If you haven’t yet heard of HIIT, it stands for high-intensity interval training, and it’s becoming popular for some very good reasons. We typically used to divide active people into gym nuts, spinning or other aerobic class attendees, sportsmen and women, or runners or yogis or some handy classification. Now, HIIT presents as a way to glean the best of all worlds. Combining strength and cardio activities for short bursts at high intensity, the intervals between activities are also typically very short!
Although it might sound like pro-level behaviour, the activity isn’t reserved for only superfit humans at the top of their game but can be a very beneficial input into anyone’s life, and loads of fun too! HIIT is geared to rapidly increase your heart rate and make demands on your fitness that more tailored activities don’t do.
Don’t be intimidated! Most of us can remember when the PT teacher blew that damn whistle for another short sprint across the field while we were still recuperating from the last one! HITT is reminiscent of that same kind of regime, it’s true, but out of a school uniform, it can become a whole lot of fun, while also making you an honestly fit and shapely human being!
Good Reasons To HIIT It!
There are several great reasons to try HIIT training, no matter what your current regime is. Sportspeople, yoga practitioners, runners and frankly anyone of any particular discipline can benefit from HIIT training, as it generates an overall fitness that simply aids any discipline’s aims.
- HIIT can be adapted to your circumstances
When recovering from injury, you may well know that intense activity like running and jumping can’t be on the menu. No problemo! You’re still able to get your heart rate right up by selecting from HIIT regime exercises, using your arms, doing push-ups or even adopting plank for a few minutes. Participants of whatever fitness level are typically surprised at how tweaking simple metrics of pace and frequency can leave them winded and sweating, no matter that their feet never left the floor! If you can’t manage a push up from your toes, your knees will do. In short, you can customize almost any activity to accommodate current injuries and still stay fit.
- HIIT is an overall tonic
A HIIT regime will absolutely help you shed fat and accrue muscle, but for many, the intrinsic value lies in an overall fitness. The days of bodybuilders not being able to complete 800m around the track or aerobics practitioners who can’t unscrew a new bottle cap are forever gone! HIIT focuses on overall strength and fitness, improves your standing heart rate and increases the body’s oxygen consumption. It simply makes everyday tasks easier, while building a rounded fitness from which any particular pursuit can benefit. Medically, HIIT lowers blood pressure, and also increases a person’s sensitivity to insulin, thus lowering the risks of manifesting diabetes.
- HIIT can be quick
For those pressed for time, HIIT presents as the perfect answer. Indeed, a major reason for its rising popularity is the fact that many people lead very time-constrained lives. There isn’t much free time for anything nowadays, it often seems. A HIIT session is typically 20 – 30 minutes in extent, and the goal is always to be intense in HIIT training. So, although you might feel like your chest will pop in the middle of it, it’s over quickly! The workouts might be intense, but they’re rounded, wholly beneficial, and soon finished.
- HIIT needs no specialised equipment
All that HIIT needs is your commitment and your body. You can certainly add some weights and other aids to the exercises that you perform, but – sorry couch potatoes! – there is no reason you can’t HIIT yourself up anytime, because it doesn’t require a dedicated space nor specialised equipment. There are plenty of muscle-development as well as cardio exercises that can compile a HIIT workout, and nothing fancy is needed.
- HIIT builds muscles
If you really want to become genuinely stronger, then HIIT is an ideal regime. Since the idea is a high-intensity push on both upper and lower body, squats can be supplemented with shoulder presses, lunges can be complemented with lateral raises – you name it. While heavy weights are logically slotted into specific exercises for safety and concentration, it really is the HIIT kind of overall push that builds overall strength. HIIT makes your body stronger, and does it faster than any other targeted practice. If “lean and fit and strong” is some kind of ideal description for you, HIIT really deserves a try, as you’ll become lean and fit far quicker this way.
- HIIT burns that fat!
Those stubborn pockets of flab are more severely taxed with HIIT than by hours on a treadmill. The short sessions help you to burn fat, and not muscle. Many, many times, an exercise regime is either too erratic or otherwise ill-informed to avoid burning muscle first while the fat remains. HIIT is precisely the kind of regime required to legitimately burn away fat, while overall muscle tone and volume increases. Nowadays sports science acknowledges that the most effective route to toning muscles while losing fat is that of short, intense exercises. That’s HIIT in a nutshell right there.
- HIIT helps you burn calories later too
Tying into overall fitness, a superb benefit of HIIT training is that your body will still be burning calories hours after a session. Unlike running or other cardio exercises, long after you’ve showered and left the gym or sports field, HIIT training means your body is still busy burning unwanted calories.
HIIT It With Your Rhythm Stick!
In a nutshell, HIIT, is a truly effective means of burning fat while building muscle, without the need to spend hours at the gym. Regardless of whether you’re at the top of your game or busy recuperating, you can keep accruing the benefits of HIIT training, suitably adapted for injury if needs be. Never mind your current fitness or body fat percentage, just maintain your weekly frequency and rhythm in the exercises and you’re winning. HIIT workouts are geared for pushing you to your limit, in order that fitness and shape are optimised as fast as possible.
As a newcomer, don’t feel obliged to torture yourself from the start. Take a week or two to really find your limits, evaluate them, and decide on a suitable regime. There’s nothing wrong with starting out at a moderate intensity, as this should be fun, not punishment. Punishment comes later, only if and when you decide to really push yourself to the extremities! Of course, talking to the average South African fitness nut, fun and punishment get blurry sometimes! The point is, start slow, but stick with it, having a HIIT session at least three times in a week.
Feel free to adjust and modify any exercise as needed, without skimping on the genuine value in it. In next to no time, for most participants coming off the couch, you’ll have noticeable differences in strength, fat loss, muscle definition and gain within two to three months. For currently active people looking for that one thing that will push them through their existing levels, HIIT can very well be it. Sessions are intense, but results can be quite dramatic in a relatively short space of time, not to mention that overall fitness glow that comes as standard!