What Is HIIT and What Are The Benefits?

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Something that is taking the fitness world by storm is high intensity interval training (commonly known as HIIT.) This is a form of exercise that is said to be highly effective by burning such a large amount of calories each time that you do it. Let’s take a closer look at HIIT, so that you can decide if it is the right form of exercise for you.

What is high intensity interval training?

HIIT is a cardio based workout, where you will feel exerted but accomplished by the end of it. Each workout will generally last anywhere between 15-45 minutes, depending on what workout you do. High intensity interval training involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by longer bursts of less intense exercise. For example you might be running in place as fast as you can go for 1 minute, followed by 3 minutes of slow paced jogging in place. It’s structured in a way that boosts your metabolism and burns the maximum amount of calories possible, by raising your heart rate quickly. It is important that you stay active throughout the ENTIRE HIIT session (even if you are just slightly raising your legs during your downtime period.)

Type of exercises involved

Most high intensity interval training workouts will contain exercises that you are probably aware of and maybe even used to, especially if you already workout on a regular basis. These might include things like jumping jacks, lunges, jogging in place, high kicks, burpees and much more. The great thing about these moves is that they require no equipment and almost anyone can do them. This means that HIIT can be done in the comfort of your own home, although there are some gyms that do HIIT classes if you would prefer. You can even make up your own HIIT workouts using moves that you know and love. Adding weights to some of the exercises will make the workout even more intense, although I don’t recommend doing this until you are used to the structure of HIIT as a whole.

Woman push-ups on the floor

The benefits of HIIT

There are SO many benefits of high intensity interval training which is why it’s really worth introducing into your everyday life. Some of the benefits that you will see before very long at all include the following:

– The obvious benefit is that HIIT burns calories which will make you lose weight. Weight loss on the whole can be a huge confidence boost because it will likely make you feel more attractive, not to mention the extensive health benefits that go hand in hand with a smaller waistline.

– High intensity interval training will help you to lose fat, not muscle. If anything you will gain muscle if you throw some toning exercises into your routine. This means that over time, you will get the toned physique that you have always wanted.

– This type of exercise is perfect for busy people because you can be finished with your workout in 30 minutes or less. This is a time frame that should be easy to fit into your day and when you see the changes to your body, it will be more than worth it. HIIT is targeted for busy people purely because it can be done quickly at a time that is convenient for you.

– High intensity interval training can actually help cure anxiety and depression. Exercise in general releases feel good endorphins which can make you feel happier in your day to day life. Swapping something like comfort eating for exercise is something that can be extra beneficial.

– HIIT is heart friendly, in addition to lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels – it can actually reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack. On the whole, this form of exercise can actually increase your life expectancy! If that isn’t reason enough to give high intensity interval training a try, then I don’t know what is.

How to get started

Now that you know more about HIIT, you are probably wondering how you can get started? As stated previously, there are some gyms that offer HIIT classes so have a look what is available in your area. If you would prefer to do your workout at home and completely free of charge, then use the internet to your advantage. YouTube has so many high intensity interval training workouts available, that you will be spoiled for choice. There is a variety that range in intensity, style and time-frame – so you can pick one that fits you down to a tee!

Alternating your HIIT workouts and the moves that you perform is important too because this will keep your body guessing and you will get the maximum possible benefits from the exercise. Another option is to make up your own high intensity interval training workouts based on the kind of moves that you enjoy doing. Don’t forget to throw in some exercises that challenge you however, for the more intense part of the workout. After you’ve come up with your workout, put on your favorite tunes and get your body moving. The time of the day that you do HIIT does not really matter, it all depends on what you prefer. If you are more energized in the morning then do your workout early. If you have more time during the evenings, then your high intensity interval training could be fit into your life before dinner!

Conclusion

To summarize, HIIT is an amazing exercise to do with enormous benefits for your body and mind. If you want to get fitter and healthier, high intensity interval training is definitely the way to go. You will burn calories, lose weight and build muscle where you need it most. Better yet, some type of HIIT workout can be done every single day if you want to really step things up a notch. This is possible because of the timely manner that many of the workouts take. 20 minutes of exercise where you are giving 100% is more effective than an hour of gentle exercise. So what are you waiting for? Try high intensity interval training today and reap the benefits.

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