High intensity interval training or HIIT has become very popular in recent years. But what exactly is HIIT, how do you do it and is it actually beneficial for weight loss?
HIIT is a form of cardio where you perform an exercise at maximum effort or "all out" in a quick burst followed by a short period of rest. A high intensity workout increases your body's need for oxygen during recovery due to the maximum effort-style and is the "reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts" says NASM certified Personal Trainer Eric Salvador . Some other benefits of HIIT include boosted metabolism, enhanced endurance, as well as better regulated insulin levels and loss of body fat. HIIT is also great for heart-health. One study found that after 6 sessions of HIIT workouts, participants were able to bicycle twice as long as they could previously, while maintaining the same pace.
High intensity interval training workouts can last anywhere from 10-45 minutes long including intervals of exercises lasting between 20-90 seconds during each interval of exercise. Due to its short duration, HIIT is typically very convenient for people who don’t want to spend a lot of time in the gym or are crunched for time. Another positive aspect about HIIT workouts is that you can do them without any equipment at all, which means you can do them absolutely anywhere.
So, now that you know a little bit about the benefits of HIIT where should you start?
If you’re a complete beginner, try starting with a 1:2 ratio of work to rest. Perform your all-out exercise for 30, 60 or 90 seconds, rest for twice as long and then start your next set. Once you become comfortable and start benefiting from these types of workouts you can play around with the interval time as well as the rest time. For example; 20 seconds on 10 seconds off, 30 seconds on 20 seconds off, and so on.
Here are a couple of examples of HIIT workouts you can do from the comfort of your home in thirty minutes or less:
Reverse lunge to front kick
Run as fast as you can for 1 minute
Walk or rest for 2 minutes