High Intensity Interval Training: A great substitute to moderate exercise

For some of you, a way of losing weight without doing vigorous exercise would be the ideal wish. What if we told you that you could be spending a lot less time in the gym each week and seeing even better results? Thanks to high intensity interval training (HIIT).

During HIIT, you alternate between high and low intensity exercise(s) or between high intensity exercise and a short period of rest.

For example, a short sprint up a flight of stairs followed by a walk back down is interval training or a set of burpees followed by body weight rows.

HIIT was named one of the top fitness trends in the world for 2019 by the American College of Sports Medicine.

What should High Intensity Interval Training consist of?

HIIT can work for a wide range of people. But how you should practice it depends on your fitness level.

Here is an example of how you should avail the most out of your HIIT workout:

Directions: Perform each exercise below for 40 seconds, then take a 20-second rest. Push yourself hard during each 40-second interval. Perform the entire circuit twice for a 20 minute workout, or three times for a half-hour workout. Cool down by stretching for three to five minutes.

  • Jump rope
  • Plank with bunny hops
  • Jump rope
  • Air squats
  • Jump rope
  • Burpees
  • Jump rope
  • Plank jacks
  • Jump rope
  • V-ups

Directions for each exercise are ahead.

Jump rope

Source: Mens Journal

Plank with bunny hops

Source: Pop Sugar

Air squats

Source: Heidi Powell

Burpees

Source: Laundice treadmills ellipticals bikes

Plank jacks

Source: The vibrant life studio

V-up

Source: FitDay

Keep in mind, you have to invest one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods.

What are the benefits of High Intensity Interval Training?

Super-efficient HIIT is the ideal workout for a busy schedule, whether you want to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break or to get in shape for a fast approaching event. Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of HIIT (done three times a week) than the girl jogging on the treadmill for an hour.

These are various benefits of HIIT:

  • HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH slows down the ageing process, making you younger both inside and out.
  • It can help balance hormones responsible for weight gain and unhealthy eating habits. 
  • In addition to helping with fat loss, HIIT could help increase muscle mass.
  • One study found that five weeks of HIIT workouts performed four days per week, for 20 minutes each session, improved oxygen consumption by 9%.
  • Blood sugar can be reduced by regular HIIT. This improvement has been seen in both healthy and diabetic individuals.
  • It balances out your heart rate. HIIT will reduce blood pressure more than the frequently recommended moderate intensity exercise.

HIIT is extremely effective, but it can place a tremendous amount of stress on the body. It is still possible to exercise the day after a HIIT session, but it should be a low-to moderate-intensity activity. For that, you will have to use different muscle groups or movement patterns than those used in the high-intensity workout.

Source: Training for endurance

Are their any side-effects of HIIT?

HIIT does have its share of side-effects. They are not as grave, yet it is important to point them out.

This may sound ironic, since we’ve been told that exercise will make you less stressed. But when you sprint, your body assumes that you’re fleeing from a predator. In the process you may encounter stress hormones. Luckily, your hormones quickly normalize once your brain realizes you’re not in danger.

Surgeons in the UK say that the number of young people who need Surgeries has increased due to HIIT workouts. HIIT can cause injuries since the activities involved in it are challenging.

You have to get your heart rate above 80 percent of your maximum limit while doing HIIT. This may not be safe for people with heart disease and high blood pressure.

You must assess your situation on a case by case basis as that will be the true determinant of whether you should begin adding high intensity interval training to your workout session.

Tips for beginners to start HIIT

While HIIT training can be an intense way to work out, the great news is your level of exertion is relative to your fitness level. As a beginner, even walking intervals can be used for this type of training — if an adequate amount of intensity is achieved.

Here are some tips for beginners:

  1. Start slow. Go all out for 20 seconds, and then recover for 40 or even 60 seconds, says Noam Tamir of TS Fitness.
  2. Don’t skip your warm-up.
  3. Aim for reps.
  4. Use an interval timer.
  5. Don’t train on back-to-back days.
  6. Just add weight.
  7. Keep the intervals short.

If you didn’t workout since a long time, it takes 3-4 weeks for your body to start adjusting to the change and to start working towards results. If the HIIT program is proper, you’ll see faster results.

To track your progress and to make sure you’re pushing yourself hard enough during your High Intensity Interval Training workouts, a wearable workout tracker or heart rate monitor is a great option. Various kinds of trackers are available.

Source: Les Mills

Every form of exercise has benefits and drawbacks. Some ways of working out will be effective for one person, but not for another, and each method might get you closer to certain goals at a faster or more steady rate. But, for overall, sustainable fitness, we’ve got a favorite: HIIT!

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