If you have been in the fitness circle for any amount of time, you have probably heard of many different types of exercise. In the bodybuilding world, it is hypertrophy training. In marathon runners, it’s distance or endurance training. In the boxing world, you have a very popular type of training called circuit training. All these techniques pose different benefits for different types of activities. Today, we will be discussing a newer coined exercise technique called High Intensity Interval Training.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a type of fitness that cycles between work and rest based mostly on time duration. The idea is that the person exercising puts out an effort of 90% – 95% max for a duration of time, and rests completely for an equal or slightly longer amount of time. The principle in place here is that we are trying to produce max effort to burn fat quickly without tiring out so much that we cannot continue the exercise and working sets.
While HIIT can be done with just about any type of exercise, it is best suited based on your abilities and limitations. For most ages and experience levels, a stationary bike is best for HIIT training because it is easy on the joints. For athletes, sprints outside on a track or field would be a great method for HIIT. This can also be done with weights or body weight exercises in the gym or at home.
Many people wonder if HIIT is better at burning fat than traditional cardiovascular like exercises, while the evidence isn’t conclusive, studies do show that HIIT training helps utilise fat more so than steady state cardio does in trials. This would be enough evidence to suspect that HIIT training is best for burning fat. HIIT is also beneficial post workout because of the nature of HIIT, your metabolism is burning at a higher rate for longer. Meaning when you go home after your workout, you are burning more calories per hour than you would have with none HIIT training.
Training in HIIT fashion also trains your body to use energy more efficiently. By training on and off, your body will be able to process your calories for energy rather than for storage, and this only adds to the benefits of HIIT.
The only real negative for HIIT is that it produces a higher risk for injury if you are new to fitness, it can also cause burn out. It is recommended to stick to one day of HIIT a week, and slowly move up to two times a week from there based on your fitness level.
When implementing a HIIT training program, it is worth noting that HIIT should be done alongside your existing workout plan. This will ensure you have a well-rounded program without over doing the HIIT type workouts.