HIIT workout

By Elena Chernov

If you hate the gym there’s a whole new world of trendy HIIT workouts for you. Plus, you can do them without ever having to leave your home. HIIT workouts have become the newest trend in the fitness industry claiming to give faster results than any other exercise.

What is HIIT?

HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and has taken the country by storm. It is a hybrid of cardio and strength training you perform in high intensity for 10-30 minutes. HIIT workouts are usually quick periods of intense exercise accompanied by low-intensity recovery. Studies show it is the most time-efficient way to exercise.

You exercise at 80 to 95 percent at your maximum heart rate, from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. The shorter the interval, the higher the intensity. The longer the interval the lower the intensity. Each interval is alternated with short periods of rest. Each performed at 40 to 50 percent of your maximum heart rate for the same duration.

Even though high-intensity workouts seem short. They can result in the same health benefits in comparison to moderate-intensity workouts in less time. HIIT workouts can be anything from cycling, sprinting, and body weight.

A HIIT workout of cycling would include 30 seconds of cycling as fast as you can at high intensity. Then rest with a few minutes of slow exercise at a low intensity. This would be only one circuit of 4-6 circuits during one workout session.

One study done by IHRSA found that from, “2012 to 2015, memberships in traditional fitness clubs grew by just 5%, while the smaller specialty studios jumped by over 74%.”

This trend has been driven mostly by the Gen Z and Millennial generation. The IHRSA states that the “18 to 25-year-old generation are more likely to attend fitness studios than any other age group. It also found that the higher age bracket (35 to 54-year-olds) was more likely to attend traditional fitness facilities.”

HIIT burns lots of calories in less the time

HIIT workouts have been proven to offer the quickest results. You can spend less time working out while burning the same amount of calories.

One study compared calories burned during a 30 minute HIIT workout to weight training, running and biking. It found that HIIT workouts burned 30 percent more calories than any other type of exercise.

This study was based on circuits of 20 seconds of high-intensity followed by 40 seconds of low-intensity. It proved that those who performed HIIT exercised for a shorter amount of time. While those who performed weight training, running and biking exercised longer.

Your metabolism is higher

Many studies show that HIIT increases the metabolism rate for many hours right after a workout. Research shows that HIIT increases metabolism after exercise more than other types of workouts like jogging and weight training.

The study also showed that HIIT used fat for energy instead of carbs, thus increasing your metabolism. Another study showed that just two minutes of high-intensity sprinting increases metabolism for over 24 hours. It is equal to 30 minutes of running.

Most effective for losing weight

One study found that people who did HIIT three times a week for 20 minutes lost 4 pounds of body fat in 12 weeks without making any changes in their diet.

The study also showed there was a 17 percent decrease in visceral fat, which is the fat around the internal organs. HIIT may be most effective for fat loss for those who are trying to lose more body fat in a shorter period. 

Joey Thurman, a certified personal trainer, says a major benefit of HIIT is burning fat. “Research shows that intervals can repair your metabolism by reducing inflammation. It also forces the body to improve its ability to use and burn energy.”

“Two to three days a week is a solid amount of HIIT as long as you build in 24 hours of rest and recovery between sessions,” says Wong, a certified personal trainer. 

How to begin HIIT

First, choose what form of exercise you like best, running, jumping, biking, or body weight. Next incorporate high-intensity intervals in your training session. Try out different time circuits of high and low intensity. Let your body adjust and see what works for you.

Some examples of HITT workouts can be cycling as fast as you can for 30 seconds then slowly pedaling at a steady pace for three to five minutes. You can repeat this circuit for about 15 or 30 minutes. 

You could also sprint as fast as you can for 10 seconds. Then jog at a steady pace for 1 minute and repeat this circuit for 10 or 15 minutes.

You could do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, sit ups, and squats for 30 to 60 seconds without stopping. Then resting for 30 seconds repeating the exercises for 10-30 minutes.

Once your body is adjusted you can add longer high-intensity intervals. You could go from a 10 minute to a 30-minute workout but consistency is key. 

HITT is an efficient way to exercise helping you burn more calories than any other form of exercise. It also gives you the benefit of a higher metabolism that lasts for a few hours after your workout. So, if you have a 10-minute window try to squeeze in a HIIT workout. You’ll feel accomplished and not waste time debating if you should go to the gym today.