HIIT is the acronym for High Intensity Interval Training. It involves periods of high intensity work outs and short periods of rest. The magic of high intensity interval training is that it keeps your body burning fat even after you finish the HIIT session.
During a HIIT workout, your body can’t shuttle enough oxygen to your muscles during periods of high intensity and your muscles accumulate an oxygen “debt” that must be “repaid” post workout in order to get back to normal. This means that your metabolism is revved for hours after the workout. This is referred to as Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption, or EPOC for short.
EPOC is influenced by intensity, not the duration of the workout. Thus, the higher the intensity, the higher the EPOC and the longer your body burn fat post workout.
HIIT workouts not only burn fats but it also stimulates muscle-building hormones like growth hormone and IGF-1. This puts your body in perfect state to build lean muscle mass. In addition to the hormone response, interval training also develops the cardiovascular system. By increasing your heart rate during periods of hard work, your cardio ability will be increased and your heart will be strengthened. During the short rest periods, you will also increase your recovery capabilities, reducing the recovery times in future workout sessions.
You get bang for your buck with HIIT workout. It is the most efficient way to exercise, especially for those who are time poor. For example, 15 minutes of HIIT workout is equivalent of 1-hour jogging. It can also be done with or without equipment. So, there is no excuse for not exercising when you don’t have a gym.
Tabata is one of popular interval training. Each exercise in a given Tabata workout lasts only four minutes but it would most likely to be one of the longest four minutes you’ve ever endured. The structure of the program is as follows:
- Work out hard for 20 seconds
- Rest for 10 Seconds
- Complete 8 rounds
- Rest 1 minute after 8 rounds
An example of a Tabata would be:
- Burpees (20 sec) – Rest (10 sec)
- Jumping Lunges (20 Sec) – Rest (10 sec)
- Jump Rope (20 sec) – Rest (10 sec)
- Mountain Climbers (20 sec) – Rest (10 sec)
- Plank Jacks (20 sec) – Rest (10 sec)
- Push-Ups (20 sec) – Rest (10 sec)
- Superman (20 sec) – Rest (10sec)
- Squat Jacks (20 sec) – Rest (10 sec)
HIIT workouts can vary in terms of the exercises, the number or rounds and the work/rest intervals. The interval can be 40 sec high intensity, 20 sec rest or 30 sec high intensity, 10 sec rest. The number of exercises can vary in number from one such as battle ropes to 10 different exercises. The number of rounds can vary as well, depending on the number or exercises and the time interval.
Whatever equipment or activity you choose for your HIIT workout, do it hard, fast, and leave a puddle of sweat behind. This isn’t supposed to be easy!