HIIT workouts – what are they and how can they help you?

A HIIT Workout, is a short workout

A HIIT workout involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by recovery periods of low-intensity activity or rest. You will find this pattern popular in many exercise classes, like circuit training or spinning, where you do 20 or 30 seconds of hard work, followed by 40 or 30 seconds of rest, or low intensity training. You would repeat this routine for up to 15-20 minutes and voilà you have smashed a HIIT workout!
The beauty about HIIT workouts is that they don’t take a lot of time out of your day, great for those of you who have busy days filled with work, family and trying to squeeze in a social life now and again. You also don’t even need a gym or equipment, you can do a HIIT session from the comfort of your own home, on a beach, in the office, in the garden or a park.

If you are doing your HIIT workout from home you can build a session around circuit training activities like burpees, high knees, skipping, sprints or mountain climbers. If you are going to the gym you can do some great HIIT sessions on cardio machines like the treadmill, spinning bikes, cross trainers or rowing machines. It is important not to forget to warm-up before your HIIT workout and to cool down and stretch afterwards. This will help to avoid injury.

Burn fat, lose weight and boost your metabolism

So why are HIIT workouts so good for burning fat? Unlike low-intensity workouts like jogging, HIIT will have you burning calories for hours after you finish your workout. This is called the after-burn effect. During this time your metabolic rate is boosted, therefore your body continues to burn more fat and calories. Always aim to push yourself as hard as you can, as the more intense your workout, the greater the effects will be.
But don’t push yourself too hard, as you need to tailor your HIIT workout to your fitness level, regardless of your age. If you are a beginner a jog would be more up your street and if you are much fitter you can step this up to sprints. As long as you are getting your heart rate up to near maximum levels (around 85%) during your intense sets.

Improve stamina

If you are one of these people who struggle to complete a long workout, and often fell lethargic or have a lack of energy, HIIT workouts are perfect for you as you are breaking your workout up into small bursts. If you are completing your HIIT workouts on an on-going, regular basis you will find the workouts become easier, improving your stamina as a result

Maintain and develop your muscles

A study published by the Journal of Obesity found that HIIT workouts allow those who are on a diet to preserve their muscle mass, while ensuring that most of the weight loss comes from fat stores in your body.
HIIT workouts are one of many ways you can get fit and healthy on a busy schedule. Why not change up your current workout and give HIIT a try and see what results you can achieve? As always, ensure you speak to your doctor before taking up any new physical activity!


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