What is HIIT?
You may have heard of HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training. It’s a popular workout right now and for good reason. When you do a HIIT workout, you can burn more calories in a shorter period of time. Who doesn’t want to work out less and burn more calories? So, what is HIIT?
HIIT is a training technique that alternates periods of high intensity with periods of rest or active recovery. HIIT brings your heart rate up to 80%-95% of your maximum heart rate for a work period (interval) ranging from 5 seconds to 8 minutes long (depending on the workout) and then back down for a recovery interval that may last equally as long as the work period and performed at 40%-50% of your maximum heart rate. By varying the intensity of these intervals, your body is working harder than it would if it was maintaining your heart rate at a steady level. This is similar to your car’s gas mileage. If you are traveling at a steady speed, you have better gas mileage. However, driving in an area where you are starting and stopping a lot will use more gas. Just like city driving burns more gas than highway miles, a HIIT workout can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than a steady state cardio workout.
Benefits of hiit workouts
There are more benefits to HIIT than burning more calories during the workout. You will also burn more calories after you exercise than you would after a regular workout. The post exercise period is called EPOC, excess post-exercise consumption. This is generally a 2-hour period after you exercise where the body is restoring itself to pre-workout levels. This takes energy so you are still burning more calories during this period than you normally would when you are at rest. Since HIIT workouts are so much tougher on your body, the EPOC generally tends to be higher, adding about 6% to 15% more calories to the overall workout energy expenditure. Another bonus, HIIT pushes you to use both your aerobic and anaerobic systems which is great for your heart.
Is it for all fitness levels?
HIIT can be done with any type of exercise and different intervals of intensity so it can be suitable for all fitness levels and people with special conditions. However, it isn’t a great place to start an exercise routine. Prior to beginning HIIT training it is best to have a base level of fitness. A base level of fitness is defined as having completed consistent training 3 to 5 times a week for 20 - 30 minutes per session for several weeks. Most importantly when you do HIIT workouts, make the intensity of the work interval so that you get your heart rate up to 80% - 95% of your maximum heart rate. Don’t feel you have to keep up with the person next to you at the gym. Everyone’s body is different and at varying fitness levels. Safety is always first and your focus should be on you and your optimal training, not on keeping up with anyone else.
How often to do HIIT Workouts
Since it is intense, and therefore hard on your body, HIIT should not be done more than two times a week. Plus, those sessions should be spread out throughout the week so your body has adequate time to recover. Your lower intensity workouts, steady state cardio or strength training can be done in between.
Ready to do some HIIT? Try my Bootcamp HIIT class at the LivRite Fitness Noblesville location on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 pm. Or click on the link below to schedule a visit to the LivRite Fitness near you!