Staying active is supposed to give you the strength and energy you need to keep up with your full life. Still, too often, it feels like your workout fills your free time and keeps you from the things that matter most to you. Longer workouts may give you the chance to burn a ton of calories and build endurance, but adding more time isn’t always synonymous with adding more benefits. Extending the amount of time you lift or perform cardio is certainly not the most efficient way to get exercise. This is especially true when you’ve got a busy life waiting for you.
HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training challenges you to increase your physical fitness without dominating your schedule. This type of exercise is performed in short bursts that require a lot of effort. Between these bursts, you take quick breaks to catch your breath and get ready to go hard again. How do you know if HIIT is right for you? Let’s take a look at the specifics of this workout and how to make it apart of your workout routine.
What is HIIT?
High-Intensity Interval Training is a popular type of exercise performed for about half an hour. The exercises in these workouts don’t require a ton of equipment. Some may be entirely bodyweight exercises, while others might require you to reach for dumbbells or a kettlebell.
The big idea behind HIIT is that you perform a specific exercise for a set amount of time or number of reps. When I say short, I mean short, usually somewhere around 20 to 30 seconds (10 to 15 reps). Between these bursts, you take a short break and then repeat the exercise again.
While it might sound easy, I promise it is anything but — the goal of these quick bursts of exercise is to put forth your maximum effort. You should aim for reaching 85% of your maximum heart rate during this time.
Why choose HIIT?
Why would you choose a high-intensity interval exercise over another form of exercise? Beyond the fact that these workouts give you the most bang for your buck, there are other reasons to make this kind of exercise part of your routine.
Researchers in the Journal of Obesity noted that individuals who stuck with a 12-week program of three, 20 minute HIIT sessions each week lost an average of 3.3 pounds. In addition to weight loss, there are mounds of evidence supporting the idea that high-intensity exercise can improve heart health. Check out this study noted by the British Journal of Sport in their research review.
Examples of HIIT
There are different ways to carry out a HIIT workout, but the same basic idea applies across the board. You’re going to choose a series of exercises and then do each movement for 20 to 30 seconds, followed by a short rest, and then repeat that for a fixed number of times. Some workouts repeat each exercise 8 times before moving on to the next move.
HIIT exercises can include bodyweight movements like squats, jumps, push-ups, lunges, and burpees. Using equipment, you can do a kettlebell swing, a squat and press, or a Russian twist, to name a few. There is an endless number of exercises that are perfect for this type of training.
While you can plan your own HIIT workout, there are options out there that tell you exactly what to do, when to do it, and when to take a break. The SHOCK: Women’s Fitness app, for example, takes into account your fitness level, your goals, and your heart-rate, to provide real-time guidance and instruction during each HIIT workout.
Getting started with HIIT
Before starting any high-intensity workout, make sure you are familiar with the exercises and confident with your form.
If you begin to fatigue during a HIIT workout, reduce the intensity of the exercise so that you are still able to complete each rep with proper form. This might mean using a lower weight, reducing the number of reps or switching to a less complex exercise.
High-intensity interval training can have so many benefits, like boosting metabolism and improving cardiovascular health. HIIT workouts can help promote faster results compared to steady-state cardio. It can help you to get fitter, stronger, and can assist improvements to your overall health and wellbeing.
There are so many ways for you to perform HIIT! Like running stairs or simply performing full-body movements such as jumping jacks — any form of exercise that can get your heart rate right up! Have you tried one of our HIIT workouts? Download SHOCK and try 7-days of fitness training for free!