HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as: a form of exercise in which short periods of extremely demanding physical activity are alternated with less intense recovery periods.
The phrases “extremely demanding” and “high intensity” can be intimidating, no doubt! But have no fear, Impact Strong is here to give YOU the low down on all things HIIT so it’s not so scary … or AS scary. Look, we can only promise there are no clowns holding balloons involved in HIIT, okay?
Here, at Your-Next-Awesome-Workout-Headquarters, we conducted a survey and asked our friends what comes to mind when they hear HIIT. Here were our results:
- Exhaustion and buckets of sweat
- Hot sweaty mess
While we think “Sweat” wins this round as most common word associated with HIIT (and I mean, they’re not wrong!), FUN is where it’s at!
Years ago, when HIIT started to gain momentum, the ever growing popularity of the exercise “Burpees” did, too. And we all love burpees, right? RIGHT?
But it’s not all about the burpee. I know, you’re welcome!
The whole science behind HIIT is basically this, as told by ScienceFocus.com: Ramping up the intensity (of your workout) forces your body to tap into its anaerobic system for energy, because it can’t supply the oxygen required to work aerobically quickly enough; in the recovery intervals, your body reverts to its aerobic system. As the session goes on, your body relies less on the anaerobic system, because quick-release energy sources of phosphocreatine and glycogen (glucose stored in your muscles) become depleted. Your body will therefore start to rely more on the aerobic system, which releases energy more sustainably but slowly from fat.
Did your eyes just gloss over all those science words, too?
Good, mine too! So let’s break this down simply.
During a 30 minute HIIT workout, you will start off with a warm-up, as you should with any form of exercise. Then the high intensity intervals begin; these “sprints” can last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes, depending on what class you are taking and how wicked your instructor is. Each interval is separated by a short recovery.
These recoveries can be anywhere from 10 seconds to a full minute, with it being walking instead of running, or even just the time it takes to transition to another station for your next exercise. (Don’t forget your water! HYDRATE, people!)
Once the torture … ahem, I mean workout is completed, your fearless leader will likely do a cool down/stretch.
BUT WHY DOES HIIT WORK? AND WHERE DO BURPEES COME IN TO PLAY?
HIIT works because the purpose is to increase your heart rate to about 80 – 95% of its maximum capability. This is different for each person, and as you continue your fitness journey, your maximum heart rate will change!
By doing these short, “physically demanding” sprints of exercise, you are conditioning your heart to work at a higher rate, therefore burning more calories. The “FUN” part of this workout comes, believe it or not, when it’s over and you’re still burning calories. But we’ll get to that later. Read on …
And burpees, well … they are a necessary evil. Burpees are truly wonderful and dynamic and a pain in the tush, but do 5 in a row and I guarantee that heart rate begins to increase (while your will to live decreases.)
5 BENEFITS TO HIIT
1. HIIT PROVIDES THE AFTERBURN UP TO 24 HOURS AFTER YOUR WORKOUT
So, we spoke about that FUN part of HIIT earlier, but here’s how it actually works.
Shape Magazine says: The process is scientifically known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). It refers to the oxygen your body needs to restore itself to the pre-workout state (your resting metabolism). Your body uses oxygen to produce fuel (scientifically known as adenosine triphosphate, or ATP) needed for your muscles to fire up during exercise, but it can also call on stored energy sources that don’t require extra oxygen. HIIT workouts typically utilize the latter more so than steady-state exercise, and will also require more oxygen post-sweat session-this is why these short bursts of intense, taxing exercise are associated with the afterburn effect.
Burning calories a day later? SIGN ME UP!
2. HIIT Is Never The Same And Never Boring
The beauty of HIIT is that you’ll likely never get the same workout twice, so it never gets stagnant or boring.
Will you see some repeat offenders? Probably. BURPEES!! Sorry, did I scare you? It’s fine. Remember getting that heart rate up burns calories so I just did you a favor. You’re welcome, again!
3. Speaking Of Calories, HIIT Burns More Of Them
In a study conducted in 2015 by PubMed, they found that 30 minutes of HIIT burned more calories than other forms of exercise! You know when you promised yourself you’d really use that treadmill you bought two years ago but is now just a clothes hanger? You can toss it; it’s useless. Just do HITT!
4. HIIT Is Less Time Consuming With The Same Health Benefits
As much as we all love our dear Forrest Gump, we don’t need to spend 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours running to get our burn in. (Yes, that is the actual amount of time he ran for in the movie, according to StackExchange. See, we are not only learning about fitness but movie facts, too!)
5. HIIT Is An Exercise That Keeps People Coming Back For More
Because of its effectiveness, variety, and that fun afterburn, people are more likely to return to HIIT.
What did we learn today, my friends?
We learned that HIIT is the answer to all life’s problems and that you are wasting time now by reading the end of this blog. Go, now.
P.S. Join us at our FREE FB GROUP.
I’ll see you on the mat!