How many of us convince ourselves that we would love to work out regularly, if only we had ‘more time’? It’s easy to claim that you’re simply too busy to slog it out at the gym, or even to fit in a quick morning run before work. After all, who has the time for anything anymore?
Enter high intensity interval training (or HIIT).
In very basic terms, HIIT workouts centre around short bursts of very intense activity, alternating with periods of less strenuous activity or complete rest. One example of this would be to sprint at maximum speed for thirty seconds, and then walk for one minute, repeating this sequence for ten minutes for a short but very effective fat-fighting workout.
Still think you don’t have the time to work out? Read on for five key benefits of HIIT that might just persuade you to surrender ten extra minutes in bed in the morning, and opt for a HIIT workout instead.
HIIT can give you a day-long metabolism boost. This is due to the fact that we consume more oxygen during intense activity than in slower, steady-state exercise. This in itself can increase post-exercise metabolism, and means that we continue to burn calories long after exercising.
Burn More Fat
We burn both fat and carbohydrates when we exercise, but the proportion varies according to the intensity of the exercise. Studies have shown that, over time, shorter high-intensity workouts result in greater fat loss than steady-state cardio sessions. This means you get a whole lot more bang for your buck when you sweat it out in a HIIT session, rather than spending twice as much time jogging on a treadmill at, say, 60% of your maximum exertion.
No Equipment Needed
One of the real advantages of HIIT is that you can work out without the need of weights or fancy cardio equipment. The key is to just get your body moving at maximum output. Anything plyometric (exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in short intervals) will get the job done – accelerating your heart rate and increasing your speed and power. This can include lunges, squat thrusts, jumping jacks or burpees – all exercises that require no equipment whatsoever.
While it is commonly thought that exercising makes you hungry, evidence suggests that HIIT can actually help to suppress your appetite. One study conducted by the University of Western Australia concluded that ghrelin (the hunger-stimulating hormone) was suppressed in subjects who participated in HIIT, and therefore decreased their appetite for a period of time after exercising.
Quick (But Not Necessarily Easy)
HIIT is an extremely efficient way of squeezing in a great workout into a short space of time. The fact that maximum results can even be achieved from a session that lasts less than ten minutes means that HIIT is the ideal type of workout if you’re on a tight schedule. Due to the extreme level of intensity the workout requires (as stated, it’s not easy!) you can get all the benefits of a rigorous gym session in a mere fraction of the time.
The 7 Minute Scientific Workout is an example of a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workout