Why High Intensity Interval Training Really Works
A few months ago I changed my fitness routine fairly aggressively to slim down my legs and lower body. I had been doing a rigorous Body Pump class for several weeks, and the heavy lunges and squats had developed more mass than I like having. (At 5-foot-1-inches, I sometimes build mass fairly quickly, especially on my legs, and in this case I wanted to lean it out.) So, I dropped the Body Pump and started adding in High-Intensity Interval Training, also known as H.I.I.T., and achieved the results I was looking for in just a few short weeks.
The American College of Sports Medicine named H.I.I.T. one of their top two fitness trends and it’s really easy to see why it has gained such popularity.
WHAT IS H.I.I.T.?
High-Intensity Interval Training, or H.I.I.T., is a training technique where quick, high intense bursts of exercise are followed by short, moderate bursts of exercise. An example would be doing 45 seconds of high-knees as fast as you can, followed by 15 seconds of rest and then going into side walk-out pushups for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest. In the class I take, we typically do nine exercises in a Tabata style, where the exercises are timed, and then repeat the entire circuit up to five times in a 55-minute period. It’s tough, and we often team or partner up in class during the super intense intervals to keep each other going through the full exercise. But being in a class environment like this is also incredibly motivating. By the end of it, we look back and think, “Wow, I did that!”
BENEFITS OF H.I.I.T.?
The reason why H.I.I.T. is so popular is because this type of high-intensity training will help you burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts, and in a shorter period of time. H.I.I.T. workouts also combine intense cardio with plyometrics and strength training exercises, so rest assured you’ll never get bored with H.I.I.T..
Eddie Jackson, a former professional athlete with the NFL and current H.I.I.T. instructor and personal trainer says H.I.I.T. training is the best format to achieve extreme changes in your body quickly. “H.I.I.T. promotes fat burning while also maintaining hard-earned muscle, which is perfect for anyone looking to hit the switch on their training regimen,” he says.
SPEED & AGILITY
Because it involves speed training, agility and strength exercises, you also tend to build a stronger, faster, fitter physique.
Plus it’s a good use of time – this type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up during those intense intervals, and burns more fat in a shorter time period.
That in and of itself is a great reason to try H.I.I.T., especially if you’re crunched for time.
TARGET YOUR GOALS
H.I.I.T. can also be used to achieve different goals. In my case, I wanted to lean out some leg mass without burning the muscle and increase agility and strength endurance at the same time.
But athletes can experience improvements in cardio strength and endurance, for example, as a way to increase running distance, or even to improve speed using a H.I.I.T. workout.
GREAT FOR THOSE ON-THE-GO
H.I.I.T. is a super efficient workout and ideal for busy people, like moms on the go, like me, or even people who travel for a living. In fact, because of its effectiveness, well-known celebrities like Giuliana Rancic, Queen Latifah and David Beckham are fans of the workout.
Another benefit is that little or no equipment is required for H.I.I.T. workouts, other than your own body, so again, traveling professionals can fit this into their schedules and moms on the go can sneak in a fantastic 20-minute workout around a child’s nap schedule.
If you’re looking for something new that’s effective, challenging, efficient and FUN, give H.I.I.T. a try. Many gyms offer H.I.I.T. as part of their group class schedule, including my gym, the family YMCA.
Sample 25-Minute H.I.I.T. Workout
(Repeat each exercise three times)
• 45 seconds on, 15 seconds rest, 1-minute full rest after each set
• Jumping Jacks
• Squat Presses
• High Knees
• Side-to-Side Walk-Out Push-Ups
• Burpees (no tuck jump)
• Bear Crawls, (forward and back)
• Mountain Climbers
• Side-to-Side Lunges with Lateral Lift
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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.