5-star Fitness

HIIT it!

Written By Megan Brandt • 2 min read

You may not have tried it yet, but you’ve probably heard of the popular way to train called HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. While this is not a new way to train, it’s popularity has increased tremendously in recent years- and for good reasons! Many individuals enjoy HIIT for both the time-saving benefit and the prevention of boredom in their workouts. There are so many health benefits that come along with practicing HIIT- ranging from increased metabolism to boosted cardio health- that everyone should give it a try!

How do I HIIT it?

The main focus of all HIIT training programs involves an intense period of exercise followed by a brief period of recovery. You should aim to get your heart rate up to 85% – 90% of your max heart rate during the intense portion of the exercise and bring it back down to 65% – 70% of your max heart rate during your brief recovery periods. There are many styles of HIIT training including cardio based HIIT that uses traditional cardio, such as cycling and running, as well as HIIT classes using bodyweight and special equipment, like battle ropes and wall balls. Both types of HIIT training are very beneficial, so how do you decide what to do? You do what you enjoy! One of the most important things about training is finding a type of workout that you actually enjoy and look forward to- and feel free to mix it up!

For your HIIT, try starting at 1:2 work-to-recovery ratio for 20 minutes total. For example, you could perform a 1-minute run followed by 2 minutes of walking, or 30 seconds of burpees followed by 1-minute marching in place. Keep going through your selected exercises until your timer goes off at 20 minutes- and you’re done! Perform your HIIT workouts 2 to 3 times a week with a rest day in between for recovery.

Benefits of HIIT

Below is a list of the numerous health advantages of HIIT

  1. Increases metabolism post workout, which means you continue to burn extra calories hours after your workout ends(score)! This is due to the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. You will burn a lot of calories during your workout and because your body worked so hard, it has to continue to replace energy and repair your muscles long after you finish your workout.
  2. Improves cardiovascular health. Blood pressure will benefit from regular HIIT, as well as aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
  3. Promotes better blood sugar regulation. HIIT increases the insulin sensitivity in our cells which helps our muscles to use glucose as fuel for our workouts.
  4. Reverses age-related muscle decline. HIIT has been shown to increase our mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, and muscle protein content to help preserve and build muscle.
  5. Regularly including HIIT had been shown to help decrease abdominal fat while maintaining muscle.

HIIT training is an important addition to your overall health and wellness program. If you are new to exercise, please use caution when beginning a HIIT workout. Start slower and use modifications for body weight exercises that might be too advanced. Overall- the benefits of HIIT are so numerous there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try!

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