Just because you’re new to fitness doesn’t mean high-intensity interval training isn’t for you. Otherwise known as HIIT, these fast-paced workouts have been shown to torch tons of calories in a short amount of time — so you don’t need to spend hours in the gym. This type of training will have you alternating between periods of maximum effort (think: 20 seconds of jumping jacks) and short recovery.
If your goal is to burn fat, intervals better be part of your program. Besides being a quick method to getting in a great workout, intervals are extremely effective for transforming your physique. By incorporating intense periods of work with short recovery segments, intervals allow you to keep the workout intensity high while still maintaining form. The magic of high intensity interval training (or HIIT for short) lies its ability to keep you burning fat even after you leave the gym. In short, your body isn’t able to bring in enough oxygen during periods of hard work. Therefore, you accumulate a “debt” of oxygen that must be repaid post-workout in order to get back to normal. The result — your metabolism is revved for hours after you leave the gym. Trainers refer to this phenomena as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC. The biggest way to use it to your advantage is to make short, intense exercise bouts a regular piece of your workout regimen.
The most beneficial use of this workout would be in conjunction with some loaded strength exercises. Perform each exercise with 30 seconds of rest in between. Be sure to give one hundred percent effort during the exercises. Repeat every other day with the goal of completing it faster each time.
What is HIIT?
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give all-out, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. “A high-intensity workout increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular aerobic and steady-state workouts.
Here are a few other benefits from HIIT
1. Increases Your Metabolism
Combing high intensity with interval training results in EPOC, which speeds your metabolic rate and “translates into a metabolism boost for up to 48 hours after a complete HIIT routine,” says Salvador. This means you’ll still be burning fat even after you’ve left the gym.
2. Quick and Convenient
Long gone are the days of not having enough time for exercise. HIIT workouts is can be done anywhere: at home, in a hotel room, in a park, at a gym, etc. And most are 30 minutes or less! Who can’t spare that?
3. No Equipment Necessary
No dumbbells? No problem! HIIT workouts generally use only your body weight, since the focus is on getting your heart rate up and keeping it there. These workouts result in optimal muscle building and muscle retention couples with fat loss and increased calorie burn.
Do-It-Anywhere HIIT Workout
Lay on your back, knees bent, with your feet on the floor (a). Tighten your core and using your abs, pull your head and back off the ground until you are sitting upright, with your back completely perpendicular to the floor (b). Pulling your abs in again, slowly lie back down into start position (c). Repeat.
40 Jump Squats
Stand with feet shoulder width apart, arms at your sides. Bend your knees, keeping them in line with your feet, and sit back into a quarter squat (a). Perform a small jump, and land back in your squat position (b). Repeat.
Get into plank position, hands on the ground directly under your shoulders, legs about hip width apart (a). Keeping your elbows tucked against your sides and your body in a straight line, bend your elbows and lower your entire body until it almost touches the ground (or as far down as you can) (b). Return to start position (c). Repeat.
20 Split Jumps (Jumping Lunges)
Start with feet hip width apart, arms at your sides. Perform a small jump upwards while simultaneously moving your right leg forward and left leg backwards, landing in a lunge with right knee bent directly over your toes, left knee bent directly in line with your hip (a). Jump and at the same time reverse legs (b). Repeat.
10 Tricep Dips
Get onto all fours facing the ceiling, knees bent 90 degrees over your toes, hands on the ground under your shoulders, fingers facing forward, back straight so your core is parallel to the ground (a). Keeping your elbows tucked in, bend them to lower your butt as close to the ground as you can get (b). Push back up (c). Repeat.
30 sec Burpees
Start standing. Place your hands on the ground and jump your legs backwards until they are fully extended, so you end up in a push up position (a). Quickly jump your legs back towards your hands (b). Stand up quickly and jump with hands raised up to the ceiling. Repeat immediately when you land the jump.
You may do HIIT workouts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and fill the other days with longer endurane training, like running.
The good thing about the short workout that HIIT provides, is you can add weight training onto those days.If you’re just getting into fitness — or starting over after an injury — the key to success lies in doing the right moves, at your own pace. Yes, HIIT should be intense, but pushing too hard, too fast can result in injuries and other setbacks. Your task: Listen to your body, modify as needed, and complete each movement with proper form.
Give HIIT a try. You might just love it!