What is HIIT?
In a nutshell High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) does what it says on the tin. HIIT often takes place as a circuit, demanding 85 – 100 per cent of your energy for a short burst of time, followed by a rest before repeating the exercise again.
An example of this could be doing star jumps as fast and high as possible for 30 seconds, followed by a 30 second rest in between each rep. These recovery periods give your body time to go hard on the next round, rather than going full pelt for 10 minutes non-stop, which will use less energy over all.
Feel the fat burn
By giving 100 per cent during a HIIT session, your body uses up extra energy to maintain the intensity at that level. This can last for a whopping 48 hours after your workout, which means your body keeps burning fat even after you finish training. By pushing yourself extra hard, your body experiences Exercise Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). In this zone your body consumes more oxygen than your regular workout, boosting your metabolic rate.
Not only is HIIT an effective method for blitzing fat and keeping your fitness levels topped up, it's one of the most time efficient modes of exercise. If you're in a rush, a 20-minute session can easily slot into your morning routine or your lunch break. If you don't have a shower at work, fear not! Read our top tips on keeping fresh after your lunchtime workout
The good news is with intervals, less tends to be more. To see results you don't need to train at that intensity every single day of the week. Your body will benefit from the speedy nature of these workouts, sandwiched in between plenty of recovery time. Expert suggest a maximum of three sessions a week.
Improved heart health
Intervals are also an excellent way to keep your heart health in check. As your body works extra hard during those short bursts, your heart is given a challenge as it is enters the maximal heart rate zone before it has time to recover.
'Getting your heart rate back up after a short rest challenges your heart muscle in a way that makes it operate more efficiently', The Mayo Clinic explain. HIIT has even been used in studies with patients dealing with coronary heart disease and The American Heart Journal found that these exercises improved exercise capacity and functionality in patients.
We're big fans of a gentle jog, but by adding a few HIIT circuits into your weekly routine, you will quickly see your fitness improve. As intervals are both aerobic AND anaerobic, your cardiovascular system gets a boost while your muscles continue to build strength. Recovery periods which are fundamental to your HIIT workout are also good for fine tuning your aerobic energy system.
No equipment needed
The beauty of HIIT is that you don't need any equipment to get you through your workout! Include equipment if you fancy jazzing up your routine, but using your body correctly will get you just as far physically. From burpees, to high knees or a moving plank, be creative with your movements, make exercise fun and blast fat without stepping foot in the gym!
Tempted to give HIIT a go? Try this 20-minute fat-burning workout with The Body Coach.