Just because we are heading into the winter months, doesn’t mean it’s time to start slacking on our fitness routines. It may be cold, dark and gloomy, but our bodies still need to move and feel the burn. And what better what to warm up than with HIIT?
Not too familiar with HIIT? Fear not. Here’s our ultimate guide to HIIT – what it is, the benefits, how often you should do it and an example of an effective HIIT workout.
What is HIIT?
You may have heard the term HIIT being thrown around for quite some time now, but not everybody understands exactly what it is.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and is typically a combination of cardio and functional bodyweight exercises as well as a few weighted exercises thrown in for good measure.
And just as it sounds, HIIT is pretty gruelling but it’s also extremely effective. HIIT can come in many different forms, but essentially, it involves a short burst of high intensity training, followed by a short rest or a less intense exercise – this is repeated for a set amount of reps and rounds, or a set amount of time and should be performed at 80 – 90% of a person’s maximum heart rate.
HIIT workouts are great for those of you that are short on time, as most workouts will range from 10 to 30 minutes long. So, no excuses!
What are the benefits of HIIT?
There are so many benefits of completing regular HIIT workouts. Despite the shorter workout, HIIT can provide even more benefits than regular fitness routines.
1. Burn, baby burn!
The great thing about HIIT is the number of calories you’re able to burn in such a short amount of time. And researchers have found that HIIT can burn more than 25-30% more calories than other forms of exercise. And with burning calories, comes burning fat – making it the perfect exercise for those of you looking to lose fat, but build or maintain muscle.
2. A healthier heart
HIIT workouts will help you lead a healthier lifestyle and will aid a healthier heart. Put simply, it will help to improve oxygen and blood flow, strengthening your circulatory system. HIIT also has a number of health benefits, including lowering your blood pressure and blood sugar, reducing your risk of heart disease.
3. Increases your metabolism
As well as burning active calories whilst exercising, HIIT enables your body to continue burning calories after you’ve finished exercise – for hours after. This in turn, increases your metabolism which helps you to burn fat.
4. A powerful mind
HIIT is a great way to develop a powerful mind.
This form of exercise is just as tough on your mind as it is your body and it takes a lot of mental strength to push through and workout at such a high intensity.
As well as having such positive impacts on your physical health, HIIT workouts release a series of hormones including endorphins. Endorphins help to relieve stress and anxiety, boost your mood and trigger a positive feeling your body and mind.
5. Build muscle
As well as helping you to burn fat, HIIT workouts can help to build muscle, too. Because of the many movements involved in a HIIT workout, you are targeting a number of different muscles. Boosting muscular endurance due to the little rest that the muscles receive, means that HIIT workouts are a great way to build muscle and feel physically and mentally stronger.
How often should you do HIIT?
It’s important not to over work your body and to also mix it up with other forms of exercises that may be less intense on your body.
So, we recommend doing a HIIT workout two to three times a week for around 20 to 30 minutes a time in order to see the full benefits.
Remember, when you’re doing a HIIT workout, you should give maximum effort to see maximum results!
Now you know why HIIT workouts are so beneficial, try it out! Here’s an example of a quick yet effective cardio and bodyweight HIIT workout that is sure to get you working up a sweat!
Depending on your fitness levels, you may want to do more or less reps. If you’re a beginner, start with three reps of each exercise, five if you’re an intermediate or seven if you consider yourself advanced.
30 seconds of high knees followed by 30 seconds of rest
30 seconds of mountain climbers followed by 30 seconds of rest
30 seconds of a plank hold followed by 30 seconds of rest
30 seconds of squat jumps followed by 30 seconds of rest
30 seconds of leg raises followed by 30 seconds of rest
30 seconds of burpees followed by 30 seconds of rest
HIIT really is versatile and can be done by everyone, regardless of your current fitness levels. It will be tough, but it will be so worth it and you will soon reap the rewards.
So, next time you have some spare time, how are you going to spend it?
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