and recovery. For example a 30 second sprint would be the work and a 1 minute walk would be the recovery interval. These intervals are repeated (the number of times depends on your goal, fitness level and the length of your intervals) until the end of your HIIT session.

Is HIIT Effective?

HIIT training is extremely effective at increasing your fitness quickly and helps you to lose weight fast (fat loss) if incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Studies show that your metabolism is raised for 12-48 hours after a HIIT session and this is where more of its fat loss benefits come from. This process is known as EPOC – excess post exercise oxygen consumption.

Where and With What Equipment Can You Do HIIT Training?

Pretty much anything and everything! You can do intervals on the treadmill, bike, cross trainer, rower etc but you can also use the protocol wherever you are if you use a bit of imagination. Use it on your road runs, with weights, with your bodyweight, up and down stairs, on a boxing bag – the options are endless!

Any Negatives To HIIT training?

high intensity interval trainingHIIT really takes you to some place way outside of your comfort zone which many people aren’t used to. The first thing we want to do when we step out of our comfort zone is to go back in if we feel uncomfortable. My advice to avoid this from happening would be to make sure that you guage yourself and your fitness level for the first week. Do short intervals if you havn’t done them before and get used to the feeling. You want to be working at around an 8 out of 10 intensity during your work intervals (where 10 out of 10 feels like your heart is about to pump out of your chest!). Then gradually make progressions i.e. longer lasting work intervals, a greater number of intervals etc.

An extra negative for me is that I usually can’t do anything more in my workout after HIIT. My strength decreases dramatically if I want to do weights and I don’t like doing my intervals after a weight session if my main goal is fat loss because my intervals suffer. So it becomes difficult when you can’t commit to training 5-7 days a week! This is when it may be better to add low/moderate intensity cardio after your weight sessions if you want to get both done on the same day.

HIIT or Low Intensity Cardio?

When performing low intensity cardio workouts, a greater percentage of the total calories burned will be from fat. However, if we look at the bigger picture this is not usually the best option for fat loss. The reason why is that although a bigger percentage of fat is burned with low intensity cardio, you’re likely to burn more calories in total (and usually in less time) if you were doing High Intensity Interval Training. This means that although the percentage of fat burned was less – the total amount of fat calories burned is probably greater with HIIT.

With HIIT you also get that ‘afterburn’ effect (known as EPOC – excess post exercise oxygen consumption) that keeps your metabolism raised way after the end of your session. This, for me, makes HIIT the ultimate in ‘burn fat cardio’ if you will. However there are still reasons and certain situations where you would be better served with low/moderate intensity cardio.

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