Today I’ll be introducing you to a current fitness trend and one of my favourite workouts, High Intensity Interval Training.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as the name implies, is a cardiovascular strategy that combines short bursts of intense exercise followed by recovery periods of slower, less-intense exercise. Training is generally considered to be HIIT if one’s heart rate exceeds 130 beats per minute (BPM). Studies show that a 15 – 20 minute interval workout can burn up to twice as many calories as that of an hour of steady-state cardio (Hell yeah!)
And that’s not all…
2 x Fitness SA champion Jeff Tsoutsos explains the benefits of HIIT:
- HIIT significantly boosts the metabolism, which is the key for fat loss. One intensive session will increase your Resting Metabolic Rate (the rate at which your body uses energy during rest) for the next 24 hours.
- Short periods of all-out cardio lead to heavy breathing, which oxygenates the blood; and an increase in heart rate, which strengthens the cardiovascular system in the long run.
- With a more efficient cardiovascular system, your fitness level and overall health will improve.
- Like all exercise, HIIT will get your blood pumping and this goes hand in hand with the removal of nasty toxins from the body.
- You can expect to look more toned as HIIT develops muscle fibres by forcing them to work harder.
I try incorporate two HIIT sessions into my weekly exercise regime. I find that I’m left with a rush of endorphins (happy hormones), and I feel as though I’ve really pushed my body and mind to the limit (yes, spurring yourself on is a mind workout too 😉 ).
How to do HIIT
You can use any cardio machine of your choice, as long as you are performing intervals. Make sure that the high-intensity phase lasts 30 seconds or longer and causes you to breathe heavily. If you don’t need to rest afterwards during the recovery period then you didn’t push hard enough! I use the treadmill – alternating between walking for 1 minute, then running on a high speed for 1 minute. I try to do this for 20 – 30 minutes in total. However, as a beginner, I would recommend starting with 10 minutes of HIIT. Stick to performing HIIT on alternate days to give your body enough time to recover.
Happy sweating my fellow foxes