In today’s busy world, finding the time to go to the gym or get in a good run is often much easier said than done. With work, life, and social activities, time can literally feel like it is slipping through your fingers.
With this in mind, finding a modality of exercise that is actually effective yet requires very little time commitment has become absolutely essential. Which is exactly where high-intensity interval training (HIIT) enters the discussion.
WHAT IS HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING?
High-Intensity Interval Training is a unique and effective form of exercise that ultimately describes short bouts of high-intensity physical activity that are interspersed with either short bouts of low-intensity physical activity, or completely inactive recovery periods.
A very simple example of a HIIT training session could be built around the combination of running and walking, where you might run quickly for 30 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds, for a total duration of 20 minutes. Simple.
As a bit of a bonus, HIIT doesn’t have to be applied to running alone. In fact, it can be applied to literally any type of exercise, whether it be cycling, rowing, swimming, or weight training.
Over the past decade, the functional fitness bug has spread so rapidly that HIIT style training was named number one health trend of 2018. Training facilities like CrossFit boxes and F45 fitness studios are now legions. While these forms of exercise are somewhat different, they adhere to the same fundamental principles. Work at an extremely high intensity for a short amount of time, and then recover… before commencing the entire process again! HIIT.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HIIT?
Lifestyle and time aside, why should you incorporate HIIT into your training routine? Let's have a look at some of the specific ways HIIT actually delivers on results.
HIIT BURNS A LOT OF CALORIES
HIIT is markedly different than your traditional low-intensity cardio because it involves you pushing to near maximal intensities on a fairly regular basis. As a result, it a huge amount of energy to perform – meaning that it burns a lot of calories usually between 300-750 over a 45 minute period.
HIIT BOOSTS YOUR METABOLISM
Because it is so intense, HIIT places your muscle tissue and your cardiovascular system under a large amount of stress that your body needs to use energy to recover from. Through this interaction, you will see a huge spike in your metabolism for up to 72 hours after your HIIT session, resulting in your body burning a whole lot more energy well past the end of your workout.
HIIT TARGETS FAT LOSS
If we take the above two points and combine them, it quickly becomes apparent that HIIT results in a massive amount of energy expenditure both during, and after, it has been performed. And the result? Almost twice the amount of fat loss when compared to traditional lower intensity cardio methods.
HIIT IMPROVES YOUR HEALTH
Because of the load that HIIT places on the heart and lungs, it has been shown to cause rapid improvements in cardiovascular and metabolic health. This means less risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Put simply it makes you feel really good from the inside out.
HIIT ELEVATES YOUR MENTAL STATE
Performing intense physical activity causes a rush of endorphins - also known as happy hormones - throughout the body. Studies revealed it contributes to improve mood and help reduce unwanted feelings of stress. HIIT helps fight against mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety!
HIIT BUILDS STRENGTH AND LEAN MUSCLE
HIIT isn’t only for the cardio enthusiasts out there. When exercises are resistance based or use heavy weights, it stimulates muscle growth. HIIT is definitely one of the most bang-for-your-buck exercises on the entire planet. Functional weights can easily be included into HIIT circuits to boost muscle tone and definition.
HIIT TAKES VERY LITTLE TIME
HIIT can be done anywhere, at any time of the day, while using very little equipment. It can be done during your lunch break. It can be done at the end of a gym session. It can be done at home with a kettlebell.
Even more importantly, a single HIIT session can be done in as little as ten minutes and still yield results. This makes it ideal for modern people with busy lifestyles. It can be worked to fit within your schedule perfectly, ensuring you consistently make progress no matter how busy you are.
HIIT IS FUN!
Certainly, the most important factor about HIIT training is that it is fun. Functional fitness studios and gyms are a great way to meet like-minded people where a friendly, supportive atmosphere is created. With workout regimes that change every day and a bit of friendly competition, you will be surprised how much more accountable you are to your training and nutrition, leading to much better results.
WHAT ABOUT HIIT AND NUTRITION?
Now it is important to note that there is a bit of kicker with all of this. Because HIIT is so physically demanding, recovery needs to be maximised.
You need to make sure that you not only have enough energy available to perform such a demanding session, but also have the adequate nutrients required to recover from that highly demanding training session, and long after its finished.
Which is exactly where a quick, high-quality, protein smoothie enters the discussion. Ideal for busy people who need a simple and convenient means of recovery from their workout, every single day. The right blend of nutrients with a protein boost creates the perfect combination for absolutely anyone looking to improve their fitness, lose body fat, and increase their muscle tone, without detracting from their everyday lives.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
HIIT is the most popular training method on the planet and the perfect form of exercise for those who truly appreciate health and fitness, yet live very busy lifestyles. So, we encourage you to grab a friend and reach out to your local functional fitness centre, from training 2 days to a full 5 days a week we have no doubt your experience with HIIT will be life-changing.