HIIT – I know it sounds like something violent (it kinda is) or like some kind of special ops team (it’s definitely not that). Little did we all know, it’s actually an AMAZING weapon to have in your fitness arsenal.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT comes in many forms: circuits, running, cycling, and there are even entire fitness classes devoted to HIIT now! The essence of what you will do during HIIT sessions is you’ll ‘max out’ your body for a short period of time, followed by a short period of more moderate activity. I personally like to do my HIIT on a stationary bike, and I do 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 30 seconds of normal-speed biking, and repeat. During the sprint phase, you’re basically supposed to push yourself so hard that you wouldn’t be physically capable of maintaining that intensity for longer than about 30 seconds to a minute. And let me tell you – you will sweat. Like. Crazy.
One of the nice things about HIIT is that it takes only a short time to complete, and you get allllll the cardio benefits. I can usually complete my HIIT workout in about 16 minutes (meaning I’ll do 16 30-second sprints and 16 30-second rest periods), and that does the trick.
One of the questions people often as is: why? What are the benefits of doing HIIT vs. just going for a regular old run or bike ride? Turns out, according to mounting research data, there are actually a ton of benefits! New research actually shows that doing HIIT workouts can help to slow your body’s aging process (as it pertains to how your body creates and uses energy) at a cellular level, which is pretty freakin’ cool. Additionally, HIIT has a lasting effect on your metabolism, meaning that if you do a HIIT session in the morning, the calorie-burning effects will last all day. The quick time frame is also a selling point for people who are looking to get in a good workout but don’t have a lot of time to devote to it.
On a personal note, I have found HIIT to be super beneficial. I often opt to do fasted HIIT (meaning I do it first thing in the morning before I eat breakfast) and have really seen results that way. I shied away from integrating HIIT for a long time, but once I started I realize how effective it was for leaning out and losing weight. (It should be noted that you don’t have to do fasted HIIT to reap the benefits – there are just some studies that suggest you burn more fat when you do fasted cardio vs. doing it later in the day. Either way you’ll get great results!) I usually try to do 1-2 morning HIIT sessions per week, and then I’ll incorporate some other form of exercise in the evening, whether that be LISS (low intensity sustained state – basically walking) or resistance workouts. I’m not really a morning person (although I’m working on it) so HIIT is a great way for me to get my workout in before work without having to wake up at 5am. (Hard pass on that one.)
I would definitely recommend looking into HIIT and adding this component to your workout regimen. As always, if you have any questions for someone who has done it (in case you haven’t already realized, I’m far from a professional, haha), feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!
Happy Thursday all, the weekend is near!