Eight Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
The fitness industry has seen a rise in the popularity of workout programmes such as CrossFit and Insanity which all fall under the umbrella of HIIT workouts. What do all these exercise programmes have in common and why are they so popular?
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise format that involves periods of short intense exercises followed by less intense recovery periods. These routines are overall no longer than 15 to 30 minutes yet provide a host of fitness benefits.
Read on to find out more about the scientifically proven benefits of HIIT workouts.
1. Time efficient
HIIT is an ideal workout strategy for busy work schedules and for those looking to get in shape in the shortest time possible. Research supports that you can achieve more progress in a 15-minute HIIT workout than you can from running on the treadmill for an hour.
2. Increase fat burning
In a HIIT workout it is possible to burn more calories in 15 minutes than a person would burn at steady state on a treadmill for an hour. The result of training at a high intensity challenges the body to work harder in recovering and repairing fatigued muscles after the session. This results in burning more body fat and calories in a complete day after a HIIT workout than you would from a steady state workout.
3. Improve cardiovascular fitness
Studies have shown that after 8 weeks of HIIT workouts subject are able to cycle for twice as long as they could before whilst maintaining the same pace. This indicates an increase in their cardiovascular fitness and tolerance to lactic acid build up in the muscles.
4. You do not need any equipment
Running on the treadmill, skipping and rowing all work well for HIIT workouts, but no equipment is needed to gain the same results. Exercises such as running outdoors, high knees, jump squats or jump lunges work just as well at increasing the heart rate to give you the same effect.
5. Lose weight, whilst maintaining lean muscle
Some of the negative responses to low calorie diets are a loss of muscle as well as fat, which ultimately lowers the person’s metabolic rate. HIIT workouts along with weight training have been shown to preserve muscle mass ensuring that most of the weight loss comes from fat stores.
6. Increase metabolism
In addition to maintaining muscle mass and increasing fat burning, HIIT workouts stimulate production of human growth hormone during the 24 hours after a workout, which has the effect of increasing the body’s metabolism.
7. Free to do it anywhere
Because HIIT workouts are such a simple concept you can adapt them to whatever time and space constraints you have; you can do them in a hotel room, at home, in the park, at the gym, or on a hill. Regardless of what is available to you, you can still have an effective workout following the same protocol.
8. There’s no time for boredom
‘But what doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.’ HIIT workouts aren’t for those who exercise for social reasons; HIIT workouts are for people who are focused on getting results and getting them fast. You won’t get bored doing these workouts because there’s simply not enough time!
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