HIIT, high intensity interval workouts, can be a deeply effective fitness regimen, depending one’s fitness goals. The central objective of a HIIT workout is to burn calories efficiently, while simultaneously building lean muscle. It is not a regime typically pursued by a bodybuilder, it is more effectual for athletes determined to improve their durability and endurance.
Instruments typically associated with a HIIT workout include stationary bikes, treadmills, mere bodyweight, kettlebells, dumbbells, and jump ropes. Aside from diminishing body fat at an expedited rate, high intensity workouts have also been linked to other categorical benefits, namely marked decreases in blood pressure and a de-escalating heart rate.
In this article, we’ll provide additional insight into the myriad benefits of consistently engaging in HIIT-based workouts.
HIIT workouts are not particularly time-consuming. They consist of as short a duration as 30 minutes. Their brevity, however, should not suggest they are underwhelming or easy. The overarching emphasis of a HIIT workout is to elevate one’s heart rate excessively for a truncated period of time, which naturally requires vigorous movement and exertion. Compared to other outlets for exercise, like weight training, traditional running, or biking; HIIT has proven to burn 25% to 30% more calories.
Post-workout, moreover, your calories will still burn off at an accelerated rate. The jolt to your cardiovascular system that HIIT catalyzes literally shakes it from its stupor, causing your system to burn calories for several hours after your initial session. Even more advantageously, if you’re desirous of specifically shedding unappealing body fat, researchers have discovered that HIIT actually shifts the body’s metabolism toward burning fat for energy, as opposed to ingested carbohydrates.
Improved Muscle Mass
Admittedly, enthusiastically pursuing a HIIT regimen will not improve one’s muscles mass as significantly as, say, a strict weight training program. Weightlifting, along with the diligent intake of protein and other muscle-strengthening supplements, is far more effective if an individual is seeking to emulate the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yet, especially if one is usually a relatively sedentary person, increases in muscle mass are inevitable if one engages in traditional HIIT practices. Keep in mind that, though HIIT is more oriented toward rapidly accelerating a person’s heart rate, it is also places a heavy investiture on the utilization of free-standing weights and bodyweight to improve muscle density. For folks already familiar with weight training, don’t anticipate significant yields in muscle accumulation. For those who are novices in weighted movements, expect to see conspicuous gains, especially in the trunk and the legs.
Increased Oxygen Consumption
One of the underlying objectives of a given HIIT routine is to catalyze the physiological phenomenon known as EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Through continuous bursts of physically intense exercise, with only a minimal amount of intervening recovery time, you can fastidiously test your own physical limits. With the concomitant heart rate elevation, fat is slowly released from deposits within the body. Once your routine has concluded, your body enters into a protracted recovery period.
Have you ever noticed, for instance, that you still feel overheated even once your physical exertion has desisted? That’s primarily because your body is now engaging in the demanding processes of repairing your body after overuse. Hence, your body requires additional oxygen to mediate the reconstruction of different muscle groups, the production and synthesis of new neurotransmitters and hormones. One’s EPOC can last for up to two to three hours post-workout, during which your body will expend an excess of calories as well.
Improves Aerobic Performance
While we’ve enumerated several benefits of activating HIIT routine itself, accessing a HIIT-style workout can also be remunerative in achieving advances in performance external to HIIT. HIIT, if conducted properly, will buttress your endurance, your muscle flexibility, as well as eliminate a preliminary load of excess body fat. It is only natural to assume, therefore, that your performance in other areas of interest, such as running, jogging, swimming, and biking; would also show conspicuous signs of elevated performance.
Sense of Community
Many gyms offer group HIIT workout classes. If you’re inclined toward exercising in the company of others, pursuing a HIIT regimen can offer a unique opportunity to cultivate relationships with others. There are several boutique gyms, in fact, like OrangeTheory, Barry’s Bootcamp, or even a local Crossfit facilities, where there is a pronounced emphasis on high intensity training. Oftentimes, the motivation necessary to sustain a fitness routine is endangered by a lack of accountability. Some people require communal support to remain invested in the fruition of their fitness goals. Joining a group class enhances one’s commitment and provides a reliable source of support as you progressively reach your goals.
- Don’t take a precipitous plunge into HIIT workouts before your body is sufficiently prepared. HIIT workouts primarily integrate basic exercises, but they’re integrated at an aggressive pace. Before selecting a HIIT regimen, prepare your body for it in the interim, by building endurance through fundamental exercises like jogging, sprints, biking, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.
- If you have irksome joints, perhaps substitute exercises that place a premium on joint flexibility for less rigorous ones.
- Limit high-intensity sets to 30 seconds. During those 30 seconds, much of your effort will be expended. It will be challenging to sustain your endurance any longer than that.
- An emphasis on the recovery process is imperative in HIIT. Take vitamin supplements, protein supplements, ensure you’re adequately hydrated, and receiving an appropriate amount of rest.
For further information on your exercise routine, reference the following articles: