The Awesome Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training Workouts
If you want to hit your full potential, you need HIIT. Learn how high intensity interval training can take your performance in the gym to the next level. Why do things the hard way?
A Better Approach to Cardio
For bodybuilders, balancing building muscle with losing fat is a constant challenge. There is no doubt that cardio is one of the best ways of burning fat, but doing hour after hour of cardio every week is, well, a pain in the butt. Fortunately, there is a better way. Do the right kind of cardio and you can actually burn more fat while doing less work. It’s all about tricking your body into thinking you are working out harder than you actually are.
What is High-Intensity Interval Training
High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a method of cardiovascular training that alternates between periods of very strenuous activity and short periods of low-intensity activity or rest. A typical HIIT session will have you working out hard for 1 minute and then resting for 30 seconds and repeating the cycle. The time for work/rest phases can change according to your whim, but those 2 phases must be incorporated into every workout.
The entire session usually lasts anywhere from 10 – 15 minutes and it works by focusing on your maximum heart rate. During the intense portions of the workout, your heart rate should be from 70 to 90 percent of your maximum and during the recovery periods, it should be in the range of 60 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate.
Benefits of HIIT
Doing HIIT workouts come with a long list of benefits. HIIT increases your metabolism, requires no equipment, saves you time, and helps you burn fat while preserving lean mass.
HIIT boosts metabolism through its effects on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. EPOC is the amount of oxygen needed to allow your body to return to its resting state and normal metabolic rate. HIIT differentiates itself from other forms of cardiovascular workouts because it combines an anaerobic workout with an aerobic workout.
During the high intensity or anaerobic phase of the HIIT workout, your body is consuming oxygen at a very fast rate. During the rest period, your body works hard to re-establish normal oxygen levels. Since your rest periods during your HIIT session are short, you’ll go into the anaerobic phase again. Throughout your session, your body is working extra hard to establish normal oxygen levels. This is what leads to an increase in EPOC, which in turn leads to an increase in metabolism that can last up to 48 hours after your HIIT workout.
HIIT Requires No Extra Equipment
HIIT allows you a freedom that some other forms of cardiovascular exercise do not. You can perform HIIT on a treadmill or cardio machine, but it is not a requirement. HIIT sessions can be performed in the gym, at home, in the park, or on the beach. All you need are a good pair of workout shoes and you’re off and running, jogging, walking or doing any form of body weight workout that suits you.
In addition to the other benefits mentioned above, HIIT workouts save you time. A traditional cardio workout lasts anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes. It can be long, tedious and boring. HIIT deviates from the norm by letting you workout in a short amount of time, generally up to 15 minutes. While an hour long cardio session may be very challenging to fit into your daily schedule, a 20-minute workout is a cinch. With HIIT, there are no reasons why you have to miss a workout because it’s fast and can be done anywhere at all.
The American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease conducted a study on the heart benefits of HIIT. After a period of 16 weeks of doing HIIT, women at risk for hypertension were able to decrease their high blood pressure. In addition to this improvement, insulin sensitivity was increased, there were improvements if subjects had stiff arteries and participants also enjoyed superior cardiovascular fitness when compared to the group that performed continuous moderate intensity exercise.
Burn More Fat and Preserve Lean Mass
Due to the increase in the metabolism, HIIT sessions help you burn more fat not only during your workout, but for many hours after you’ve completed your workout. Long cardio sessions tend to be catabolic in that can lose muscle in addition to losing fat. Since HIIT workouts incorporate anaerobic and aerobic phases, the body targets fat and not muscle. You’ll burn fat and keep your hard earned lean mass.
These are just a few of the many benefits that a HIIT workout will give you. Save time, boost metabolism, help your heart and burn fat. HITT eliminates the excuses by giving you an easy and fast way to do cardio. Now get out there and HIIT it.