Sometimes, you don’t have time to spend hours at the gym, but you want to feel the results as if you did. HIIT workouts can be a great way to spend a short amount of time exercising at an efficient rate. HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training, is a cardiorespiratory and strength training workout that allows for short periods of intense exercise with short amount of recovery periods. What does a normal HIIT workout look like? It’s usually 20 seconds of exercise with 10 seconds of a break. However, these numbers can vary. Here is an example of a simple HIIT workout you can follow step by step. The video is then followed by a list of 8 reasons why HIIT workouts are so effective and beneficial according to an ACE Fitness expert.

Benefits of HIIT Training: 8 Reasons HIIT Workouts are So Effective

(According to American Council on Exercise)

1. Anaerobic interval training uses the body’s reserves of energy and, after a workout, your metabolism stays elevated and continues to burn calories for hours after the workout. This is due to the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. With HIIT, you not only burn calories during the workout, but because of the high intensity you will continue to burn calories as your body replaces energy and repairs muscle proteins damaged during exercise.


2. During a workout, your body metabolizes fat for fuel. In addition, during the post-exercise recovery period after HIIT exercise the body will tap into fat stores for the energy required to restore it to its normal resting state.


3. Your body burns calories at a rate of 5 calories per liter of oxygen consumed. In general, using exercise to increase the oxygen demands on your body will increase total caloric expenditure both during and after the workout. Short intervals of extremely high-intensity exercise involving a lot of muscle mass require a tremendous amount of oxygen, during both the work interval and the recovery periods.


4. HIIT produces a significant amount of metabolic waste, including hydrogen ions and lactic acid. The major reason for an active recovery interval is to remove these waste products to allow the involved muscles to perform the next high-intensity bout. As a result, HIIT workouts train your body to tolerate and quickly recover from periods of high-intensity exercise.


5. HIIT can promote a number of physiological benefits, such as increased mitochondrial density, improved stroke volume, improved oxidative capacity of muscle and enhanced aerobic efficiency, which was previously thought to occur only as a result of long, slow distance training protocols. I would explain why those benefits matter and how that will help in the long run.


6. HIIT places a significant amount of stress on muscle tissue. As part of the repair process, the body will produce elevated levels of human growth hormone, testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1 to repair damaged muscle proteins, which lead to increases in muscle volume and definition.


7. Exercise intensity can be measured with a scale of perceived exertion, where 1 is low intensity and 10 is the highest intensity, you can tolerate. For the greatest benefits, HIIT should be performed at an eight or higher for periods lasting 30 seconds or less (or to the point of breathlessness). Recovery intervals should be as long or slightly longer than the work interval (or until breathing is quick, but under control). An effective workout should have a five- to seven-minute warm-up period to elevate heart rate, a minimum of five high-intensity work intervals and a four- to six-minute cool-down period to help start the recovery process.


8. Many health clubs and workout studios are applying this science to develop group fitness programs that feature HIIT workouts in formats that are 30 minutes or less. These formats enable you to do more work and receive numerous health benefits in less time.



Want to try a HIIT workout? Try this 15 minute workout:

https://youtu.be/DMHKgIZHZqM




Sources:

Pete McCall, “Benefits of HIIT Training: 8 Reasons HIIT Workouts are So Effective”, ACE, 30 Sept.

2014, https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/5073/8-

reasons-hiit-workouts-are-so-effective/, Accessed 16 July 2020

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