Updated: May 12, 2020
HIIT training is all the rage at the moment and for good reason! It is an especially useful type of training in the current situation, as a means to keep fit with limited or no equipment in any location.
I am going to concisely explain exactly what it is and the benefits. If you want are interested in this type of training and want to get into it, then be sure to check out my home plan BURN, which has 1 months worth of zero equipment, at home - highly effective HIIT workouts ;)
HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a form of training that is done by alternating between periods of intense activity with rest or lighter activity. For example: 30 seconds sprints as fast as you can followed by 20 seconds rest, repeated for a duration of the workout.
The training is very adaptable, as you are able to apply the training method to so many different training styles - cardio based, body weight exercises, body part specific, or with certain equipment. This makes it transportable, it can be done at home with no equipment, on holiday - anywhere!
It is also by nature, a quick workout - a typical length between 20-45 minutes due to how intense the work periods are that can't be sustained for long periods of time compared to long walks or steady state jogs.
Now there are some more technical and specific variables of what makes actual HIIT training most effective and specific requirements of how it should be carried out, however i don't believe that is helpful for the average person who is doing HIIT training workouts. The average person is likely to be following online plans and live workouts where these variables are out of their hands anyways. Therefore i am basing this on the fact that the training follows the principles highlighted above.
So what are the actual health and fitness benefits?
1. High Calorie Burn - Due to the high intensity demands of the workout, HIIT workouts enable you to burn a lot of calories within a short space of time.
2. EPOC - Exercise post oxygen consumption. This is the amount of oxygen our body consumes after exercising that is above and beyond the pre exercise oxygen consumption baseline. Post exercise, our body experiences a process called homeostasis (returning to its resting state), this requires energy. Therefore we experience an increase in caloric expenditure after exercise compared to before exercise. Reynolds & Kravitz (2001) state that the following occur during EPOC: decrease in body temperature, replenishment of energy resources, re-oxygenation of blood and restoration of circulatory hormones, and return to normal heart rate and breathing rate.Very useful and well explained article can be read here.
3. Elevated Heart Rate - HIIT workouts done properly will certainly get your heart rate elevated to levels that you may not have raised it before during other workouts. Working out with an elevated heart rate means you are burning more calories, improving your stamina and VO2 max and also contributing towards increasing levels of good cholesterol and lowering levels of bad cholesterol.
4. Muscular Endurance - HIIT workouts using body weight or resistance exercises also double up as strength training so you are able to work your muscles at the same time. This is a major benefit, as you can build muscular endurance, help strengthen and maintain muscle mass through these workouts as opposed to long cardio sessions where you are in danger of losing some muscle mass. Maintaining and strengthening muscles have huge benefits for overall health that will be discussed in another blog post.
To conclude, i believe that HIIT training is the perfect solution for not only the current situation, but for people to start incorporating in their workout regimes. You can no longer use the excuse that you have no time, when you could literally get this workout done in 20 minutes without leaving the house. I believe it could be much more easy to adhere to HIIT workouts as they can be constantly adapted, challenging different muscles and experimenting with new exercises to avoid any boredom. Yes, it is difficult and challenging, however if you want results, to get fitter and stronger then this sounds like the perfect solution to me!
Thanks for reading, please share, like and comment. Please check out my home plan burn here, if you need some guidance for beginning a HIIT workout training plan.