You’ve probably heard about high intensity interval training, or HIIT workouts, in Workout Trainer, at the gym and in fitness magazines – but do you really know what it is or if it can help you reach your fitness goals, and does it really burn fat better than other types of workouts? Keep reading to find out!
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout style that alternates periods of high intensity exercise with low intensity recovery or rest, and usually repeats for several cycles. This type of interval training is all about putting in the effort, you have to push it to the max and get your heart rate up to get the full benefits. HIIT workouts can be varied with the mode of exercise (cardio machines, bodyweight, dumbbells, etc.) as well as duration of the intervals. Tabata training is a very popular HIIT style workout that uses a 20 second max effort interval, a 10 second rest interval and repeats 8 times for a 4 minute workout. These intervals can all be done with the same exercise, or the exercise can be different for variety.
WEIGHT LOSS & FAT BURNING
HIIT training has been very popular for several years now and is recommended to many because of it’s efficiency, and let’s face it, many of us wish we had more time to dedicate to exercise! HIIT, over time, is shown to be more effective than longer bouts of moderate intensity exercise, for improving body composition and cardiovascular function. This means people are losing fat, maintaining lean muscle and improving their heart function, all from short HIIT workouts.
Some of you may be asking, what’s the catch? How is it possible that you can lose weight and become more fit from shorter workouts? Well, HIIT exercise works in several ways to help you burn more fat; it spikes your hormone levels (the ones that help you use fat stores for energy), it increases your total Calories burned in a session and it promotes a higher metabolic rate after your workout session is done – this means you continue to blast Calories even when you’ve hung up the towel for the day!
HOW TO DO HIIT EXERCISES
So, how can you fit HIIT workouts into your routine? No matter what your starting level of fitness is or your experience, you can do HIIT training. It is all about incorporating exercises that are do-able and safe for your experience level, and then putting in maximum effort during the ‘work’ intervals. How will you know if you are working hard enough? If you have a heart rate (HR) monitor or wearable like the AppleWatch or Samsung Gear S2, keep your HR around 85% of your maximum. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy HR measuring device, you should be working at a pace that makes it difficult for you to say a sentence out loud, or you can count your beats per minute the good old fashioned way, on your wrist or neck.
HIIT WORKOUTS & PROGRAMS
So, high intensity interval training really does burn fat better than other workouts. Now that you know, here are some of our most popular and favorite HIIT workouts in Workout Trainer. Do them yourself, share them with your friends and start seeing results!
Bodyweight HIIT, Cardio Jumpster, Tabata Ride & Dumbbell Tabata.
We’ve also created a couple of new HIIT workouts for you to do, or copy and swap in your favorite exercises. Check them out: Classic Tabata & Total Body HIIT.
Are you already sold on HIIT workouts and ready to commit to a program? Check out our HIIT programs for any level!
- Kravitz, L. (2014). ACSM Information on High-Intensity Interval Training. American College of Sports Medicine. https://www.acsm.org/docs/brochures/high-intensity-interval-training.pdf.
- American Council On Exercise. (2013). Is Tabata All It’s Cracked Up to Be? ACE Fit Expert Insight Research & Studies. https://www.acefitness.org/acefit/expert-insight-article/47/3591/is-tabata-all-it-s-cracked-up-to-be.
- Sijie, T., Hainai, Y., Fengying, Y., & Jianxiong, W. (2012). High intensity interval exercise training in overweight young women. Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 52(3), 255-62.
- Macpherson, R.E., Hasel, T.J., Olver, T.D., Paterson, D.H., & Lemon, P.W. (2011). Run sprint interval training improves aerobic performance but not maximal cardiac output. Med Sci Sports Exerc., 43(1), 115-22.
- Andrews, R. All About High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Precision Nutrition. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-hiit.
- Brookreson, N. (2015). Using Heart Rate Monitoring for Personal Training. ACSM Certification. http://certification.acsm.org/blog/2015/july/using-heart-rate-monitoring-for-personal-training.