What is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training or HIIT is a very popular idea in fitness that has a lot of people changing their workout routines.
Based on the research conducted by Dr. Tabata involving Olympic athletes who were working out on stationary cycles, the study revealed that these athletes were achieving the same energy output in lesser time by utilizing 150-170% of their VO2 max.
What this means is that these athletes were going at almost double the intensity as compared to normal or steady-state cardio workouts and for almost half the time, while achieving the same results. The idea grew phenomenally large and famous as people began adopting the idea to increase their workout efficiency.
Think of HIIT as sprinting for 2 minutes and taking 1 minute to rest as compared to steady-state cardio which can be surmised as jogging for 5 minutes and resting for 30 seconds. However, there are some limitations to HIIT that a lot of people need to understand. If you’re all dressed in your running clothes for men and want to start HIIT, here’s all you need to get started:
Ann Edwards is the fully qualified personal trainer from Elite sports. She has been helping people in the field of bodybuilding and fitness from more than a decade. Her career in nutrition and physical therapy has made her a fine addition for our team.
Common HIIT Workouts
HIIT isn’t that different from your regular cardio exercises in that HIIT works to increase your heart rate as well as your maximum energy output. However, in HIIT, the energy output is amplified to have increased gains.
Just like the example above, you can use intense running and sprinting sessions instead of regular long jogs and walks to save yourself time while achieving the same results.
HIIT workouts can be done on a treadmill, bicycle, with or without weights, in or even outside the gym. This is partially why this fitness program has garnered such attention.
If you’re engaging in steady-state sessions that last 30-40 minutes, you can substitute them with 10-minute HIIT sessions and have the same efficiency.
Although HIIT can work with almost every exercise, here’s an example chart of a 30-minute HIIT workout that can promise you the worth of your time:
How Often Should I Use HIIT?
As the name shows, HIIT isn’t something that can be used on a regular basis. Since its advent, HIIT wasn’t meant for the average fitness joe as the study that discovered its effects involved Olympic-level athletes.
The energy output required by HIIT isn’t something you can or should produce on a daily basis. For example, you might be able to conduct a sprinting HIIT session for a day but you shouldn’t risk doing it another time the next day.
Like all exercises, you can’t overwork a certain group of muscles without giving your body sufficient time to recover from the damage that has been caused. Experts recommend mixing HIIT in your workout 2-3 times a week and working different sets of muscles every time to have even results.
Misconceptions About HIIT
One of the most common misconceptions people have about HIIT is that you can do it on a regular basis. Supposing you can even produce the same amount of energy for consecutive days without overworking your muscles, you still can’t hope to achieve anything good by destroying your body like that.
HIIT is meant to be used as a catalyst to enhance your current workout program, not to be used as a reliable base for all your exercises.
Another common misconception people have about HIIT is that it completely replaces LISS or steady-state cardio. While it’s true that HIIT can achieve the same results in a lesser amount of time, you can’t always do HIIT whereas, LISS or steady-state cardio is a much better and reliable option for your warm-ups and cooldowns that can be used daily.
Of course, just because you’ve done HIIT for leg day doesn’t mean you won’t do jumping jacks or rope skipping as warm-ups for other days of the week. So, make sure to space out your HIIT sessions while keeping your fitness regimen schedule in check.
Benefits of HIIT
HIIT Workouts Save Time
As stated above, HIIT has gained much of its reputation based on the idea that it can help you save a lot of time when working out. Not only can you reach a higher energy output, but you’ll also be burning more calories and putting your body in a much more active state that perseveres even hours after you’ve stopped exercising.
HIIT Workouts Are Better Than Cardio
HIIT and cardio go hand in hand whenever it comes to enhancing a training regimen’s efficiency and achieving further goals.
If simple cardio is to be taken as aerobic, HIIT would then be the anaerobic variant, meaning you’ll be breathing differently. Whenever we engage in both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, we’re improving strength and endurance in the muscles that get worked in the process.
This is especially recommended who have become accustomed to the mundane routines. Incorporating cardio workouts at a high intensity with more relaxed intervals has proven excellent for cardiovascular patients and even those suffering from different forms of cancer.
HIIT Can Be Done with Weights
The fact that HIIT can also be done with weights means that you can incorporate cardiovascular exercises in between chest or shoulder exercises. Not only will you be engaging in a tougher workout, but you’ll also be working two separate groups of muscles. All professional trainers often try to increase the pace by changing the intensity at which you’re working out rather than switching exercises.
You can even go for compound exercises like squats with overhead presses, weighted push-ups, etc. These will open up a large variety of workouts that can be organized and prioritized as per your needs and preferences.
High-intensity interval training isn’t a flawed concept, but misunderstanding or mistaking its understanding will inevitably result in harmful consequences. As stated above, you can’t use HIIT on a regular basis, or for too long, or in simple exercises like lifting a dumbbell really quickly.
Other than the above, make sure that you make changes to your dietary plan accordingly while avoiding foods that need to be avoided and incorporating healthy nutrients like more protein, fiber, healthy carbs and fats to get you the ideal physique that you want and deserve.