HIIT is all the hype lately. So what’s this type of training all about?
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage. This causes your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This after-burn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.
HIIT provides quick, but not instant, results in terms of weight loss and toning the body. HIIT can offer outstanding results without taking too much time from your schedule or sacrificing your metabolism, bones, muscles or joints.
Traditional cardiovascular exercise is an effective type of training in the right amounts. Generally, cardiovascular exercises tend to show diminishing results over a period of time. This can be another challenge for people who are frustrated by their weight. Additionally, excessive endurance exercise can compromise your metabolism by breaking-down hard earned muscle tissue and releasing hormones that make your body prone to store more fat.
Traditional Cardio (CMT)
Let’s start by defining what I label as “traditional cardio.” Traditional Cardio is long duration activity that can stimulate your cardiovascular and respiratory system over a period of time. It’s also called continuous moderate-intensity exercise (CMT). In other words, exercises performed at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes to over an hour. Generally, people refer to this as “aerobic exercise.” Aerobic exercise burns calories, helps with lowering your cholesterol, and will provide you with overall health benefits. It increases the breathing capacity in a person and helps build endurance.
Common examples of aerobic exercise or CMT include jogging, swimming, cycling, elliptical machines, dance workouts, and step aerobics. CMT combined with strength training exercises can go a long way in helping you achieve a toned and muscular physique. This traditional exercise program would require at least one hour per day, four to five days per week of CMT, and an additional one hour of strength training, two to three days per week.
Total weekly exercise time: six to eight hours per week.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is quite different from traditional cardio. It requires you to dedicate 15 to 30 minutes of your time, and is viewed as a convenient option by both men and women. HIIT is basically performing an activity at high intensity for a specific time (referred to as the work interval) and then performing an activity at very low intensity (referred to as the recovery interval). This routine is continued until the targeted time is complete.
Research shows that HIIT provides the same overall health benefits of longer duration cardio, and that it is far more effective for fat loss. An effective exercise program combining HIIT with strength training requires at least 15 minutes a day, two to three days a week of HIIT, and an additional 45 minutes of strength training, two to three days a week.
Total weekly exercise time: two to three hours per week.
Sample HIIT Routines:
You don’t need any fancy equipment. Just some motivation and a great warmup. Here are some examples:
- 30-60 seconds of sprinting, and then walking at a brisk pace for two minutes until the routine is complete.
- 30 seconds of kettlebell swings paired with walking at a slow pace until your breathing normally. Repeat for 10-15 minutes.
- Climbing up 100 stairs quickly, and then walking down at normal pace until the routine is complete.
Ready to hit a HIIT workout?
To put it all in perspective, Traditional Cardio and HIIT are both effective at improving the health of a person. Traditional cardio does have its benefits in a well rounded workout program. It just might not be the best standalone choice for you. In fact, arbitrarily doing more exercise could hinder you from reaching your goals. Better results can be attained through implementing a HIIT/progressive strength focused program with incidental cardio. Based on your needs and how much time you can dedicate to promoting your health, HIIT training can make a positive impact on the results you’re getting. If you believe you can dedicate two to three days a week (depending on your fitness goals) to high intensity training, then go for HIIT without thinking twice.
Many of our clients are in awe at the results they achieve in just three sessions a week. You will be too
I hope that you enjoyed part one of this instructional series What Is It With HIIT?. Please stay tuned for part two of the instructional series next week.
We are proud that we’ve helped hundreds of people in Howard County and the surrounding areas meet their fitness goals. If you’re looking for a personal trainer near Fulton, Maryland, we’d love to help you too! Call us at 301-452-5547 to see for yourself. Mention this article for a free session