What is HIIT, Benefits & Great HIIT Workouts?

What is HIIT, Benefits & Great HIIT Workouts?

What is HIIT, Benefits & Great HIIT Workouts?

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               Lately, the hype increases for HIIT. What actually HIIT is? Let me explain what it is, how can you benefit from it and why it works. Also, I will give you some workouts to do at home or in the gym. It introduces some fun in your cardio sessions for sure! Is it going to challenge you? Yes, it is! For sure! It will be one of the most challenging workouts you have ever done. Plus, these workouts are shorter. You do not need 60 minutes for your cardio sessions. Another great thing is that you can do a HIIT workout with almost any type of activity, swimming, running, cycling, push-ups, squat and a lot more. You just need to get a bit creative.

               Here are some great bodyweight exercises to help you create your workouts: Best Bodyweight Exercises To Do at Home (for Weight Loss) 

               In order for your workouts to have great result, make sure your diet is on-poin: 9 Mistakes You Make in Your Weight Loss Diet 

               Also, if you are not sure where to start your weight loss, here is an article for you: Where to Start With Weight Loss

What is HIIT

               HIIT is an acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training. As the name suggests, this type of cardio training is performed with quick, intense anaerobic bursts of exercise, followed by short (sometimes active) rest periods. During the intense burst, you exercise with about 90%-95% effort. On the other hand, during the rest period, you can either stop completely or have active recovery. For example, if you run during your burst, you can walk during your active recovery period. Remember that active recovery is recommended for advanced levels only. Recommended ratio is 2:1. Basically, it means that if you exercise for 40 seconds, you rest for 20 seconds.

What is HIIT and how it works

HIIT is an acronym for High-Intensity Interval Training. As the name suggests, this type of cardio training is performed with quick, intense anaerobic bursts of exercise, followed by short (sometimes active) rest periods.

               Eric Salvador, NASM, NSCA, head instructor at The Fhitting Room in New York City says: “A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during recovery”. EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption) is the reason why intense exercise will burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic workouts.

               EPOC or popularly known as the afterburn effect, is an increased rate of oxygen intake following strenuous activity intended to lower the body’s “oxygen deficit”. In recovery EPOC is used in the processes that restore the body to a resting state and adapt it to the exercise just performed. These include: hormone balancing, replenishment of fuel stores, cellular repair, innervations and anabolism.

               According to a survey conducted by The American College of Sports Medicine, it was one of the top two fitness trends for 2014. (bodyweight training is the second).

Proof That HIIT Really Works

               One study showed that two weeks of HIIT increases the fat oxidation during exercise in women. Fat oxidation is just a fancy phrase for losing weight. The study tested eight women. They performed a Vo2 test and cycling trial at approximately 60% Vo2 peak. Each HIIT sessions consisted of ten 4-minute burst with 90% Vo2 peak with 2 minute rest between intervals. The training increased their Vo2 peak by 13%. Also, it increased their whole body fat oxidation by 36%. In summary, seven sessions of HIIT over 2 week period showed increases in whole body and skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid oxidation during exercise in moderately active women.

               Here is, yet another study saying that HIIT has numerous benefits. Aerobic exercise has numerous benefits for high-risk populations and such benefits, especially weight loss, are amplified with HIIT.

               These studies (1, 2) are showing that if you do HIIT, you can increase your REE (Resting Energy Expenditure). Their data suggested that this type of training can increase REE after exercise to a great extent. The shorter exercise time commitment may help to reduce one major barrier to exercise.

               Another study showed that HIIT actually, helps in lowering blood glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes independently of weight loss. HIIT lowered blood glucose and increased exercise capacity, food intake, basal activity levels, carbohydrate oxidation and liver and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity.  All of that – independent of weight loss.

               One 2006 study found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace.

Is HIIT For Bodybuilders?

               A lot of bodybuilders and trainers say that longer and more steady cardio is better for burning fat and protecting muscle mass. When you are training for longer periods of time, you train your muscle fibers be more aerobic and have greater endurance. Plus, your muscle fibers increase their endurance by becoming smaller. Why is that? Because it takes less time for the nutrients to reach within the muscle fiber.

