First of all, What is HIIT? Well, the acronym stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This is the training in which you put a maximum effort for a short period of time, followed by a period of rest or active recovery. You can perform a HIIT workout with almost every exercise, as long as you perform it with a lot (and by ‘a lot’ I mean ‘ A LOT ‘) of intensity. In the rest period you can jog, walk or just chill.
In this article I am going to share with you 10 HIIT workout benefits, why do I prefer HIIT training over Cardio and I will show you how you should be doing it in the proper way.
The Benefits of HIIT Training
There are a lot of benefits when we are talking about HIIT training; I am going to talk about each one particularly, so you can fully understand every single one of them.
# 1 HIIT Burns More Fat than Cardio
By performing a HIIT workout you will be able to burn more fat than if you were to perform a Cardio workout. And you are doing it in a shorter time!
While a Cardio training can last 50-60 minutes, a HIIT training lasts around 15-20, which is 3 times shorter. It is scientifically proven that HIIT is doing a greater job when it comes to burning fat, because by performing it, you will get your heart rate to the maximum, and then it will slow down while you’re resting; then again to the maximum while exercising and so on. This will ‘confuse’ your whole body, making it uncomfortable -> and that’s your goal.
# 2 No Equipment Needed
It can be done literally anywhere and with literally no equipment at all. Of course, you can perform a HIIT training with equipment as well, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it in other one thousand ways using other tons of exercises that require no equipment at all.
# 3 It Will Save You Time
The no1. excuse that people use is time. They claim they don’t have enough time to workout (which of course it’s just a fabricated excuse that’s not real anyway). You actually might be so busy that you don’t have time to go to the gym everyday. Well, HIIT will save you a lot of time. You can complete a training in about 15-20 minutes, as I was mentioning above and there’s no need to go to the gym!
Instead of running for a longer period of time, you can perform a HIIT training for a shorter period. It will save a lot of time and also, like I said before, it’s more beneficial.
# 4 People Seem to Stick with It
In one study of 44 participants performed by the School of Health and Exercise Sciences we have seen that the most of the people prefer HIIT over other form of Cardio. I am not telling you (and I will never) that you should give up on Cardio and you should start doing HIIT instead. No! I am just sharing with you some statistics and numbers. Cardio is beneficial as well, don’t you think it’s for nothing.
My advice to you is to try both of them and stick with what you like more. The more you enjoy one particular type of workout, the more consistent you will be.
# 5 It Gives You the Opportunity to Mix the Things Up
A lot of people claim that they can’t stick with a routine because they get bored at some point. Because HIIT is a routine, not a specific exercise, it can be done with sprints, jump rope, battle rope, kettlebells, burpees, and…whatever else you might want actually.
This will give you the opportunity of keeping a variety in your workouts and you won’t get bored at all.
Short Note: I do recommend keeping a variety in ALL of your workouts, not only the HIIT ones. This way you will confuse your body and you won’t let it adapt to only one type of movements.
# 6 Improved VO2 MAX
Wait, what is…VO2?
Your VO2 is the amount of oxygen you can use during intense MAX exercises. The better the VO2 MAX a person has, the longer and harder that person can work out intensely and the better health they will have.
# 7 HIIT Matches Regular Cardio’s EPOC
EPOC comes from Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.
This is the burning of extra calories long after your workout is done. If you’ve never heard of the fact that you are not burning calories only when you’re working out, well…you’re hearing it now. Our body burns calories even long after we’re done working out. And one of the HIIT’s benefits is that this process is greater.
It is scientifically proven that 20 minutes of HIIT = 60 minutes of steady Cardio.
# 8 It Reduces the Risk of a Heart Attack or Stroke
It is clinically proven that it reduces the chances of encountering a heart attack or a stroke.
To explain to you why in simple terms, here it is: our heart is a muscle. Just like every other muscle in your body. By performing HIIT, you’re getting your heart rate to a maximum. This is going to literally train your heart. So by that, your heart becomes stronger, and it will be harder to experience a heart attack or a stroke. Sounds…pretty logical, right?
# 9 By Performing HIIT You will Out-Train Everyone who Doesn’t Do it
This is another…extra (let’s say) advantage that you will get if you are going to implement HIIT trainings in your routine. Due to all the other benefits that I’ve mentioned above, you will be able to be more strong, more enduring. And it will give you a huge boost if you will ever compete with someone else!
# 10 You will Develop Confidence and Strengthen Your Mindset
As you already know if you’ve read any other post of mine, I value extremely much the mindset. If you do not have the right mindset, you can not win. Not only in sports, but in any other area of your life.
So why performing HIIT will improve your ability to keep the right mindset? Well, because it’s very challenging. As you now know, it’s done with MAXIMUM intensity, so of course that it’s very challenging. You have to push, and push, and push yourself to your limit. This will, of course, develop your confidence and you will be able to be mentally stronger.
How Do You do HIIT Properly?
There is no perfect way to perform this type of training; there are a lot of types of workouts and you need to choose those that you like the most. However, there are some important things that you need to consider when you structure a HIIT training programme. I’ve created a list with these things that you can see below:
- Structuring The Time
Usually, a HIIT workout is splitted in 1 minute series or equally-timed series. Let me explain to you what these two things mean. When you perform a HIIT training, you will (as in every kind of workout) first perform an exercise for an amount of time, then you will have a rest time until you will perform the next exercise.
1 minute series means that you will organize your training in a way that the working time for an exercise will be x seconds and your resting time will be 60 seconds – x seconds, so they will equal 1 minute. For example, you are going to perform jumping jacks for 40 seconds and you will take a break of 20 seconds until the next exercise (so the time adds up to 1 minute). I think it’s clearer now, isn’t it? Examples are gold, always.
Equally-timed series means that you will organize your training in a way that the working time for an exercise will equal the rest time. You will perform an exercise for x seconds and you will take a rest of x seconds until the next exercise.
My advice for you here is that if you decide to use the 1 minute series method, try to set the rest time at a minimum of 20 seconds, as I was giving you the example. The most effective way, in my opinion, is to combine the two of them and work at a rate of 30 seconds – 30 seconds. Now…you know what suits you the best and what’s your level.
- Choosing the Exercises
You can perform a HIIT training by doing one single exercise for 15 times (example) or by combining different exercises and implementing them into a routine. The way I do it is always by combining different exercises. That way I don’t get bored and I use different muscle groups of my body.
- Deciding on the Total Time of Your Workout
Depending on your level of endurance, you can work out 6-7 minutes or you can train for 20 minutes. It depends, as I said, on your current level. BUT : Try to NOT exceed 20 minutes (no matter your level). HIIT is supposed to be a short training and it is supposed to be very intensive in order to get the maximum benefits. If you perform a HIIT for more than 20 minutes you will drastically increase your chances of injuries, thing that you don’t want.
Short note: Don’t get discouraged if you simply CAN NOT workout more than 5-6 minutes let’s say. Nobody started as a STAR. You will improve your level, slowly.
Go There and Smash IT! Be Hungry!
Now that you know these super cool benefits that you can get from HIIT workout and you know how to properly do it, go there and…KILL IT!
I am Alex, and it was a pleasure writing this article for you, guys. Don’t forget: if you have ANY questions related to this topic and not only, drop a comment in the section below and I will be more than happy to help you out. Cheers! 🙂