Why is HIIT so good for you? What is HIIT? What are the benefits? Do you include it into your workout or do you prefer to perform steady cardio? I have to say, as the Fitness and Nutrition Advisor here at Discount Supplements, both have their benefits, but if I had to choose one that works great for me and my lifestyle, it would be HIIT.
So what is HIIT? HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and it means exactly that. You will perform high levels of intense, short bursts of resistance training. These training sessions will be short, and will last around 30-40minutes maximum. Due to the physical demands it puts on your body, the results can be achieved in shorter periods of time. The backbone to HIIT is alternating your speeds while exercising, and this can be in any form. If you are a runner, cyclist, rower etc you can perform HIIT to increase your cardiovascular strength. The key is alternating your speed, so that your body uses its anaerobic and aerobic system. For instance, if you were to perform this style of training through running, here is a basic principle of how it will work. To begin with, start walking for 1-2 minutes, for the next 3-5 minutes jog at a moderate pace and then for 30 seconds - 1 minute sprint. After the sprint, it would be classed as an interval and an ideal time to drop to a walk or jog to repeat what you have just done. So, as you see, you can perform as many intervals as you like, but you must alternate your speeds in order to work your anaerobic system and keep your heart rate high. It is very easy to adjust to this style of training if you aren't a runner. Take the same concept as above and be sure to alternate the speed of whatever type of exercise you perform on a regular basis.
So what are the benefits to HIIT and why should you do it? Well, there are some great benefits in performing this style of training. To begin with, it is brilliant for improving your stamina and strength. In a short period of time you will notice and feel like you are stronger and can exercise for longer periods of time. This is due to the fact that this style of training really works on your oxygen supply to the muscles and vastly improves the rate your body can work. Perhaps the best thing about HIIT training is what it can do to your fitness goals. Most of us struggle on a daily, weekly and yearly basis in trying to lose body fat. How many of us wish we could get rid of those extra pounds of fat? Many of us will turn to a diet, when really we should turn to HIIT. Why? In plain terms, HIIT improves your metabolism and when this improves, the rate at which your body burns fat does also!! This happens because your resting metabolic rate increases and it lowers insulin resistance making your body more effective in burning fat stores. This means that for hours after your workout, your metabolism will still be high using foods that are being consumed, without you gaining fat. How great does that sound?
How does HIIT compare to endurance based exercise. Well, when you perform steady based style cardiovascular exercise you are still working your heart, and the cardio system. This is still a good way to train, and shouldn't be overlooked by HIIT. Marathon runners for example will still exercise this way, they will still implement long distance runs into their routine, and will have minimal fat on them. So this alone shows that this way is still great. However, from my point of view, where you maybe don't have much time and you want to see results fast, performing HIIT would be the better option.
So next time you are thinking of 'hitting' the gym and doing some cardio, maybe check out doing some HIIT training. I would love to hear how you get on with it so feel free to leave a comment. Thanks