               It is common sense. Saying that longer and steadier cardio workouts are better for maintaining muscle mass is like saying that curling 10 pounds dumbbells for 10 minutes straight is better for gaining muscle instead of curling 30 pounds dumbbells for few sets with 10 reps with 1 minute rest in-between. Therefore, higher intensity for shorter period of time is better for your muscles.

Benefits of HIIT

                  Quick Workouts

HIIT workouts are quick. You can do them without equipment and everywhere you want.

You can finish your workouts in 30 minutes or less. On the other hand, you do not need to get gym membership or any fancy equipment. You can do it at home, in the park, at a hotel room, anywhere you want.

               If you hate the long and excruciating cardio workouts, then HIIT is for you. You can finish your workouts in 30 minutes or less. On the other hand, you do not need to get gym membership or any fancy equipment. You can do it at home, in the park, at a hotel room, anywhere you want. You can do bodyweight exercise or if you have some dumbbells you can do at home dumbbell HIIT workouts. Also, you can combine the two and have great and fun workout. Running, biking, jump roping and rowing all work great for HIIT, but you do not need any equipment to get it done. High knees, fast feet or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up fast. What is not to love about HIIT?

               This study found that sedentary men who did 40-60 minutes of cycling at 65% of their max five times a week and those who did sprint interval training for less than 12 minutes each time three times a week saw similar results, including reduced aortic stiffness and increased insulin sensitivity.

                  Increases Your Metabolic Rate

               HIIT burns more calories during and after a workout than continuous aerobic training. High-Intensity Interval Training results in EPOC which speeds your metabolic rate. This means that HIIT will give you a metabolism boost for up to 36+ hours and you will be burning fat long after you have left the gym. In addition, HIIT stimulates the production of HGH (human growth hormone) by up to 450% during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This results in increased caloric burn and slows down the aging process.

                  You Will Burn More Fat

               Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, but the effect of all that intense exertion kicks your body’s repair cycle into hyperdrive. That means you burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout than you do after, say, a steady-pace run. As explained, EPOC, increased production of HGH and the intensity of the workouts by itself will burn huge amounts of fat.

                  HIIT Can Boost Your Endurance

HIIT will also boost your metabolism and improve your overall health

Study found that one minute of high intensity work on an not-so-hard workout can boost your endurance. Plus, it will improve your overall health and blood pressure

               Next time you are doing a slow pace, hour long run, pick it up- just for 60 seconds. This study found that one minute of high intensity work on an not-so-hard workout can boost your endurance. Plus, it will improve your overall health, blood pressure and higher counts of mitochondria, which help fuel you body and brain.

               In a study, people biked for 20-seconds all out, followed by two minutes of slow, easy pedaling. They repeated that three times. For the week, people only worked out for 30 minutes—with just three minutes of seriously hard. The results: After six weeks, participants had increased their endurance capacity by 12 percent and improved their blood pressure. 

                  Changing Your Workouts Will Get You Similar Effects

               This study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that HIIT is not only about sprinting. They found out that people who did cycling intervals and people who did high-intensity calisthenics saw similar results in Vo2 max and heart rate. Additionally, participants in this study rated the calisthenics easier than the cycling though the benefits were similar.

               That is the beauty of HIIT. You can switch up your workouts and still get similar results. You can even change few types of exercise in one workout. Also, you can alternate between exercise that work the upper or lower muscles of your body only. For example: if your first exercise is sprinting, the next exercise can be push-ups. When sprinting, you exhaust your legs (lower body muscles), while push-ups work the muscles in the upper body. That way you can rest one of the muscle groups and in the next interval hit it really hard.

Great HIIT Workouts

               As I said before, the beauty of HIIT is that you can do whatever exercise you like most. Jump rope, run, swim, do burpees or knee tuck jump.

