Whether you’re training for a competition, starting a new diet, or just wanting to get in shape, you’ve probably come across the term “HIIT” by now. For those of you that aren’t sure what HIIT means, it stands for high-intensity interval training.
Now, it is said to be one of the most effective and efficient ways to burn calories, but as we all have crazy, stressed-out lives, faster doesn’t always mean better.
The reason you’re here is that you want to know if you should be doing HIIT every day. Ladies, it’s a no. It’s recommended that we get 30 minutes of exercise a day to get our bodies healthy, but not something as demanding as HIIT.
If you decided to do a workout that intense every single day, you’d put yourself at risk of burnout, injury, and overtraining. All of these things could also prevent you from recovering and stop your muscles from getting any stronger.
Let’s dive in and find out all there is to know about HIIT.
Firstly, what is HIIT?
Well, as we now know, HIIT is high-intensity interval training. As the name depicts, this is a high-level and strength exercise, for brief periods of time, followed by short periods of rest.
The exercise part of HIIT can last anywhere from 15 seconds to a couple of minutes. Typically, a workout has between five and eight workouts executed over 30-60 seconds each, with 20-30 second rests in between.
During the intense exercise, you’ll go as hard as you possibly can, giving 100% of your efforts. This will cause your body to go into an anaerobic state on which it will then rely on glucose for energy. The fact your body will be “deprived” of free oxygen means you’ll burn fast and enhance your stamina.
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The gain the most benefits from a HIIT workout, you’ll want to workout as fast as possible with a small rest in between. Another important thing to note is that you want to keep correct form throughout all your exercises, to prevent injury and get the most from your workout.
What types of HIIT are there?
There are many forms of HIIT, but all of them include cardiovascular exercises to get your heart pumping.
Cycling, sprinting, and jumping are all types of HIIT. Say you opted for cycling, to turn it into a HIIT workout, cycle as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then at a slower pace for a minute. That would be one round, to complete a workout, repeat anywhere between four and six times.
Tabata is a form of HIIT, however, it is slightly different as it requires doing the same exercise for four minutes.
According to the Journal of Sports Science & Science Medicine, Tabata workouts require exercising for 20 seconds at maximum capacity, resting for 10 seconds, and repeating. To complete a full workout do this for eight rounds, totaling four minutes.
Cardiovascular exercise, which you may also have heard referred to as aerobic fitness, is any form of exercise that increases your heart and breathing rate. This is different from HIIT as it’s not as quick and intense, it’s more slow and steady cardio exercise. Cardio includes exercises such as:
- Aerobic classes
To avoid any further confusion we should explain, that aerobic and cardio exercise are the same, they’re just referring to different mechanisms. “Cardio” refers to the process connected to the heart and “aerobic” covers any exercise that uses oxygen.
Benefits of HIIT
Due to the fact that HIIT is so demanding and you’re putting your all in, you want to be getting the most out of it too, right? Well, good news, studies have shown that HIIT workouts can provide benefits almost twice that of moderate exercise.
Research has revealed that HIIT can burn potentially 25-30% more calories than other forms of exercise like running and cycling. This particular study followed a HIIT ratio of 20-second exercise intervals with 40 seconds of rest.
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The great thing you’ll love to learn about HIIT is that it continues to burn calories, even after you’ve finished your workout.
Women in this particular study completed six sessions that included HIIT, resistance training, and aerobic exercise. They were also given protein and carbohydrates in order to measure how effective their bodies were in burning that energy.
After exercise and resting, all rates were analyzed, and on average HIIT produced the greatest post-exercise calorie burn.
HIIT (High-intensity interval training) can help to improve heart health and blood sugar. Studies have shown that those who are at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure (pre-hypertensive), have seen an improvement in resting blood pressure levels and C-reactive protein and inflammation. Both of these have been linked to the development of heart disease.
The research also revealed that the participants who did eight weeks of HIIT of stationary cycling showed the same decrease in blood pressure as those doing traditional endurance exercises. As the main barrier to many of us exercising is not having time, HIIT workouts could be a great and effective alternative.
An analysis also discovered that HIIT reduces blood sugar and improves insulin resistance more than standard cardio exercise. A better-regulated blood sugar will improve your energy levels and you’ll experience fewer sugar cravings. Not only that, but all of this reduces your risk of developing diseases such as diabetes.
HIIT: What to consider
How often you’re doing HIIT workouts will be determined by a number of factors. As we now know, it is a highly effective workout, but it is important that we look at the risks associated. Due to the fact you’ll be exercising at your hardest, it is vital that you warm up, follow the correct form, use different muscle groups, change things up and make sure you also allow yourself rest.
As HIIT is a demanding workout, it can elevate stress hormones, which is why it is important to rest and not overdo it.
Ensure to warm-up
By simply adding a few more minutes into your workout and warming up or stretching, it can help by:
- Mentally preparing you to workout
- Prevent injury
- Boost your performance
Get your form right
When working out, it is essential that you follow the correct form. Doing this will help to avoid injuring yourself and strengthen the muscles you’re using. Safely following the correct form will also allow you to improve, think about that person you see at the gym who can squat lower than you, that can be you.
If you also use weights during your HIIT workouts, then following the correct technique becomes all the more important. Weights put more stress on your joints and muscles than they’re used to carrying. The same applies if you were to use your body weight for certain exercises, like jumping.
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It’s also worth noting that when not following the correct form, you’ll be using more energy than you need to.
Don’t leave out strength training
Strength training is important for your health, particularly where it concerns your heart, bones, weight, and balance too. This type of exercise requires exercising different muscle groups to improve muscular fitness.
To reap the full benefits from strength training, try to incorporate different types of equipment from dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and your own body weight too.
Change it up
HIIT workouts offer a lot of benefits in a shorter space of time. However, this may allow some of us to think that doing more and more will offer the same. Sadly, it just doesn’t work that, you’ve gotta mix it up.
Just to throw another acronym at you, there is also FITT. This stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type. Following this will allow you to have a greatly successful fitness routine and maintain a healthy weight.
To give you as much insight as possible, here is an example of FITT in HIIT:
- Frequency – start with one workout a week and then increase to two
- Intensity – start with just the cardio, then bring in the weights
- Time – aim to exercise for 15 minutes, then up this to 20
- Type – to begin, just to regular HIIT, then maybe experiment with Tabata
HIIT workouts once or twice a week as well as mixing in some lighter exercise on the other days will allow you to recover.
Rest, rest, rest
When you work out and do the same exercise for two or more days in a row, this doesn’t allow your body the time it needs to get stronger and recover. Not only that, but you’ll likely find that after a while, your body and mind get tired of the same workout.
Recovery and rest days are just as important as the workout itself. When you get good quality sleep and your muscles have had time to repair, you’ll reach your goals faster.
Now, we’re not saying to not do any exercise over your rest day, instead practice active recovery. This is just general light activity to keep your body moving, examples of this could be:
- A yoga class
- An easy bike ride
- Going for a walk
The aim here is to get the blood flowing through your muscles and joints without exerting the heart of muscles you worked during your HIIT exercises.
Wanna smash your goals?
With these HIIT tips under your belt, we can feel that you are ready to smash those goals.
If you want to accelerate this even more, then we’ve got you with Trimtone.
Our 100% natural formula is designed to burn fat, reduce cravings and boost your metabolism. This means that you can feel great and get to your goal sooner.
You’ve got this, ladies!