HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is one of those types of workout that has just gone from strength to strength over the years and is now more popular in gyms and CrossFit boxes around the globe, than ever before.
Whereas people predicted that HIIT would be yet another fitness fad or a trend that comes and goes, HIIT has withstood the test of time and for good reason.
HIIT is basically an exercise protocol which requires participants to alternate between periods of low intensity exercise and high intensity exercise for a number of rounds. If you want a very basic example of HIIT, imagine yourself walking for 30 seconds, and then suddenly sprinting for 30 seconds as fast as you can, before walking again and repeating the process over and over again as many times as you could in the next 20 minutes or so.
HIIT is a great way to workout, but what is it about HIIT that makes it so beneficial? Let’s take a look, shall we?
HIIT is great for saving time
One of the most common excuses that people use for not going to the gym, or not working out in general, is a lack of time.
Okay, granted, some people genuinely do not have hours to spare working out, but thanks to HIIT they no longer need to.
Because HIIT is so physically demanding and taxing on your body, you can get an effective workout in in less than 20 minutes if you work hard enough. An average HIIT session lasts around 20 – 25 minutes, and during that time you can potentially burn off around 400+ calories, depending on how hard you work of course.
There aren’t many workouts that can be completed in that amount of time that will burn off that many calories, so if time is against you, HIIT is ideal.
HIIT is versatile
Another reason why HIIT is so popular is because it is so versatile.
You can take the basic principles behind HIIT and can apply them to a wide range of other ways of working out.
For example, you can perform cardiovascular HIIT workouts using cardio equipment, you can do HIIT workouts when swimming, HIIT workouts when cycling, HIIT workouts with weights, bodyweight HIIT circuits, and much more besides.
Burn calories while you rest
Wouldn’t it be great if you could burn more calories than usual while you sat around doing nothing? Well, if you take part in HIIT workouts regularly, that’s exactly what you can do.
HIIT causes what is known as the ‘afterburn effect’ which basically results in a temporary increase in your metabolism which lasts around 12 – 24 hours after a workout.
During this time, your metabolism runs faster than usual and so, even in a rested state, it works harder and burns more calories than it would ordinarily. This not only speeds up fat loss, it also promotes increases in energy too.
HIIT improves VO2 Max levels
Finally, the last benefit of HIIT which we’re going to look at today is the fact that it improves your VO2 Max levels.
Basically, this means that HIIT increases the amount of oxygen that you can utilize during a workout. The more oxygen the cells in your muscles can use during a workout, the more energy you will have and the more produce each training session will prove to be.