                  Workout 1

               Here is a great 8 week program from beginner to advanced 8 week HIIT program by Jim Stoppani Ph.D.

  • It starts with a work:rest ratio of 1:4 in Phase 1 for a total workout time of just under 15 minutes.
  • Phase 2 bumps up the amount of time in the “work” phase, bringing the ratio up to 1:2 and the total workout time to 17 minutes.
  • In Phase 3, the rest ratio is cut in half, bringing the ratio up to 1:1. The total workout time increases to 18.5 minutes.
  • Finally, in Phase 4, the rest ratio is cut in half again, raising the ratio to 2:1 and the total time at 20 minutes. This will put you in the advanced ranks for HIIT.

               The suggested time of each phase is just that—suggested. If you need to spend more than two weeks at a particular phase before moving up, go for it. Ditto if a phase seems too easy and you want to jump right up to the next phase.

               You can do these workouts using tools, such as a jump rope, or simply doing jumping jacks, or sprinting, or working on a stationary cycle. Use your imagination. Just follow the work-to-rest intervals as indicated.

Phase 1 (1:4): Weeks 1-2

  • 15 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 60 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

               Repeat another 10 times, followed by a final 15-second high-intensity blast.  Total time: 14 minutes

Phase 2 (1:2): Weeks 3-4

  • 30 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 60 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

               Repeat another 10 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.  Total time: 17 minutes

Phase 3 (1:1): Weeks 5-6

  • 30 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 30 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

               Repeat another 11 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast.  Total time: 18.5 minutes

Phase 4 (2:1): Week 7-8

  • 30 seconds: High-intensity exercise
  • 15 seconds: Rest or low-intensity exercise

               Repeat another 25 times, followed by a final 30-second high-intensity blast. Total time: 20 minutes

                  Workout 2

               Not all of the workouts have to follow the 2:1 ratio. You can do longer high-intensity intervals followed by a bit more rest time. Here is an example:

Round One:

  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Jumping Jacks

               Three circuits: 10 reps first round, 15 reps second round and 20 reps third round. Non-stop no rests.

  • Jump rope 3 minutes
  • Rest 1 minute

Round Two:

  • Walking Lunges
  • Pushups
  • Lunge Jumps
  • Walk-outs (inchworms)

               Three circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break between each exercise and circuit.

  • Jump rope 3 minutes
  • Rest 1 minute

Round Three:

  • Traveling Kettlebell Squats
  • TRX Pullups
  • Box Jumps
  • TRX Jack Knives

               Three circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break between each exercise and circuit.

  • Jump rope 3 minutes
  • Rest 1 minute

Round Four:

  • Traveling Side Lunges
  • Dips
  • Speed Skaters (lateral jumps)
  • Plank to Pushup

               Three circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break between each exercise and circuit.

               Of course, you can change the seconds with repetitions and adjust it according to your fitness level.

                  Workout 3

               Here is a simpler workout. Do each exercise for 20 seconds-beginner, 40 seconds -intermediate or 60 seconds-advanced fitness level; followed by 10 seconds-beginner, 20 seconds-intermediate or 30 seconds-advanced level, rest period. Furthermore, you can modify the length of the workout, just make sure you follow 2:1 ratio. Go through each exercise once before repeating the entire circuit. Rest two minutes before repeating. Aim to complete three rounds of the circuit.

  • Jump Rope
  • Plyo Push-up
  • Bodyweight Rows
  • Medicine Ball Squat to Overhead Throw
  • Burpee
  • Medicine Ball Chest Pass
  • Renegade Rows
  • Jumping
  • LungesPlanks
  • Treadmill Incline Sprints

Conclusion

               I hope I explained what HIIT is, why it works and its benefits. This awesome type of workout will help you in your weight loss for sure. Now, you do not have an excuse for your cardio. You need to get your ass up out of that couch and go and blast through your workout. Remember, in order for HIIT to work, you must be careful with your diet. No workout on this planet has been made or will be made can help you lose weight if you eat crap. Change your diet and make it healthier for better results and happier life.

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