Education, Fitness

What exactly is high-intensity interval training (HIIT)?

Hint: It’s a key to weight loss.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Feb 24, 2022

Fact: 30% of people all over the world don’t get enough physical activity, according to the National Library of Medicine. Unless you have a job that involves manual labor, a dedicated fitness routine is the best way to lower this number. If you’re looking for a way to get a workout in, but are low on time, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) might be for you. It is a great way to up a consistent heart rate and reduce those pounds gained in quarantine.

 

What is high-intensity interval training?

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, are workouts where short periods of intense exercise are alternated with recovery periods. Lots of people swear that it’s the most time-efficient way to exercise, as the workouts typically range from 10 to 30 minutes in duration. In fact, regardless of how long the workout is, it’s said to produce twice as much health benefits as moderately-intense exercise.

 

What workouts are considered high-intensity?

The great thing is you get to choose what you would like to do for your HIIT workout. But generally, they include: Biking, sprinting, jump rope, and other body weight exercises. As long as there are a break in between, you are practicing HIIT.

 

On a stationary bike, that could involve 30 seconds of sprinting out-of-the-saddle, followed by a couple minutes of slow, easy resistance cycling. The 30 seconds of sprints would be considered a round or rep of HIIT, and you’d usually do 5 to 7 rounds.

 

Cool, so what will I get out of these HIIT workouts?

  1. You will burn calories extremely quickly with high-intensity interval training. In fact, studies show that you can burn 25-35% more calories than any other form of exercise in just 30 minutes of a HIIT workout. The best part about this is that HIIT allows you to burn more calories while spending less time exercising—when you factor in the mandatory recovery breaks.
  2. Your metabolic rate is higher for hours post-HIIT. Translation: You burn calories long after the workout is complete. Studies have shown that HIITs can increase your metabolism after you exercise more than weight training and running. Other studies found that it can shift the body’s metabolism toward using fat for energy rather than carbs (a pro for everyone looking to lose weight).
  3. It helps you lose fat. Yes, moderate-intensity exercise can help reduce body fat, but doing a HIIT workout 3 times a week for only 20 minute sessions can drastically help you lose weight. They can also reduce unhealthy visceral fat, the fat surrounding your internal organs, that can cause diseases.
  4. Healthy muscle gain.
  5. Improves oxygen consumption.
  6. Reduces blood pressure.
  7. HIIT can reduce blood sugar and improve insulin resistance.

 

The bottom line: High-intensity interval training is a great way to burn more calories than other forms of exercise, and the benefits are endless. For more fitness tips, learn the difference between endurance and stamina, learn if compression socks really work and 5 tips for starting and keeping a healthy habit.