If you’re not satisfied with your current exercise regime, and want to burn more calories and lose weight faster, you might want to look into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
This article explains what HIIT is, how it differs from other workouts and the benefits of this workout method.
Warm-Up and Cool-Down
First of all, before any workout (and particularly when it comes to HIIT) it’s important to warm-up and cool-down.
Warm-up exercises loosen your muscles and prepare your body and mind for an intense workout. They help reduce the risk of injury, and also increase your endurance.
And cool-down exercises are equally important. They help bring back your body to its resting state, again helping to prevent injury and any post-workout soreness.
Cooling down shouldn’t be seen as the end of your workout, but rather the start of your next session. Warm-ups and cool-downs are key components of HIIT.
What is High Intensity Interval training?
HIIT alternates low to moderate-intensity intervals with high-intensity intervals of exercise.
It’s more effective than your typical cardio workout, because it allows you to boost both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance, thus burning more fat than other kinds of exercise.
The intensity of HIIT is much higher than normal cardio.
HIIT workouts at home
HIIT workouts can be done in the convenience of your own home, and easily fit into your busy schedule. You can easily incorporate HIIT into your stationary bike routine, for instance. For example, you pedal as fast as you can for 1 minute, then slow down for 2 minutes. Repeat these 3-minute intervals 5 times for a complete 15-minute, fat-burning workout.
HIIT Workout Benefits
HIIT offers a wealth of benefits, including:
- No equipment needed
You don’t have to have fitness equipment to practice HIIT.
You can easily incorporate the program into activities like jumping rope and running — anything that gets your body moving and your heart pumping.
- Healthier heart
Pushing yourself to the anaerobic zone, where you feel like you can’t breathe and your heart is pounding, can produce extreme results. After 8 weeks of doing HIIT workout, you’ll find that you’ll be able to maintain a much higher intensity if you go back to your regular exercise bike workouts.
- HIIT is efficient
HIIT is ideal for people with hectic schedules.
You can do it during your lunch break, or get into shape quickly for a fast-approaching event.
You can actually burn more calories with just 15 minutes of interval training than running on a treadmill for 1 hour. In fact, just 2 weeks of HIIT can improve your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training.
- Burn more fat
You don’t just burn calories during your HIIT workout—your metabolism is increased for up to 24 hours afterward.
- Increased metabolism
Aside from more burning fat while preserving muscle, HIIT triggers human growth hormone (HGH) production by up to 450% during and after your workout.
Increased HGH boosts your caloric burn and slows down the aging process.
HIIT Training Plan
Even if you’re new to fitness, you can still benefit from HIIT. To jumpstart your HIIT workout, here are some easy-to-master routines ranging from 10-20 minutes that are suitable for beginners:
10-Minute HIIT Workout
- Jab, cross, front (right side)
Right foot in front of the left, hips facing to your left side. Arms in a boxing position. Jab or punch forward with the right arm, cross-punch with the left arm. Body rotates as your left arm crosses over your body. Bodyweight should be over the right foot with back heel picking up off the floor slightly. Return your arm back to your body. Repeat this move on the left side.
- Jumping jacks
Stand upright with your feet hip width apart. Arms at your side. Jump off your feet while raising your arms sideways. Repeat as fast as you can.
- Sumo squat
Feet a little more hip width apart. Point toes out at 45 degree angle. Keep your weight on your heels, back flat and chest upright. Lower yourself, legs are parallel to the floor. Engage your glutes and quads. Push back to the start position. Repeat.
Do each activity for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest in between, repeating for a total of 3 sets.
20 Minute MetCon (metabolic conditioning) HIIT workout
If you can’t do traditional push-ups, place your hands on a stable chair or table instead of the floor, or do the push-ups with knees on the floor.
Keep feet under the hips and bodyweight in your heels.
- Butt kicks
Stationary jog or walk. Kick your right heel up to touch your bottom. Repeat with left leg.
- Tricep dips
Place hands on a chair, back to the chair. Legs straight out while balancing on your palms. Bend from elbows, lower as fast possible. Press up to original position.
- Side lunges
Bodyweight in heels and toes facing forward. Step to the left in a deep lateral lunge. Keep knee above your toes. Repeat with the other legs.
Do each exercise for 45 seconds with 15 seconds rest in between, repeating for a total of 3 sets.
You only need a yoga mat, chair and water for these HIIT training plans. And whether you’re looking at HIIT weight training, HIIT cardio or any other HIIT routine, remember to start with dynamic warm-up exercises to get your muscles ready to go and avoid injuries.