High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is no longer just for elite athletes. Any average person can do it, and get the benefits of this style of exercise. If you are looking for a way to shake up your exercise routine, or you have hit the dreaded weight loss plateau, then interval training might be something for you to try.
What is HIIT?
Well, basically, it is just like what it sounds like. You do high–intensity work for a short period of time, followed by rest or a period of lower-intensity work. For example, instead of just jogging straight for 45 minutes at the same speed, you would alternate jogging for a couple of minutes with short bursts of sprinting in between. Or you could perform hard-core jump squats for 30 seconds, followed by one minute of rest. It really can be applied to any type of cardio and/or toning exercise. Anyone can do this type of workout because it can be tailored to any level. You can make your intervals as long or as short as you want. If you are new to interval training, then you might want to make your high-intensity intervals shorter, and your recovery intervals longer. You can gradually increase your high-intensity intervals and shorten your recovery periods as you get better at it. It also works for anyone because you decide what high-intensity is for you. It just needs to be you working harder than you would at your lower-intensity.
Why do interval training?
The benefits are many!
#1 It burns more calories.
Since you are working harder during those high-intensity intervals, you are going to get your heart rate up higher and torch more calories. This is a great thing, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
#2 It revs your metabolism.
When you perform intervals, you not only burn more calories during the workout, but you also boost your metabolism so that you continue burning more calories for a short period after your workout. That won’t happen with an even-paced workout. Keep burning more calories even after you’re done exercising? I’ll take it!
#3 It improves your endurance.
Interval training can help you take that 20-minute jog to a 30-minute jog. Your ability to last longer during exercise improves when you push your body to its limits. You never know what you can do until you try. The body is an amazing thing that will surprise you if you let it.
#4 It makes your heart stronger.
We all know that heart disease is rampant in this country, so anything you can do to strengthen this muscle is a smart idea. I won’t get all scientific and anatomical on you, but when you push your heart to work harder, it becomes stronger and healthier. This means it is better able to take care of all of the bodily functions it needs to do to keep you healthy.
#5 It takes less time.
This is one of my favorite benefits of interval training. We are all strapped for time nowadays, and this is usually the number one reason why people say they don’t exercise. With interval training, you can’t use that as an excuse. You can practically cut your workout time in half when you do interval training. So instead of a straight 45 minute jog, you could alternate one-minute sprints with two minutes of jogging for a total of 25 minutes, and still get the same exercise benefits. You would probably even end up burning more calories.
#6 It busts boredom.
Sometimes a nice long jog is what you need, but when you do the same thing for too long, you tend to get bored. And when you get bored, you tend to not continue doing it. Interval training takes out the boredom. You are constantly changing up your pace or intensity, and you have to pay attention to that. Knowing you only have to do something for another minute is way more doable than keeping something up for 30 minutes straight. Busting boredom helps you stick with your workout regimen.
#7 It can help get you over a weight loss plateau.
If you have been working at losing weight and that has come to a halt, interval training can help ignite your weight loss again. Changing up what your body has to do is one of the best ways to jump-start your metabolism, which as I stated earlier, can help you burn more calories. This translates into more weight loss for you. Check this post for more tips to help you get past a weight loss plateau.
Do you include interval training in your exercise routine? Any thoughts or tips to share?